What Is Dimensional Weight Shipping?

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What Is Dimensional Weight Shipping?

Dimensional weight shipping is a method used by sellers and couriers to determine the weight of a package for shipping.

Interestingly, this method does not involve scales or a weight measurement device that determines the mass of a package, known to many couriers as a package’s actual weight. Instead, dimensional weight is calculated based on the size of the package, notably its dimensions.

In this post, we will explore more about dimensional weight, including how to calculate it and why sellers in particular should pay extra attention to it. Plus, discover 5 tips that can help you optimize your packaging’s dimensional weight.

Why Is Dimensional Weight Shipping Important?

Firstly, let’s look at why sellers should be aware of their package’s dimensional weight before paying for shipping.

Dimensional weight matters to sellers because many couriers use it to calculate shipping fees. Moreover, most of these couriers will typically charge sellers for the largest weight between the product’s actual weight or its dimensional weight, this is known as the billable weight.

Thinking about a package’s dimensional weight can come at a surprise to many new businesses, especially entrepreneurs or first-time sellers who are attempting to economize on shipping fees by making their product’s actual weight as light as possible.

If you are a seller who is shipping products with a courier, you might be paying more for your shipping than needed. This is especially true if you are shipping lightweight items in large boxes like fashion, medicine and even small electronic goods. Read on to find out how to calculate your package’s dimension weight and how you can optimize your packaging to avoid these potentially hefty shipping fees.

How to Calculate Dimensional Weight for Shipping

Use the following formula and instructions to find the dimensional weight for your item:


(Length × Width × Height) / DIM Factor = DIM Weight


  1. Multiply your package’s height by its width and length.
  2. Round this number to its closest whole number.
  3. Divide this number by the courier’s DIM factor to obtain your item’s dimensional weight.

To calculate dimensional weight for your product, you need to know the DIM factor for your package. The DIM factor is a set value couriers use to determine the final dimensional weight for a package.

Finding the right DIM factor depends on several factors, including your courier’s own standards and whether the package is going for domestic or international shipping. The type of unit of measurement used to weigh the product also affects the DIM factor, for example using kilograms or grams if you are using the metric system.

For an average rectangular package being shipped from North America, expect to use these approximate DIM factors:

Cubic inches per pound:

  • Domestic: 166
  • International: 139

Centimeters per kilogram:

  • Domestic: 6,000
  • International: 5,000

Divide your package’s cubic area by one of the DIM factors above and you will have the dimensional weight you need to estimate shipping fees.

If you are measuring in a higher or lower unit of measurement, for instance, using cubic feet per pound instead of cubic inches, be sure to convert the DIM factor accordingly.

Better yet, you can save time by using a dimensional weight calculator to help, ideal if you are making a large shipment and need a quick estimate.

5 Tips for Saving With Dimensional Weight

Because couriers commonly charge based on an item’s billable weight, you ideally want to keep one or both of your product’s actual and dimensional weight as low as possible. In most cases, it is the easier and better choice to reduce your package’s dimensional weight rather than its actual weight as this leaves the product and its quality unaffected.

Here are 5 tips that can help you reduce your package’s dimensional weight:

1. Choose mailers where possible

Generally, the best way to save money is to make packaging space-efficient. If your package carries a small and lightweight item, consider shipping it in a mailer rather than a cardboard box, which naturally takes up much more space.

But be aware, many mailers can rarely be recycled at the curbside and may not be as environmentally-friendly as larger cardboard boxes. Be sure to work with a packaging supplier, like Crownhill Packaging, that provides curbside recyclable mailers to offer your buyers and the environment a helping hand.

2. Consider packing products in one parcel

If you are shipping multiple products to the same buyer that are likely to be lighter than the dimensional weight, you might want to consider packing them in the same box. Lightweight items like clothing, medicine, cosmetics are ideal for this as they easily fit in a cardboard box without adding significant actual weight to the package.

3. Opt for space-efficient void fill

Void fill is a valuable piece of packaging, particularly if you have to protect a sensitive, fragile product. However, adding void fill to a package can often mean needing to use a larger box for shipping. Not only does this add to your item’s dimensional weight, but the larger box and void fill may also increase your package’s actual weight, consequently hiking up your billable weight and shipping fees.

Ideally, you should find a void fill that is lightweight and space-efficient, while also securely protecting your product. Popular void fill options include air pillows and packaging peanuts.

Need assistance finding the right void fill for your product’s packaging? Find the right void fill for your product here!

4. Consider on-demand packaging

One way to solve the problem of oversized packaging may just be to avoid the issue entirely. While purchasing packaging in bulk can offer you some savings through discounts, this benefit could be lost if you then have packages that are over-sized for your products.

On-demand packaging is an innovative solution for businesses who frequently need different types of packaging, especially if you sell customized or made-to-measure products.

Learn how on-demand packaging works to benefit your business’ bottom line here.

5. Shop around for couriers

Lastly, you can also avoid paying extra for billable weight by trying to skip it entirely. While most couriers use billable weight to determine fees, there are some that charge solely on the actual or dimensional weight of a package. And since DIM factors vary by courier, you may just find a better deal with one that uses a different factor to measure dimensional weight.

Get Packaging That Saves You Money Today!

Avoiding unnecessarily high shipping fees all starts with choosing the right packaging supplier that knows your business and your products.

At Crownhill Packaging, we strive to find our clients quality packaging that complements their shipping needs and also gets the job done effectively and with the consumer in mind. As an innovator and leader in the packaging industry, we offer our clients packaging solutions built for success.

Contact us today and let our team find the right packaging products and systems that help you meet your business goals.

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