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homeLabs 13-gallon automatic trash can sits at the average-high price point. You can find automatic trashcans for half the price. What you get for the extra money are a better design, nice looks and higher quality. I think it hits that middle ground in terms of the value it offers.
This is my first time trying an automatic trashcan. I have never thought that I need an item like this. After living with it for a month I truly believe that this makes life easier if you have enough space where to put it.
The trashcan comes packaged in a thick carton box with foam inserts inside to protect the product. This seems to be consistent along with all homeLabs products since I have already tested a few of them. The trashcan is wrapped in a plastic bag.
Inside the box I have found:
- 13-gallon trashcan
- AC power adapter
Design and build quality 8/10
The body of homeLabs automatic trashcan is made of stainless steel. The quality feels nice and the fingerprint-resistant surface helps keep it clean. The steel is quite thick so the trashcan is robust.
The automatic butterfly doors with controls sit on top of the trashcan. Contrary to the main body it’s made of plastic. The texture is also different whereas the body is more to a polished side the top part is completely matte and a bit lighter in color. It still matches the gray/silver color scheme but you can see the difference.
Inside the can, a smart bag ring helps to easily remove the bag once the trashcan is filled. It fits nicely but the handles are made of rather weak plastic and feel like it can break when you try to lift a full bag of trash.
There is also a 21-gallon version of this trashcan which seems to have the same measurements except being taller.
The square shape helps to use the maximum capacity of a bag and in my opinion, looks better than the rounded models.
The overall look of the trashcan will certainly complement any modern kitchen.
Performance and ease of use 9/10
The trashcan can be powered either using the included power adaptor or 4 C/LR14/AM2/4014/1.5V Alkaline Batteries. I haven’t tried using batteries but the manufacture claims “long-lasting battery life”. It might certainly be true since the trashcan needs energy when opening and closing the doors.
The power adaptor plugs in at the back and there is also a power switch. The power adaptor is rated for 110-220V voltage which means it can work in North America as well as the rest of the world when using an electrical plug adaptor for a specific country. It certainly helps if you don’t want kids playing around with the can.
The opening and closing can be controlled in two ways:
- Manual mode where you press the “Open” and “Close” buttons. When using manual controls the lid remains open until you press the “Close” button. For me, this mode seems completely unnecessary as it completely diminishes the point of an automatic trashcan. I still have to touch the trashcan and do even more steps than a standard trashcan with a lid.
- Automatic mode. Using this the trashcan opens automatically once you get close enough (about 6-inches) to the sensor ball. The ball can be adjusted to either “top” or “side” position depending on where you prefer to trigger the sensor. To adjust it I needed to use a little bit of force as it doesn’t rotate smoothly. I personally always use the “top” position because it’s more natural to just put your hand above the sensor instead of triggering it on the side and then still moving your hand up to put the trash in. I would prefer to have both positions available at the same time for triggering the doors to open.
The sensor works great. I would say 9/10 times you don’t even think about it as it quickly detects the arm or the item you have in your hand and opens the door. Those few rare times when it doesn’t instantly react you have to just move your hand a little close to the sensor and it does the trick.
I love the design of the doors since they give a large opened area and there is less chance of dropping waste on the body of the trashcan. The doors open in about 1 second, but a faster opening time would improve the smooth experience. Sometimes you need to wait for a moment for the doors to open.
There are 6 red indicator lights that make the countdown until the door closes. If you trigger the sensor again it will reset the countdown. It’s a nice feature since you can see if the trashcan has registered your hand movements to keep the doors open for longer.
The closed doors manage to keep odor away as well which is an important feature but it doesn’t have any filters or odor absorbers like some of its competitors do.
Even using only automatic mode the trashcan will eventually get some dirt on it. Cleaning it is very easy using just the damp cloth. If you notice the sensor isn’t working perfectly it might be due to dirt on it.
HomeLabs Automatic Trashcan