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10 best kitchen bins: pedal, retro, motion sensor and more

The humble kitchen bin tends to be an under-appreciated necessity that no home can be without, yet choosing the right one can be tricky when the market is littered with models of all styles and sizes. We’ll help you avoid making a rubbish purchase with our roundup of the best ones to buy – from pedal-operated to motion sensor. 

By Louise Cole | Last updated Dec 10, 2021

Woman throwing used bottle into kitchen bin

A decent kitchen bin rarely features highly on most people’s priority lists and there are certainly more glamorous and exciting household purchases out there. But while it’s tempting to believe that any old bin will do, a well-chosen model can make all the difference in the heart of the home. 

An unsuitable rubbish receptacle can be surprisingly irritating, so a bin that’s both functional and stylish may soon become your new favourite kitchen item.

We scoured the Mumsnet forums and checked out countless consumer reviews to discover the best bin recommendations from families.

From sensor and swing-top to slimline and those that separate your waste, here are the best kitchen bins for 2021. 

1. Best overall kitchen bin: Brabantia NewIcon 30L Pedal Bin

Brabantia kitchen bin

Price: £60 | Buy now from Amazon

“I’ve had a bin like this for 11 years – it’s still doing fine. Many other colours are available.” GiantKitten

“I have a Brabantia – it’s just a white, fairly inoffensive pedal bin. It wasn’t cheap, but it’s lasted well and cleans easily.” emmathedilemma

“I love my Brabantia bin. We have the pop-up lid one.” BonnyandPoppy

Renowned for making even the most unexciting of homeware items look the part, Brabantia consistently produces reliable kitchen workers. One of the brand’s bestsellers is the durable NewIcon pedal bin – and it’s easy to understand why, being as practical as it is stylish.

Its iconic design is aesthetically-pleasing, plus it’s odour-proof, hygienic, easy to clean and guaranteed for 10 years.

There may be larger kitchen bins out there, but this model will cater for most households and it’s reasonably priced considering its quality. This soft-close bin’s composition makes it even more appealing – made from 42% recycled material, it’s 97% recyclable after use.

Pros

  • Timeless design
  • Non-slip base

Cons

  • May be unsuitable for large households
  • Lid may hit wall if positioned too closely

Key specs

  • Capacity: 30L
  • Dimensions: 67.9cm x 29.3cm x 38cm

2. Best budget kitchen bin: Addis Lift-Top 48L Bin

Addis kitchen bin

Price: £15.41 | Buy now from Amazon

“You just need a good Addis plastic cheapie.” NotMeNoNo

“Currently have an Addis one with a lift-up top.” WhenItIsOver

An ideal choice for those lacking the inclination or funds to fork out for an all-singing, all-dancing kitchen bin, this low-cost model from Addis has no frills and simply does what it’s meant to do. Granted, it’s unlikely to win any awards for aesthetics, but it’s inoffensive and spacious enough for most homes.

With a lift-top lid that stays up well and cleverly holds bags in place as it locks into the base, it takes standard bin liners and has a useful foot plate for stability while emptying.

Simple, strong and surprisingly affordable.

Pros

  • Durable
  • Wide opening

Cons

  • Unexciting design
  • Lid can shift if lifted vigorously

Key specs

  • Capacity: 48L
  • Dimensions: 59cm x 38cm x 34cm

3. Best touch-top kitchen bin: Curver 40L Deco One-Touch Bin

Curver kitchen bin

Price: From £24.99 | Buy now from Amazon

“Bins are hard to keep clean. Probably the best advice is to get a good bin with an easily-opening lid. Curver are good.” Yusanaim

It’s no coincidence that this metal-effect Curver bin boasts thousands of five-star reviews, having a resin exterior that’s immune to rust, dents, fingerprints and stains. And it doesn’t stop there: made from 70% recycled plastic, it opens with one touch and – being D-shaped – sits with its back flat against the wall.

Narrower than some models, it can also be trickier to remove full bin liners, but at least its handy bag holder will keep them in place as well as neatly out of sight.

This elegant bin can easily be wiped clean and comes in an array of colours including ivory, red and rose gold.

