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Kitchen Trash Can Size: How To Pick The Best One!

Kitchen Trash Can Size: How To Pick The Best One!

We don’t think too hard about the kitchen trash can size when we buy it, but what is the right size?

The right size for your kitchen trash can depends on a number of things, like how much trash you usually have, the amount of space available for the trash can and where that space is, and the size of the garbage bags that you’d be using.

When actually making the purchase, most people will not think about the kitchen trash can from all these angles, but keeping them in mind can help keep your kitchen clean and tidy!

We looked at all the sizes of kitchen trash cans and how different factors affect how useful and efficient these sizes can be.

How To Pick The Right Size

You don’t want a trash can that’s too big or too small, or one that leaks or is hard to clean.

The right size will depend on a number of things.

How Much Trash Do You Have?

Naturally, the amount of trash you create will affect how big the trash can needs to be.

If you tend to cook a lot, you will probably produce a lot of trash and waste, so you’d want a larger can – particularly one with a lid to keep the trash from stinking the place up.

On the other hand, instant, prepackaged meals will usually not have as much waste.

If you tend to put all your trash, including food, recyclables, and waste, in the same can, you’d need a bigger one than if you had separate cans for different types of trash.

Trash cans are usually measured by volume because at the end of the day, what matters is how much trash a can is able to hold.

This also affects how often you’ll have to empty the can out.

A smaller can will need to be emptied at least once a day, if not more. Larger cans will most likely need emptying once or twice a week.

Amount of Space Available

How much space you actually have for the can will also affect how big it needs to be.

After all, if you have only a small amount of space, you can’t really put a large, 20-gallon can there, can you?

A large trash can in the kitchen can also make the room feel a bit dirty while also taking up floor space.

Under-sink trash cans can help with this problem, but the space there is somewhat limited.

Depending on where you plan to keep the trash can, you can decide how big or small it needs to be.

A stainless steel trash can, usually around 16 gallons at max, will often work well enough if you’re short on space.

These trash cans are also the right size to fit into small spaces like under the sink or between fixtures, so they can also help save up on floor space.

Another aspect to consider is how the trash can affects the size of the kitchen itself.

You don’t want to keep a large trash can in a room that is already rather small since this will make it look smaller.

You also don’t want a can that is so small that it won’t serve its purpose either.

Garbage bag

Size of Garbage Bag

You might wonder why this is a point to consider at all. Why do you need to think about the garbage bags when buying a trash can?

It is actually quite important. Garbage bags actually come in very limited sizes, which means that if you don’t want your trash can to leak or spillover, you need to get a trash can that works with the size of the bag as well.

A bag that is too small for your trash can will end up creating a mess, while a bag that is too big will do the same.

Of course, if you’re able to manage the amount of trash that goes in, you can keep this from happening, but in most cases, we don’t think too hard about how much trash there is until it gets out of hand.

This problem is also easily resolved by reusing old grocery bags as trash bags, but not everyone likes to do this, especially since you can use grocery bags for other things, and they’re not as stable as garbage bags.

What Size Trash Can You Need?

Ultimately, the right size for the trash can depends on all of the above.

A 13-gallon trash can (usually just the right size to keep under the sink) is good enough to handle all the waste for a family of four.

However, if your kitchen is larger and you have a lot of waste material, a larger can may be helpful.

For many families, even larger ones, a larger trash can is more of a convenience than a necessity, but for very large families or commercial kitchens, a larger, 20-gallon can be needed. 

Summing Up What Size Trash Can You Need

Figuring out what size trash can your home needs can be difficult, but as long as you consider the factors we talked about above, you’ll be able to figure it out in no time.

Just make sure you take into account what size room you have, how much trash you’ll generally be putting out, and the bag size.

Lindsay Reed

Hi, I'm the founder of! I created this website to be a resource for everyone who wants to make the best home possible.