Manual Trash Cans vs Automatic Trash Cans

Kitchen trash cans may have lids or lack them. Yet, many people prefer trash cans with lids. That’s because they have a more excellent choice when it comes to the opening mechanism of the trash can. It could be by foot, hand, or motion sensors.

Kitchen Trash Cans

In this write-up, we focus on the various lid mechanisms for kitchen trash cans. To help you make the right choice, we shall cover the pros and cons of each of the opening mechanisms. They include the following:

Open-Top Trash Bins

The most basic trash cans do not come with lids, meaning the top remains open. When it comes to the ease and speed of trash disposal, these are the best. They are ideal paper trash bins or can act as containers for waste food wrappers in a restaurant. You can also use them as outdoor trash cans. However, they might not be great for the kitchen. Importantly, you can dispose of waste without touching the can.


  • Throwing away trash is easy
  • You don’t have to touch the trash bin
  • Visible when trash fills up


  • Doesn’t contain odor
  • Easily infested with insects and pests
  • Not great for kitchen waste
  • It can spill waste when it tips over

Manual Trash Cans

Manual trash bins have lids that one must open using hands. This type of cans does not have an automatic opening mechanism. So, you have to manually lift the lid, press a button, or push a touch bar to open it. Some models of manual trash cans even require you to use your elbow or him to open them. The good thing about them is that they are excellent kitchen trash cans. However, they fall short compared to those with automatic opening mechanisms.


  • Relatively affordable
  • They are easy to use
  • Can act as kitchen trash bins


  • It is not dog-proof
  • Not very hygienic
  • Not very convenient

Swing Lid Trash Bins

Swing-lid trash cans need manual operation via the push from hands. The lid swings open when you push it manually. Yet, some cans have a spring mechanism that closes the lid when you remove your hand. Still, others have freely rotating covers that remain open for you to toss in the trash. With those kinds of trash bins , you won’t feel pressured when using them.


  • The lid may close automatically
  • Locks in the odor
  • Great for paper-like trash


  • Have low hygiene levels
  • The cover tends to get dirty
  • Not an excellent kitchen trash can
  • Requires leaving other chores to use
  • Have a small opening
  • A full lid may come stuck

Step-On Trash Cans

The most basic touchless trash can is one with a step-on pedal. Therefore, it is also a manual trash can., To open the lid, you step on the pedal with your foot. Thus, the trash can is more hygienic than the other manual trash cans. It is excellent for the bathroom, restroom, or kitchen, where you require minimal contact with the trash can. Step-on trash bins are available in terms of single-compartment, dual-compartment, and multi-compartment bins.


  • It is hygienic
  • Hands-free
  • No streaks or fingerprints
  • Can work well in the kitchen


  • The lid doesn’t stay permanently open
  • The foot pedal may break
  • You have to stand in from of the bin
  • Some covers don’t open using hands

Automatic Trash Bins

Automatic trash bins come with sensors that trigger the opening mechanism when you engage in a specific behavior. For example, some trash cans open with hand motion while others have infrared sensors. As soon as you move close to the trash, it will open, allowing you to throw away the garbage. With that, you do not need to touch the trash can with your hands.

Once it opens, the can stays like that until you step away. That makes it the best when it comes to kitchen trash cans. It is hygienic and will lock in odor from organic trash. Since it is entirely touchless, it also develops very few smudges and fingerprints. While some models need AC adapters, others utilize battery power.


  • It is completely touchless
  • 100 percent hygienic
  • Convenient to use
  • The sensor only works with the right motion
  • Fun to use


  • Requires regular battery replacement
  • The motor may produce noise
  • The lid motor tends to malfunction
  • May not be dog-proof


When choosing a kitchen trash can, bear in mind how easily it can become dirty. As such, manual trash cans tend to be readily smudged and develop fingerprints. Thus, they may prove challenging to maintain. Step-on trash cans, on the other hand, are more hygienic since there no need for you to touch them. They are the best for the kitchen.

However, if you want a seamless operation, then you should consider the automatic trash cans. They have hand motion or infrared sensors that open without you having to touch the trash bin. Bear in mind that you need batteries or AC adapters to operate these trash cans.

Also Read:

Best Kitchen Trash Cans for 2020