While a kitchen bin may seem like a pretty basic purchase, getting the right one can save a lot of hassle. Whether you need something that makes it easy to throw something away one-handed or you just want to easily take out the rubbish without getting bin juice on you, getting the right bin in the first place can make all the difference.
It’s amazing how complicated some manufacturers have made what should be one of the most simple products, so what do you need to keep an eye on when looking for the perfect kitchen bin?
Maintaining kitchen hygiene: It is important to maintain hygiene around kitchen waste: a kitchen bin must be constructed of materials that can be wiped clean with a disinfectant, and the bin should be able to be fitted with a liner – preferably with a clamping fame – for easy removal of waste outside the home. Look for plastic or non-rusting, stainless steel.
Bin Lids: Kitchen bins need lids and they should be easy to open, ideally without the use of hands (but not by pets). A large, wide top makes it easier to scrape off dinner plates or dump peelings, and minimising contact with the bin helps maintain hand cleanliness. Pedal bins are great in the kitchen but there are also swing-top lids; one-touch, spring-top lids, and battery-operated lids with sensors. We once met a Labrador that had learned how to open a pedal bin, with messy consequences; the dog’s family subsequently purchased a sensor-operated bin that has proved pet-proof, at least for now.
Size and Capacity: A bin’s ideal capacity will be related to the number of people in the household. You will need to find the happy medium between never filling the bin and needing to empty the bin twice per day. Nobody wants to leave smelly waste decomposing in the kitchen bin. If your household generates only a small amount of waste then a smaller bin is suitable; a family household with a busy kitchen needs a larger bin. A 40-litre bin seems to be a good capacity for most families.
Capacity is obviously a function of the bin’s external dimensions but available space in the kitchen may limit the size of bin you can use: Do you need to store the bin beneath the sink or under the counter? Will the bin stand comfortably in a corner or will it interfere with moving around the kitchen? We’ve included dimensions in our list below so you can check if a bin will fit your available space.
Dual Compartments: Kitchen bins are now available with dual compartments that allow easy sorting and separate disposal of waste and recycling items. Some users may find these designs to be convenient but will need to remain conscious of the interior and exterior dimensions of the double bin: Allowing space within the design for a recycling compartment may constrict the waste-bin to a less-than-useful size, or having good-sized waste and recycling boxes can create a bulky bin that is too cumbersome for the average kitchen.
Stability: Nobody wants a bin that can be easily knocked over. For this reason we prefer squat rather than tall shapes and we like bins with non-slip bases or feet.
Best Kitchen Bins
Curver 40L One-Touch Deco Bin
These incredibly popular bins are made in the UK from a resilient plastic and finished in a range of metallic colours: silver; ivory; red and black. The base and spring-loaded, one-touch lid are black plastic in all cases. The surface is wipe-clean and the walls are rust and dent-proof. The semi-circular cross section is intended to fit neatly against a wall, measuring 23.5cm front-to-back and 33.5cm across the flat rear. At 68.5cm, the bin is tall by comparison with its compact footprint, which enables its 40-litre capacity. Standard 40L bin liners can be used inside the bin and are held in place by a ring-clip hinged beneath the lid; the top of the liner cannot be seen when the bag is properly clipped and the lid is closed. These Curver bins are a good product at a reasonable price that will be good fit in many kitchens.
Simplehuman Slim Pedal Bin 40L
The Simplehuman Slim pedal bins have a rectangular cross-section designed to fit into narrow spaces; the height is 64cm and the depth is 49cm but the width is only 26cm. The bins feature the maker’s ‘Shox’ technology: When the pedal is depressed, air is forced from a damper to open the lid quickly; the lid will stay open until closed when the same damper provides resistance so it closes softly. Usefully, the lid can be locked by a slide-clip on its front edge, keeping pets and inquisitive children out. The pedal-assembly is of stainless steel construction but the bin is all plastic, making it wipeable and dent-proof. The manufacturer recommends using their proprietary bin liners but reviewers report that standard 40L bags work well. Built-in wheels and an integrated handle make the bin easy to move, even when filled. The Simplehuman Slim Bin is available in five different colours (blue; stone; grey; white and black) with a five-year manufacturer’s warranty. This is a durable, functional pedal bin at a sensible price that should give many years of service.
Curver Pedal Slim Deco 40L Bin
The Slim Deco Bin is a pedal-bin offering from Curver with a rectangular cross-section. Like the Simplehuman bin, above, it is conceived for narrow spaces. The 40-litre capacity is achieved in a height of 61cm; depth of 42cm and width of 25cm. Construction is of strong plastic with a metallic finish in a choice of colours; the surface wipes clean easily. A bin liner is held in place by a ring-clip inside the lid. These are UK manufactured, practical and hard-wearing bins that will be a good fit for many households.
Von Haus Recycling Bin
The Von Haus Recycling Bin is selected for its two-bin construction and space-saving vertical design; the bin has a 32.5cm square base and is 77cm tall. The exterior is constructed of brushed stainless steel and each compartment holds a plastic bin; the lower bin has a plastic flange for lifting while the upper bin has a wire handle. The top compartment has a push-button lid while the lower compartment has a pedal that tilts its bin outwards.
Liners can be used in both bins that have a capacity of 18L (upper) and 16L (lower) and all surfaces can be wiped clean with household disinfectants. We would envisage using the bottom for regular waste and the top for recyclables but there is no particular recommendation. This bin may not have sufficient capacity for some households but it will be a practical buy for many homes and apartments where space is constrained. A two-year manufacturer’s warranty is included.
Morphy Richards Square Sensor Bin 42L
This good-looking Morphy Richards bin is constructed of stainless steel and is offered in a variety of colours (cream; iris; stainless; red and black) with a chrome-finish lid. The bin is 75 cm tall with a rectangular footprint 34cm wide and 25cm deep. Using four AA-batteries (not supplied) the sensor activates when a hand is 15 to 20cm away; the lid closes automatically after 5 seconds of inactivity.
A removable ring fits over the rim of the bin to hold a bin liner in place, and the entire lid lifts off to allow a filled bag to be replaced. We like this bin for its design; its corrosion-free surfaces and hygienic, hands-free operation. This is a better-quality bin from a respected brand that will work well in most kitchens, offered at a reasonable price with a five-year warranty. (This bin is also offered in a ‘Round’ version, which is 79cm high and has a base diameter of 31.5cm.)
Von Haus Stainless Steel Bin with Sensor Lid, 50 L
This well-reviewed Von Haus bin is constructed of stainless steel and is available in a cream, black or brushed finish. An LED infrared sensor at the front of the lid opens and closes the lid allowing hands-free operation; the lid will close automatically after 5 seconds of inactivity. The lid and sensor are powered by three ‘D’ batteries that are not included. Manual operation is also possible using open and close buttons that are set either side of the sensor, and there is an on/off power button on the rear of the lid that deactivates the sensor. The bin is fitted with a press-ring to clamp a bin liner and both the ring and lid are entirely removable for easy emptying and cleaning. The bin has a 37cm (wide) x 30cm (deep) footprint and is 73cm high. With the lid opened, the overall height is 96cm; this bin is not intended for under the counter but nevertheless offers a larger 50-litre capacity that will be interesting to many buyers. A two-year manufacturer’s warranty is included. In summary, a solid, free-standing pick suitable for a busy family kitchen.