Dimensional Weight Calculator
Dimensional weight (also called DIM weight or volumetric weight) is a pricing technique used by shipping carriers to ensure they don’t lose money on large, lightweight shipments. Dimensional weight is calculated with a formula using the volume weight of a package based on the actual dimensions of the box. While physical weight is the weight of the shipment according to the scale, dimensional weight is calculated based on the package’s length, width, and height.
Use our Dimensional Weight Calculator below
to get a quote for your products.
Use a scale to determine the physical weight of the ready-to-ship package.
Measure the length, width, and height of the box.
Use the Dimensional Weight Calculator below to determine the base cost to ship the package for each shipping carrier.
Need help calculating DIM Weight?
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Not all weight is created equal. What you consider “light and soft” could conceivably take up a lot of space and hinder carriers from shipping with other products. Picture it this way: It costs more to ship a plane full of feather pillows than one filled with smartphones. The pillows take up more space, they cost less, and you need more shipments to make a significant profit.
Have you ever tried to close a suitcase, but you couldn’t zip it all the way because it was too full? The same stands true for carriers transporting your products: their space is limited, it’ll eventually reach capacity, and somebody’s stuff will have to be left out so the truck/plane/train/shipping container can be zipped shut.
Every carrier, no matter the shipping method, has developed packing strategies to maximize their capacity and ultimately their revenue. To that end, carriers also created a technique to measure dimensional weight to make the most out of lightweight items that occupy more space.
If your package is relatively heavy and small, the physical weight will likely be more than the calculated dimensional weight (for example, shipping a heavy iron kettlebell). In that case, your FedEx, UPS, or USPS shipping cost will most likely be based on the actual weight of the package. However, if the dimensional weight is greater than the physical weight, you’ll be billed based on the dimensional weight (for example, shipping a lightweight titanium bike frame). Thus, larger parcels with lighter items are more likely to be adversely affected by dimensional weight pricing.
Determine the package dimensions, and divide by a DIM Factor:
(Parcel Height x Parcel Width x Parcel Length)/DIM Factor = DIM Weight*
*Rounded up to the nearest whole number
To calculate dimensional weight, measure the length, width, and height of the box. Then multiply the results to obtain the cubic size of your package.
Here’s an example: You have a box measuring 40 inches x 16 inches x 16 inches. Now multiply the three dimensions — 40 times 16 times 16 — which equals 10,240 cubic inches.
Depending on the carrier, you’ll divide the total cubic inches by the dimensional weight divisor. For FedEx and UPS, the retail dimensional weight divisor is 139 and both DHL and USPS use 166 as the dim factor for packages less than 1,728 cubic inches (or 1 cubic foot).
So if you ship that box domestically via UPS, its dimensional weight equals 74 lbs (or 10,240 divided by 139).
Pro Tip: Make sure you always round up the results. For instance, the length of the package is 24.25, round it up to 25.
Dimensional weight can often be reduced, to some degree, by making your package as small as possible. ShipMonk’s fulfillment team uses efficient packaging materials to maximize space utilization and reduce shipping costs. With your approval, we will even remove a product from its original box and repackage it to better utilize the space and reduce dimensional weight to save you more on shipping costs. The savings add up!