SimpleHuman Voice Activated Garbage Can10 minute read
10 minute read|
Updated for July, 2019
The SimpleHuman Voice Activated Garbage Can provides a convenient and easy-to-use way to manage your household waste. It’ll allow you to sort your trash faster with side-by-side containers. For seniors, it eliminates the potential of contaminants and foodborne illnesses.
- Excellent selection of finishes and sizes
- 5-year manufacturer warranty
- Sturdy construction
- Voice recognition
- Hands-free operation
- Unable to disable the motion sensor
- Replacement bags are costly
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Ease of Use
Motion Sensor and Voice Activation
Smart devices are present everywhere, both inside and outside of your home. It includes products you wouldn’t associate with such as garage doors, refrigerators, and even garbage cans. Some may dismiss them as overkill. However, they offer several advantages for all ages.
They give you more control over your things and their management which can offer an essential feature for those who live alone such as seniors. They can provide convenience while making their use more efficient and safer with low battery alerts, security breach warnings, and reminders.
Specs of the SimpleHuman Voice-Activated Garbage Can
This product line contains models from 48 through 58 liters in semi-round, slim, and rectangular. In imperial figures, they are 12 and 15 gallons, respectively.
The 58L/15.3 gallon model measures 24.8 inches high by 13 inches deep by 18.5 inches wide. It weighs 13.3 pounds. You can buy them as single units or side-by-side cans. This one is the former.
You have your choice of five different stainless steel finishes which include black, white, brushed, dark bronze, and rose gold. The protective coating is nano-silver. The choice of this material is worth noting as this metal has antimicrobial properties which are fitting given its purpose.
The garbage can is well-made and more attractive than a regular one. If you keep yours visible rather than under the sink, it’s a worthwhile option to consider.
This model features both motion sensor and voice activation. Neither one adds a lot to the price when compared with those lacking these options.
The opening-closing mechanism is smooth and quiet, about the same loudness level as a refrigerator. All you need do is either wave your hand or say “Open can.” Our experience was that the voice activation feature worked as expected, but the motion sensor was far too sensitive without the ability to disable it.
You run the garbage can on AC power or with six AA batteries, not included with your purchase. We liked the fact that we had a choice which gives you more flexibility about where to put it.
For the first several times you use the garbage can, it may not open all the way. The user manual states that it’s part of the calibration process. It’ll happen again anytime there is a power reset. We could easily see that glitch become annoying fast.
Another thing caught our attention while reviewing this product—the ones with the added technologies had a shorter warranty of five years versus the 10 years of the ones without them.
The terms are what we’d expect, citing defects in the garbage can. If something goes wrong with it, you can contact the manufacturer for replacement parts as required. If it needs repair, they’ll send you a prepaid label and fix it within 15 business days.
Each of the products has a custom liner code for convenient reordering. This one is Code Q. The manufacturer states that they are durable and fit the particular model snugly. Though handy, the liners are quite expensive when compared to grocery store brands.
The product description boasts of another convenience feature of having the liners stored within the can for faster changing. We didn’t see it as a major selling point. However, as we discuss below, use of an unsuitable alternative can interfere with its operation.
History and Usage
The concept of smart devices isn’t new with its origins going back nearly 40 years. The challenge was implementation. The first products appeared in the mid-2000s. They had glitches and didn’t always perform as expected. As the technology evolved, performance improved along with a far-reaching diversity of connected items.
Today, you’ll find a wide range of objects all with the underlying theme to provide smart solutions to everyday problems and tasks. Some of the most useful applications focus on healthcare and senior living. They offer convenience and added safety features that many appreciate.
They fill the gap between the abilities of the user and the smooth operation of the devices. They allowed for better data collection in the case of health monitoring and even more connectivity with the advent of smartphones, Bluetooth technology, and dedicated apps.
How Smart Devices Work
Smart devices like the SimpleHuman Voice-Activated Garbage Can use several technologies to optimize their operation. They harness the power of various sensors to allow for hands-free control. That makes them simple to work while offering the added protection from foodborne illnesses and other unsafe conditions.
These illnesses often stem from improper handling of foods like produce and poultry. The less contact that you have with potentially contaminated foods, the better. Seniors have a higher risk of complications and fatal outcomes from these diseases than younger individuals.
