Dumpster Sizes Comparison Guide: Which Size Do You Need?

With any building project comes material waste. The construction crew’s responsibility after completing a project is to safely dispose of debris. The large capacity and mobility of dumpsters allow them to effectively contain and transport waste from the worksite.

Renting a dumpster offers a sensible solution for any disposal needs. Dumpsters sizes vary in dimensions and volumes— choosing a size depends on the amount of debris you have. Standard dumpster sizes include 10 yard, 20 yard, 30 yard, and 40 yard dumpsters and are categorized into roll-off, commercial, residential, and dirt-only types.

Whether you’re a homeowner remodeling a home or a contractor in need of waste disposal, our guide covers the different sizes of dumpsters, what each is used for, and the type of dumpsters you’ll want for your cleanup needs.

Dumpster Size Chart

Dumpster sizes are typically classified in yards and describe the amount of volume it can hold. For example, a 10-yard dumpster can hold 10 cubic yards of material. For a quick overview of the options, take a look below:

Size Projects Restrictions
10 yd3 Dumpster
  • Maintenance clean up
  • Small-scale construction
  • Small scale excavation
    (dirt specific)
  • Holds up to 2 tons of waste
  • Required for dirt/soil removal
    (dirt specific dumpster)
20 yd3 Dumpster
  • Clearing building waste
  • Furniture removal
  • Moderate excavation
    (dirt specific)
  • Holds up to 2 tons max
  • Minimal amounts of grass, rock, roots, or other contaminants
    (dirt specific dumpster)
30 yd3 Dumpster
  • Large scale cleanup
  • Extensive construction projects
  • Earthmoving projects
    (dirt specific)
  • Holds 3 tons of waste
  • Only dirt/soil (dirt specific dumpster)
40 yd3 Dumpster
  • Demolitions
  • Disaster cleanups
  • Large landscaping jobs
  • Holds up to 4 tons (8,000 lbs.)

Here is a breakdown of each of the dumpster sizes, from 10 yard, all the way up to 40 yard dumpsters.

10 Cubic Yard Dumpster

10 cubic yard dumpster

A 10 yard dumpster is a solid solution for those with short-term projects like light remodeling, garage cleanouts, and hauling materials like brick, tile, concrete, and dirt. Generally measuring 14 feet in length, these dumpsters can hold 10 cubic yards of material and debris — the equivalent of three pickup truck loads. The capacity can fit in a small construction project like a 250-square-foot deck removal.

15 Cubic Yard Dumpster

15 foot dumpsters

For those with a slightly larger amount of debris, a 15-yard dumpster is a versatile size that can accommodate a variety of cleanup and remodeling projects. Typically measuring 16 feet wide and 7.5 feet long, the dumpster can hold up to 6,000 pounds of material. This container can fit debris from larger patio demolitions, furniture and belongings for when you are moving out, and landscaping projects.

20 Cubic Yard Dumpster

20 cubic yard dumpster

A 20 yard dumpster is a standard option for homeowners and contractors who need to dispose of waste. The size makes it suitable for medium-sized projects, whether you’re clearing out old furniture, removing 2,500 square feet of singles from the roof, or uninstalling the flooring from your entire home. Its price point, relatively compact footprint, and ample capacity make it one of the more popular dumpster sizes.

30 Cubic Yard Dumpster

30 cubic yard dumpster

30 yard dumpsters take it up a notch, offering a capacity equivalent to 9 pickup truck loads. Measuring 22 feet long and 6 feet high, the added dimensions of this dumpster makes it ideal for large-sized construction projects like full house renovations, new additions to a home, window and siding replacements, and tree trimming debris from big landscaping projects.

40 Cubic Yard Dumpster

40 cubic yard dumpster

When no other dumpster can do the job, a 40 yard dumpster is your solution. With a greater height and longer frame, 40 yard dumpsters are the best fit for long-term renovations, large-scale commercial construction, disaster cleanups, house flipping projects, and full-scale building demolitions. Its capacity is roughly the size of 12 pickup truck loads, offering a substantial capacity for just about any project.

Types of Dumpsters

In addition to size, there are a few types of dumpsters to choose from. Some dumpsters accept only construction materials, while others are designed for household waste. Choosing the right dumpster for your worksite debris will prevent unnecessary charges and ensure proper disposal of waste.

Construction Dumpster

Also known as a roll-off dumpster, a construction dumpster is the most common option used on sites. It features an open-top for throwing in debris, a large swing door on one end for loading bulkier materials, and wheels on the bottom for it to be rolled away easily once full. Roll-off dumpster sizes usually come in 10 yard, 15 yard, 20 yard, 30 yard. and 40 yard containers and are used as a temporary solution for extensive construction jobs.

Commercial Dumpster

Commercial dumpsters are the standard trash containers behind business buildings, restaurants, and apartment complexes. Unlike construction dumpsters, commercial dumpsters are permanent containers and have lids to reduce odors and keep out environmental factors. Commercial dumpster sizes are also smaller than roll-off dumpsters and generally come in 2 yard, 4 yard, 6 yard, and 8 yard capacities.

Dirt-Only and Residential Dumpsters

As the name suggests, dirt-only dumpsters are used mainly for landscaping projects and soil compound removal in regulation with local, state, federal laws. They are available in the standard dumpster sizes and offer different weight capacities for holding dirt. Residential dumpsters are also more specific in use, as they are typically employed for renovations and cleanup tasks.

How to Choose the Right Dumpster Size

The dumpster size you’ll need will depend on the amount of debris to be contained. Dumpster sizes are measured by the cubic yard, which is a measure of how much the volume they can hold.

Calculate Size

The size of a dumpster is measured typically in feet while its volume is measured in yards. A cube of space that is 3 feet by 3 feet wide by 3 feet high is equal to 1 cubic yard. This is roughly the size of a household stove. A dumpster’s cubic volume, then, is calculated by multiplying its dimensions to get cubic feet and then converting this amount to yards.

The size of a dumpster is measured in cubic feet, while its volume is measured in yards. A 10 yard dumpster has 10 cubic yards of storage..

Consider Weight

In addition to size, each dumpster has a weight limit. Knowing the approximate amount of waste you’ll have helps to avoid overage charges from exceeding the dumpster’s weight limit. The ideal size should be large enough to contain the waste and leave room for unaccounted waste. A dumpster size that is too small will result in an overfill fee and additional charges to service your dumpster.

Know the Space

The final consideration is the space where you will be using the dumpster. Your worksite or property should have enough space to accommodate the dumpster, the loading door if you plan to use it, and the truck that will service the dumpster. You’ll also want to check your city’s permit requirements in case you need to place dumpsters in public spaces like on the street.

dumpster comparison size

A dumpster rental provides the most efficient way of clearing worksite debris and keeping projects on track and within budget. Dumpster sizes come in a variety of dimensions and capacities matched for different jobs, whether you are cleaning out an attic or demolishing a house. Their ability to haul away materials to a landfill and keep a space clear makes them a must on the worksite.