Shipping, Dimensional, and Billable Weight

Understanding the relationship between shipping, dimensional, and billable weight will guide you in making decisions that may save you significant amounts of money. The following is Amazon and UPS specific but similar rules apply to every shipping company.

Shipping Weight

Gross weight of an item or shipment, including all packaging, wrapping, and boxing.

Dimensional Weight

Determine the package dimensions in inches or centimetres. For each dimension, measure at the longest point, rounding each measurement to the next whole number (for example, 1.01 to 1.99 will be considered 2). Measure the length, width and height of the package at its extreme points. If the package has a bulge or is irregularly shaped, include the bulge or irregular aspects of the package. Multiply the package length by the width by the height. The result is the cubic size in inches or centimetres.

Divide the cubic size by 139 if measured in inches, or by 5,000 if measured in centimetres, to determine dimensional weight. Increase any fraction to the next whole number.

Billable Weight

Compare the package's shipping weight to the dimensional weight. The greater of the two is the billable weight and will be used to calculate the rate.

You will cut costs by:

  1. Shipping boxes that have a shipping weight higher than their dimensional weight.

  2. Shipping boxes that are as heavy as possible without exceeding Amazon weight and dimension limits. The table below indicates that boxes over 4 cubic foot are not economically optimal.

Dimensional weight of various boxes

Box Dimensional weight (lb) Dimensional weight (kg)
1.5 cubic foot 16 1/2 x 12 5/8 x 12 5/8 in. or 42 x 32 x 32 cm 19 8.7
2 cubic foot 18 x 15 x 12 1/2 in. or 46 x 38 x 32 cm 25 11.4
4 cubic foot 18 x 18 x 21 in. or 46 x 46 x 53 cm 49 22.3
5 cubic foot 18 x 18 x 27 in. or 46 x 46 x 69 cm 63 28.6
6 cubic foot 20 x 20 x 26 in. or 50 x 50 x 66 cm 75 34.1

Updated March 29, 2019