How Do I Choose A Dumpster?

How Do I Choose The Right Dumpster Size For My Project?

These 4 factors will help you choose the right dumpster size for your project:

  1. Type of Debris
  2. Total Volume
  3. Delivery Location
  4. Insurance Needs
dumpster in front of a home

How Do I choose a dumpster?  It’s a common question that many of our clients ask before finding our site or giving us a call.  How do I choose the right size dumpster for my project?  We hear it all the time, and we love to help.

Many dumpster rental companies will simply give you what you request, only to leave you in a potentially expensive predicament down the road.  We do a little bit of due diligence to make sure that when you book your dumpster rental with us, you get exactly what you need — nothing more, and nothing less.

In order to find out what size dumpster would be best to choose for your next project, keep reading.

What Type of Debris Will You Be Placing in Your Dumpster?

The type of debris you plan on putting in your dumpster will greatly determine the size you need.  For example, just because a dumpster can hold 40 yards of styrofoam, doesn’t mean it can hold 40 yards of concrete or dirt.  It would break the steel floor of the dumpster, and it would pop the tires of the truck it’s placed on!  That being said, take a look at the list below to see what you can place in your dumpster.

  • Dirt
  • Mixed Inert
  • Concrete
  • Cardboard
  • Carpet
  • Sheetrock
  • Green Waste
  • Construction Debris
  • Mixed Waste
  • Junk
  • Furniture
  • Metal
  • Bulky Items
  • And More!

small dumpster in front of a home

What Is The Total Expected Volume For Your Project?

Dumpsters are categorized by cubic yards, which can be calculated by multiplying the length, times the width, times the height, and then dividing that number by 27.  Refer to the following equation:

(L x W x H) / 27 = Cubic Yards

If you’re unable to measure the length, width, or height, many dumpster rental companies can take a look at a picture of your project and provide an accurate recommendation.  If the project is large in scope, they may want to get eyes on the project as well.

Once you have the estimated volume for the project in terms of cubic yards, you need to look at a bin that will accommodate that.

Determine The Delivery Location

What is the ground composition?

Of course different dumpsters have different weights, and different weights have different placement requirements and dangers.

The larger the dumpster, the higher the possibility of damage done to the surface it is placed on.  For example, you don’t want to place a 40 yard dumpster on a nice concrete driveway.  You would probably want to place it on asphalt or packed dirt.

The larger the dumpster, the firmer the surface you will need to place it on as well.

large dumpster on a driveway

Is there enough space?

While you may think you have enough space by measuring the length and width of the dumpster you will be renting, it’s important to factor in loading and unloading.  Dumpsters typically require a large truck bringing them in and out, and that can significantly limit the placement.

Will your dumpster be on public or private property?

If your dumpster is going to be placed on public property (your street), you may need to contact your city and see if there are permit requirements.  Not all cities and counties require this, but it is best to reach out and see prior to choosing to go this route!

Insurance Requirements

Depending on whether you are a residential client or commercial, you may want or need a certain level of insurance carried by your dumpster rental company.  Not all companies carry the same level of insurance and protection for damage / theft, and it’s important to know that going into this decision. What you will find is that reputable companies typically offer much higher prices than people you find on online marketplaces as they carry legitimate insurance which drives their costs.

What Size Dumpster Is Rented The Most?

The most common dumpster rental size is the 20 yard dumpster. It’s small enough to fit most locations, while also providing a substantial amount of capacity and value.  The 20 yard dumpster is perfect for most residential and commercial projects that include home renovations, office cleanouts, and construction debris.

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About the Author: Nicholas Krygier

Nick is the co-founder / owner of American River Hauling and Junk Removal llc. We take pride in doing what's best for our community, answering the phone, and delivering on promises.