Best kitchen bins: 17 chic and practical buys for recycling, food waste, and refuse

These stylish waste containers are what you've "bin" waiting for!

A selection of kitchen bins on yellow background
(Image credit: Future)

If your current kitchen bin situation is a carrier bag tied to the side of a door — you need a style upgrade — pronto. Aside from looking downright ugly, using a small plastic bag to store your waste is unsustainable and susceptible to leaks and tears. If you need something for your general rubbish, recycling, or even food scraps, you probably need to check out this guide to the best kitchen bins.

On display, your bin can easily bring down the look of your kitchen so choosing a stylish design is imperative. Don't compromise on practicality, though. There are plenty of sensor-activated choices on offer, plus pedal options, for hands-free use.

To make the decision a little easier, the Real Homes team has reviewed a load of top-rated rubbish bins in our own homes. The ones we loved the most made it to this guide, including recycling storage, general waste holders, food caddies, plus in-cupboard and under-the-kitchen sink buys.

Once the waste is sorted, keep your kitchen sanitary with our guide to the best cleaning products for everything you need under your sink. But first, happy bin shopping!

The best kitchen bins for style and functionality

Why you can trust Real Homes Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

What is the best kitchen bin?

In terms of the best all-rounder kitchen bin, our top pick is the Morphy Richards Chroma Sensor Bin with Infrared Technology (opens in new tab) because it ticks all the boxes. It's affordable, sleek, available in lots of different colours, and it opens when you wave. It's also square-shaped, so it fits nicely into a corner. The two different capacities are great for catering to a range of size kitchens.

Where should I put a kitchen bin?

"When figuring out where to put your kitchen bin, it is important to consider the layout of your kitchen including the size, as well as how you’ll use it and how often," explains Antony Joseph, Creative Director at Joseph Joseph (opens in new tab).

"A large kitchen provides plenty of space and opportunities for a bin with a large capacity, whilst a small kitchen scheme means you should prioritise space optimisation. In the case of a small kitchen, in-cupboard bins are the most useful, usually under your sink to allow for easy disposal of food prior to doing the washing up. With an integrated bin, you emulate a sleek design whilst also preserving limited floor space,"

"When it comes to a larger kitchen, it is best to keep your bin near your preparation area or either under or near the sink for practicality. You can also place them in a corner so that it does not block access to any other appliances or get in the way."

How often do you empty kitchen bins?

"Emptying your kitchen bin obviously depends on how quickly it fills up, which will vary from household to household. Emptying too often means you’ll likely be throwing away lots of half-used bin liners; emptying too infrequently and you may find your waste starts to smell," warns Joseph

"[Some kitchen bins, including] our Titan Trash Compactor (opens in new tab), feature an in-built odour filter and a hygienic compaction system that allows you to crush your waste with ease, which means you can fit more in, empty less often, and, in the process, use fewer liners."

"But no matter how often you empty your bin, it is important to regularly clean it, to maintain a hygienic environment in your kitchen."

How often should you clean your food waste bin?

"Food waste bins should ideally be emptied and cleaned every day to prevent the build-up of unwanted smells and bacteria that have the potential to contaminate your food preparation areas."

"When it comes to the cleaning compost bins, you can use natural materials, such as lemon and vinegar to clean, as well as warm soapy water and baking soda to keep them smelling fresh."

Real Homes review process

We've tested a bunch of these kitchen bins to ensure they're up to a good standard when it comes to both style and quality. We've shared this job around the team, so everyone has had their chance to test a kitchen bin and give their verdict. This way, we've tested bins in large family households, small flats, and everything in between. The ones we liked made it to this list, and we've even given each bin we tested a star rating to make it easier for you to come to a decision.

If you're interested, you can read more information on how we test products at Real Homes.

Annie Collyer illustration
Annie Collyer

Annie is our Head Ecommerce Editor and often tests a range of products, from mattresses to kitchen bins and even a BBQ or three. Annie lives in a two-bedroom flat in South East London with her husband and two pets, and her kitchen is quite spacious. With no built-in space for a bin, she's been on the lookout for something that's stylish and practical for quite some time now. She's an avid recycler although she doesn't really want three or four bins taking up the floor space in her kitchen, which is why she loves her Tower Freedom Recycling System (opens in new tab).

Before this, Annie had the Morphy Richards Chroma Sensor Bin, which was in her kitchen for years. In fact, she only switched to the Tower model because she found she needed a larger bin after getting another pet.

Annie has also tested the Brabantia Bo bin at her parents' home in their busy family kitchen. They wanted something to help separate their recycling, but without interfering with their modern style. This was the perfect addition and it's still standing years later.

Lindsey illustration
Lindsey Davis

Lindsey works across a range of brands at Future, including other homes websites such as Livingetc, Homes & Gardens, and Ideal Home. Lindsey raves about both of her kitchen bins that are featured in this guide, and she really recommends the in-cupboard Brabantia Sort & Go bins to keep things out of the way. They're the perfect under-the-sink bins. Otherwise, her food bin is the Brabantia Compost Food Waste Caddy, which she mostly loves because of its convenience. It goes in the dishwasher!

Molly Cleary illustration
Molly Cleary

Molly was previously an ecommerce writer at Real Homes, specialising in floorcare. Molly lives in a flat with her boyfriend and has a small amount of kitchen space to work with. That is why she LOVED the JosephJoseph Totem Max. It's definitely a luxurious option but it undoubtedly looks good and is super compact for renters and anyone who lives in a flat!

3 things to consider when buying a kitchen bin

1. Size
Depending on the size of your household and how much rubbish you generate, you’ll have to think about the capacity that would be useful to you. We've listed general waste-only bins, food bins, in-cupboard bins, as well as recycling units. It's all dependent on your kitchen size and your family size.

2. Lid
Bear in mind your new kitchen bin's lid, as sensor lids will prove themselves to be handy whilst cooking or when your hands are full, but they do come at an extra cost. Otherwise, some bins are touch to open, which is usually silent, and there are also pedal bins. It's all down to personal preference, really.

3. Style
After that, it’s all a matter of style. If you think all bins are a bit of an eyesore, then think again because a big kitchen bin needn’t necessarily disrupt your interior scheme. Go for something colourful to spice up your kitchen or try an in-cupboard bin to hide your waste.

What is a good size kitchen bin?

Anything between 15 and 30 litres should be just fine if you live alone or with one other person and don’t throw away an above-average amount of stuff. A 30 to 40-litre bin is generally advisable for families of three whose bin gets taken out quite frequently. The best bet for four people or more — or those who don’t want to take out the rubbish any more than they have to — are 40 to 50-litre bins. Go for something that's more than 50 litres if it's an all-in-one unit for recycling and general waste.

Where to shop for a new kitchen bin 

Christina Chrysostomou
Ecommerce Editor

Bonjour, Yasou, Hello — I'm Christina, ecommerce editor at Real Homes. Along with my super creative colleagues, I create content to help you create a chic home on a budget. I live in a two-bed maisonette with a garage and garden in Essex. Geographically, it's perfect; I've got the forest on my doorstep, and London is just 15 minutes by tube or car. I specialize in small kitchen appliances so that you can prepare food with ease at home. Prior to working for the Future plc family, I've worked on a number of consumer events including the Ideal Home Show, Grand Designs Live, and Good Homes Magazine. With a plethora of experience in digital marketing, editorial, and social media, I have an eye for what should be in your shopping basket.