Average Kitchen Trash Can Size: Understanding Dimensions for Your Home

Last updated on May 25, 2024

This article provides insights into the typical dimensions of kitchen trash cans, helping you to choose the right size for your space.

best kitchen trash can 13 gallon

Key takeaways:

  • Trash can sizes range from 7 gallons to 13 gallons.
  • Size should harmonize with kitchen layout and daily routines.
  • Smaller cans are great for tight spaces while larger cans hold more waste.
  • Consider available space, waste generation, and practicality when choosing a size.
  • Seek advice from home organization experts and utilize sizing guides.

What's Inside

Size Matters: Standard Kitchen Trash Can Sizes

size matters standard kitchen trash can sizes

Diving straight in, kitchen trash cans typically come in sizes ranging from small 7-gallon models to larger 13-gallon versions. This size spectrum provides options for both compact apartments and spacious homes. A 7-gallon can is snug enough to tuck away under most sinks, perfect for those who live solo or lack square footage. These bins can often be emptied daily, keeping malodors at bay.

Stepping up, the 10-gallon variety fits families who cook occasionally and generate a moderate amount of waste. This size is a middle ground—large enough to manage a couple days’ waste but doesn’t become the kitchen’s focal point.

Meanwhile, the 13-gallon size is the reigning champion of household waste disposal—suited for avid cooks and larger families. Its volume strikes a balance between practicality and frequency of bag changes, handling a steady stream of peelings, packaging, and leftovers without demanding daily attention.

Remember, kitchen real estate is precious, and the bin should harmonize with the flow of the space, not obstruct it. Whether tucked neatly against a cabinet or standing sentry at the end of a kitchen island, size will influence convenience and functionality.

Get Fit: Finding the Right Can

Imagine trying to squeeze a round peg into a square hole. That’s what you’re up against if your kitchen trash can is too small or awkwardly shaped for the space. It’s not just about capacity— though, yes, that’s crucial. But finding a can that’s a good fit is also about harmony with your kitchen’s layout and your daily routines.

Consider placement. A can tucked away under the sink, for example, naturally calls for a slimmer, more compact design. Got a larger area or a dedicated cabinet for your bin? You could go for something a bit more substantial.

Now, think about your lifestyle. If takeout is your go-to, a smaller bin might do. But, if you’re a culinary whizz, churning out homemade meals daily, aim for a larger size to handle the scraps and packaging. Also, who enjoys taking out the trash several times a day? A slightly larger bin reduces the frequency of this chore.

Remember, a trash can should not overpower the kitchen nor be so small that waste overflow becomes a daily drama. It’s a delicate balance, but getting it right keeps your kitchen looking sharp and functioning smoothly.

Benefits of Various Trash Can Sizes

Opting for the perfect size and capacity of a kitchen trash can isn’t a trivial decision — think of it as a strategic move in the chess game of household management. A smaller bin could be a champion ally for tight spaces. It urges daily disposal, keeping odors at bay and preventing the accumulation of a week’s worth of refuse in your living space.

On the flip side, large cans triumph for bigger households or those with less enthusiasm for frequent trash duty. They hold more, meaning fewer trips to the outdoor bin. They’re a boon for those who love to entertain or channel their inner gourmet chef, accommodating more scraps and packaging.

Consider, too, the mid-size contenders. They strike a balance, minimizing their footprint while still offering adequate capacity for the average family. These versatile warriors of waste management ensure you won’t be taking out the trash too frequently or tackling an overflowing bin every other day.

Remember, the perfect fit isn’t just about size—it’s about making your household operate smoother. Whether it’s a compact bin for the minimalist or a sizeable container for the busy bee, each brings its own perks to the table (or the kitchen floor, to be exact).

What Size Trash Can Is Right for Your Home & Kitchen?

Selecting the optimal trash can size for your kitchen hinges on several practical considerations. First, gauge the available space. A cozy apartment kitchen might only accommodate a slim bin, whereas a spacious suburban kitchen can house a larger receptacle. Assess your household’s waste generation – do you find yourself taking out the trash multiple times a week? If so, a larger size would reduce those trips. A family of four will typically require a can that holds around 12-16 gallons to manage the week’s refuse without overflowing.

Consider also the type of trash your home produces. Frequent meal prep with lots of organic waste might benefit from a can that allows for easy separation of recyclables and compostables. If you’re environmentally conscious, you’ll likely prefer a dual compartment can that encourages recycling.

Remember, too, the need for practicality. A can that’s too large may end up with lingering odors if the trash isn’t taken out often enough, while a small bin can be a nuisance to empty constantly. Finally, consider the style and mechanism. Do you want a step-on opener, a touchless sensor lid, or a simple open top? Choose a design that blends with your kitchen’s aesthetic and your lifestyle for a seamless fit.

By reflecting on these factors, you can pick a trash can that serves your home efficiently and unobtrusively, helping to keep your kitchen tidy and functional.


Choosing the ideal trash can size is indeed about striking a balance between frequency of bag changes and the amount of precious kitchen space it occupies. But don’t just take my word for it. Delve into the wealth of knowledge provided by home organization experts and kitchen designers who’ve weighed in on this topic.

Don’t hesitate to consult with resources like Home Depot or Wayfair. They have sizing guides that can help you visualize different trash can dimensions in your space. Consumer Reports occasionally tests trash can models, tackling not only size but also design and durability—a multipurpose check for any savvy shopper.

For a deep-dive into trash can ergonomics and design, IKEA’s kitchen organization sections provide practical insights. Similarly, a stroll through the blogosphere brings hidden gems. Blog posts from seasoned home organizers often share real-life experiences with various trash can sizes, offering a relatable perspective.

Lastly, recyclers and eco-warriors: look at the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) guidelines. They cover not only size but also tips for reducing waste—because sometimes, the best size is one that encourages us to trash less and think green.

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