This page examines the properties of a right circular cylinder. A cylinder has a radius (r) and a height (h) (see picture below).
This shape is similar to a can. The surface area is the area of the top and bottom circles (which are the same), and the area of the rectangle (label that wraps around the can)
The Cylinder Area Formula
The picture below illustrates how the formula for the area of a cylinder is simply the sum of the areas of the top and bottom circles plus the area of a rectangle. This rectangle is what the cylinder would look like if we 'unraveled' it.
Below is a picture of the general formula for area