Standard Trash Can Dimensions (with Drawings)
Perhaps you don’t pay much attention to your trash can until you realize you have to empty it too often. Or, maybe it’s the moment you wish your smelly garbage can could fit inside a cabinet, but it’s too big. In other words, if your trash can is the wrong size, you’ll spend way too much time thinking about it.
Trash cans vary widely in size, which is mainly dependent on where you plan to use them. For example, a small 1.2-gallon bathroom trash can is roughly 12 inches tall and 8 inches wide. However, a kitchen trash can is much larger, at least 12 gallons or more, and 20 or 22 inches tall.
But, you certainly can’t put a one-size-fits-all stamp on trash cans, no matter where you put them. You also have to consider your lifestyle, how much trash you accumulate, and how often you empty your trash.
Considerations When Choosing the Right Size Trash Can
Before purchasing a trash can, it’s essential to think about a few things. Here are several questions to ask when selecting a suitable trash can:
- What room is the trash can for?
- About how much stuff do you throw away in that room?
- Where do you plan to put the trash can in the space? How much room do you have?
- Do you need a trash can with a lid?
- Will you see the trash can, or will it go inside a cabinet?
- How often do you plan to empty the trash can?
- What type of stuff will you be throwing away in the trash can? For example, will it be primarily papers and non-perishable items? Or will there be a lot of organic material and food scraps?
- Will you need to move the trash can often? If so, do you want one that’s on wheels?
Answering these questions before shopping for a trash can will help you find the best one for your needs. Also, you’ll likely need multiple trash cans since different rooms have different trash requirements.
Different Types and Sizes of Trash Cans
Depending on where your trash can is going, you’ve got countless options. From small trash cans for bathrooms and laundry areas to larger kitchen trash bins to super, heavy-duty outdoor trash containers.
Within the options for each space, you have even more choices. For example, bathroom trash cans can range from small bins less than a gallon to two gallons. Kitchen trash cans typically are between 12 and 22 gallons. Trash cans used for local garbage collection services are usually about 95 to 96 gallons.
In the following sections, you can take a closer look at specific trash can categories.
Kitchen Trash Can Sizes
Kitchens are by far the hardest working, busiest rooms in most homes. People cook, entertain, even do homework and similar activities in their kitchens. Needless to say, all of this activity generates quite a large variety and amount of trash.
Typical kitchen trash cans are approximately 13 or 21 gallons. A 13-gallon rectangular bin is roughly 10 inches wide by 16 inches deep and 22 to 23 inches tall. A 21-gallon trash can is approximately 33 to 34 inches tall but takes up the same footprint of 10 by 16 inches.
People often like kitchen trash cans to have lids to seal in odors from food waste, etc. Another popular consideration is to hide away your trash can inside of a cabinet.
You can simply choose a typical 13-gallon bin and place it inside a standard base cabinet. The lower height allows you to open the cabinet door and toss trash without having to move the can. If you want a taller trash can, you can opt for a pull-out version.
Pull-Out Trash Cans
These are basic trash cans that fit into slide-out systems you install in a cabinet. In the example below, two 27-quart cans fit into a double unit. Using two cans is often a popular choice to separate trash from recycling or organic from non-organic matter.
Each can is approximately 11 inches wide, 19 inches tall, and 14 inches deep. The entire pull-out system measures just over 11 inches wide and is 22 inches deep. Then, you must allow clearance in front of the cabinet of roughly 22 inches to extend the slide-out fully.
If you don’t need to sort your trash, you can use a single pull-out with a larger can. It works on the same principle and has similar measurements, but it’s a single bigger bin. Again, though, there are various sizes of trash cans and pull-outs available.
Hidden Trash Cans
What if you don’t have room for a pull-out trash can in your cabinets? Perhaps you need all of your cabinet space for your kitchenware and other essentials. But you still want to hide your trash can.
If you want to disguise your trash can, you can opt for more custom-looking tilt-out versions. These types of trash cans usually fit inside of what looks like a freestanding cabinet. You tilt out the door, which hinges at the bottom, instead of opening it like a regular cabinet door.
This tilt-out version is 21.5 inches wide, 12.75 inches deep, and 34 inches tall. It includes a small storage drawer and holds a 36-quart trash can, which is roughly 9 gallons. It houses a trash can that is 14.5 inches wide, 11 inches deep, and 18 inches tall.
