simplehuman sensor can review

Dec 3, 2010
2

Trashcans aren't what we normally expect to find gracing the SlashGear test bench, but simplehuman's sensor can reckons it's a bit more special than the average garbage pail. The company claims the sensor can "reacts and adapts to your behavior" making for an easier clean-up. Still, at $225 the initial reaction it got to respond to was shock at such an expensive can. Did we learn to love the sensor can as it learned to live with us? Check out the full review after the cut.

Hardware

Big, squared off and eye-catching; at 40 liters the brushed steel sensor can stands over 25-inches high, extending to over 35-inches when the lid is open. As you'd hope, given the price, quality is strong with sturdy build and no sharp edges. simplehuman has used a die-cast steel hinge which is integrated into the body of the can: that means you can push it right up against the wall, and still have no problems opening it fully.

sensor can demo

As for opening it, there's no foot pedal or spring to mess with. Instead, the lid is motorized, running on six C-size batteries (good for up to a year, simplehuman reckons; alternatively there's an optional AC adapter) and triggered by a proximity sensor at the front edge. That sensor is pretty clever, too, starting off relatively picky in its responsiveness (so as to avoid accidental openings) but, as soon as the lid is open, extending its trigger zone so that it stays open as long as you're putting stuff into it.

Keep moving for more than three seconds, and the lid opens wider again and stays that way for 30 seconds, on the assumption that you're likely to be doing more time-consuming chores. When you're done, you can either wait for the sensor can to close by itself, or push the lid down - the motor is automatically disengaged so you won't damage it in the process.

Like other high-end trash cans there's a tough plastic inner-bucket and a bag tuck section around the rim of the pail to tidy away excess plastic from the liner. simplehuman has also used its odorsorb filter, a natural charcoal odor absorber integrated into the lid. Replacement filters are $5.99 for a twin-pack.

Performance

For a $225 trash can to be worth the money, it has to be able to do more than just holding garbage. Happily the sensor can's multi-sense system does exactly what the company promises, flipping the lid open quickly and reliably, and never coming down on our hands as we were using it. Although it may seem ridiculously unnecessary, if you've got dirty hands from cleaning then you don't want them leaving smeared fingerprints all over your shiny can.

The odorsorb filter was perhaps even more impressive, though. With a new baby still in the diaper phase also sharing space in the testing room, there was plenty of mess - and a lot of it less than sweet-smelling - for the sensor can to deal with. Happily the charcoal filters dealt swiftly with any lingering odors, making easy work of smelly food and soiled diapers. It's too early to say how long that effectiveness will last, however, though the $5.99 price isn't too extreme.

Wrap-Up

The simplehuman sensor can is undoubtedly expensive, though flick through the pages of glossy home magazines and you'll likely find other - non-motorized - trashcans with similarly high prices. It does what it promises, too, though not everybody will be able to justify the motor-driven lid.

More usefully, the charcoal filters are sold separately, complete with a holder that attaches with double-sided tape to the underside of your trashcan - whether that's the sensor can, another model from simplehuman's range, or indeed any can you might already have. As a geeky addition to an office or kitchen it fits the bill, and considering it doubles as a successful diaper can (which would normally be $30-$100 alone) new parents might feel more inclined to treat themselves. [simplehuman sensor can page]


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