The Ultimate Guide to Dumpster Sizes
Roll off dumpster rental sizes are measured in cubic yards, indicating how much debris they hold.
Gaining an understanding of dumpster sizes and dimensions will go a long way in helping you select the right container for your clean-up project. Our dumpster sizes chart below shows common dimensions for the most popular container sizes.
Typical Dumpster Sizes and Dimensions
|Size||Typical Exterior Dimensions||Max. Volume|
|10 yard dumpster||12 ft. long by 8 ft. wide by 3.5 ft. high||10 cubic yards|
|20 yard dumpster||22 ft. long by 8 ft. wide by 4 ft. high||20 cubic yards|
|30 yard dumpster||22 ft. long by 8 ft. wide by 6 ft. high||30 cubic yards|
|40 yard dumpster||22 ft. long by 8 ft. wide by 8 ft. high||40 cubic yards|
The length, width, and height in the chart above may be somewhat typical, but dumpster dimensions are not standardized. They may be different for each hauler.
Understanding cubic yards
Cubic yards is a measure of volume. A cube of space that is 3 ft. long by 3 ft. wide by 3 ft. high is equal to 1 cubic yard.
If we have the dimensions of a dumpster in feet, we can calculate the number of cubic yards of debris the dumpster can hold with this formula:
- Multiply length X width X height in feet to get total cubic feet
- Divide total cubic feet by 27 to get number of cubic yards
Dumpster dimensions are typically given in feet and are measured from the outside of the container. The formula above will over estimate cubic yards a little if you use the exterior dimensions of the dumpster. To get a more accurate interior volume, use interior dimensions by shaving 6 to 8 inches or so off of each exterior measurement (i.e., an 8 ft. exterior width becomes 7.3 ft. interior width).
Considerations when selecting a container size
Estimating the volume of your debris is challenging, especially for household junk or construction debris. Picking the right size dumpster for roofing is more straightforward. Whatever your project, getting the size right is step one in having a good dumpster rental experience.
Too small is the worst choice
If you have 15 yards of debris and you try to save a few dollars by trying to squeeze your debris into a 10 yard dumpster, it likely will result in you paying much more than necessary. You'll probably need a "switch out." That's when the dumpster service delivers another empty 10 yard dumpster, drops it at your location, and hauls away your full dumpster. This ends up costing you exactly double your original 10 yard price. There's no discount for the 2nd dumpster. Ordering a 20 yard container up front would've been much cheaper. Learn more about dumpster rental cost at our guide to dumpster prices.
Another no-no... don't overfill the dumpster! Your debris must be level with or under the top of the container or you're headed for more hassle and cost.
It may be tempting to solve a "my dumpster is too small" problem by piling the debris high above the rim of the dumpster. Big mistake! The dumpster service cannot legally haul your debris on the road with it piled over the top. It's a major road hazard. In most cases, the roll off driver will leave and you'll be informed that the dumpster can't be picked up until you level it. You'll be charged a "trip charge" typically in that case. Other times, the driver may jump up and level your dumpster himself, by throwing out debris. You'll probably be charged an "overfilling fee" and you'll have a pile of debris left over that you still need to get rid of.
Double check dimensions if space is tight
If you need the dumpster delivered to a small driveway or alley, be sure to double check the dimensions of the dumpster with the hauler and compare it to the space you have available. It's very typical for all container sizes to be 8 feet wide, so width is usually not a difference maker. But length of the dumpster typically jumps up significantly with a move from a 10 yard container (i.e. 12 feet long) to a 20 yard container (i.e. 22 feet long).
When considering the space you need, keep in mind that dumpsters typically have an 8 ft. wide door that swings open on the back. If you plan on loading through the door (rather than throwing debris over the top), then add an additional 8 feet of length needed for the door to swing open.
More help selecting the right size
10 Yard Dumpster
There's no perfect way to choose dumpster sizes, but a 10 yard dumpster may be appropriate for a smaller residential cleanup projects.
What may fit in a 10 yard dumpster?
- Basement or garage debris cleanout
- 250 sq. ft deck removal
- 1,500 sq. ft. of roof shingles (single layer)
- Small kitchen or bath remodeling job
For more details, see the article how big is a 10 yard dumpster?
20 Yard Dumpster
A 20 yard dumpster holds 20 cubic yards of waste. Common dumpster dimensions for a 20 yard dumpster are: 22 ft. long by 8 ft. wide by 4.5 ft. high. A 20 yard container is the right dumpster size for a projects larger cleanups. A 20-yarder can hold approximately 10 pickup truck loads of waste and debris (this may vary). This is one of the most popular dumpster sizes because of its price, compact footprint and capacity.
What may fit in a 20 yard dumpster?
- Basement, attic, or garage cleanup
- Flooring and carpet removal for a large house
- 300 to 400 square feet of deck removal
- 2,500 to 3,000 sq. ft. of single layer roof shingle removal
30 Yard Dumpster
A 30 yard dumpster holds 30 cubic yards of waste. Common dumpster dimensions for a 30 yard dumpster are: 22 ft. long by 8 ft. wide by 6 ft. high (remember, dumpster sizes can vary, so ask your local roll off dumpster service). A 30 yard dumpster may be the right solution for complete residential cleanouts and commercial cleanup projects.
What may fit in a 30 yard dumpster?
- Major home addition
- New home construction
- Garage demolition
- Whole-home window or siding replacement (small-to-medium size home)
40 Yard Dumpster
A 40 yard dumpster holds 40 cubic yards of waste. Again, dumpster sizes and dumpster dimensions are not standardized, but common dumpster dimensions for a 40 yard dumpster are: 22 ft. long by 8 ft. wide by 8 ft. high. A 40 yard dumpster is ideal for large residential projects, commercial cleanups and industrial applications.
What would fit in a 40-yard dumpster?
- Window or siding replacement for a large home
- Commercial roof tear off
- Commercial or office building cleanout
- New construction or major addition (larger home)
- Large amounts of demolition debris, trash, paper, or cardboard
Call for help if you're still unsure
Choosing a roll off dumpster size is not an exact science. If you're not sure, call one or two local haulers and describe your project and your debris. It's difficult to suggest a size without seeing your debris, but most haulers will do their best to help you pick the right container size. Learn more about selecting the right dumpster rental company for your needs by checking out our guide on Hiring the Right Dumpster Service.