Dumpsters come in a number of different sizes. If you’ve never rented a dumpster, it's important to consider the distinct features of each type of dumpster so that you can be confident you’ve made the right choice for your project.
There are two main types of dumpsters: roll-off dumpsters and front/rear load dumpsters. Roll-off dumpsters are typically used for residential and commercial projects like renovations, cleanouts, roofing, and construction debris.
Front and rear load dumpsters are generally used on a more permanent basis and placed near restaurants, apartment buildings, or office buildings. They are easy to access and maneuver given they are much smaller than roll-off dumpsters
Unlike traditional trash bins and dumpsters, the roll-off dumpster is distinguished by its open top and ability to handle various types of debris from construction projects, home cleanouts, renovations, etc.
When you rent a roll-off dumpster, a specialty roll-off truck will transport the bin and utilize the dumpster wheels to roll the dumpster in place (hence the name “roll-off”).
Once the dumpster is full, the driver will take the dumpster to a local landfill for disposal.
Traditional roll-off dumpsters come in a variety of sizes ranging from 10 to 40 cubic yards.
While a lowboy dumpster functions very similar to a traditional roll-off dumpster, it's manufactured to hold inert materials like dirt and concrete specifically. Its low walls allow for easy loading of heavier debris types while limiting the volume so roll-off trucks can easily remove the full dumpster. Most lowboys are available in 8-yards or 10-yards.
10-yard roll off dumpster
The 10-yard roll-off dumpster is generally the smallest size container. This size is often used with residential projects or small commercial projects as it can hold the least amount of debris compared to larger containers.
The standard 10-yard roll-off dimensions are 14ft * 7.5ft * 3.5 although actual dimensions may vary by the location from which you’re renting.
20-yard roll off dumpster
20-Yard roll-off dumpsters are mid-size and comparable to the 30-yard dumpster in their utility. This dumpster is oftentimes a go-to choice for small home renovations like a bathroom or kitchen remodel. Most 20-yard dumpsters measure 22ft * 7.5ft * 4.5ft and can be delivered curbside on residential properties or in the driveway.
30-yard roll off dumpster
Similar to the 20-yard dumpster, the 30-yard is another popular choice for residential projects. If you plan on remodeling a larger bathroom, disposing of old furniture, or cleaning out an entire garage, this size dumpster will likely handle the job.
The 30-yard dumpster typically measures 22ft * 7.5ft * 6ft. Just like the 20-yard dumpster, the 30-yard dumpster will fit in most residential driveways. If you do plan to have the dumpster placed in your driveway, be sure it is clear of any tree branches or awnings.
40-yard roll off dumpster
The 40-yard dumpster is usually the largest size that rental companies will carry. This is the optimal choice if you plan on renovating your entire home, or have a business or commercial property that requires a larger dumpster to fit the debris.
The standard measurements on the 40-yard dumpster are 22ft * 7.5ft * 8ft.
Front & rear load dumpsters
Front and rear load dumpsters are manufactured primarily for smaller spaces in residential and city spaces. These are typically small dumpsters on wheels. While they are generally much smaller than the traditional roll-off dumpster, the 3-yard dumpster has the capacity to hold up to 1,000lbs.
Another distinguishing feature of front and rear load dumpsters is their wheels and lids. The wheels allow for easy maneuvering around properties like restaurants or alleyways while the lids help keep out critters and help prevent public disposal.
How to choose a dumpster type & size
Choosing the right dumpster size and dumpster type can be confusing if you've never rented a dumpster before. With so many available options, it's important to consider a few things before you book your rental.
What type of debris are you disposing of?
The first thing you'll have to consider is what type of debris you're disposing of. For example, most dumpster rental companies will not accept hazardous materials, tires, oils, paints, etc. For hazardous waste disposal, you'll have to contact your city to see which locations accept hazardous waste.
If you're doing a home renovation, clean-out, or landscaping project, a roll-off dumpster will likely fulfill the requirements for your job.
If you've ever driven through a shopping center or parked your car behind a restaurant, chances are you've already seen a commercial dumpster being utilized. Commercial dumpsters are generally rented on a permanent basis and emptied on a weekly cadence.
How big is a commercial dumpster?
Since commercial dumpsters are emptied on a regular schedule, they typically come in smaller sizes like a 3-yard dumpster. The size of the dumpster will vary by location and which company is renting the equipment. However the smallest size dumpsters available to rent usually come in 2, 3, and 5-yard variations.