How Do You Determine What Size Dumpster You Need?

Renting a dumpster is uncommon for most of us, and choosing the right size can be daunting. Though it does require some guesswork, it is not recommended to leave it all to a guess, and doing so can lead to unnecessary costs or a postponement of your plans.

There are a few things to consider when choosing the right dumpster size for the job. First, determine what type of material you’ll be tossing. Dumpsters have a weight limit, so if you’re clearing out a construction site with concrete, drywall, and other heavier materials, you might need a smaller size to prevent going over the limit and accruing more costs.

Next, consider the total volume of the job. Dumpsters are measured in yards. To put this in perspective, one cubic yard fits approximately five 13-gallon trash bags, sometimes six if they’re not overstuffed.

It would be a shame if the dumpster arrived but there’s nowhere to put it. Measuring the driveway to determine what size it will accommodate is necessary. If the street is an option, take steps to get the proper permits before agreeing to the delivery.


What Are the Actual Measurements of a Dumpster?

Generally, dumpsters are measured in cubic yards and vary from a 10-yard dumpster to a 40-yard dumpster. Contrary to what is indicated in the name, this is not the measurement of their length. Instead, this refers to their volume. A cubic yard is 3 ft. x 3 ft. x 3 ft. which is equivalent to 27 cubic feet. A standard 10-yard dumpster measures 12 ft. long x 8 ft. wide x 4 ft. deep. That is 384 square feet or 128 cubic yards. Using the comparison above, that’s equal to six hundred and forty 13-gallon trash bags.

The 10-yard dumpster is used for smaller jobs, jobs with heavy debris like concrete and brick, or smaller roofing projects of slate or asphalt shingles.

A 20-yard dumpster is great for large, flat objects like roof shingles and flooring. When making your estimate, don’t neglect to also consider the weight.

The 30 and 40-yard dumpsters are for small demolition jobs, major remodeling, and any jobs with a high volume to dispose of. These are primarily used for commercial projects but can be used for residential for large jobs like a full kitchen remodel.

What Is That in Truckloads?

A full-size truck bed typically measures 8 feet long by 4 feet wide, and approximately 21 inches
deep. If you have a tarp or tie-downs you can get more height out of it, but going off the general volume, a ten-yard dumpster will accommodate 3 truckloads, 6 truckloads in a 20-yard, and so on.

Business Dumpster Rental

Businesses of the same type tend to need the same size dumpster as they dispose of the same volume. For example, small retail shops find a 2-yard dumpster adequate, whereas large retail stores need a 4-yard dumpster. It’s best to contact Commercial Dumpster Rental Orlando to make sure you are getting the best size for your needs. Another factor to consider, some areas require dumpsters to be placed in certain areas. Be sure to ask the experts about this as well to avoid any future fines.

Standard Measurements and Weight Limits

Some may vary, but here are the typical dimensions and weight limits for each size.

  • 20-yard = 20 ft. x 7 ft. x 4 ft., weight limit of 1 ton
  • 30-yard = 20 ft. by 8 ft. x 4 ft., weight limit of 3 tons
  • 40-yard = 22 ft. x 8 ft. x 8 ft., weight limit of 6 tons

Confirm these dimensions before signing a contract.

All these tips will help you make an informed decision rather than winging it, saving you money and a potential headache.


Lisa is the General Manager of RGH Waste and Disposal LLC. After many years of working in waste management, Lisa has ‘seen it all’ and then some! She knows the 'ins' and 'outs' of waste disposal and has a wealth of experience from years of working with first-time dumpster renters to seasoned commercial clients.