Updated: June 8, 2015

Simplehuman Kitchen Garbage Can Review

simplehuman stainless steel garbage can Want your garbage to look as good as the rest of your kitchen? Check out Simplehuman..
Let's face it -- it's hard to get excited about garbage. The kitchen seems to be the place where trash piles up the fastest, and keeping it under control can be a challenge. Is it possible to have a garbage can that really works and also looks good? Simplehuman makes a variety of gear aimed at keeping your kitchen and bathrooms looking and functioning great, from garbage cans to shower caddies to soap pumps. Their free-standing metal kitchen garbage cans really look like they belong in a modern kitchen - but how do they work? In this guide, we take home a Simple Human metal garbage can (you can see it right out of the box in photo at right) and test it out in a live kitchen, complete with big people, little people, and animals. We'll see why these Simplehuman trash cans are so popular and how they hold up under daily use.

simplehuman garbage cans


Simplehuman Trash Cans - Keeping Your Kitchen Clean

Simple Human makes a variety of garbage cans, ranging from less expensive plastic step cans (step on the pedal to raise the lid), to smaller 20 liter cans designed for bathrooms ($20-$30), to dual-compartment recycling garbage cans, to splashy metal kitchen garbage cans that come in sizes from 20 to 60 liters capacity ($60-$200). They also come in a variety of shapes - round, semi-round, rectangular, and narrow. Round trash cans work best in small corners where others can't fit. Where you place a free-standing garbage can or recycling can depends largely on the layout of your kitchen. We have a slide-out trash can that sits under the sink which we use for "wet" garbage -- cleaning off plates, throwing away food and messy trash, etc. We'd been using just a brown grocery sack for recyclable paper, cardboard, and aluminum cans. When it was full we hauled it out to the garage and set up an empty one. But it was ugly. So we opted to try out a larger (30 liter) Simplehuman Deluxe Fingerprint-Proof Rectangular Step Cans that would sit against the end of our kitchen island, tucked mostly under the countertop overhang and out of the way. And we wanted something to match the stainless steel look of our appliances. So that's where the Simplehuman metal trash can came into play. Technically, the material used in the Simplehuman garbage cans is called brushed steel, not stainless steel.


However, if you have a kitchen already decked out in stainless steel appliances, these Simple Human kitchen trash cans will fit right in since they look exactly the same. The cans are also designed to be fingerprint-proof, which you know is a good thing if you've ever tried to keep your stainless steel fridge looking its best. This isn't something I had explicitly tested until sitting down to write this review, so I walked over to the can with semi-dirty, semi-sweaty hands and rubbed them all up and down the side of the can -- didn't leave a smudge, so in my opinion, these cans really are fingerprint proof. Some other key features that make these Simplehuman cans so usable:
  • Internal hinge: since the hinge is inside instead of outside, the back of the garbage can is flat, letting you place it right up against a wall, cabinet, or kitchen island
  • Lid Shox: that's shox as in "shocks" - just like the little shock absorbers on the liftgate of your car, the Simplehuman garbage can lids fall gently back into a closed position instead of slamming shut like other trash cans
  • Easy bag insertion, removal: a removable liner bucket is easy to grab, so plastic bags can be attached or taken out effortlessly
Here'a a quick video that shows the Simplehuman metal trash can in operation - you can see how long it takes to open and close (yeah, I know we have a cardboard box stuffed in there that keeps the lid from closing tightly..but normally it closes flush):

Using the Simplehuman Stainless Steel Kitchen Garbage Can

OK, so let's talk about actually using this garbage can. First thing to note, though the exterior is metal, there is a removable black plastic liner can (see photo to right) that fits snugly inside - its like a trash can inside a trash can. This liner has recessed handles so it is easy to grab and lift in or out. You're supposed to use plastic liner bags to actually hold your trash. You push them down into the black plastic liner, then wrap the tops over and around the edge of the black liner, just like you do with a normal trash can. There's a perforated opening on the back where you can tuck in any excess slack in the plastic bag and make it fit tight. Anyways, if there is ever a spill or a mess, it end ups in this black plastic protective liner instead of in your beautiful metal trash can. Most plastic trash bags work fine, but Simplehuman also makes their own specially sized and fitted bags for these cans, if you want a perfect fit.

So now you're ready to throw away some trash. Like all step cans, you push down the pedal on the front with your foot, and up pops the lid. It stands straight up for about 2-3 seconds and then slowly begins to close, using the Lid Shox technology mentioned above. This gives you plenty of time to throw stuff away without having to keep your foot on the pedal and without having to worry about the lid slamming shut on your hand or your trash. If you want to keep the lid open, there is a little red switch on the back edge you can slide into place and lock the lid open -- slide it back out of the way when you want the lid to close. Some other details... There is a recessed handle on the back of the can -- invisible for all intents and purposes, but there if and when you need to pick the trash can up. There is also an air vent on the back to let fresh air in. These Simplehuman garbage cans come with a 5 year warranty - that's something you don't usually find. The hinge/pedal mechanism is pretty simple and is about the only thing that could go wrong. Don't know how it will hold up over 5 years - but it seems very solid.

Simplehuman: The Best Garbage Can for the Kitchen

We are several months into using the Simplehuman can now, still no complaints. We've had kids, guests, grown-ups of all sizes open and close it, it has no marks or dents or scratches on it. We use it just for paper recycling products, so we can't comment on food spills or smells that affect some trash cans. It's easy to pop open with your foot, easy to get the liner in and out, easy to clean. Since it's stainless steel, it cost quite a bit more (ours was just under $100) than a run of the mill plastic trash can you might find at Target, but it looks a heck of a lot better, functions a lot better, and certainly compliments our kitchen more than a white or gray plastic trash can would. If you need to have a free standing garbage can in your kitchen, we say the Simplehuman cans are the way to go (Amazon has an entire section dedicated to Simplehuman if you want to check out all their products). We're happy with it - we're keeping it.