We present a study of binary mixtures of Bose-Einstein condensates confined in a double-well potential within the framework of the mean field Gross-Pitaevskii (GP) equation. We re-examine both the single component and the binary mixture cases for such a potential, and we investigate what are the situations in which a simpler two-mode approach leads to an accurate description of their dynamics. We also estimate the validity of the most usual dimensionality reductions used to solve the GP equations. To this end, we compare both the semi-analytical two-mode approaches and the numerical simulations of the one-dimensional (1D) reductions with the full 3D numerical solutions of the GP equation. Our analysis provides a guide to clarify the validity of several simplified models that describe mean-field nonlinear dynamics, using an experimentally feasible binary mixture of an F = 1 spinor condensate with two of its Zeeman manifolds populated, m = ±1. © IOP Publishing Ltd and Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft.