I Splurged on TWO $160-Trash Cans for My Kitchen — and I have Zero Regrets

updated Jun 26, 2019
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(Image credit: Nancy Mitchell)

I’ll admit it: I spent $160 on a trash can. Actually, I spent that much on a trash can twice, because I have two of them. And you know what? I don’t regret either purchase. They are great trash cans, far superior to the cheapie ones and even the mid-priced copycats on the market.

I went all out on the Simple Human Butterfly Step Cans, getting the 45-liter option for regular trash and the 40-liter can with two bins for recycling. What could possibly be so great about vessels exclusively designed to temporarily hold stuff I plan on tossing to the curb? Here’s a list of five (five!) things.

1. They’re step cans.

The step can is key when you’re up to your elbows in egg shells, but these are not just any step cans. Often the lever is poorly designed. Maybe it’s too flimsy, or the connections are weak, so a step doesn’t really result in a fully lifted lid. Or it’s made of slippery material and your foot slides off. Not these cans: The levers are small but mighty and they grip just fine without ugly ridges or rubbery bits. My kids can comfortably operate them, and so can I — no matter the circumstance.

2. The lids are super smart.

I’m not sure if I should call the butterfly doors short or skinny, but they are the main reason I bought the can in the first place. Because the lids are split down the middle and open to both sides, the trashcans only need a few inches of clearance to open fully. On most cans, the lid is one big piece that flips up and you need space for it to do so. We keep our trash cans under a low window, next to a countertop, and I didn’t want the lids to hit the window ledge or bang the edge of the counter when they opened. The butterfly lids on these cans are not an issue.

3. The cans are skinny and self-contained.

Most step cans are wider than they are deep, and you operate them from the widest side, meaning you need a decent amount of space to store them. Plus, they have all these bits that stick out — like a hinge to open the lid, or a ledge to hold the bag, or a pedal that extends past the lid of the can — so they never sit quite flush against the wall. But these cans are operated from the skinny end, and all the workings are internal, so you can squeeze them right into a tight space.

4. They have a soft close.

I didn’t realize I was dealing with “patented lid shox technology” when I bought these cans, but I certainly appreciate that they close slowly and quietly. Once those split doors open and you take your foot off the stepper, you have time to throw final bits of trash in there, and there is plenty of time for my kids to get their fingers out of the way before the lid flaps close entirely. Plus, the lids close quietly. And anything that is quiet has an open invitation into my household.

5. They’re fingerprint-proof.

No, really. I don’t know how Simple Human did it, but these things never look dirty (see: two young kids). And they wipe clean just as easily as my pots and pans.

In case you’re wondering, no, you don’t have to buy the special trash bags — I mean, liners — to fit in the cans. They both fit your regular 12-gallon trash bags just fine. No, they don’t sit perfectly flat the way Simple Humans’ proprietary liners do, but if you want to save money on these cans, that’s where to do it.

Would you ever spend this much on a trash can?