What Is an Automatic Trash Can?

trash can with a touch-sensitive automatically opening lid.

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If you’re looking for a new trash can for your kitchen, you might be surprised to see a new range of automatic trash cans available. What are these new inventions and should you consider buying an automatic trash can instead of a conventional one?

Let’s dive into the world of trash disposal receptacles, looking at automatic trash cans and their benefits over the regular bins that require you to open the lid yourself.

What is an Automatic Trash Can?

An automatic trash can is a battery-operated or electric trash can that uses motion sensor technology to open the lid of the trash can. Typically using infrared motion sensors, placing a hand (or foot) a few inches away from the sensor will activate the mechanism and the lid will open.

Automatic trash cans are available in various sizes and can be color matched to suit even the most unique decor or theme you may have in your kitchen. If you like matching your appliances, automatic trash cans are available in several finishes, too, ranging from stainless steel to plastic.

Pros and Cons of Automatic Trash Cans

It is almost always best to look at the pros and cons of any item before you think of spending your money on something you don’t really need. Thankfully, automatic trash cans have several pros and cons that will help you make a more informed decision.


  • Automatic trash cans are battery-operated or are plugged into an electrical socket.
  • Motion sensor trash cans can be switched to a manual setting at the press of a button.
  • Automatic trash cans are more hygienic and keep odors and food mess to a minimum.
  • A lock-tight lid keeps bugs and other pests away from your trash, minimizing the chances of an infestation.
  • Motion sensors allow those who suffer from mobility issues to easily access their trash cans.
  • Batteries can last up to a year depending on the frequency of use.
  • They are available in various sizes depending on the number of people in your home and how large your kitchen space is.


  • Motion sensors could be overly sensitive, causing the lid to open even when it is not necessary.
  • Depending on the mechanisms, the lid of the automatic trash can may stay open too long or have to be closed manually.
  • The trash can lid might open too slowly.
  • The cost might seem excessive.

Based on these pros and cons, choosing a trash can depends solely on your needs, budget, and of course, the choice of whether you want to add yet another piece of technology to your home.

Cleaning an Automatic Trash Can

Keeping your trash can clean is vital in order to keep bugs at bay and mask any odors that might linger from uneaten food and other trash. But is cleaning an automatic trash can the same as cleaning a regular one?

The answer is yes.

Cleaning an automatic trash can is no different from cleaning your regular trash can and should be emptied and cleaned as often as you would normally do it. Most trash cans have an inner bucket that makes emptying your trash can much easier. Lining this bucket with a plastic bag can also help make cleaning easier and reduce the need to wash the inside of the bin.

Thanks to the motion sensors that open the lid for you, an automatic trash can is considerably cleaner and relatively germ-free. While a regular trash can might have grease build-up, an automatic trash can will not and will require only a quick, easy wipe with a damp cloth to clean the outside of it.

Clean trash bin in modern kitchen

What to Consider Before Purchasing an Automatic Trash Can

Before you run down to the store or hop online to buy yourself an automatic trash can, there are a few less obvious things you should consider.

Here is our guide on how to choose the best trash can for your kitchen.

#1: The Space

Take a look at the size of your kitchen. Is it modern in design? Is it large enough to accommodate another piece of technology? Automatic trash cans are available in an array of sizes to accommodate even the smallest of spaces. A battery-operated trash can could be placed anywhere and does not need an electrical socket close by.

#2: Color and Finish

If you’re one who loves matching the finish or color of your appliances, you will be surprised to learn that you can indeed find an automatic trash can to match your kitchen. From stainless steel to colorful plastic, the options are endless.

#3: Hygiene Factors

Keeping your trash can clean and germ-free can often require the use of various cleaning products that not only cost money but require a large amount of effort. Minimize this effort and save yourself money with an automatic trash can that keeps the dirt, germs, and odor inside the bin.

#4: Budgetary factors

An automatic trash can will cost quite a bit more than a regular trash can. But, when you add up all the savings on cleaning products, extra bags for lining the bin, and the effort you save on opening and closing or cleaning the bin, you really start to see the value of an automatic trash can. If you’re worried about the added expense of batteries, you’ll be pleased to know that the batteries in an automatic trash can will last anywhere from six months to a year.


An automatic trash can will help you keep your kitchen germ and odor-free thanks to the motion-activated sensors that open the lid for you. By minimizing contact with the actual lid, no transfer of dirt occurs, keeping your trash can cleaner for longer.

While the initial cost might be excessive, it is worth looking at all the benefits, as well as how easy it is to use, when choosing the ideal trash can for your kitchen. Automatic trash cans are battery-operated or can be plugged into an electrical socket depending on the model you choose.

Slava is a man of mystery and no-one seems to know exactly where he is at any point in time. When he isn't enjoying writing about all things audio and technical he can be found researching his next project of interest. The man never rests.

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