Trash Can Sizes

When it comes to managing waste in our homes and workplaces, the size of the trash can we choose is a key factor that often goes unnoticed. Trash can sizes vary widely, and selecting the right one can greatly impact the functionality and aesthetics of a space.

Trash can sizes range from under 3 gallons to 20 gallons and beyond, with 13 gallons being the most common option. Size matters because it determines how often the bin needs emptying and its suitability for different spaces. Large sizes are ideal for busy areas, while compact ones suit smaller spaces.

This guide will delve into the various sizes of trash cans available and explore how to choose the best size for different settings and purposes.

Standard Trash Can Sizes

Trash can sizes

Trash cans are an essential part of managing waste in homes, offices, and public spaces. The right size not only fits your space but also caters to your waste disposal needs.

Small Trash Cans

Small trash cans typically range from 10 × 12 inches to 15 × 20 inches, with capacities between 2 to 10 gallons.

These are ideal for personal spaces such as bathrooms, bedrooms, or home offices. Their compact size makes them convenient for areas with limited space, and they are perfect for discarding daily small waste items like tissues and wrappers. In offices, they fit neatly under desks, while for bathrooms, models with lids are recommended to contain odors.

Medium-Sized Trash Cans

Medium-sized trash cans, with dimensions ranging from 16 × 24 inches to 20 × 30 inches, offer capacities of about 12 to 20 gallons. These bins are suitable for larger spaces like kitchens, shared office areas, and classrooms.

The increased capacity means less frequent emptying, a key consideration in areas with moderate waste generation. In kitchens, they efficiently handle food scraps and packaging, while in office areas, they are perfect for paper waste and general trash.

Large Trash Cans

Large trash cans, measuring from 21 × 33 inches to 24 × 36 inches, come with capacities ranging from 20 to 30 gallons or more.

These are designed for high-traffic areas such as commercial kitchens, outdoor spaces, and large office environments. Their substantial capacity is ideal for locations where large amounts of waste accumulate quickly, such as in outdoor event spaces or as central collection points in offices.

Top Trash Can Picks and Their Sizes

Trash Can Model Dimensions Capacity Features
simplehuman Rectangular Hands-Free Kitchen Step Trash Can 13.3 × 15.9 × 25.8 in. 12 gallons Self-closing stainless-steel rim

Built-in liner pocket

Strong steel pedal

Amazon Basics Smudge Resistant Rectangular Trash Can 13.8 × 11.8 × 25 in. 7.9 gallons Stay-open lid

Removable bucket

Quiet foot lever

Kohler Hands-Free Kitchen Trash Can 16.81 × 13 × 26.44 in. 13 gallons Quiet-close lid

Fingerprint proof finish

Flush outer walls

iTouchless SoftStep Trash Can with Odor Filter System 14 × 16.75 × 26 in. 13.2 gallons Odor control system

Gentle and silent lid

Lid stay-open mode

Glad Trash Can 2 pack 14.7 × 18 × 25 in. 13 gallons Clorox odor protection

Bag rings

Hands-free step pedal

Umbra Brim Step On Trash Can 13 × 17 × 25.5 in. 13 gallons Brim with retention ring

Open-lock lid

Durable foot pedal

Specialty Trash Cans

Specialty trash cans cater to specific needs and spaces, offering unique features that standard bins don’t.

Slim Trash Cans

Slim trash cans, with their narrow profiles, fit perfectly in tight spaces where a regular bin might be too bulky. Typically measuring around 10 to 15 inches in width and 20 to 30 inches in height, they come in capacities ranging from 5 to 15 gallons. These are ideal for narrow kitchen spaces, between appliances, or in small office cubicles. Their sleek design doesn’t compromise on capacity, making them a practical choice for space-constrained areas.

Sensor Trash Cans

Sensor trash cans incorporate motion-sensing technology for a touchless experience. They come in various sizes, from compact 10-gallon models (ideal for bathrooms or small offices) to larger 20-gallon options for kitchens or shared spaces. These cans, typically measuring 15 × 20 inches to 20 × 28 inches, are battery-operated or rechargeable. They’re a perfect blend of technology and convenience, ensuring cleanliness and ease of use in high-traffic areas.

Recycling Bin Sizes and Integration with Trash Cans

Recycling bins are often paired with trash cans to encourage waste sorting. They come in sizes similar to standard trash cans, ranging from 10 gallons (suitable for personal or office use) to 30 gallons (for larger households or communal areas). Some models offer side-by-side compartments for trash and recyclables, making them space-efficient and convenient for sorting waste.

Trash Can Buying Guide

Choosing the right trash can for your needs can be more complex than it seems. This guide helps simplify the process.

Measuring Your Space for the Perfect Trash Can Size

Before buying a trash can, measure the space where it will be placed. Consider both the width and height, especially if it’s going under a counter or desk. Leave a few inches of clearance for easy removal and replacement. For slim spaces, consider slim-design cans, while larger areas can accommodate bigger bins.

Material Choices and Durability

Trash cans are made from various materials, each offering different benefits. Plastic cans are lightweight and inexpensive, suitable for low-traffic areas and under-sink placement. Metal trash cans, typically stainless steel, are more durable and offer a sleek look, ideal for kitchens and professional settings. Wooden trash cans add an aesthetic touch but require more maintenance.

Lid Types and Usage

The type of lid on a trash can affects its functionality. Swing-top lids are common for kitchen use, allowing easy disposal without the need to touch the bin. Step-on lids provide a hands-free experience, beneficial for maintaining hygiene. Sensor lids offer a touchless, high-tech solution. Choose a lid type based on where the trash can will be used and personal preferences for convenience and hygiene.

Capacity and Frequency of Use

Capacity is a crucial factor. A larger capacity (20-30 gallons) is ideal for busy kitchens or communal areas, reducing the frequency of emptying. Smaller capacities (5-10 gallons) are suitable for bathrooms or personal office spaces. Consider how often the trash can will be used and the type of waste it will hold to determine the best capacity.