Beware of Kohler Trash Cans!

What a trivial thing to be writing about, but I can’t stop myself! Ask anyone in my family, and they’ll tell you I’ve bored them crazy over my ongoing trashcan problem. It’s a forever problem and Kohler, you just made the shit list.

I’d thought I’d found it. It was Heaven-in-an-aisle as I walked down the row of beautiful, well-made trash cans at The Container Store. I threw my arms wide, “Oh My God! Look at this!”

My daughter’s eyes got large, and she put her head down in shame as she hurried to my side. “You’re making a scene! Did you see that lady over there?”

I ran my hands lovingly over the options. “Are you kidding me? Who cares. They should be happy for my enthusiasm. The store, the mechanical engineers, the manufactuers…” But my daughter had left me. It’s a fairly routine occurrence when we’re in public.

Now I L-o-v-e The Container Store, but this is the place I got sucked into the Kohler trap. This, solid, heavy, quiet, $140 can with a step lid had it going on. The design was perfect. No unsightly bag protrusion and no “special” bag requirements. It opened up to a 90-degree angle and sealed closed in a measured manner like the hatch in a spacecraft. Our dog would never be able to either knock it over or raise the lid. We could throw all the half-consumed, rotisserie chickens we wanted into it and walk away with confidence.

But the Kohler bin has an issue. The lifting mechanism breaks within three months. It happened to the first one, and I almost cried. But I got up the guts to call The Container Store to talk to them about it. My daughter was horrified that I was making such a big deal over it. To my delight—not to mention the joy of a teachable moment for Gen Y—The Container Store told me to bring it back! It was still under warranty. A trash can. Go figure.

I dutifully cleaned the can so as not to embarrass my daughter further before we hauled the heavy piece of household equipment back to the store. Graciously accepted by the staff without a whiff of ‘What the Hell?’, we returned to the trash can aisle. I tried them all, but none of them worked as beautifully as the Kohler. In desperate hope that my breakage situation was a one-off, I purchased the same waste can. And of course, I received the same outcome. Almost exactly three months old, but this time, days out of warranty, the step mechanism just quit raising the lid. You’d need to insert a knife into a small groove in order to raise it. Like I’m going to do that thirty times a day. In case you’re wondering, we’ve tried taking it apart to see if we can fix it ourselves. It cannot be done.

I’ve purchased many swing-top trash cans and motion-sensor trash cans. The latter required eight batteries and progressively lost it’s opening power as the batteries waned. I probably spent more in batteries than on the can. I’m not going to discuss the landfill guilt on the batteries.

George had once given me a gift card for a spa day for some holiday. I didn’t have time for a spa day. Not at that stage of my life. I couldn’t manage the anxiety of paying cash money to a babysitter only to come home to probable chaos and hours of back work. No way I could relax, imagining the scene. Instead, I walked into the spa and asked for a cash refund of the certificate. When I told them I was going to use it to purchase a new trash can, I got disdainfully curious looks.

Look what you’ve done to me trashcans! You made me look ridiculous as I swallowed back my pride and volleyed off the incredulous, pitying looks of well-coiffed, beautifully toned strangers!

I hate Kohler for showing me the dream and then snatching it away from me. They tricked me. As of this moment, I don’t have a working trashcan. I will not go back to The Container Store. I will pick up some marginal POS at Target and make-do. If my dog dies because she eats the entire contents from the trashcan I will now blame Kohler. They’ve broken me.

If I ever come to your house, I will inspect your system and quiz you on the happiness of your purchase. If you have a successfully working Kohler, be prepared with the booze. It’s going to be a long night.

7 thoughts on “Beware of Kohler Trash Cans!

  1. Annabelle, you’ve got to do the ol’ switcheroo and buy a new can and send the old one back in its place with the new receipt. Let Kohler deal with their trash!

  2. I’ve had a working kohler for three years and love it! I’m now looking to go to a double bin and not liking my options! Wish kohler made an affordable double bin!

    1. Like I paid a princely sum and when going through Costco that not only was price 1/2 of my cost but the warranty was 10 years. Since I place reciepts in plastic bags taped to the object, it was zero trouble to call Kohler, fill out a online warranty request and had a new can, new warranty in 3 days. I have the. Old one in my shop, to be fixed and placed in the laundry room. I can live with failure when customer service is this good.

  3. Same thing happened to me. It’s the best trash can we have owned. Called kohler and they are mailing me a new one. No need to lug anything back to store. Just to trash. They don’t even want it back so they know the problem exists. Basically the plastic that holds the long bar at bottom snaps off you can see this if you unscrew the bottom metal plate. If u drill a whole just under the broken notch you can zip tie the metal bat together so it’s doesn’t slide out. I was determined to fix the broken one and reuse it somewhere. Will use it now for my basement. They have a 10 year warranty.

  4. I too have this dreamy Kohler trash can but have been dealing with my lid slowly losing its lifting power to wear the lid just opens a quarter of the way. I ended up here looking for a way to fix it but I see that was only a dream as well. ☹️

  5. I’d like to congratulate you on another wonderful quarter of doing your job and embarrassing your children. Well done and keep up the good work.

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