Box sizes for shipping, dimensions by type and company

Box sizes for shipping affect the shipping cost, shipping details, shipping rates, maximum weight, and sometimes dimensional weight of the shipment. Shipping boxes with lightweight are much preferred in situations where the container’s weight is taken into consideration for products that are transported over long distances, most especially to external customers. Why is getting box sizes right so important? It will save you a lot of money if you get the right-sized shipment box.

Don’t mistake a shipping box for a cargo container. A shipping box is a package that your products arrive in. A cargo container is a big metallic box that the cargo ships load and offload at docks by using cranes.

You might ask, why are shipping boxes important? Common materials they are made of include wood or plastic or cardboard or even paper. The shipping box is the actual container that holds your goods. It is the one that makes sure that nothing in there is shaky or bumpy.

Box Sizes for Shipping table of content:

How To Choose The Right Shipping Box

Heavier items usually need boxes with higher tensile strength and therefore usually require custom packaging. Boxes for packing these items are usually made of a composite material with tight closure flaps and a corrugated shape. The common box forms for heavy items are made with double-wall heavy-duty construction. They are made with high quality and sturdy materials, which gives them the ability to withstand any form of pressure or abrasion. 

Fragile items always require extra packaging and use cushioning material for fragile packaging. Bulky items like kitchen items need dense packages and sometimes fragile packaging.

Shipping options will vary based on company, but every post office will prefer boxes with great stacking strength. Although heavy products won’t be stacked unnecessarily, freight shipping services prefer corrugated shipping boxes. These are custom boxes for heavy items that give the customer and the post office peace of mind about the shipment.

Specialty boxes are another set of custom boxes that are popular in customer service. These boxes usually come equipped with container flaps. These are flaps that have been designed to hold in the item. Unlike normal folds that can be opened easily, these folds form part of the box walls. These boxes are highly adaptable. They can be cut to any shape or sizes easily, glued, taped, stapled in anyway you like. The features of these boxes are endless. The fact that they can be customized or cut into any size allows manufacturers to design unique packaging with these boxes and reduce dimensional shipping costs.

How To Measure The Right Box for your shipment?

The dimensions of a shipping box are measured in inches. This is a worldwide phenomenon and might be disturbing for those who use metric measurements. In the metric world, cubic measurements are preferred for an assortment of shapes. Luckily enough, there are so many sizes to choose from and in case your box is a little bit too big, you can use fillers to fill up the empty spaces. A good filler is a styrofoam, plastic is another good one. The dimensions of the goods to be packed are measured, and then the box is measured. Always add one inch to the measurements of the object. Three measurements are taken in inches are always written down exactly one after the other.

1. Box Length:

This is a measure of how long the box is. In other words, the sideways distance between the opposing right and left corners of the box walls. Boxes with an elongated shape might reduce domestic prices.

2. Box Width – Breadth:

This is a measure of how wide the box is and is also called width. In other words, the distance between opposing front and back corners of the box walls.

3. Box Height:

This is a measure of how tall the box is. In other words, the upward distance between the floor of the box and it’s brim. This is the only measurement that does not include the box flaps.

When you measure the interior dimensions follow the steps below as accurately as you can.

1. Open up the box to all its flaps. In other words, try to have one large surface are of one continuous piece of boxing material. 

2. Position the unglued(opened up) box in front of you, with the inside of the box facing up. Draw a line on the score lines where the box folds to create different panels.

3. Mark the two scores that make up the length, width, and depth of the box. The scores can be marked as little dots on the places where the box flaps touch one another.

4. Use a tape to measure the length between each of these scores to the nearest tenth of an inch. 

How do I choose a shipping box and it’s size?

The most popular way to select a shipping box is to place your product into a package with minimal extra space. Like this you can add protective cushioning. Be aware of using a shipping box that is too large for your product. It will put the items at risk of damage or increase shipping costs due to its size

The most common standard size shipping box sizes for a wide range of items are as listed below;

  1. 9″ x 6″ x 2″ : standard box size for iphone size, samsung galaxy size, …
  2. 17” x 12 ⅜” x 12 ⅜”: books, magazines, CDs, DVDs, small electronics.
  3. 18” x 16” x 18”: towels, lamps/lampshades, home decorations.
  4. 18” x 18” x 24”: kitchen appliances, pillows, pool, and outdoor equipment. 

Looking for Paper sizes, post card sizes, all handled here

Box sizes for shipping an Iphone 9x6x2 Inches Shipping Boxes
Box sizes for shipping an iPhone 9x6x2 Inches Shipping Boxes

Standard box sizes for shipping

The following table shows the sizes of common prefabricated boxes.

Dimensions Of Box (In Inches)Example Of Goods
8×8×8Drinking Cups
12×12×18Coffee Maker
13×9×11Large Bowl
14×14×14Set of bowls
12×9×6Picture Frames
9×11×11Large Vase
20×20×12Dinnerware Set
28×28×28Sport Equipment
24×24×18Large Computer Printers

The next two tables show the flat rate sizes from two shipping companies.

USPS Box Size Chart

DescriptionDimensions in inchesExample Of Goods
Envelope12×9Letters, Documents,
Small cube box7×7×6Jewellery, stationery
Large cube box12×12×8Coffeemaker
Shoebox7×5×14Shoes, cups
Small side box11×2×13Small electronics
Medium side box12×3×14Kitchen utensils
Large side box20×5×20Large electronics

FedEx Box Size Chart

DescriptionDimensionsExample Of Goods
Envelope10×7Gift cards
Legal envelope15×9Documents
Small box9×5×2Small electronics
Medium box13×12×3Office supplies, shoes
Large box12×12×6Laptop
Forever boxVarious custom sizesVarious options

Box sizes for shipping explained

Box sizes for shipping goods explained by Lumi


Choosing the right box is not that easy. Packaging boxes must have a good enough compression strength with high box strength ratings. A cushioned package comes with a broad range of box sizes for shipping and box dimensions. The cost to ship different boxes vary and therefore you must always seek cost-effective solutions.

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