How to Measure a Box For Shipping: The Right Dimensions

choosing the right-sized box can help you ship smarter and save money

  • Written by Ellie Kwon
  • Published on July 28, 2023
  • Time to read 9 minutes


Have you ever wondered why the size of a shipping box matters? As a 3PL provider, understanding the importance of measuring boxes correctly and selecting the right size for shipping can help you save costs, improve efficiency, and keep your customers happy. In this blog post, we will explain the basics of measuring a box, explore why shipping box size is crucial, and show you how choosing the right-sized box can help you ship smarter and save money. Let’s dive in!

How to Measure a Box For Shipping

Before we delve into the why, let’s start with the how. Measuring a box accurately is the first step in ensuring cost-effective and efficient shipping. Here’s a simple guide:

– Length: Measure the longest side of the box from one edge to the other, like measuring the length of a long pencil.

– Width: Measure the shorter side of the box from one edge to the other, just like measuring the width of a small notebook.

– Height: Measure the vertical side of the box from the base to the top, similar to measuring the height of a tall glass.

Remember, use the same units of measurement, such as inches or centimeters, throughout for consistency.

Why Shipping Box Size Matters 

Imagine you have a big bag of candy to send to your friend. You could put it in a huge box, but that would be wasteful, right? Shipping carriers charge not only based on weight but also on the size of the package. So, if you use a big box for a small item, you pay more because you’re wasting space.

Using the right-sized box is like playing Tetris. You want to fit all the candies into the smallest box possible, just like arranging puzzle pieces to fill all the gaps. Doing this makes the best use of the space and saves money on shipping costs.

When you use a box that’s too big, it can lead to problems. Imagine trying to stack different-sized blocks. It becomes wobbly, and if you’re not careful, it can all come crashing down! The same thing can happen with oversized shipping boxes. They don’t stack well, increasing the chances of things getting damaged during shipping.

A graphic illustration shows an open box next to a measuring stick, and various sums of cash, representing the costs saved when using the correct box.

Cost Savings with the Right Size Box

Now, let’s talk about how choosing the right-sized box can save you money:

Dimensional Weight Optimization:

Shipping carriers calculate the cost based on dimensional weight (DIM weight), which considers both the size and weight of the package. When you use a box that’s too big for the items inside, you pay more for the unused space. It’s like buying a massive backpack for a small book—it just doesn’t make sense!

Avoiding Surcharges:

Carriers often charge additional fees for oversized or irregularly shaped packages. You can avoid these surcharges using the right-sized box and keep your shipping costs in check. It’s like avoiding extra charges when you use the right-sized suitcase for your vacation.

Efficient Packaging:

Smaller boxes require less packaging material, like bubble wrap or foam peanuts. That saves money on supplies and reduces waste. It’s like using just the right amount of wrapping paper to cover a gift without wasting any.

Warehouse Space Utilization:

By choosing the right-sized boxes, you can maximize your warehouse space. Small boxes take up less room, allowing you to store more products efficiently. It’s like organizing your neatly in a box to fit more toys in the same space.


In conclusion, measuring a box accurately and choosing the right size for shipping is crucial for a 3PL provider. Using the analogy of playing Tetris or stacking blocks, we can understand the importance of maximizing space and avoiding instability. Selecting the right-sized box helps optimize shipping costs, prevents surcharges, improves packaging efficiency, and optimizes warehouse space utilization. So, remember to measure your boxes carefully, choose the perfect fit, and watch your savings add up! Happy shipping!

LatestFrom the blog

The latest industry news, interviews, technologies, and resources.

View all posts
View all posts