Pros

  • Immune to dents and rust
  • Convenient shape

Cons

  • Bag-holding system can be fiddly
  • Suction can be caused when liner is full

Key specs

  • Capacity: 40L
  • Dimensions: 69.4cm x 35.1cm x 29.7cm

4. Best motion sensor kitchen bin: Swan Retro 45L Rectangular Bin

Swan kitchen bin

Price: From £64.99 | Buy now from Amazon

“I love my sensor bin. Not had any issues with it. Except sometimes I wave my hand in front of non-sensor bins, expecting them to open.” Meruem

“I’ve just got one. The kids think it’s great – they call it the magic bin. To me it’s a fancy bin; it’s just a bit of a novelty.” icebearforpresident

In these times of increased hygiene awareness, touch-free bins are unsurprisingly surging in popularity. Make a style statement with this retro-inspired model from Swan, which adds a touch of vintage to your kitchen and automatically opens when it detects objects 5cm to 15cm away – particularly useful when your hands are full.

Battery life is likely to be short if this bin is placed in a high-traffic area or its novelty factor is too frequent a temptation for any kids of the house.

And just one word of warning: once you buy this bin, you’re likely to be tempted by matching items from Swan’s Retro range, which includes everything from mugs and microwaves to fridge freezers. Also available in a multitude of other appealing shades.   

Pros

  • Hands-free opening
  • Matching kitchen items available

Cons

  • Lid may close sooner than required
  • May dent easily

Key specs

  • Capacity: 45L
  • Dimensions: 67.5cm x 33cm x 25cm

5. Best kitchen bin for waste separation: Joseph Joseph Totem Max 60L Waste & Recycling Bin

Joseph Joseph kitchen bin

Price: From £110.99 | Buy now from Amazon

“I love my Joseph Joseph Totem bin. Works really well for me – the top section is for general rubbish and the bottom section holds almost a week’s worth of recycling. Having a decent bin has made a huge difference to my kitchen.” opinionatedfreak

“I have a Joseph Joseph Totem bin, which has two compartments – one for rubbish and one for recycling. There’s also a removable food waste/compost bin. I love it!” dressingdrown

“I have had so many bins that either broke or just weren’t practical. Now I’ve got the Joseph Joseph Totem bin and it’s fab.” ViperAtTheGatesOfDawn

The Bentley of the bin world, the ingenious Joseph Joseph Totem Max allows you to separate your waste in style. Effectively three bins in one, there’s a three-litre food waste caddy that sits inside the unit plus two 30-litre compartments for general rubbish and recycling, meaning there’ll be no more empty cans, bottles and newspapers cluttering up the house. And it’s easy to fill, clean and empty too, thanks to the removable buckets’ angled corners.

With neutral colour choices including white, grey, stone and stainless steel, this contemporary bin will suit most kitchens and we love the vibrant pop of colour inside. We’re not so keen on the price of the Joseph Joseph branded liners, however, although many buyers suggest using supermarket alternatives, which fit less perfectly yet still do the job.

Pros

  • Space-saving vertical design
  • Integrated odour control

Cons

  • Pricey
  • May be less robust than expected

Key specs

  • Capacity: 60L
  • Dimensions: 81.4cm x 39cm x 36.6cm

6. Best kitchen bin for large households: Tower Rectangular Sensor Bin 75L

Tower kitchen bin

Price: £84.99 | Buy now from Ryman

“Why is it so hard to find a good kitchen bin? I just need a chunky, solid, rectangular metal bin that opens easily, will agree to release the bin bag from its casing when full and can be wiped clean – 70 litres or 80 litres ideally.” dolphinpose

Small bins have no place in large households, where only a super-size version will suffice.

Ideal for busy homes, this capacious matt steel model can hold a whopping 75 litres of waste and therefore needs emptying less often than its more compact counterparts, meaning you’ll get through fewer bin liners too – although these will have to be extra-large.

While fingerprints will show up on this sleek bin, there’s no need for it to be touched due to a motion sensor that automatically opens the lid and softly closes it after five seconds of inactivity. And anyone worried about pesky pongs will appreciate the dedicated compartment for scented freshener to keep bin smells at bay.

Pros

  • Large capacity
  • Bin freshener compartment

Cons

  • Sensor may be a little oversensitive
  • Power switch inconveniently located under lid

Key specs

  • Capacity: 75L
  • Dimensions: 67.5cm x 42cm x 30cm

7. Best slim kitchen bin: Simplehuman Slim Pedal Bin

Simplehuman kitchen bin

Price: £39.95 | Buy now from Amazon

“I have this one. I’ve been through a fair few bins in my time, but I’ve had this one the longest. It’s great.” H1978

“Simplehuman. I cannot recommend it highly enough. It’s my favourite thing in my kitchen. The bins are just brilliantly designed and super-practical.” jeremypaxo

“I’ve spent more time than I want to admit researching kitchen bins. In the end, we went for a Simplehuman bin, which I’m very happy with.” Neolara

Simplehuman is a name that crops up time after time on the Mumsnet forums for all the right reasons. While the brand’s bins generally sit at the higher end of the price scale, this popular slimline model is one exception and a firm favourite of those with smaller kitchens or limited floor space.

