5 Best Touchless Trash Cans of 2023, Tested by Food Network Kitchen
We tested motion-sensored and step trash cans to find the best hands-free option!
Our Top Touchless Trash Can Picks
- Best Overall: simplehuman Rectangular Hands-Free Kitchen Step Trash Can
- Best Odor Eliminator: Glad Stainless Steel Step Trash Can with Clorox Odor Protection
- Prettiest Trash Can: iTouchless SoftStep Kitchen Step Trash Can with Odor Filter
- Best for Pet Owners: iTouchless Pet-Proof Sensor Trash Can
- Best on a Budget: BestOffice Garbage Can
Tested by Brittany Loggins for Food Network Kitchen
A trash can is not an appliance you want to spend too much time thinking about, so when you buy one it’s important to know it will last. And a touchless trash can might end up costing you more than you think, especially if you get stuck rotating through a few that don’t work. Some feature steps that break quickly or lids that slam down a little too hard when the step is released, but there are also reliable, durable options out there. We tried out multiple touchless trash cans to see which are worth adding to your kitchen, and there was definitely one brand that rose to the top.
How We Tested
When testing touchless trash cans, we looked for more than their ability to open without having to use our hands. We also wanted to ensure they were durable and long-lasting. (No one wanted to buy a trash can more frequently than absolutely necessary!) We tested out trash cans that have a step-to-open feature and options that are motion-sensored, using them in our home kitchens for a couple days and taking note of how smoothly and quickly they opened and closed, their capacity for trash and any special features including odor-resistance and trash-bag storage. When determining the life-span, we also relied on customer reviews to make sure that they could withstand the test of time.
We liked this one right away for its stability and size. The step is made from stainless steel, and feels sturdy when using. While trying it out, we made sure to step on it realistically then again with some added pressure. It definitely stood up to a harder step, and the brand notes it’s engineered to last for more than 150,000 steps, which breaks down to more than 20 steps per day. Oh, and the lid? It closes quietly every time.
Another plus for this trash can is its 55-liter size, which we found helped us run out of trash bags less often. When the time came to switch out the trash bag, this can made it easy with a built-in pouch on the side to store trash liners. It’s also worth noting that it has more than 8,100 positive reviews on Amazon and comes in rose gold and white. But, the stability, extra size and sturdy touchless step made it our trash can of choice.
Not only does this trash can come with a stainless steel step, but it offers built-in Clorox Odor protection. The company claims the odor protection protects you against germs, as it offers antimicrobial protection for the lid and the frame of the lid for the entire lifespan of the trash can. We definitely noticed it smells nice and it prevented odors without being too overwhelming.
The trash can also offers a soft close lid that feels very sturdy, and comes in both a 13- and 20-gallon capacity. Another great feature is that it offers a trash bag holder that’s very thin and discreet on the back, which will save you space under your kitchen sink or pantry.
I’ll tell you, this one feels super sturdy. While it’s made of stainless steel and holds up to 13.2-gallons, it also has a very sturdy stainless steel step that activates a quiet control lid. Another feature that I found to be very convenient was that you can push the lid back and it will stay open, which is great if you’re wanting it to stay open and ready-to-use while you’re cooking.
Instead of having built-in odor control, this trashcan comes with a slot that allows you to replace odor control sheets, which I somehow trust more since it’s under your control. They also act as air-purifying filters that will protect you from Volatile Organic Compounds (you know, the VOCs that everyone talks about wanting to avoid). Finally, I really do think this is the most aesthetically pleasing option. The rose gold is super pretty, and the entire can comes with a coating that keeps fingerprints from showing up and raining on your shiny parade.
If you have an issue with your pet setting off your trash can sensor (and possibly getting into the contents), this can has managed to work around that. The sensor requires you to wave your hand over a particular area to open, so you’ll never worry. Plus, it has a sensor that will keep the lid from closing on your hand. (We know, they thought of everything!)
This trash can has more than 39,000 near-perfect reviews on Amazon, comes with the same odor protection filter as the iTouchless SoftStep trash can, and has a coating that protects from fingerprints and smudges. While this trash can is battery-powered, it also comes with an AC adaptor you can plug in if you don’t want to worry about replacing the batteries.
For less than $50, you get a touchless trash can with infrared odor protection and a heavy-hitting capacity of 13-gallons. The odor protection is provided through its infrared capabilities, which the company claims keeps any odor within the trash can. The touchless sensor opens the lid when your hand is within six inches, and the exterior has an anti-scratch coating that will prevent unwanted fingerprints and smudges (if you get close enough to touch it, that is).