How Dumpster Size is Determined

You’ve just rented a dumpster based on your current needs, and you may be wondering how manufacturers arrive at the measurements that constitute dumpster sizes. There are no universal standards for measurements—there are common principles that affect how dumpster size is determined in most instances.

Below is the typical chart for dumpster sizes and dimensions:

Cubic Yards Explained


Cubic yards are a measure of volume. One cubic yard consists of space that is 3 feet long by 3 feet wide by 3 feet high.

Using the dimensions of a dumpster (in feet), you can calculate the amount of debris a dumpster can hold in cubic yards. Multiply the length by width by height to determine total cubic feet. Divide total cubic feet by 27 to get the number of cubic yards.

Many companies represent dumpster dimensions in feet and measure from the outside of the container. But if you’re using the exterior dimensions of the dumpster, the above formula will slightly over-estimate volume. In that case, you’ll want to subtract about six to eight inches from each exterior measurement to better determine interior volume. For example, an 8-foot exterior width becomes about 7 foot, 4 inches interior width.

We hope this gives you a better understanding of how dumpster size is determined. If you don’t know what size dumpster is right for you, we have a guide that will help you. Whether you’re a homeowner or a contractor, Century Waste Management is the gold standard when it comes to dumpster rentals in the greater Detroit area.

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