Everything is getting smarter these days. From light bulbs to electrical outlets, refrigerators to coffee brewers, nearly every home item which uses electricity has been upgraded to become more intuitive and easy to use. Surprisingly, even items which do not use electricity have joined the “smart” club.
The lowly trash can is one of these new “smart” items. What features are available and most useful in a smart trash can?
The motion sensor is probably the most common feature of smart trash cans. They work by using an infrared sensor to detect when motion occurs above the lid. The lid responds by opening, allowing you to throw items away without touching the trash can. The lid of a trash can is often overlooked during cleaning and can contain dangerous germs such as e.coli and salmonella, as well as cold and flu viruses. You definitely do not want to touch that!
Some smart trash cans also feature a delay to keep the lid from opening unnecessarily due to children and pets. Many also have an on/off switch, which is preferable when you are leaving the house and your dog has learned how to open the trash can.
Similarly, some trash cans can open simply by hearing you say “Open, can”. Simple Human trash cans feature both motion and voice activation, allowing you to choose which method is easiest for you.
Voice activation is a wonderful addition to smart trash cans. When you’re across the room you can ask your trash can to open, and by the time you arrive at the can it is already open and ready for you to drop your trash in.
This particular can also keeps the bag liners in a special liner pocket, allowing easy access to the bags when it is time for a fresh one.
More times than I’d like to admit I’ve taken out the trash, then come back inside to finish up making dinner. I go to toss something in the trash, drop it right into the bin and then realize I forgot to replace the liner after I took out the trash. Now I’m left with a mess on the bottom of the trash can while I’m trying to do some other task.
Amazingly, a few trash cans on the market can even replace the trash can liner for you. With this type of trash can that scenario will never happen again.
Unfortunately you won’t get out of taking out the trash, but the job has suddenly become much easier. A simple press of a button seals the used trash bag for you, ensuring that any gross garbage hanging out at the top of the trash can will not be anywhere near your hands. Once you remove the bag, the lid closes automatically and a new trash bag is put into place.
This trash can uses special refill rings to replace the bags. These are going to cost you a little bit more than a typical trash bag, but the convenience may well be worth the cost. You’ll also save some money by using the rechargeable battery pack in the trash can rather than having to replace batteries every so often.
This is an amazing feature which I’m excited to share with you. Anyone who has ever swept knows the frustration of sweeping dust into a nice pile and using the dustpan to carefully sweep it up. You sweep up your pile into the dustpan, toss the dust in the trash and then notice that there is a fine line of dust where the edge of your pan was. Okay, so you try again. Sweep everything into the dustpan, toss it into the trash…and you still have a line of powder on your floor. Finally in exasperation you get the vacuum cleaner out to vacuum up the remaining dust, or if you’re particularly lazy like me you sweep it under the counter and hope that no one looks at your floor too closely.
If you have this trash can you will never have to worry about that again! This trash can features a built-in vacuum system. Simply sweep your debris to the foot of the trash can to activate the vacuum. Debris is sucked in and deposited directly into the trash bag inside. No scooping, no dumping, no mess. The trash can also contains a filter so that the dust you sweep up doesn’t recirculate into the air. It works great for pet hair too, and makes sweeping so much quicker!
I know it sounds a little strange to have an air filtration device on your trash can, but hear me out on this. Trash cans are stinky. They do contain trash, so it almost goes without saying. Several smart trash cans contain filters to help eliminate the smell from your trash.
This iTouchless brand of trash cans have both an odor filter and a scented cartridge to ensure that your trash not only doesn’t stink, but actually smells fresh! Several other brands contain odor filters as well.
These filters are made to not only filter out odors, but they also filter out volatile organic compounds (VOCs). VOCs are released from products such as hobby and craft supplies, glues, air fresheners, adhesives, and cleaners and disinfectants – all items you probably have in your trash at one time or the other. Exposure to VOCs can cause everything from headaches and dizziness to nausea and fatigue, so limiting your exposure by filtering the air emanating from your trash is definitely a good idea.
Smart trash cans are powered either by standard batteries, a rechargeable battery pack, or by plugging into an outlet. Some trash cans have multiple options, which is something to be aware of before you buy. Before choosing which trash can to buy, think about which one of these options is best for you. Is there an outlet near where you typically keep your trash can? If not, it would be best to go with one of the battery options.
The rechargeable battery packs last up to one month on a single charge, but if your trash can uses standard batteries it may be wise to buy rechargeable batteries as well as a charger to save money on battery purchasing.
How to Choose the Best Smart Trash Can for Your Home
So you’ve decided that a smart trash can is right for you. Know that you will probably pay a little bit more for a smart trash can than you will for a standard can, but keep in mind the time and stress that it can save you.
Decide on which size of trash can is best for the room, and check out Amazon to find some amazing smart trash cans. Which of the above features are important to you, and which ones do you think you can live without? Consider the power source and the bag type you will need for your can, and armed with that information you will be well-prepared to make the best choice in your purchase of a smart trash can.