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Buying Guide to Kitchen Bin Sizes

What size of kitchen bin do I need?

An easy question to pose – a more difficult one to answer!

How are kitchen bin sizes measured?

Bin sizes are measured in ‘Litres’ (L) – and go from around 4 litres for a food waste caddy right up to 90 litres for our largest single compartment in-cupboard bin or 120 litres for a single compartment free-standing bin. The concept of a litre of waste capacity is difficult to visualise – suffice to say that bigger is usually better – particularly when people are recycling more, and there is a growing need to separate out waste and recycling into 2, 3, 4 or even more categories.

Size does matter!

In general, our advice is to go for the largest bin you can accommodate / afford as with all the packaging of food products and other goods nowadays any space soon gets used up. We get many calls from customers who have had a new kitchen installed only to find that the kitchen supplier has provided, for example, an in-cupboard bin with only 2 x 10L buckets – and we are able to steer them towards a product with two 32 / 35 / 40 or 42 Litre buckets – giving them 3 to 4 times the waste and recycling capacity.

At the end of the day it’s the actual dimensions of the product that will determine whether it will fit your situation. In addition to capacity in litres we provide the width, height and depth in mm or cms within the ‘Specification’ section on each product page.  

What size of kitchen bin should I choose?

As a general guide:

60+ Litres - Our most popular size - suitable for families, those that create a lot of recycling and waste or don't want to empty their bins too often.

40-60 Litres - Great for families or those that don't want to empty their bins too often

30-40 Litres - Suitable for smaller households that generate little waste or empty their bin frequently

10-30 Litres - Great for small households or for tight spaces

Choosing the type of kitchen bin

Our range of bins fall into 3 main categories:

  • In-Cupboard Bins - fitted into a kitchen cabinet
  • Freestanding Recycling Bins (with 2 or more compartments)
  • Freestanding Single Bins with one compartment

Choosing which is best for you is down to personal preference but in-cupboard bins are becoming increasingly popular, provide great capacity options and free up floor space.

In-Cupboard Kitchen Bin Sizes

If you are looking to fit an in-cupboard bin, then the greatest determinates of capacity are:

  • the type of door (hinged or pull-out)
  • the width of your cabinet
  • the height of your cabinet
  • the depth of your cabinet

The table below shows the biggest capacity by number of compartments that will fit in a full-height cabinet with Pull-out doors. The internal cabinet depth required for these largest capacity bins varies from 480 to 530mm, so please check the internal depth of your own cabinet against the fitting depth given on the product page.


Our in-cupboard bins with a capacity of over 64 litres generally have at least two 32-42 litre buckets which typically take up around 80% of the internal 680mm height of a full height kitchen cabinet –the actual buckets being around 550mm tall, so a generous size. Bins with smaller capacity buckets (12-28 litres) are generally much lower and enable in-cupboard bins to be fitted to below cabinets with a drawer at the top or even below a sink.

In-Cupboard Kitchen Bin Sizes (cont)

The following table below shows the biggest capacity by number of compartments that will fit in a full-height cabinet with Hinged Doors. Please note some of the largest capacity products for hinged door cabinets are made for cabinets 400mm wide but these can also be installed in 450/500 or 600mm wide cabinets. The maximum capacity for 600mm wide hinged door cabinets with 2, 3 or 4 compartments is reached by using 2 of our productrs for 300mm wide cabinets.

To see our range of In-cupboard Bins click here.

For further information read our Buying Guide to Cupboard Bins

In-cupboard Kitchen Bins: Typical Sizes of Internal Buckets

The following table provides an indicative guide to the dimensions of the buckets found in our in-cupboard bins to provide you with an indication of how much space you will have. Note bin sizes vary by bin unit and manufacturer so these may not match the actual bin sizes supplied.

Freestanding Kitchen Recycling Bin Sizes

With the increasing need to separate out waste and recycling our Recycling Bins are especially popular. Our largest freestanding Recycling Bin (from Brabantia) is 60 Litres – with two compartments each of 30L. We have similar sized models from Simplehuman at 58 litres with 2 compartments of 34 & 24 litres. These are great for families. If you need something larger – for a big family or office, look at our Recycling Sets which combine 2 or 3 single compartment bins to make a recycling centre.

Our widest selection of recycling bins is in the 35-50 Litre range, great for families, where we have a wide range of different models from Brabantia, EKO, Simplehuman and Wesco. These come in a mix of pedal, touch and sensor opening bins in a variety of shapes and sizes: round, slim & rectangular.

We then have a wide choice of Bo recycling bins with a capacity of 30-35 Litres from Brabantia which are great for smaller households and then a couple of even smaller 19 litre bins from EKO.

To see our range of Recycling Bins click here

Freestanding Single Compartment Kitchen Bin Sizes

Many of our customers still prefer a single compartment kitchen bin – especially if they live in a flat or an apartment with just a rubbish chute.

As bin specialists, we have a wide selection to choose from in different sizes, shapes, opening styles all from leading brands.  Our largest capacity single compartment bin comes from Wesco with a capacity of 120 litres – perhaps too big for most households but great for offices and shops.

Most customers opt for a bin from our selection with a capacity of 50-60 litres, with options from great brands such as Brabantia, EKO, Simplehuman and Wesco – useful for families and larger households.

More modest in size is our selection of single compartment bins with 36-49 litres – great for smaller households, more compact kitchens or tight spaces.

Our range of single compartment bins with a capacity of 20-35 litre have some great options for tight spaces and include all-time classics like the Brabantia 30 litre pedal bins – in both touch and pedal versions!

Our smallest capacity single bins are all around 10-12 litres – great for bedrooms, bathrooms and the home office!

To see our range of Single Compartment Bins click here.

Using your outside bins as guide to how much waste you create

The ultimate test of the size of bin you need is the quantity of waste that you actually generate – with the best guide being how full your outside refuse bins are when the council empties them at the end of the week / fortnight.

Most Councils have now equipped their householders with wheelie bins – usually 240L or 120L in size – and sometimes one of each to separate out waste and recycling and empty them on a fortnightly basis rather than every week.

If you fill a 240L wheelie bin every 2 weeks then you are generating around 20L of waste a day – with most of this being generated in the kitchen. For a 120L bin then it’s around 10L a day.

For reference, a 240L wheelie bin is typically measures 100cm high and 55cm square; a 120L version is again 100cm high but 40cm square. Traditional dustbins are typically around 100L.