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Best kitchen bin 2021: The best retro, slimline and recycling bins you can buy

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Get rid of your refuse and sort your recycling in style with our roundup of best kitchen bins

Buying the best kitchen bin used to be a relatively simple task, but in these days of colour-coded sorting and multiple bin collections, it’s not always easy to find a kitchen bin that’ll satisfy both your style and recycling requirements. So, whether you’re looking for a bin that’s big enough to swallow a large household’s refuse or a stylish, slimline, multi-compartment option for keeping your paper and plastics in check, we’ve found the perfect bin for you.

Obviously, aesthetics are just part of the picture. Nobody likes muck-clogged hinges or bins so small that the liner is constantly overflowing. And don’t even get us started on the touch bins that you practically have to whack to open or swing bins with permanently sticky lids – we’ve left more than our fair share of those on the scrap heap.

Read on and we’ll run you through the features you should look out for, followed by our pick of the best bins to buy for modern living.

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How to choose the best bin for your kitchen

How important is size?

Very. If you’re a family of four or more, choose the largest capacity bin you can fit in your kitchen, ideally 30-40l, possibly more. If there are fewer people in your household, or you have a smaller kitchen or flat, a 20-30l bin should suffice. The bottom line is that you don’t want to have to empty it too often, but nor do you want the rubbish to sit there so long that it starts to smell.

Also, consider the footprint. Some of today’s bins take up a serious amount of floor space. If you’ve got the room, that can be no bad thing as some make for a statement feature in their own right (no, seriously). But people who are tighter on space may prefer slimmer, taller bins that they can squeeze into smaller nooks, crannies and corners of the kitchen.

What about recycling?

Recycling now means that a single bin simply won’t suffice. Dual or even multi-compartment bins can offer a seamless solution if you live in an area where you need to separate your non-recyclables, compostables and even paper and cans from your plastics and glass. And if you need more storage space than one multi-compartment bin can muster (which will almost certainly be the case for bigger families), you can always consider using a pair of slimline bins side by side.

What features make for the most hygienic bin?

If possible, choose a bin with a removable plastic inner compartment that makes it easier to pull the full bin liner out without it splitting. If you can’t stand nasty odours, consider a bin with a charcoal filter. If you’re looking at bins in your local department store, you can check first hand to see whether the bin can be cleaned easily – stainless steel and plastic are easy to wipe, but keep an eye out for hard-to-reach spots, such as unnecessarily complicated joins and hinges where gunk can collect and fester.

What types of bin are there?

There are five main types of kitchen bin to look out for…

Pedal bin

Pros: Keeps both hands free; many different types available
Cons: Potential for lifting mechanism to go wrong; food can get stuck in hinges

Dustbin-style

Pros: Looks good in any kitchen; easy to clean; often more affordable
Cons: You need a free hand to lift the lid off every time; the bin liner shows

Touch bin

Pros: Quick and easy to open and close; many different types available
Cons: Potential for lifting mechanism to go wrong; food can get stuck in hinges

Swing bin

Pros: Easy to use; keeps both hands free; often more affordable
Cons: Lid can get dirty and/or sticky easily; lid doesn’t always close properly

Sensor bin

Pros: No need to touch the lid or a pedal, most open with a wave of your hand.
Cons: Requires batteries or plugging in

The best kitchen bins to buy

1. Tramontina 3-30l Stainless Steel Pedal Bin: Best compact kitchen bin

Price: From £32 | Buy now from Amazon

If you live alone or in a small apartment, sometimes a compact kitchen bin is the smart choice. However, finding one that's not only small enough but also attractive and affordable can be a mammoth task. That's why this pedal bin, available in sizes 3-30L, is an ideal option for the size-conscious.

Made from glossy stainless steel, this lightweight bin has a removable inner bucket for easy cleaning and a handle so it can be moved from room to room if needed. Better still, the bottom of the pedal also has a small suction cup to help keep it in place when in constant use. The only niggle we have with this bin is that it can be a little noisy when it closes, as the two bits of steel clap together. If you're worried about noise, you might want to consider a pricier model or a bin made from plastic or bamboo instead.

