The best motion-sensor trash cans for 2024

We may earn revenue from the products available on this page and participate in affiliate programs. Learn more ›

Trash doesn’t have to be a complete mess with the help of a motion-sensor trash can. While a trash can may seem like a banal part of your kitchen essentials, think about how many times a day you need to discard paper towels, food scraps, packaging, paper, and other pieces of garbage. With that kind of frequent use, you deserve something much better than ordinary, like our best overall choice, the Simplehuman Voice + Motion-Sensor Trash Can. A touchless trash can sounds futuristic, but they are a contemporary way to eliminate germs and keep things clean around the house. An electric trash can is more convenient than foot-pedal models and suited for all levels of mobility. The best motion-sensor trash cans come with special features like voice control and odor control, plus they can sleekly complement your other appliances. 

How we chose the best motion-sensor trash cans

A motion-sensor trash can is one of those kitchen supplies we can’t wait for you to experience. They are super convenient, safe, and germ-free because you won’t have to worry about getting any gunk or goo on your hands from lifting the lid. A smart trash can is a choice that feels like a luxury while being impressively practical. Most rely on advanced infrared technology to sense natural movements but remain closed when your dog or cat tries to grab a naughty snack but ends up spilling scraps, coffee grinds, dust, vacuumed-up fur, etc., all over the place. You can even get an automatic trash can that is voice-activated to offer you the most when it comes to easy use. The best motion-sensor trash cans will elevate the everyday, mundane task of throwing out your garbage. We considered a range of options on the market to compile our list of recommendations.

The best motion-sensor trash cans: Reviews & Recommendations

Whether you’re living in a one-bedroom studio or have a four-story home for you and your family, you need a garbage can that can hold more than one day’s worth of trash. While you don’t need to be harboring waste, you also don’t need to keep shoving your takeout containers and food wrappers down into the can by hand in a desperate, unhygienic attempt to stop the overflow. Trying to compress your trash doesn’t necessarily mean you’re throwing too much away (though we should all try to limit our garbage); it often just means your can is too small. Here are our recommendations for a range of household sizes.

Best overall: Simplehuman Voice + Motion-Sensor Trash Can 

See It

Why it made the cut: This voice-activated and motion-sensor trash gives users two ways to manage waste without touching the can and comes in a range of colors.


  • Dimensions: 13 inches D x 18.5 inches W x 24.8 inches H
  • Power: Uses four AA batteries
  • Capacity: 15.3 gallons (58 liters)


  • Features voice activation and motion-sensor technology
  • Comes in three stainless steel finishes (brushed, matte black, white) 
  • Designed with built-in liner dispenser


This 58-liter stainless steel trash can from Simplehuman is equipped with accurate voice recognition technology that deciphers commands at a whisper, even in a noisy environment. You can say open, close, or stay open for multi-trip trash. This trash can also comes with a motion sensor and liner pocket, storing 20 liners inside the unit for easy replacements. 

Best for large spaces: EKO Mirage-T Motion-Sensor Trash Can  

See It

Why it made the cut: This sleek-looking can hold up to 80 liters of trash and comes with a built-in deodorizer.


  • Dimensions: 18.5 inches W x 10.9 inches D x 28.4 inches H 
  • Power: Six AA batteries
  • Capacity: 45 liters, 50 liters, 80 liters


  • Large capacity
  • Comes in three sizes
  • Fingerprint-resistant


  • Can’t use rechargeable batteries
  • Expensive

As far as kitchen essentials go, you can feel confident about the EKO Mirage-T. This unit is available in a ton of sizes, starting with 12 gallons and going up to 21 gallons; it’s truly one of the largest motion-sensor trash cans on the market. It is designed with a fingerprint-resistant exterior, a removable liner ring, and a deodorizer compartment to keep things smelling fresh. 

Best for small spaces: Ninestars Automatic Touchless 3-Gallon Motion-Sensor Trash 

See It

Why it made the cut: This small trash can is ideal for bathrooms, children’s rooms, or home offices. 


  • Dimensions: 12 inches x 8.4 inches x 15.16 inches
  • Power: Two C batteries
  • Capacity: 12 liters (3 gallons)


  • Odor resistant
  • Small footprint
  • Can use liners from the brand or other standard liners


This 3-gallon trash can is the perfect size for bedrooms and bathrooms alike. It was a precise, water-resistant motion sensor, a removable ring liner, a sealed lid, and the ability to last up to six months without changing any batteries (we suggest rechargeable ones and recycling any old batteries properly). This touchless trash can has a non-skid base and is made from durable type 430 stainless steel.

Best for odor control: iTouchless 13-Gallon SensorCan 

See It

Why it made the cut: This touchless can is designed with a carbon filter that helps fight odor. 


