Architectural Home Designs & Decorating Ideas

Choose the Perfect Kitchen Trash Can Size and Dimensions

Gabriela Connell
4 minute read

Selecting the right sized kitchen trash can for your home takes a bit of planning. You want a trash receptacle that’s not too small, leaving you emptying it multiple times per day. But you also don’t want an oversized monster that hogs precious floor space. By understanding standard kitchen trash can dimensions and capacities, along with factors like your family’s usage, available space, and placement, you can zero in on the ideal size trash can for your needs.

This comprehensive guide covers common trash can sizes and dimensions, design considerations, optimal placement, and tips for choosing the perfect kitchen garbage can.

Standard Kitchen Trash Can Sizes and Capacities

Kitchen trash cans are commonly available in 13 gallon, 23 gallon, and 30+ gallon capacities. The dimensions and measurements vary for each standard size.

13 Gallon Trash Cans

kitchen trash can dimensions

A 13 gallon kitchen trash can generally measures around 15-18 inches high by 10-12 inches wide. The depth is usually 10-12 inches as well. A 13 gallon trash bin is best suited to a single person or a couple that takes the trash out frequently. The modest capacity limits how fast it fills up.

23 Gallon Trash Cans

Moving up to a 23 gallon kitchen trash receptacle increases the size. These cans are often 25 inches high with a width of around 15 inches. Depth remains close to 12-15 inches. A 23 gallon trash bin accommodates a medium sized family that may only empty the trash every 2-3 days.

30+ Gallon Trash Cans

For larger households, a 30+ gallon kitchen garbage can is a practical choice. These extra large trash cans measure over 30 inches high and 16-18 inches wide. Depth increases to 16-18 inches as well. The boosted capacity allows going 4-5 days between emptying without overflowing.

Factors That Influence Ideal Kitchen Trash Can Size

Selecting the right trash can size goes beyond just the dimensions. You also need to consider attributes of your household and kitchen layout to choose the best fit.

Household Size and Usage Frequency

How many people live in your home? More residents means more trash produced. A family of 4 likely needs a larger kitchen garbage can than a single occupant. Also consider how often you take out the trash. If you only empty it once a week, the can needs higher capacity than if you remove trash daily.

Available Space

Measure the space where you plan to put the kitchen trash receptacle. An under cabinet or sink mounted option needs to fit those dimensions. For freestanding cans, ensure adequate floor space. Leave enough clearance to easily open the lid without bumping into walls or cabinets.

Recycling and Waste Sorting Needs

Many homes sort recyclables into separate bins. This reduces trash volume but requires excess can capacity. Likewise, if you compost food scraps, the main trash fills slower. Account for sorting and composting when choosing kitchen garbage can size.

Trash Can Designs, Shapes, and Materials

Beyond size, also consider kitchen trash can designs and materials that best suit your space.

Trash Can Shapes

Round trash cans are the most common. They efficiently use space and have sleek aesthetics. Square trash receptacles maximize capacity. Rectangular cans are ideal for tight spaces like under cabinets. Shape impacts useable volume.

Trash Can Materials

Plastic cans are affordable, durable, and come in many colors. Stainless steel has a modern, upscale look that resists smudging. Metal trash cans like aluminum are rust resistant. Chrome or metal finishes add style while hiding dirt and scuffs.

Special Design Features

Consider convenience features like step opening lids that help contain odors. Soft-close hinges prevent loud slamming. Hands-free sensor cans open automatically when you approach. Inner buckets lift out for easy emptying of heavy bags.

Optimal Trash Can Placement in the Kitchen

Proper positioning of your new kitchen garbage receptacle optimizes convenience.

Near Food Prep Areas

Locate trash cans near where you handle and prepare food, such as kitchen islands. This allows easy disposal of scraps like peels or packaging. But don’t place the can in high traffic zones where people may bump into it or block access.

Under Sink and In-Cabinet

Mounting a trash can under the sink or inside a cabinet clears floor space. Cans designed for these areas have narrow, vertical shapes to maximize storage capacity. Use drawer styles for easiest access to the inner bin.


A freestanding kitchen garbage can provides flexibility for placement anywhere in the kitchen. But these take up valuable floor real estate. Allow adequate space for the trash receptacle without cramping your workspace.

Choosing the ideal kitchen trash can size involves factoring in container dimensions, household usage, available space, placement, and special features. Measure twice and consider lifestyle needs before buying. This ensures you select a garbage can that conveniently fits your kitchen’s unique requirements.