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When it comes to shipping or moving packages, accurately measuring their dimensions is crucial. Knowing the length, width, and height of a package is not only essential for determining its size, but also for calculating shipping costs and ensuring it fits within size restrictions. However, measuring these dimensions may seem challenging, especially when dealing with irregularly shaped or bulky items. In this guide, we will explore various methods and techniques to effectively measure the length, width, and height of a package, enabling you to navigate the shipping process with confidence and precision. Whether you are a frequent shipper or simply want to send a package securely, this article will provide you with the necessary knowledge and skills to accurately determine the dimensions of any package.

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The wikiHow Content Management team carefully monitors the work of editors to ensure that every article is up to a high standard of quality.

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This article has been viewed 185,742 times.

No matter which shipping service you choose, the cost of shipping depends on the size of the package. To make sure your parcel is billed correctly, you need to know the exact dimensions of the package you want to ship. Use the correct ruler to measure the length, width and height of the package. You can then use these measurements to calculate other criteria such as overall dimensions and volumetric weight that can be factored into the billable weight of the package.

## Steps

### Measure the size of regular packages

**Measure the longest side of the package.**Start by determining the longest side of the package, then measure along that edge with a straightedge or tape measure from one end to the other. Read the measurement and round the number to the nearest inch (about 2.5 cm).

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- Remember to write down your measurements on a piece of scratch paper to review later.
- The length will be the maximum measurement of most packages.
- Many shipping companies only accept packages up to a certain size, usually rounded to 1 inch.
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**Rotate the ruler perpendicularly to measure the width.**Width is the distance from one “wall” of the short side to the opposite wall. Drag the ruler from side to side to determine the measurement and round the number to the nearest inch.

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- It’s okay to be a little bit wrong this time, because the width and height don’t have to be completely exact. Even if there is a slight deviation, it will not affect the final result much.

**Hold the ruler upright to measure the height.**Measure the height of the box from the bottom of the box to the top or vice versa. Round measurements to the nearest inch, similar to previous measurements.

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- RSC (most common type of carton) cartons have two equal horizontal sides, meaning both sides can be used as top or bottom.
^{[5] X Research Sources} - With most packages, height is usually the smallest measure.

**Tip:** If the package has an unusual shape, you can measure it like a regular rectangular box: measure the length, width, and height at the furthest point of each side. ^{[6] X Research Sources}

**Double the width and height and add them together to find the circumference of the package.**View the measurements recorded just now, double the width and height measurements, then add them up. The answer will be the estimated circumference of the package.

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- If your package is 30 cm long, 10 cm wide and 15 cm high, doubling the width and height gives you 20 cm and 30 cm, which add up to 50 cm.
- The term “perimeter” refers to the total length that encloses the longest part of the container.
^{[8] X Research Sources} - The length measurement is not included in the circumference. Perimeter measurements only include the area around the shortest side of the package.

**Add the length and circumference to get the overall dimensions of the package.**You may sometimes be asked to provide the overall

*dimensions*of your package when sending it through the trucking service. To know the overall dimensions of the package, simply add the length and girth measurements together, the result will be the approximate size of the package. This will help with sorting and shipping.

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- Add 30 cm of length with the circumference measurement in the example above, and you will have an overall size of 80 cm.
- If your package is larger than 330 cm, you may be charged a special handling fee. Most shipping services do not accept packages larger than 420 cm.
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### Calculate weight converted to volume (volumetric weight)

**Measure the length, width and height of the package.**Use a straightedge or tape measure to measure the lengths of the longest side, the shortest side, and the vertical sides. Round the measurement to the nearest inch and record it on paper.

- When calculating the volumetric weight of a package, you do not need to know which measurement corresponds to which side – it is important that all measurements be as accurate as possible.
^{[11] X Research Source} - Note that the volumetric weight calculation uses only the British system, not the metric system. (To use metric formulas, you need to replace 166 with 5000.)

**Multiply the length, width, and height of the box to calculate the block size.**In essence the block size is also the volume, i.e. the amount of space in the box. If you have a package that is 12 inches (30 cm) long, 8 inches (20 cm) wide, and 4 inches (10 cm) high, the block size will be 384 inches (580 cm).

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- Some shipping companies may use the term “volume” instead of “cubic size”.

**Divide the block size by the appropriate divisor to find the volumetric weight.**Shipping rates are not only based on the size of the package, but also on the destination. For packages sent within the US or Puerto Rico, you need to divide the block size by 166. For international shipments, divide the block size by 139.

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- With the block size calculated in the above example, the volumetric weight would be 2.31 for domestic shipping, and 2.76 for international shipping.
^{[14] X Research Source} - No rounding of volumetric weights. This number must be accurate to calculate the freight rate.

**Weigh the package with a postal scale to determine the actual weight.**Place the package on the scale and wait for the scale to display the number. Remember to record the exact number, as you will be double-checking the volumetric weight of the package to figure out how much freight will be charged.

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- If you don’t have a postal scale, you can weigh your parcel at the post office..

**Tip:** If you regularly ship, you will save time and effort with a postage scale. Good postal scales are available online for only 20-30 USD

**Compare the actual weight of the package with its volumetric weight.**If the volumetric weight is greater than the actual weight, it will be considered a “chargeable weight,” which means you will have to pay freight according to this weight. Many shipping companies rely on the larger of these two numbers as their billing weight with the aim of maximizing profits for each shipment.

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- It is important that you know both the actual weight and the volumetric weight of the package, as the volumetric weight is an estimate, not an exact measurement.
- Usually, shipping costs will be based on volumetric weight, i.e. on the length, width and height of the package. However, unusually heavy packages will often be priced based on actual weight.
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## Advice

- If you pack your item in a manufacturer’s or shipping company’s dedicated box, pay close attention to the markings on the box to determine the correct direction.
- Each shipping service has its own guidelines and regulations regarding item size and weight. Remember to check your shipping service’s billing policy to see which shipping method is most beneficial to you.

## Things you need

- Straight ruler or tape measure
- Postage scale (optional)

This article is co-authored by a team of editors and trained researchers who confirm the accuracy and completeness of the article.

The wikiHow Content Management team carefully monitors the work of editors to ensure that every article is up to a high standard of quality.

There are 14 references cited in this article that you can view at the bottom of the page.

This article has been viewed 185,742 times.

No matter which shipping service you choose, the cost of shipping depends on the size of the package. To make sure your parcel is billed correctly, you need to know the exact dimensions of the package you want to ship. Use the correct ruler to measure the length, width and height of the package. You can then use these measurements to calculate other criteria such as overall dimensions and volumetric weight that can be factored into the billable weight of the package.

In conclusion, accurately measuring the length, width, and height of a package is crucial for various reasons. Whether you are shipping the package, storing it, or simply trying to determine if it will fit into a specific space, having accurate measurements is essential. By following the simple steps outlined in this guide, you can easily measure the length, width, and height of any package. Remember to use a flat surface, straight measuring tools, and take multiple measurements to ensure accuracy. By obtaining the correct dimensions, you can save time and money by choosing the appropriate shipping method, determining the right storage space, and avoiding any potential damage or inconvenience.

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