Key specsCapacity: 3-30l; Dimensions (WDH): Varied; Colours: Silver; Warranty: Not stated

2. EKO DLX Phantom Recycling Sensor Bin: The best recycling bin that’s also hands-free

Price: £136 | Buy now from John Lewis

We rate the EKO recycling bin because it has it all. The 40l capacity is spacious, yet somehow still slimline and the brushed chrome exterior looks incredibly stylish while also being fingerprint-resistant. The bin’s sensor works perfectly and has a couple of nifty settings that make using it a breeze.

The digital screen has a countdown timer to show you how long is left until the bin lid closes so you don’t get caught out mid-disposal. Better still, if you’ve got lots of veggies to peel, you stop the bin from closing automatically by tapping the “open bin” icon.

Like many of the pricier bins, the EKO DLX has its own custom fit liners, which you can buy at John Lewis and EKO’s website. However, one of the selling points of this bin is that other liners will fit and stay in place. So, as long as your bin liners are a similar length to the DLX Phantom, you can, in theory, carry on using your normal liners.

Key specsCapacity: 40l; Dimensions (WDH): 46 x 27 x 66cm; Colours: Silver; Warranty: 3 years

Buy now from John Lewis


3. Brabantia Bo Touch Bin: The best bin for seriously stylish kitchens

Price: From £118 | Buy now from John Lewis

We absolutely love this design-led offering from one of the best-known brands in the business. A bin that looks like anything but a bin, it’s almost certainly the only one you’ll have seen with legs, let alone elegant legs – and there are no less than nine colours to choose from, including two textured editions in the luxury range. And because it’s fingerprint-proof, you’ve no need to worry about it getting mucky.

But how does it perform practically? Well, it comes in one, two or three-compartment versions – a boon for versatility – and we found the soft-touch closure works a treat, while the 36l capacity of the single compartment version is ideal for families of three to five people. You’ll be tied to Brabantia’s own PerfectFit binbags, though, and this bin is a beast in terms of size.

Key specs – Capacity: 11 and 26l; Dimensions (WDH): 54 x 31.5 x 68cm; Colours: Black, champagne, steel, gold, white, red, platinum, green, grey; Warranty: 10 years

Buy now from John Lewis


4. Curver Slimline Kitchen Waste Pedal Bin: The best slimline bin

Price: £40 | Buy now from Amazon

You can slide this sleek, shiny bin neatly into small spaces, which makes it great not only for compact kitchens, but those with hidden nooks and crannies. Yet the 40l capacity means you can fill the equivalent of half a black binbag, which could be as much as a few days of rubbish for a one or two-person household.

It works with a foot pedal, which frees up both hands and the lift-out inner bucket makes emptying the bin a doddle. Do not, however, be tempted to overfill it or you’ll start running into problems with the lifting mechanism, which otherwise works smoothly and is built to last.

Key specs – Capacity: 40l; Dimensions (WDH): 25 x 42 x 61cm; Colours: Silver; Warranty: 5 years

5. Addis Black Lift Top 48 Litre Bin: The best cheap kitchen bin

Price: £23 | Buy now from Amazon

This cheap-as-chips flip-top plastic bin is a fabulous no-frills budget-buy. And while it might look like a zillion other ones on the market, it’s almost certainly sturdier thanks to the patented footplate that keeps the bin in place while you’re disposing of your rubbish. This lid stays up when you need it to and there are two lugs at the front of it that you can engage with the base to stop the lid slipping off.

If you’re after a simple, straightforward and cheap rubbish bin, look no further.

Key specs – Capacity: 48l; Dimensions (WDH): 38 x 34 x 59cm; Colours: Black, grey, cream; Warranty: None

6. Habitat Alto 32 Litre Kitchen Bin: The best industrial style bin that's also affordable

Price: £35 | Buy now from Habitat

What you see is what you get with this traditional, dustbin-style bin – you lift the lid, pop in your bin liner and away you go. The industrial style is softened by the cream, black or galvanised steel finish and this clever combo means it works in any kitchen.

