What Size Dumpster Do I Need?

Dumpsters come in 10, 20, 30 and 40 yard options, and each one is designed to handle different types and amounts of waste. While having options is great, it can make it difficult to determine what size dumpster you need for your project.

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

Understanding Dumpster Dimensions

2.5 cubic yd, 10 cubic yd, 20 cubic yd, 30 cubic yd, 40 cubic yd

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.

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.

3 Key Factors to Consider

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

Type of Materials, Property Size, 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.

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

Larger 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 up front, 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.

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.

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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