What Size is a Kitchen Trash Can [Ultimate Size Guide]

What size is a kitchen trash can // Trash can storage in a small kitchen // www.tantrumsandtools.com

You know you’re an adult when you’re wondering what size is a kitchen trash can. Yes?! 

Adulting aside, it is a great question and probably isn’t something you have thought much about until now. You may be remodeling your kitchen, moving into a new home, or looking to replace your trash can.

Coming from experience, finding the right size and place to put a trash can is sometimes more complicated than you’d think! Two items stumped me in my most recent kitchen remodel – the trash can and the microwave. Regardless of where I put either of these, it just wouldn’t work. 

So, what did I do? Well, more on this saga later! Let’s get to why you are here, which is the size of a kitchen trash can.


Just a friendly reminder: This tutorial and any opinions or recommendations are genuinely mine, but this is not a substitute for consulting a professional. I also use affiliate links to earn a commission.


What Size is the Average Kitchen Trash Can

The average kitchen trash can depend on where you’re talking about putting it. The best way to figure out what is best is first to figure out where you’re going to put it and then measure it.

  • For a freestanding trash can, usually placed at the end of the kitchen island, the ideal dimensions are 20-30 high by 10-15 wide.
  • In-cabinet trash can sizes depend on the cabinet size and, on average, are 15 wide by 20 tall. This style also allows for two trash cans with one behind the other.
  • Under-sink trash cans are ideal for small spaces or if you don’t produce much trash. The height of this trash can is going to be somewhere around 10 inches.

How Many Gallons is the Average Kitchen Trash Can

What size is a kitchen trash can // Kitchen trash can storage // www.tantrumsandtools.com

The average kitchen trash can is 12-16 gallons, with 13 gallons being the most common since this is the size of standard trash bags.

Don’t worry about finding matching trash bag sizes to trash can sizes. The good news is that trash bags can fit a wide variety of sized trash bins. Just make sure the width of the trash cans mouth is smaller than the trash bag.

What is the Dimension of a 13 Gallon Trash Can

The dimensions of a 13-gallon trash can are between 13-15 inches wide x 17-20 inches tall. Standard 13-gallon trash bags fit these dimensions well. 

What Size Cabinet Do You Need for a Pull-Out Trash Can?

If you have the cabinet to spare, putting your trash can into one of the cabinets is great because It hides the unsightly can and allows easy access since there is no lid. You can buy kits to quickly transform any kitchen cabinet into a hidden trash bin. 

The key is that you first need to have a kitchen cabinet to spare. Then once you know the exact cabinet for your trash can, you’ll need to measure the inside space of the cabinet.

An ideal sized cabinet for a 13-gallon trash can is 18 inches.

Under-sink cabinets are sometimes used for kitchen trash cans. It is ideal for small spaces because it uses an available cabinet. Under the sink, trash cans are not ideal if you produce a lot of trash. This is not an option for a family.

YouTube video
DIY Hidden Kitchen Cabinet Pull-Out Trash Can // Tanusha’s DIY Home Projects

Best Kitchen Trash Cans

The best trash can is not one size fits all. There are many different factors and different trash cans to consider.

Best Kitchen Trash Can for Dogs

Our family dog loved trash; she loved pulling it out and leaving a long trail of debris around the house when we were not home. It’s disgusting, I know. But if you’re a dog owner, I’m willing to bet you may have a similar problem. 

It’s no wonder dogs get into our trash because they want human food, and we put our food scraps into the garbage.

It smells good, so they go for it, and if you don’t have the proper trash can, they will get what they want. All messes aside, getting into the trash can actually be harmful to them!

The best kitchen trash can for dogs has a heavy, sturdy lid and an extended foot petal. Avoid styles that have a motion sensor trash lid. 

The sturdy top makes it harder for them to nudge the top open with their nose. It also stops the trash can from opening if they knock the whole thing over.

The best choice also has an extended foot petal which makes it harder for the dog to trigger the lid open. 

Best Kitchen Trash Can for Odor Control

My top pick for a trash container that reduces food waste odor is something with a lid design that forms a tight seal. 

The quality of your garbage bags can also decrease nasty food smells from seeping from your large trash can and into your kitchen. 

Best Kitchen Trash Can for Large Family

A large family means a large amount of trash. You might think a bigger trash can is the way to solve your family’s needs, but before buying anything, consider these two things. 

  • Larger cans may take up too much space. 
  • The largest trash can will take longer to fill, meaning your kitchen waste is sitting inside your home longer than if you had a smaller trash can that you emptied more often.

The best trash can for a large family is large enough to take a few days to fill yet small enough so it can’t become so full that it’s hard to lift and stinky that your whole kitchen smells foul.

Things to Consider When Picking a Kitchen Trash Can

I knew I had reached adulthood when I was excited to receive a trash can for Christmas. Seriously, I was thrilled because a good trash can is not cheap! 

Here are the things you should carefully consider to help you pick the right size trash can.

  1. Room type – bathroom trash cans, bedrooms, offices, and kitchens have very different trash can needs.
  2. Number of people – large families will produce more trash than small families.
  3. Amount of trash you create – Less trash produced means you can get away with having a smaller trash can.
  4. Size of the space smaller kitchens will need smaller trash cans, and vice versa with a larger kitchen.
  5. How often you empty the trash – if you don’t mind taking out the garbage every night, a smaller trash can is okay for you.
  6. What size trash bags – if you have a favorite trash bag, then you’ll need to pick a trash can that this bag will fit.

Where to put a Garbage Can in a Small Kitchen

When it comes to where you should put your trash can in a small kitchen, you have a few options. Inside a cabinet is ideal if you’re looking to maximize floor space.

There are several ways to make your smaller kitchen more functional and even feel larger. One trick is not taking valuable floor space with an oversized trash can. Smaller trash cans may mean you have to empty the trash more often, but that is a reasonable trade-off for more kitchen floor space.

Another is to tuck your trash can at the end of your kitchen island. Something like an attractive stainless steel trash can will look polished in this space. Or, pick one that is the same color as your island to help the trash can blend in. 

This is the route I ended up going with my kitchen trash can saga. I really wanted a hidden trash can, the cabinet pull-out type. But when you have a small kitchen with no upper cabinets because you had to have floating kitchen shelves… taking another cabinet for the trash can is out of the question.

So, what size kitchen trash can is best for you? Leave a comment with your reply!


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