Roll-Off Dumpster vs. Dumpster Bag: a Comparison

If you are working on home renovations, landscaping, or construction, then you have probably noticed that the debris and waste from your project can pile up quite fast – possibly significantly faster than you expected, particularly if this is your first major project like this! You have probably seen two different types of waste management systems in use at other sites: the standard roll-off dumpster, and the dumpster bag, otherwise known as a bagster. But what is the difference between roll-off dumpsters and bagsters? And which one is best for your project? Well, the answer might surprise you. Read on below to learn more about the differences between roll-off dumpsters and bagsters, including the differing strengths and weaknesses of each option. 

Saint James, MD and the Washington County area are within our delivery radius at Eagle Dumpster Rental

Roll-Off Dumpsters and Dumpster Bags: What is the Difference?

The similarities between the roll-off dumpster and the bagster are obvious: they are both containers that you set up on your property, fill with debris, junk, and other waste as needed, and then have them hauled away for disposal once they are full. Easy. The differences between them are less obvious, though, and just as important. 

Firstly, the sizes available differ. Roll-off dumpsters come in a wide range of different sizes: 10, 15, 20, 30, and 40 cubic yard sizes. Each size has its own weight limit, with larger dumpsters able to hold a higher weight than smaller dumpsters. A dumpster bag, meanwhile, comes in a standard size: 3 cubic yards, with a maximum weight limit of 3,300 pounds. That is much smaller than even the smallest dumpster, which is great for a small project, but larger projects can end up using a very large number of bags.

The dimensions are also worth considering, particularly if you have a relatively small site and are unsure what size of dumpster you can fit. Roll-off dumpsters vary depending on the size you have chosen. Typically, they are 8 feet wide, between 10 and 20 feet in length, and between 4 and 7 feet tall. Dumpster bags are smaller, with a standard size of 8 feet long, 4 feet wide, and 2.6 feet tall.

Roll-off dumpsters require a large flat area for placement, and it is important to check local regulations before you rent one. If local regulations allow dumpsters to be placed in the street, that should be ideal, but otherwise, you will have to find a suitable flat area on your property. Dumpster bags are easier to place, as long as you can find some space within around 18 feet of the street.

Pickup is another area with significant differences. Dumpster bag pickup is not available in all areas, so it is important to research whether or not you can access this before you purchase your dumpster bags. Roll-off dumpster pickups can be booked online or via phone and need to be booked in advance, as moving a full dumpster can take a fair bit of effort!

The biggest difference between the traditional roll-off dumpster and the bagster is in the materials from which each is made. A roll-off dumpster is a heavy-duty piece of equipment made from solid metal, designed to take a beating. It is tough, reusable, and designed to be filled with all sorts of heavy, sharp, or otherwise awkward debris. A dumpster bag, meanwhile, is made from a tarpaulin-like canvas, with strong handles mounted on the sides. Dumpster bags are fairly durable, but if you overfill them, they can tear when picked up, so you need to be careful when filling them up.

Cost Comparison of Bagsters and Roll-Off Dumpsters

The big advantage of dumpster bags is the cost. The most affordable brands can be bought for as low as $30 per bag from major outlets like Amazon, Lowes, or Home Depot. However, the cost of the bag itself is not the only cost you are going to need to consider. Pickup costs for dumpster bags can be high, averaging around $140 per bag for a full bag. That is a total of around $170 total for a full 3,300 pound bag of debris. These costs may vary depending on your location and which company you use, but the numbers given here are a reasonable ballpark. 

Renting a roll-off dumpster, meanwhile, can be harder to predict the cost of. This is because the length of time you rent for and the size of the dumpster chosen can have an enormous impact on cost. On average, dumpster rentals range in price from around $300 to around $500. 

This means that in most cases, a roll-off dumpster will be the cheaper option. However, if you are doing a smaller project that will only require one or two dumpster bags, the total cost of buying and uplifting dumpster bags might be lower.

Which is Best: Buying a Dumpster Bag or Renting a Dumpster?

Dumpster bags are great for smaller projects, such as minor partial home renovations or garden landscaping. For larger jobs, however, the cost of multiple bags can add up fast, while dumpster rental scales much better. Renting a dumpster from a reputable company such as Eagle Dumpster Rental is likely to be the better bet for all but the smallest jobs.

It is also worth noting that roll-off dumpsters are designed for long-term use, while bagsters are single-use objects. That makes them a bit of a problem from a sustainability standpoint, as every bagster used adds to the amount of waste generated by a project.


Bagsters and roll-off dumpsters are both valuable options to have available for any major DIY or home renovation project, each with its own strengths and weaknesses. In most cases, though, the traditional roll-off dumpster is likely to be the better option. There is a reason the standard dumpster design has remained virtually unchanged for so many decades!

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