You can entirely remove the trash can for emptying the garbage. Plus, these types of cabinets come in various colors and styles.
Check out our guide: The 5 Best Undersink Trash Cans (That Really Save Space)
Bathroom Trash Can Sizes
When you select a trash can for a bathroom, typically choosing a small can is the best choice. You won’t generally go through much daily trash in your bathroom, plus the items you toss are usually small. It’s typically things like cotton balls, Q-tips, tissue, etc.
Usually, 1.5 to 2.5 gallons works well, fitting nicely underneath or alongside a vanity or bathroom sink. You can opt for rectangular or round versions. A 1.5-gallon trash can measures approximately 7 inches wide, 10 inches deep, and 10 inches tall.
A round, 1.5-gallon trash can might be closer to 10 inches tall and 7.5 inches in diameter. Of course, you can also opt for slightly taller and slimmer versions or shorter, wider models.
A rectangular, 2.5-gallon would be about 7.1 inches wide, 11 inches deep, and 12 inches tall. The round one, like below, is roughly 10 inches tall by about 10 inches wide. In this example, it’s tapered, going from 10 inches wide at the top to 7 inches wide at the bottom.
Outdoor Trash Can Sizes
Outdoor trash cans are some of the largest options and should also be very durable to withstand the elements. You can find these cans in many configurations, depending on how you plan to use them.
For example, if you entertain a lot in your backyard, you might prefer a more decorative patio trash can. These can measure about 16 x 15.75 x 31.7 inches and be roughly 33 gallons.
Others use galvanized steel trash cans with tight-fitting lids, particularly good for compost. A 20-gallon, round trash can measures about 18 inches in diameter and 24.25 inches tall.
For yard work and outdoor projects, you might need to consider a heavy-duty trash can. You want something very durable that can hold up to a lot of weight.
For example, the Rubbermaid BRUTE trash can is commercial-grade and has a 32-gallon capacity. It is approximately 22.3 x 24.5 x 27.25 inches.
Garbage Collection Trash Cans
The bins typically used for trash collection services are supersized and often on wheels for easy maneuvering. They usually have a capacity of 95 to 96 gallons and are about 46 inches tall.
Typical sizes are 27 inches wide, and roughly 28.6 inches across on the bottom. They get wider as you get closer to the top and have flip-top lids.
Office Trash Can Sizes
The trash cans used in home office space are also usually smaller, similar to ones used in a bathroom. The most significant difference is the style, as you might want a more attractive trash can in your office space.
For example, this Umbra Woodrow trash can is 2-gallons, measuring 9 inches in diameter and 11 inches tall.
Additional Trash Can Sizes
Aside from trash cans you use at home, there are also options for cars, travel, and temporary use. A car trash can is usually about .5 to 1 gallon and can hang on the back of a car seat or sit on the floor.
They usually include straps to connect them to a console or seat and have pockets for extra storage. They are about 5.5 inches deep, 8 inches wide, and 10 inches tall.
Pop-Up trash cans are great for travel, camping, or light yard work. Especially when you don’t have room for a permanent trash can. They can be anywhere from small versions you keep in your car to larger styles that can hold 30-gallons.
The sizes of pop-up cans will vary based on capacity. However, when you open them up, they are similar to regular trash can sizes of the same capacity.
Can you use any trash can for local garbage pick-up services?
Typically, no, you can’t. Most counties provide a specific bin for their trash collection that you must use. If you have more trash than the bin can hold, you need to wait until the next collection day. Or, in some areas, you can request a second bin, although you might pay an extra fee.
What if there’s not enough floor space for a trash can?
If you don’t have enough floor space, the first go-to is to put your trash can in a cabinet. But what if you don’t want to use up cabinet space either? You can use hanging trash cans for small items. There are some you mount inside a cabinet door or hang over the cabinet door on the outside. You can also mount small to medium trash cans on outdoor walls for patio trash. If you do this, go for a decorative version that can be aesthetically pleasing. Another hack is to use a wall-mount mailbox, great for things like bottle caps and small bits near the barbecue. It’s also great for a laundry room for tossing dryer lint and small items like clothing tags, etc.
Stacy Randall is a wife, mother, and freelance writer from NOLA that has always had a love for DIY projects, home organization, and making spaces beautiful. Together with her husband, she has been spending the last several years lovingly renovating her grandparent's former home, making it their own and learning a lot about life along the way.
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