Parents of over-inquisitive tots – or pets, for that matter – might buy this bin for its locking lid alone, which closes slowly, softly and silently.

Available in black, grey and white, this is a product that’s built to last, with a steel pedal engineered to last more than 150,000 steps – that’s around 20 a day for two decades.

Pros

  • Ideal for tight spaces
  • Child- and pet-proof

Cons

  • Bin can move when pedal is pressed
  • Fitting the lid can be difficult

Key specs

  • Capacity: 40L
  • Dimensions: 64cm x 26cm x 49cm

8. Best fingerprint-proof kitchen bin: Brabantia Bo Hi Touch Bin

Brabantia Bo kitchen bin

Price: From £143.17 | Buy now from Amazon

“I have the Brabantia Bo Touch Bin on legs. It has two 30-litre compartments, which I use for general waste and recycling. It can, however, also be bought with one large 60-litre compartment and without the legs.” Spanglybangles

“I have this Brabantia bin and I really do love it. It was a crazy amount to spend on a bin, but I do feel it was worth it. Doesn’t take much at all to keep it clean.” Bubblesbath

“I have the Brabantia Bo. Ridiculous price for a bin – however, it’s a thing of total beauty and has enormous capacity, so actually worth every penny.” PomPomWrong

While most of us try to keep our kitchen bin as concealed as possible, owners of the stylish Brabantia Bo display theirs with pride. More of a furniture centrepiece than a waste receptacle, this beautiful, leggy model is a joy to behold. In fact, oodles of Mumsnetters can’t speak highly enough of this tall bin, which is the perfect height for most people.

Being fingerprint-proof, the matt steel version will please parents of grubby-handed offspring, who will also appreciate how easy it is to clean – particularly beneath.

Available with either one or two removable inner buckets, this large bin will make a sizeable dent in your wallet, but this is a high-quality purchase built for the long-term. It also comes with a 10-year guarantee.

Pros

  • Fingerprint-proof
  • Soft-touch closure

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Hollow legs can trap dirt

Key specs

  • Capacity: 60L
  • Dimensions: 81.5cm x 54.5cm x 31.2cm

9. Best swing-top kitchen bin: Koziol Del XL Swing-Top Waste Basket

Koziol kitchen bin

Price: £45.39 | Buy now from Amazon

“I really like my Koziol bin. You can buy them on Amazon.” bitheby

While not one of the big bin brands, Koziol nevertheless offers a range of modest and practical models like this swing-top Del version that’s available in a rainbow of colours. Attractively designed to complement any kitchen, the swing lid disguises the bin’s contents and helps to keep odours locked inside.

Although it offers little by way of fancy features, the upside is that there’s less to break or go wrong. The Del also comes in four smaller sizes, meaning that the bin could be tucked away under the sink if you prefer yours to be out of sight.

Pros

  • Appealing design
  • Simple to use

Cons

  • Opaque lid
  • May be smaller than expected

Key specs

  • Capacity: 30L
  • Dimensions: 64.8cm x 34cm x 34cm 

10. Best pull-out kitchen bin: Blanco Select Button Manual Pull-Out Kitchen Bin

Blanco kitchen bin

Price: £118 | Buy now from John Lewis & Partners

“Have you got room for an in-cabinet bin? We would never use anything else now.” HerNameIsIncontinentiaButtocks

“When we had our kitchen refitted, we had both bins hidden. What looks like a double draw under the sink is actually a giant draw with two bins in for general waste and recycling.” Ikora

Even the least house-proud among us can become sick of the sight of a messy kitchen bin, which is where concealed versions come into their own. Sacrificing an under-counter cupboard to hide all waste from view can be well worth considering for the extra floor space and resulting kitchen neatness.

This dual, pull-out bin from Blanco has twin 13-litre sections with useful handles, so they can be easily lifted out for emptying and cleaning.

While the unit’s drawer remains closed when the cabinet door is opened – meaning you’ll need to pull it out manually – this is a small price to pay for a simple-to-install product that makes unsightly bins a thing of the past.

Pros

  • Fully concealed
  • Easy to install

Cons

  • Smaller than many freestanding versions
  • Bins do not open when cabinet door opened

Key specs

  • Capacity: 26L
  • Dimensions: 35cm x 37.5cm x 40cm

What is the best type of kitchen bin?

