How to Calculate Dimensional Weight

Open Cardboard Box with Transparent Birthday Balloons

Dim Weight= Length x Width x Height (in inches)/ Dim Factor

Dimensional Weight or “Dim” Weight is very important to understand when shipping ground or “air” freight, because freight forwarders will look at the actual weight and the dimensional weight to figure out the chargeable weight. Dimensional weight is a way of figuring out a fair rate to charge when a shipment takes up a lot of space but doesn’t weigh a lot. For instance, if you were to ship a box of inflated balloons, the box would weigh next to nothing but would still take up a decent amount of space. If the carriers just looked at actual weight, we could have 2 boxes that are exactly the same size but one pays more because they were shipping bricks and one pays less because they shipped balloons. Carriers would start losing money because they couldn’t capitalize on the space being used and soon would not want to accept lighter weight freight since they would make less money. To even the playing fields, Dimensional Weight is used to figure out how much space is being taken up.

We will stick to US Domestic shipping for this example- To calculate Dimensional Weight you measure the length, width, and  height of your shipment in inches, make sure you use the largest number if you have an odd shaped package. You then multiply those 3 numbers L x W x H, this gives you the volume. This number can’t be compared to weight since its not the same type of number. So we have to divide the volume by a dim factor. You may to check with the specific carrier you use for their particular dim factor, but for regular US domestic freight the dim factor is usually 194. Divide the volume (L x W x H) by the dim factor (194) to get the dimensional weight in lbs.

Below is the standard definition of dimensional or volume weight adopted by the transportation industry worldwide. While most transportation service providers have adopted a standard dimensional factor of 194 cubic inches = 1 pound for domestic shipments and 166 cubic inches = 1 pound for international shipments, PEI has adopted the following dimensional factors.

194 for domestic air shipments
166 for international air shipments
225 for domestic ground shipments regardless of service level. The higher dimensional factor results in a lower dimensional weight