Any time two household appliances can be merged into one is a big win for those living in a small apartment, but while a garbage can isn’t exactly an appliance, upgrading one with a built-in vacuum cleaner is kind of a genius idea because it eliminates the extra step of emptying a standalone vac.
It may come as no surprise to longtime readers that the trashcuum cleaner, as I will call it just that once, is another ‘innovation’ from Japan’s Thanko. The company is obsessively focused on creating gadgets and devices that address hyper-specific needs, but every once in a while it comes up with something that’s genuinely clever—even moreso than a smartphone wrist mount, if you can believe that.
When parked in the corner of a kitchen or a bathroom the device looks like nothing more than a boxy little trash can, and for the most part that’s all it is. It accepts standard-sized tiny plastic bags that are easy to find in stores, and to help keep smells from escaping, it features a sensor-powered lid that automatically opens when nearby motion is detected, and then automatically closes after accepting a trash deposit.
With the lid open, the trash can reveals its extra functionality with slots for storing cleaning tools like flexible hoses and extendable tubes that when connected, along with a power cord, turn the rubbish bin into a full-fledged vacuum that deposits all the debris it sucks up right into the plastic bag. Four free-spinning caster wheels on the underside of the bin allow it to be pulled around like a canister vacuum. And while Thanko seems to recommend the device for use in bathrooms as a way to clean up random hair strands without having to actually touch them, it looks just as useful for a kitchen with crumb-covered countertops.
Pricing appears to be around $76 (￥8,980) which isn’t terribly expensive as far as low-end vacuums go, but having one shipped to anywhere but Japan is where things might get extra pricey.