  • Dimensions: 16 inches x 11.75 inches x 25.5 inches
  • Power: Adapter or four D batteries
  • Capacity: 13 gallons


  • Comes with carbon filter to fight odor
  • Sizable capacity
  • Can use adapter or battery power


  • Need to remove whole lid to remove trash bag

This iTouchless trash can is the best motion-sensor trash can for most homes. It’s completely hands-free with an additional compartment that holds an AbsorbX “Natural Activated Carbon Odor Filter” to stop stinky smells in their tracks; an excellent addition to your kitchen. Plus, this unit can be powered using an AC adaptor or batteries for ultimate flexibility. There is also a “Stay Open” mode for those times when you’re making frequent trips to throw something away, but rest assured even with the lid open, troublesome smells will be kept at bay.

Best dual-compartment: Ninestars Motion-Sensor Trash Can/Recycler 

See It

Why it made the cut: Pitch your trash and recyclables in one container with this combo device. 


  • Dimensions: 21.3 inches x 13 inches x 26.2 inches
  • Power: Four D batteries
  • Capacity: 13- and 18-gallon sizes available


  • One-stop trash and recycling solution
  • Available in two sizes
  • Can use liners from the brand and other standard liners


  • Users report motor in lid can stop working

This Ninestar touchless trash can has two depositories for trash and recycling and one quiet-closing, touch-free lid that seals in odors. It is available in two sizes, 13 and 18 gallons, with a non-skid base, removable ring liner, and a long-lasting battery so you can conveniently place your can anywhere.  

Best budget: Mainstays 13.2 Gallon Motion Sensor Plastic Trash Can

See It

Why it made the cut: This budget-friendly option is a good size for families, and it’s designed with a lid that stays open when you place objects in front of the sensor. 


  • Dimensions: 15.70 x 10.70 W x 24.90 Inches (L x W x H)
  • Power: 4 AA batteries
  • Capacity: 13.2 gallons


  • Motion sensor allows for touchless open
  • Plastic
  • Affordable


  • Only available in one size

This 13-gallon motion-sensor trash can comes in black to match any kitchen vibe. It’s the best value because it’s made from plastic and features infrared technology to ensure it stays open while an object, or your hand, is in front of the sensor, and then it closes gently after five seconds. 

What to consider when buying the best motion-sensor trash cans

Life’s objects tend to get compartmentalized. We throw our fruit scraps in the compost bin, our recycling gets recycled, but what about everything else? Enter the humble trash can. Not all trash cans are the same, especially when you add electronics and smart home devices to the mix. Here’s what you should look for when shopping for a motion-sensor trash can.

Can capabilities

Regardless of size, make sure you can lift the bag out of the can with ease when it’s time to take it out. If you are going to get a large receptacle, an electric trash can will only make throwing things out more accessible. Typically, each touchless trash can will need just a light wave of motion to pop open quietly. This is great when your hands are just a little too full to lift the lid. 

A motion sensor on a large trash can is also ideal for those who end up throwing away a lot of food scraps while cooking. Instead of using food-covered hands and dirtying the lid, which you then have to clean, you can easily toss odds and ends from your latest dish without any additional mess. While a large trash bin can sometimes foster unpleasant smells, especially if it’s holding food scraps, you won’t have to worry because most motion-sensor trash cans have extra-tight lids to hold in less than pleasant scents. If you’re not convinced, you can also find a touchless trash can with additional room for a deodorizer.

Your space

If the kitchen is covered, look for a smaller automatic trash can to fit underneath your desk or beside the bathroom sink. Chances are you’re not shooting for a 13-gallon vertical can stick next to your toilet, but that doesn’t mean you couldn’t benefit from the same mess-free perks that the best motion-sensor trash can provides. Smaller trash cans lower to the ground can be hard to get to, even if there is a foot pedal at the base. A motion sensor makes things a little easier to dispose of and also keeps you from needing to get too close. 

Now, we don’t know about you, but we sometimes need a little extra encouragement to take out the bathroom or bedroom trash before it’s stuffed to the brim. You know it’s time to take out what’s in a motion-sensor trash can when the lid won’t close, and battery life begins to wane. There won’t be room to negotiate when your trash can lets you know the garbage needs to go. 

Odor elimination

No one enjoys the stench of garbage wafting through their home. It’s unpleasant and uncomfortable, especially if you have guests over. Not only is getting rid of smells good for people but eliminating odor is always a great tactic for keeping pets and pests uninterested in the contents of your trash can. If you’ve already done everything you can to make your trash less smelly, we recommend an option designed with deodorizing in mind. Fortunately, a motion-sensor trash can, by design, is excellent at trapping terrible odors. Other hands-free, touchless trash can models rely on a foot pedal to flip open the lid. This often results in a sudden drop when the lid closes and a whoosh of smelly air forcefully being exerted into the room. Motion-sensor trash can lids are typically timed and gently close, which helps keep any unfortunate odors in the can. 