It’s reasonably priced, making it an affordable option for most and it’s easy to keep clean, as well as being very sturdy – great for if you have young kids or pets. But it’s not for those who want both hands freed up when tipping their trash into the bin or for anyone who minds the edges of the binbag being on show.

Key specs – Capacity: 32l; Dimensions (WH): 33 x 55cm; Colours: Cream, red; Warranty: 1 year

Buy now from Habitat


7. Brabantia Bo pedal bin: Best dual-compartment pedal bin

Price: From £153 | Buy now from Amazon

This spacious 30L+30L dual-compartment offering from kitchen bin veteran Brabantia is ideal for busy homes. Not only does it have an attractive, sleek build that easily fits into corners, but it’s also easy to empty due to its handles and lightweight design. Another sensible design aspect is the bin’s foot pedal. As it’s built into the body, it’s far more robust than bins where the pedal is attached to the exterior, meaning there’s less risk of breakage. We like that there aren’t too many nooks in this bin either, which makes it easy to clean, and the large opening helps with this too, as you’re less likely to spill food down the side.

Like all Brabantia bins, this has its own custom-fit liners, which are a tad pricey at £5 for 20. It’s definitely worth buying these to get the best fit, but if you’re strapped for cash, some third-party 30L liners will do the job in the meantime. It’s not a budget-buy by any stretch of the imagination, but you’re looking for a bin that’s both functional and looks the part, you can’t go wrong with this one.

Key specsCapacity: 60l (30+30); Dimensions (WDH): 54.1 x 36.3 x 65.2cm; Colours: Black, steel, cream, red, grey, platinum, white; Warranty: 10 years

8. Minky Sort2 Bin: The best bin for fitting below a worktop

Price: £150 | Buy now from Amazon

Minky’s Sort2 takes up minimal floor space, squeezing easily under a countertop overhang or fitting perfectly to the side of cabinets. Rather than a solo flip-top lid, this pair of bins tilt open at the front, with the top opening separately to dispose of bulky items.

Each compartment is lined with a standard 45l bag too, so there’s no forking out for special sizes. The compartments need to be opened by hand, but they’re also designed to stay open, meaning you can clean up after dinner or food prep quickly and easily.

They’re also lightweight and removable, so emptying when they’re full is simple – just use one for messy waste and the other for recyclables. The Sort2 also has a thick steel body and impact-resistant compartments – great for hassle-free cleaning.

Key specsCapacity: 60l (2 x 30l compartments); Dimensions (WDH): 40 x 32.5 x 80cm; Colours: White or grey; Warranty: 10 years

9. Simplehuman 58L sensor bin with voice and motion control: Best sensor bin

Price: £250 | Buy now from Amazon

Imagine if there were always someone around to open the bin for you. This Simplehuman sensor bin makes that possible. Not only can you wave your hand and as if by magic, the lid opens, it also has voice control to do the same thing – just say ‘open can’. This is made possible by three microphones (that will hear you even in a busy, clattering kitchen) and a small, quiet motor powered by batteries or a plug-in adaptor. Two more commands – ‘stay open’ for up to 10 minutes of open time, and ‘close can’ to keep stinky odours from circulating – complete its skillset.

Of course, it’s not all about chatting to your kitchen bin. The overall design is everything you’d expect from Simplehuman – sleek and user-friendly. There’s a rim that lifts up for easy access to the liner, a pocket at the back for replacement liners that means you can just pull the next one through, and a silver-ion coating that helps to keep mould and bacteria at bay. This 58l version has a capacity that’s ideal for families, although there’s also a recycler version that has 34l and 24l compartments for dividing waste as you go. Besides the high price, you’ll also need to bear in mind the cost of the brand’s liners – however, given that they’re made not to leak or rip, this could be a good investment in never having to clear up bin mess again.

Key specsCapacity: 58l; Dimensions (WDH): 33 x 47 x 63cm; Colours: Rose gold, brushed stainless steel, black stainless steel; Warranty: 5 years

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