These products also address vexing annoyances that many find irritating. They can involve quieter performance without squeaking or banging and can minimize your contact with disagreeable things like trash.
Seniors will appreciate the ability to set reminders or receive warning messages with some products. If you’re living alone, you may find it difficult to keep track of the many tasks involved in running a household by yourself.
As you age, you’ll likely experience a slow deterioration in your physical abilities with muscle atrophy. Smart devices can overcome these issues with automated products. They offer a means for hands-free operation using motion, voice, or a combination of both capabilities.
A non-connected alternative is a pedal which will open the garbage can instead. However, these features have a limited lifespan and may require more muscle power to work correctly. Another drawback is that they may slam shut when you release them.
You may find voice activation a godsend if you need to open the garbage can quickly. These products have a hot word or phrase that carries out the command instantly. By its nature, trash is never neat and clean. Getting it out of sight is essential to keeping a tidy home.
The SimpleHuman product includes voice recognition so that the electronics can detect what you’re saying more accurately and work as described. We prefer this automation feature instead of motion sensors because of the fewer false positives.
A motion sensor sounds good in principle. It’s certainly a welcome option if your hands are full when you start to throw things out and need the lid opened quickly. However, there is a fine line between convenience and nuisance if it is too sensitive.
We prefer a product where you can disable this feature if it turns out to become more of a problem than a help. It’s a reason to consider a return that you should keep in mind.
The user manual for the product gives several reasons why it may malfunction. It may occur if you put it directly under the counter or in line with fluorescent lights. Also, you must place the liner snugly inside of the can while not covering up the sensor.
Anyone walking too close to the garbage can may trip it as well, including pets. Therefore, careful placement of the product is essential. Given all the conditions, you may find it challenging to find the right space for it.
An unexpected but welcome advantage of smart devices is the interest they may garner in your grandkids. They’ll likely see the new technologies as a novelty that they’ll want to use again and again. After all, getting them to clean up after themselves without your prompting them is priceless.
We like products that have both the trash and recyclables side-by-side to make it easier to sort. Also, take note of how convenient it is to clean them. That includes checking out the weight and dimensions. You’ll probably find that technology-enabled devices are bulkier than regular ones.
Anytime you connect a device with sensors, there exists a risk of unauthorized use or hacking. That’s why it’s essential to have a strong password on your router if the product needs online access. You should also plan on changing it regularly to keep your network safe.
The other drawback you’ll see with upgraded technologies rests with the price. Voice-activated products and those with motion sensors are not cheap. You’ll pay quite a bit more than so-called dumb devices.
Some may weigh more with the addition of a motor or other electronics too. We encourage you to consider the pros and cons carefully, especially if you’re on a fixed income.
Additional Points to Consider
Some products have replacement liners. It is the quintessential double-edged sword. While they offer the advantage of a fitted bag, they may cost more than regular garbage bags. You’ll likely get a small sample with your purchase to sell you on the convenience factors of visible, accessible storage of spares.
We’d recommend finding an alternative that you can buy at your grocery store. The suggested products are often expensive when you purchase custom sizes. And if you forget to order new ones online, at least you have something else you can use in the meantime.
Guarantees and Warranties
We recommend checking out the guarantee and warranty you’ll get with your purchase. That’s our standard advice with any significant cash outlay or electronic device. Remember that the major selling point is the convenience. Get what you pay for when you buy one.
Be sure to read the terms of the agreement. For your protection, keep the original receipt until you’re sure that you’re satisfied with your purchase.
Don’t hesitate to return a product if it doesn’t work for you. We strongly urge you to review the conditions so that you don’t get stuck with one you can’t send back. Also, find out if there is a cost to you if you need a replacement or refund. Bear in mind that some sellers charge a restocking fee too.
The Bottom Line
The SimpleHuman Voice-Activated Garbage Can offers a convenient, hands-free way to manage your trash with minimal contact with potential contaminants. While the container is attractive with plenty of finish choices, it is expensive for what it is.
It runs quietly which is a definite plus. However, the motion sensor didn’t offer the same level of convenience as the voice activation. It was too sensitive, rendering it not useful to us.
We suggest that you weigh your decision carefully to gauge the benefits that the advanced technologies offer. And if possible, stick with the latest generation of products. These are the ones in which the manufacturer has fixed any known glitches.