When outfitting a kitchen, one of the best uses of money is a good garbage can. A trash can is something we all use all the time, so a high-quality unit is essential to a functioning kitchen.
After some months with the Simplehuman Rectangular Step Can in the 55-liter size, here are my thoughts.
Ups and Downs of Simplehuman
Simplehuman trash cans are, it seems, famous for their design and pricing. Some people will immediately reject the notion of a $100+ garbage can, just like many people reject the idea of a $200+ Dyson fan. I’m not one of those people, but I can’t say that I find any real fault with their logic.
I’ve owned three Simplehuman trash cans in the past and always had a good experience. I’ve also gifted their products, and always gotten good feedback. As strange as it sounds to give someone a garbage can, it can be a nice housewarming gift.
On the plus side, the company’s products are well designed, very good looking, a perfect match for modern, stainless steel kitchens, and quite functional. And then products are backed with up to 10-year warranties, so you can be sure their cost can be spread over a full lifespan.
SimpleHuman trash cans come in a huge range of sizes and lots of styles, so no matter what you want, there is something for you. This includes some of the best touchless and voice-activated trash cans sold in 2021.
The two main downsides of Simplehuman trash receptacles are that they are expensive, as already covered, and they use custom trash bags. Please check out our extensive Simplehuman bag sizing guide so you can find the bags you need, or save money by buying custom bags (SH calls them “liners”) from alternative brands.
Why The Rectangular Step 55-Liter Trash Can
When considering this trash can I was clearly in the market for a new waste bin and I clearly had a good-sized budget, given its $160 street price.
I ended up this this model — and I’m happy I did — because I wanted a hands-free trash can for my kitchen which was large enough for family of four. I didn’t want touch-free or voice-activated because I didn’t want to deal with motors or power cords or batteries. Plus I didn’t love the idea of spending another $50 (or so) to move up to the fully touchless models.
I could have spent less by going with a smaller Simplehuman — the 45-liter is under $100 and the 60-liter semi-round is about $130.
Alternatively I could have opted for a competitor. AmazonBasics and Glad both have nice stainless steel trash cans, if you want a well-known brand, or you can buy from an unknown brand for even less. These brands, which do produce top-selling models that are sold online include NineStars and and iTouchless, just to name a few.
Ultimately I was sold on the Simplehuman because:
- my history with the brand has always been positive
- the trash can would be out in the kitchen so I wanted the best looking model possible
- 10-year warranty
Rectangular Step 55-Liter Trash Can Performance
Overall, I’ve been quite happy with the Simplehuman 55L. I’ve had over 6 months now, so this is not a fly-by-night review but rather a long-term analysis.
First of all, the step mechanism has been flawless. It opens well and closes quietly and softly. This means little kids’ fingers are never pinches and little kids jumping on the foot pedal don’t damage the mechanism.
If you push the pedal hard the lid can open rather fast and slap the wall behind the can, but keeping the can half an inch off the wall is a good idea regardless.
The trash can has a pocket inside for holding bags, which is useful. This is a popular feature with nicer trash cans these days but it’s really designed for use with Simplehuman bags. The company’s bags are good — heavy and strong — but they are expensive and your local grocery store probably doesn’t have them. I’ve moved over from the Simplehuman Q bags to standard 13-gallon tall trash bags (I normally use the Home Depot HDX ones). Tall (13-gallon bags) work fine so long as you install them carefully.
The can has a liner that holds the bags in place. In all the dozens (hundreds?) of trash bags I’ve had in the can, I think only one has slipped from the liner. This is impressive since I almost also overfill the bags before I take them out of the can — this is a hazard of having a lot of people running around the house and kids not old enough to do chores like this.
Clean up is pretty good, but not ideal. This is the case because the inside of the trashcan is a bit more complex than you’d expect, with a lot of edges, the liner, and so forth. This is usually good design that makes for a nice trash can, but it does mean there are more surfaces to clean out. Being a garbage can, it gets pretty dirty and things like coffee grinds are always finding their way into the most awkward and hidden of crevasses.
Overall, this is an excellent trash can, but it’s not cheap. Given the 10-year warranty, $15/year really isn’t bad for a really nice looking trash can, but you can get models that are almost as nice for about 3/4 to 1/2 the price if don’t need something this presentable. And then if you don’t need all that stainless steel you can spend about a 1/3 the price on a plastic model but then you are really talking about a different product.
As far as “luxury trash cans” ago, Simplehuman is really the main player right now, though they are far exceeded in luxury and price by heritage brands like Vipp.