A kitchen bin that’s right for one home may be unsuitable for the next, so it’s vital to determine which features matter most to you. And remember that just because a model looks good, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’ll be practical for your home. 

  • Pedal-operated: This type of bin keeps your hands free when you’re cooking and negates the need for constant handwashing, making it ideal when hygiene is the priority. Most have tight-fitting lids to prevent smells, but can be smaller and slimmer than other types of bin, and may not be the best choice for those who are less mobile.
  • Touch-top: Simple to use and opening with the merest of touches, touch-top kitchen bins are mostly quiet, sleek and sophisticated. With a tight-sealing lid, they trap yucky odours inside, but may be best avoided by bacteria-aware buyers. 
  • Motion sensor: This style may have Covid to thank for its recent rise in popularity, needing no touching to open. This means fewer fingerprints and mucky marks too, but a motion sensor bin can be noisy – plus its batteries may need replacing on a regular basis.
  • Lift-top: This type of bin is often budget-friendly, simple and durable, but may be lacking on the beauty front.
  • Swing-top: Simple, affordable and self-closing, the swinging part of this type of bin hides what’s inside and can be touched by whatever you’re throwing away instead of your hand. The lid can be easily removed for emptying and cleaning – but it’s likely to get dirty annoyingly quickly.
  • Pull-out/integrated: Built-in kitchen bins are perfect for keeping all waste out of sight and also save on floor space. However, the payoff is often a high price tag. 

What is a good size kitchen bin?

The size of the kitchen bin you choose will depend on the space available, how often you’re likely to empty it and how much waste your home produces. Generally speaking, a 30-litre kitchen bin will suffice for small families that empty their bin regularly or generate little waste. A 40- or 50-litre version is ideal for up to four people, while anything beyond a 60-litre capacity is a wise choice for larger households or those who prefer to change the liner as infrequently as possible.

Where should the bin be positioned in the kitchen?

The best place to position a kitchen bin is away from cooking and food preparation areas, but as close to your home’s exit as possible for easy emptying. Whether you choose to tuck it away in a corner or cupboard or prefer to make a feature of it comes down to personal preference, as well as how attractive you find your bin.

How do I choose the best kitchen bin?

Other factors to bear in mind when choosing a kitchen bin include:

  • Shape and size: Work out where you will position your kitchen bin and ensure there’s sufficient space to use it. More compact homes will need one that’s space-efficient and with a small footprint – slim or semi-circular models are worth considering here.
  • Price: Ranging in price from around a tenner into the hundreds of pounds, select a bin that suits your budget.
  • Simple maintenance: Choose a kitchen bin that’s easy to empty and clean.
  • Waste separation: Models that allow you to separate your rubbish into general waste and recycling can greatly simplify the disposal and sorting of household refuse.
  • Design: We all know that looks aren’t everything, but that doesn’t mean your kitchen bin has to be drab either. There are some stunning versions on the market, from modern to retro, so choose one that complements your kitchen and that you’re happy to use on a daily basis.

What is the best kitchen bin to buy?

The best kitchen bin to buy is Brabantia’s NewIcon 30L Pedal Bin, which offers both style and substance and comes highly recommended by countless Mumsnetters. It’s easy to empty and clean thanks to its removable inner bucket, which features ventilation holes to prevent any vacuum when removing full bin bags, and its tight-closing lid ensures that no odours escape. Germophobes will be glad of the light pedal operation, and the bin’s non-slip base means that there’s no risk of it scratching beloved floors.

Available in shades from Metallic Mint to Terracotta Pink, you won’t need to worry if something goes wrong with this durable bin – Brabantia has a reputation for excellent customer service and this product comes with a decade-long guarantee.

How we chose our recommendations 

We first headed to the Mumsnet forums to find out which kitchen bins discerning Mumsnetters recommended and had bought themselves, noting their feedback about these brands. We then drew up a shortlist of those that were repeatedly mentioned.

From there, we did some research across the wider web, consulting independent review sites and taking into account what customer reviews said about the products featured. Having collated all that information, we picked the kitchen bins we thought were worthy of taking the titles in an array of interest categories.

Why you should trust us

We work hard to provide unbiased, independent advice you can trust. We do sometimes earn revenue through affiliate (click-to-buy) links in our articles. This helps us fund more helpful articles like this one.

Mumsnet carries some affiliate marketing links, so if you buy something through our posts, we may get a small share of the sale (more details here).

Main image credit: Brabantia