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How to Measure a Shipping Box—Sizes and Instructions—Shopify Help (2022)

Preparing packages for shipment can be a confusing process the first time, especially if you are a brand new business fulfilling your first order!

Don’t worry, “how to measure the box” is not a stupid question. Knowing exactly how to measure a box is very important for shipping because carriers and shipping companies will charge either the dimensional weight (volume) or the actual weight of the package; therefore, you may be asked about the dimensions, volume or girth of your package. Knowing these numbers can help you provide the best shipping rates or find out which type of delivery is most beneficial to your business.

Once you know how to measure your shipping box and get the best prices, the process will become an integral part of your business — that’s why it’s important to get it done right away.

How to measure a box

To measure the package, you will need a tape measure or ruler, a box, a pencil and a piece of paper to mark the dimensions.

When you are measuring the shipping box, you will need to measure the outside dimensions. On the other hand, if you are purchasing boxes for your business, you will want to know the inside dimensions. This ensures that your products fit snugly inside and avoid damage. Internal dimensioning ensures little wiggle room to keep your products safe during shipping and handling.

When measuring the outside dimensions of your box, you will need to measure length, width and height (L x W x H). This is the standard order of measurements.

How to measure box dimensions:

  • The first dimension to measure is length. This will be the longest side of the valve box.
  • Next comes the width. The width also has a valve, but will be shorter than the length. Turn the box 90 degrees to measure the width.
  • Finally, the height of the package. Height is the only measurement without a a flap Close the drawers and measure the height from top to bottom.

Note: Allowable manufacturing variance is +/- ⅛ inch.

How to calculate the volume of a box

Calculating the volume of your parcels will help you more easily determine everything from shipping to warehousing and distribution processes. Volume calculation is critical in optimizing materials and costs.

To calculate the volume of your package for shipping, you need to multiply the length by the width by the height.

L x W x H = Volume. For example;

  • L = 16 inches
  • W = 12 inches
  • H = 8 inches

how to measure a box

16 x 12 x 8 = 1536 cubic inches (cu).

How to measure box circumference

For uniquely shaped packages, such as cylinder boxes (used to ship prints or posters), you may need to calculate the girth. Some carriers require the circumference of the box to calculate the shipping cost.

You can calculate the circumference of the box by using a flexible measuring tape to find the distance around the widest point of the package. This measure is girth.

To find out the girth, you need to measure width and height and times two.

Circumference = 2 (W + H)

If we use the example above, we will multiply the width (12 inches) by 2. This will give us 24. Then we will take the height (8 inches) and also multiply by 2. This will give us 16.

We then add up the results to get the coverage.

How to keep shipping costs low

With worldwide shipping costs on the rise, it’s important to keep an eye on it change in shipping costs. However, there are a few small business advice keep in mind to maintain the best shipping prices.

  • Make sure you use the correct box for your product. If you use a large box for a small or light product, you will pay more because of the space the packaging takes up. A large box leads to a large overall weight, which will mean a higher shipping cost.
  • You can reduce shipping costs by reusing old boxes or Ship in Own Container (SIOC) packaging (you add a shipping label to your product packaging, so you don’t have to repack it in another box). For smaller items, you can trade the boxes for polymer ones, which weigh much less.
  • Check if your e-commerce platform offers discounted shipping rates. For example, Shipping by Shopify helps sellers save up to 88% with USPS, UPS and DHL discounts.

Discover cheaper shipping with Shopify

https://www.shopify.com/blog/how-to-measure-a-box How to Measure a Shipping Box—Sizes and Instructions—Shopify Help (2022)

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