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What Size Dumpster Do I Need?

What Size Dumpster Do I Need?

Rental dumpster sizes come in 10-, 20-, 30- and 40-yard options, but which size dumpster do you need? This choice will depend on a few factors, including your project size, type of waste material, property size, and budget.

To help make choosing a dumpster easier, we created a list of the most common types of cleanup projects and recommended which dumpster size is best suited for each one.

Table of Contents

Standard Dumpster Sizes

Understanding the available dumpster sizes is the first step in determining the size you’ll need for your project. Here are the standard dimensions of dumpsters, their weight limit and their estimated truckload equivalents.

Dumpster Size Standard Dimensions Weight Limit Truckload Equivalent*
10 Cubic Yards 10 ft. x 7 ft. x 4 ft. ~ 1 ton 4
20 Cubic Yards 20 ft. x 7 ft. x 4 ft. ~ 3 tons 8
30 Cubic Yards 20 ft. x 8 ft. x 5 ft. ~ 5 tons 12
40 Cubic Yards 22 ft. x 8 ft. x 8 ft. ~ 6 tons 16
* Based on standard pickup truck

4 Key Factors to Consider

When choosing a dumpster for a specific project, you’ll need to consider the following factors before making a decision.

When choosing a dumpster size, consider the type of material, project scope, property size, and budget.

Type of Materials

Some dumpsters are designed to hold specific materials, so you’ll need to take note of what types of waste you need to dispose of before renting a dumpster. If you need to sort your materials by weight or type, renting multiple smaller dumpsters could be the best choice.

It’s important to remember that some waste can’t go in dumpsters at all. If you need to get rid of hazardous materials like asbestos, cleaning fluid, fuel, or undrained appliances, you’ll need to contact a professional waste collector to dispose of them.

Project Scope

The size of your project will determine how much waste you’ll need to contain in a dumpster. A dumpster’s volume is measured in cubic yards, and dumpsters typically come in 10-, 20-, 30- and 40-yard options. To calculate the volume on your own, you would measure the exterior length, width, and height in feet, multiply those numbers together, then divide that number by 27.

Visual comparison of different dumpster sizes versus a standard pickup truck.

That said, knowing the total cubic yards doesn’t always help when trying to find the right dumpster for your project. To get a better idea of how much each size can hold, it’s useful to compare their capacities to a standard pickup truck. A full-sized standard pickup has a volume of 2.5 cubic yards, meaning that a 10 yard dumpster can hold the same amount of material as four pickup trucks.

Property Size

When selecting a dumpster for your project, you’ll need to take the size of your property into account. Driveways are the most convenient places to leave dumpsters for residential projects, so you’ll need to choose a dumpster that is small enough to fit in your driveway without sticking out into the road.

A dumpster may be sitting on a property for multiple days or weeks, so it shouldn’t be blocking any key accessibility points. This is especially important for construction projects involving a lot of heavy machinery. If you determine that the dumpster you need is too big for the property, you may need to rent multiple smaller dumpsters.

Budget

Dumpster rental prices will also play a role in your choice. Large dumpsters typically cost the most to rent, but that doesn’t mean that small dumpsters are always the most cost-effective option. When choosing a dumpster based on price, consider selecting a larger size to cut down on trips to the dump. It may cost more upfront, but it will save you from paying extra for a second dumpster.

What Size Dumpster Do You Need for Your Project?

Roll-off dumpsters can handle almost any cleanup job, from bathroom remodels to commercial construction projects. Use the guide below to determine which dumpster size is best suited for your specific project.

Project Recommended Dumpster Size
Home Remodel 30 yard
Bathroom Remodel 10 or 20 yard
Residential Cleanout 20 yard
Residential Construction 30 yard
Commercial Construction 40 yard
Cement and Heavy Materials 10 yard
Landscaping 10 or 20 yard
Roofing 10 or 20 yard

Home Remodel

A 30 yard dumpster is the safest choice for most home remodeling projects. The sides are tall enough to accommodate larger debris, and they are available for rent at most dumpster rental companies.

Bathroom Remodel

A 10 yard dumpster should get the job done for small or half bathrooms. However, you may need a 20 yard dumpster if you have a larger bathroom or need to get rid of sinks or bathtubs.

Kitchen Remodel

For homeowners or builders completing a kitchen remodel, the recommended dumpster size is 30 yards. This is because kitchen remodels often involve heavy or bulky materials, like cabinetry, countertops, or old appliances.

Residential Cleanout

A 20 yard dumpster is great for residential cleanouts involving apartments or single-family homes. They are small enough to fit into most driveways but large enough to handle old furniture.

Residential Construction

Residential construction projects typically require a 30 yard dumpster to accommodate excess material waste. However, you may need to upgrade to a 40 yard dumpster for long-term projects involving demolition or larger apartment complexes.

Commercial Construction

A 40 yard dumpster is designed to handle construction and demolition waste from large-scale projects. While they are typically too big to fit comfortably on residential properties, they’re perfect for commercial construction projects that have more space to work with.

Cement and Heavy Materials

Disposing of concrete and other heavy materials requires a bit of extra planning. Weight limits require operators to transport heavy materials in smaller quantities, so we recommend renting a 10 yard dumpster for heavy debris. This ensures that you can safely transport these materials without exceeding any weight limits.

Landscaping

Because most landscaping projects create a smaller amount of debris, 10 yard dumpsters can usually get the job done. If your project involves multiple buildings or minor construction, you may need to opt for a 20 yard dumpster instead.

Roofing

Roofing debris is heavier than you might think. To avoid exceeding weight limits, it’s best to rent a 10 or 20 yard dumpster for roofing projects involving slate, asphalt, or other heavy shingles.

FAQ About Dumpster Sizes

Have other questions about choosing a dumpster size? Here are the answers to some commonly asked questions.

How Big Is a 10-Yard Dumpster?

Think about the size of a 10-yard dumpster in terms of its truckload equivalent. A 10-yard dumpster can hold 10 cubic yards of material, or about the same as four standard pickup trucks. You’ll typically use this dumpster size for bathroom remodels, landscaping, and transporting heavy materials in small loads — like in roofing or concrete removal projects. This helps prevent exceeding the dumpster’s weight limits.

How Big Is a 20-Yard Dumpster?

A 20-yard dumpster can hold 20 cubic yards of material, which is equal to about eight standard pickup truck loads. Use this dumpster size for residential cleanout projects and large bathroom, landscaping, or roofing projects.

How Big Is a 30-Yard Dumpster?

30-yard dumpsters hold 30 cubic yards of material. This is about the same capacity as 12 standard pickup trucks. This dumpster size is usually best for home remodels, kitchen remodels, and residential construction projects.

How Big Is a 40-Yard Dumpster?

A 40-yard dumpster can hold 40 cubic yards of material, which is about the same as 16 standard pickup truck loads. This dumpster size is usually best for commercial construction projects.

Knowing which size dumpster is best suited for your project can help save you time and money. Fortunately, it’s simple to rent a dumpster online or get a quote to compare the best options in your area.

For more information on dumpster sizes and how they compare, check out our dumpster size comparison chart.

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