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Is a 20 yard dumpster the right size for my project?

Is a 20 yard dumpster the right size for my project?

20 yard dumpster comparison

20 yard dumpsters have the capacity to hold 20 cubic yards of waste or debris. That’s equivalent to roughly 8 to 10 pickup truck loads. It’s the right size container for a number of different projects, like home renovations, shingle re-roofing, garage demolition, and whole-home cleanouts.

Before deciding on a 20 yard container, make sure it’s the most cost-effective option. Read on to learn how to make this determination.


5 things to know

Keep these tips in mind when renting a 20 yard dumpster:

  1. Stay within the weight allowance: The weight capacity of the average 20 yard dumpster is about 3 tons or 6,000 lbs. Some rental providers allow for 5 tons or more. Going over the weight allowance will incur additional charges as high as $100 per ton.
  2. A standard rental period is seven days (can vary by company): A $5 to $10 per day late fee is applicable for keeping the container longer.
  3. The type of waste/debris is important: Some rental companies have rules in place based on the type of debris. The weight allowance may vary depending upon the debris. Some companies may not allow you to mix certain debris, like concrete and household trash for example.
  4. Some waste is prohibited: This includes, but is not limited to, hazardous wastes, tires, automotive fluids, and batteries. Learn more.
  5. Many dumpster rental companies recycle: Make it easier for them by separating recyclables when possible. Recyclable debris includes concrete, asphalt shingles, dirt, cardboard/paper, and scrap metal.

Types of 20 yard dumpsters

Standard open-top roll off dumpsters

This is the most common type of 20 yard dumpster. Most feature a door that hinges open for easier loading. This makes it extra convenient to load bulky or heavy items, such as furniture, appliances, concrete, and demolition debris.

20 yard roll off dumpsters

Features / Benefits:

  • Hinged door makes it easier to load heavy/bulky items
  • Some older containers may not have a door – be sure to ask
  • Ideal for home and garage cleanouts
  • Some clearance (4+ ft) is necessary between the container and other large objects in order to swing open the door
  • Plywood or boards are placed between the container and your driveway for added protection against damage

Typical dimensions: 22 ft L x 8 ft W x 4.5 ft H

Dumpster trailers

Some dumpster rental providers utilize specially-designed trailers for loads of 20 cubic yards or less. When a standard roll off dumpster isn’t a viable option, such as for placement on soft or uneven ground, a dumpster trailer is a more suitable solution.

20 yard dumpster trailers

Features / Benefits:

  • Comes in a variety of sizes but is about the same size as a standard roll-off dumpster
  • Good alternative solution when a standard dumpster just won’t work
  • Risk of damage to property is low since this dumpster is on tires
  • Quick drop offs and pickups

Typical dimensions: Varies by company

When a 20 yard bin is the right choice

when a 20 yard dumpster is the right size container

20 yard debris boxes are the most commonly rented size because of its versatility. It’s an economical choice for a variety of situations. Here are some examples of when a 20 yard bin makes sense:

Projects where a 20 yd dumpster is helpful

It’s important to keep in mind that every project is different, so a bigger container may be necessary in your case. Your dumpster rental provider can help you choose the right container and container size for your project.


Find out more about other common dumpster sizes:


“Weigh” your options to get the best price

The nationwide average upfront cost of renting a 20 yard roll-off container is between $350 and $400. Other charges for overages, tonnage, fuel surcharges, late fees, and type of debris may also apply. Always ask about possible extra charges when renting a dumpster, so it’s not a surprise when you get the final bill.

NOTE: Dumpster prices may vary significantly from one location to the next. Check out our ultimate pricing guide and list of dumpster costs in all 50 states to see average dumpster rental prices by state and metro area.
 

20 yard construction dumpsters are a versatile choice for many projects but not always the most economical option. It’s important to factor in the weight of the waste and debris you plan to toss into the dumpster. It can get expensive if you go over the weight limit.

Overage fees vary by company but can range from $40 to $100 per ton

You can save $100 or more by downsizing to a 10 yard dumpster when a 20 yard container is more than you need. It’s a bit tricky to choose the correct dumpster size, but here are 3 things to factor into your decision:

  1. When talking to the rental company over the phone, be detailed about the type and amount of debris you plan to dispose of. They are remarkably good at estimating weight.
  2. If you’re on the fence, go with the bigger size. More times than not, you’ll save money by avoiding overages.
  3. Keep the bin covered with a tarp to avoid other people throwing garbage into it and to keep rain from making everything wet—both situations will increase the total weight of the load. This is particularly important if you decided to go with a 10 yard container rather than a 20 yarder because it could end up costing you more in the end if you go over the weight limit.

A few more useful tips:

  • Dumpsters on streets need a permitBe sure you have enough room in your driveway or wherever you plan to set the dumpster. A 20 yard dumpster needs space, measuring about 22 ft L x 8 ft W plus room to open the hinged door.
  • A dumpster rental permit may be necessary to place the container in the public right-of-way (e.g. sidewalk or side of a city street). Discuss this with your dumpster rental provider.
  • For heavier debris, like dirt or concrete, you may be better off going with a 10 yard dumpster. Some companies will waive overages for this type of debris and allow you to fill the container to a specified level instead.
  • Read the customer reviews here at HometownDumpsterRental.com. It gives you a snapshot into other customers' experiences with a particular company.