Kitchen Trash Can Size Matters – Here’s How to Get It Right

When it comes to kitchen trash cans, size definitely matters. The right trash can size for your kitchen depends on several factors, including the can’s location, your household waste volume, and ease of use. With so many options to choose from, it can be tricky to select the perfect kitchen trash can size for your needs.

Read on to learn the ideal kitchen trash can size for freestanding, in-cabinet, and under sink cans. We’ll also cover how to pick the right trash bags and liners.

What Size Trash Can Does Your Kitchen Need?

The most common overall kitchen trash can size is 13 gallons. In general, standard kitchen trash cans range from 12 to 16 gallons in total capacity.

However, the ideal trash can size for your kitchen depends on several factors:

  • Household size – Larger households produce more trash
  • Frequency of emptying – Cans emptied less often need more capacity
  • Types of waste – Food scraps take up more space than recyclables

To choose the right kitchen trash can size, it’s helpful to look at recommendations based on where the can will be placed – freestanding, in-cabinet, or under sink. Let’s explore the ideal sizes for each trash can type.

standard kitchen trash can size

Trash Can Sizes for Different Kitchen Locations

Not all kitchen trash cans are created equal. The optimum size and dimensions vary based on where the trash receptacle will be situated.

Freestanding Kitchen Trash Cans

Freestanding trash cans are designed to sit independently on the kitchen floor. These receptacles are commonly 20-30 inches high and 10-15 inches wide. This size range allows for easy access without occupying too much floor space.

Since they are not constrained by cabinet dimensions, freestanding kitchen trash cans can accommodate larger capacities. They are a great option for high-volume kitchen waste.

In-Cabinet Kitchen Trash Cans

In-cabinet trash cans maximize kitchen storage by fitting directly inside cabinetry. They are specifically proportioned for standard cabinet sizes, typically measuring around 15 inches wide and 20 inches high.

Many in-cabinet trash cans are designed with two bins or receptacles side-by-side, still keeping the total dimensions within a standard 15 to 20 inch width.

The key is choosing an in-cabinet trash can sized to perfectly fit your existing kitchen cabinetry.

Under Sink Kitchen Trash Cans

For trash cans that reside under the kitchen sink, smaller dimensions are required. Under sink trash cans need to fit in the cabinet space around the sink basin and plumbing.

Most under sink kitchen trash cans are less than 10 inches high. This compact size allows them to comfortably fit under counter overhangs and pipes while remaining easily accessible.

When shopping for an under sink trash can, carefully measure the available open cabinet space beforehand. This ensures you select a trash can that will properly fit.

Choosing the Right Trash Can Capacity

Along with the overall size, the capacity of a kitchen trash can also needs consideration. Capacity refers to the interior volume and is measured in gallons.

Here are some typical kitchen trash can gallon sizes:

  • 12 gallon
  • 13 gallon
  • 16 gallon

How do you determine the ideal capacity? Take into account:

  • Household size – More people require more trash volume.
  • Food prep and waste – Home cooks produce more scraps.
  • Recycling needs – Recyclables fill capacity quickly.
  • Pickup schedule – Infrequent pickup needs more space between emptying.

For instance, a family of 5 that cooks meals daily and has weekly waste pickup would need a high-capacity 13-16 gallon kitchen trash can. While a single person with minimal food waste could get by with a 12 gallon can.

Key Measurements for Trash Can Dimensions

When determining the right kitchen trash can size, pay attention to these key measurements:

  • Height – Affects accessibility and ease of use.
  • Width – Impacts capacity and floor footprint.
  • Depth – Influences interior volume.
  • Opening diameter – Determines how easily trash can enter.
  • Shape – Round or rectangular.

Carefully gauge the space available, both within cabinets and out. Allow for a few extra inches beyond the trash can’s dimensions to accommodate liners and bags.

An accurate measurement of your kitchen space is key for choosing the optimal trash can size. Do not assume standard cabinet sizes – physically measure first.

Special Considerations for Trash Can Liners

Another important factor in trash can sizing is the liners and bags used inside. Trash can liners serve several purposes:

  • Prevent liquid leaks
  • Stop bags from slipping down
  • Contain odors

For best results, size your trash bags or liners specifically to match your kitchen trash can dimensions. Here are some trash bag sizing guidelines by gallon capacity:

  • 10-13 gallon can = 13 gallon trash bags
  • 16-20 gallon can = 20-30 gallon trash bags
  • 33 gallon can = 39 gallon trash bags

With the right bag size, you avoid problems like:

  • Bags slipping down into the can
  • Trash overflowing too small bags
  • Bags tearing from over-stretching

Take these liner and bag considerations into account when selecting your ideal kitchen trash can size.

Freestanding vs Mounted Kitchen Trash Cans

Another size-related choice is whether to use a freestanding kitchen trash can or a mounted version. Here are some pros and cons to weigh:

Freestanding Trash Cans

  • PRO – Can accommodate larger capacities
  • PRO – Easily moved around kitchen
  • CON – Take up floor space

Mounted Trash Cans

  • PRO – Save floor space
  • PRO – Hide trash out of sight
  • CON – More difficult to empty
  • CON – Limited to available space

For mounted kitchen trash cans, pay close attention to placement. Position it near food prep areas for convenient use. Allow adequate room to fully open cabinets and drawers nearby.

Some clever options for mounted trash cans include pull-out cabinet cans and trash can drawers. These mechanisms bring the hidden trash can within easy reach.

Choosing Durable and Functional Materials

Kitchen trash cans come in a variety of materials, each with pros and cons:

  • Plastic – Affordable, lightweight, easy to clean
  • Metal – Durable, dent-resistant, sleek appearance
  • Stone – Sophisticated natural look, but heavy and fragile

Consider factors like dent and stain resistance, noise levels when closing the lid, and aesthetics for different materials. Look for trash cans with features that enhance functionality and convenience:

  • Step pedals for hands-free opening
  • Close proximity sensors to automatically open the lid
  • Integrated odor control like charcoal filters
  • Fingerprint-proof coatings that resist smudges and residue

As we’ve covered, standard kitchen trash can sizes range from 12-16 gallons, with 13 gallons as the most versatile option. Larger freestanding cans have more capacity, while smaller in-cabinet and under sink cans maximize space.

When selecting your ideal kitchen trash can size, first measure the exact available space. Then factor in your household’s trash volume needs. The right proportions allow for easy access without congesting your kitchen.

By carefully choosing the perfect size trash can for your kitchen location, habits, and preferences, you’ll keep your space clutter-free and pleasantly odor-free.

Here are some final tips for choosing the right kitchen trash can size:

  • Prioritize function over aesthetics
  • Allow space for trash bag liners and overhang
  • Consider ease of access and usage
  • Select durable, high-quality materials
  • Measure carefully before purchasing

Keeping your cooking space fresh and tidy is what you can focus on with the perfect kitchen trash can. Bon appetit!

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