If you’re looking for something a little more heavy-duty regarding scents, look for a touchless trash can that incorporates a filter. The best motion-sensor trash cans will have a built-in space that can fit a deodorizer or carbon filter, which not only contains smells but captures and neutralizes them.


Garbage and recycling may not end up in the same place, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use the same convenient, stress-free handling. If anything, juggling plastic cartons, bottles of wine, and cans of LaCroix is an even more daunting task. Getting a dual unit is a great way to keep things clean and orderly around the house while eliminating extra stress or mess. When it comes to creating a streamlined system, we believe in consolidation. The best kitchen trash can for eco-conscious households will have separate internal compartments, one for your trash and the other for recyclables, united under one lid to cut down on clutter and ultimately save space. 

Voice activation features

Maybe we are living in the Year 3000 because not only can you purchase a motion-sensor trash can, but you can also find a voice-activated model. Voice activation is a “handy” feature if your fingers are always full to the brim. We can’t tell you the number of times we’ve tried to save ourselves trips by carrying every empty bottle over to the trash in one go, only to put them all down again to open the lid. Whether you’re holding a ton of paper towels after a spill, hoping to avoid any drips or spills from precarious take-out bags, or you’ve just picked up the baby and need to toss a dirty diaper, voice activation can be the superhero you didn’t know you needed. While a voice-activated model can provide extra advantages to calm a hectic day, it can also assist those with chronic pain or limited mobility. 

Voice-activated models work by using embedded microphones especially attuned to the human voice (similar to the best smart speakers equipped with at-home assistants like Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant), blocking extraneous sounds like music or television. This microphone can recognize commands like “open can,” “close can,” and occasionally more. Though these touchless trash cans can be a bit pricey, we believe you’re getting your money’s worth regarding cleanliness and convenience.  


A trash bin equipped with advanced technology can be invaluable, but many can also be pricey. Luckily, the best motion-sensor trash can for a smaller household doesn’t need to break the bank; there are a handful of budget-friendly options that will definitely do the trick. While a smaller can (around 4 gallons) is almost always available under $50, a larger option can also fall within your budget if you monitor your favorite sites for deals. 


Q: What is the most popular size trash can for the kitchen?

The most popular size for a kitchen trash can is 13 gallons. This size can fit nicely in small areas or corners without being too small. Thirteen gallons and above means you won’t be battling frequent overflow. If this standard size is slightly too big, we suggest looking at a model between 7 to 10 gallons instead. 

Q: What are the benefits of a touchless trash can?

The short answer is yes, sensor trash cans are worth it. While the price bump can be prohibitive, we do believe that a motion-sensor trash can has many benefits, convenience being only one. A hands-free trash can helps you avoid bacteria and germs crawling around your garbage. Touchless trash cans are also highly beneficial for those who experience issues or pain related to mobility. A hands-free (or foot-free) model eliminates the need for physical strain on the joints. 

Q: What can you do with old garbage cans?

If you’re ready to take the plunge and upgrade to one of the best motion-sensor trash cans, you’ll need to find something to do with your analog bin. While you can include this old garbage can with your other trash, there are a ton of different options when it comes to upcycling your old garbage can. Consider turning it into a planter, compost bin, or, if it’s large enough, think about using it as storage for gardening tools like rakes and shovels. Your new automatic trash can will last between 2-6 years depending on care.

Q: How do you clean a motion-sensor trash can?

A motion-sensor trash can will reduce the odor from garbage because it’ll remain firmly closed until opened. Using scented garbage bags can also help eliminate odor. When it’s time to clean—because garbage juice strikes at any time—use a gentle cleaner, or make a concoction of a little dish soap, vinegar, and water, scrub with a sponge, and wipe down with a cloth or paper towel.

Final thoughts on the best motion-sensor trash cans

The best motion-sensor trash can for you will fit your space and provide a hassle-free garbage toss. Don’t be surprised if you start trying to wave your hand over every trash can you see, only to experience disappointment at their basic functions, followed by joy when you remember that you have a smart trash can waiting for you at home.

Why trust us

Popular Science started writing about technology more than 150 years ago. There was no such thing as “gadget writing” when we published our first issue in 1872, but if there was, our mission to demystify the world of innovation for everyday readers means we would have been all over it. Here in the present, PopSci is fully committed to helping readers navigate the increasingly intimidating array of devices on the market right now.

Our writers and editors have combined decades of experience covering and reviewing consumer electronics. We each have our own obsessive specialties—from high-end audio to video games to cameras and beyond—but when we’re reviewing devices outside of our immediate wheelhouses, we do our best to seek out trustworthy voices and opinions to help guide people to the very best recommendations. We know we don’t know everything, but we’re excited to live through the analysis paralysis that internet shopping can spur so readers don’t have to.

Source link

About The Author

Scroll to Top