Abstract Several methyltin(IV) and butyltin(IV) complexes with the ligand benzil bis(benzoylhydrazone) and 4,4′-bipyridyl as coligand were synthesised and characterized by elemental analysis and by IR, 1H, 13C and 119Sn NMR spectroscopies. Some of them were also analyzed using single crystal X-ray diffraction. The title compounds were evaluated for their in vitro antimicrobial properties. All buthyltin complexes showed significant inhibition of Gram positive bacteria, resulting Bacillus subtilis, Sarcina lutea and both methicillin-susceptible and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus epidermidis the most sensitive strains. Furthermore, they were able to inhibit the growth of Gram negative bacteria, especially Proteus vulgaris, whereas no activity was exhibited against fungi. All methyltin complexes were devoid of antimicrobial properties.