How to Calculate Dimensional Weight

metrokom/iStock/Getty Images

Dimensional weight provides an economical alternative for shipping irregular or heavy packages. Airlines, cargo companies and shipping carriers provide services based on dimensional weight. The U.S. Postal Service has a flat-rate box for Priority Mail that is shipped for dimensional weight. To save money, compare costs for shipping your package based on its actual weight vs. the calculated dimensional weight.

Rectangular Packages

Weigh your package and take the measurements (rounding up to the nearest inch) in Length (L), Width (W) and Depth (D).

Insert your values into the formula L x W x D and divide by 194 to calculate your dimensional weight in pounds. For example, a package of 20 inches in length, 10 inches in width and 15 inches in depth is 3,000 cubic inches. Divide by 194 and the dimensional weight is 15.464 lb.

Round up the dimensional weight to the nearest pound, or depending on your shipping carrier, to the nearest level of shipping weight. So a package with a calculated dimensional weight of 15.464 lb. will be rounded to 16 lb. Your shipper might charge shipping at a rate of up to 20 lb.

Compare your package's dimensional shipping weight with its actual weight to determine an economical shipping method.

Nonrectangular Packages

Weigh your package and take the measurements (rounding up to the nearest inch) in Length (L), Width (W) and Depth (D).

Insert your values into the formula L x W x D. For example, a package that is 20 inches in length by 10 inches in width and 15 inches in depth is 3,000 cubic inches.

Multiply the total by 0.765 to account for an irregular shape. For 3,000 cubic inches, the dimensional weight for an irregular shape would be 2,355 cubic inches.

Divide the dimensional weight for an irregular shape by 194 to calculate the dimensional weight and round up to the nearest pound. For 2,355 cubic inches, the dimensional weight for an irregular shape would be 12.139 lb. Rounded up would be 13 lb.

Compare your package's dimensional shipping weight with its actual weight to determine the more economical shipping method.

Tips

  • If you can't weigh the package on a scale, weigh yourself, then weigh yourself holding the package. The weight of the package is your combined weight minus your body weight.

References

Resources

About the Author

Regina Edwards has been a freelance writer since 1990. She has penned video scripts, instructional manuals, white papers and abstracts. She has also ghostwritten diabetes journals. Edwards is a scuba instructor and Usui and Karuna Reiki teacher. She holds a Bachelor of Science from Saint Joseph's University.

Photo Credits

  • metrokom/iStock/Getty Images