Dimensional Weight Calculator
Table of contents
What is and how to calculate dimensional weight?UPS dimensional weight calculatorFedEx dimensional weight calculatorUSPS calculatorExample of calculationsFAQsWelcome to the dimensional weight calculator! In the next few minutes, you will find out how to calculate dimensional weight. You will also learn how FedEx, USPS, and UPS dimensional weight calculators work and which courier delivery services you should choose.
The price of shipping varies depending on the weight and size of your package. Dimensional weight is a term connecting these two variables. Cost also increases with the distance between you and your parcel's place of destination. In the United States, there are 8 zones. The more of these zones your parcel crosses, the more expensive it will be.
Want to find out more about package transportation? Check out this CBM calculator for shipping.
What is and how to calculate dimensional weight?
Transporting big and light packages is uneconomical for courier companies. They don't make much money when a truck is only able to fit a few large packages instead of many smaller ones. It's cheap for a customer, but it takes up a lot of space for couriers. That's why, in 2015, the concept of dimensional weight was created. Also known as volumetric weight, it's a measure of weight estimated from length, width, and height. Each company establishes it according to slightly different guidelines. The general formula is:
DIM weight = (Length × Width × Height) / DIM factor
where:
DIM factor
or Dimensional factor is a number determined by each delivery company.
Imagine you want to send something to a friend. Let's say it's a standing coat hanger. It's quite a light object but also reasonably big. The shipping company will estimate the cost of shipping by weighing it, measuring it and calculating its dimensional weight, and comparing these two values. Even if your parcel weighs 10 pounds, if its dimensional weight is bigger, you will have to pay more.
UPS dimensional weight calculator
UPS uses two dimensional factors. Which one they use to charge you depends on how often you use UPS. Daily rates are for people who have scheduled a pickup and have a UPS agreement. If you ship from a UPS store or a UPS Customer Center, etc., and you do it infrequently, Retail Rates are for you.
This UPS calculator uses the following formulas:

For Daily Rates:
DIM weight = (Length × Width × Height) / 139

For Retail Rates:
DIM weight = (Length × Width × Height) / 166
There is also one more dimensional factor used in countries that use centimeters instead of inches:
DIM weight = (Length × Width × Height) / 5000
Out of dimensional weight and actual weight, whichever is larger, UPS will refer to it as the billable weight.
There are also some size restrictions that are linked to additional costs. Your package shouldn't exceed 108 inches or 274 centimeters on its longest side. Also, it should weight up to 150 pounds or 70 kilograms.
FedEx dimensional weight calculator
FedEx's dimensional factor varies depending on the unit of length and weight. This FedEx calculator uses two formulas:

If you choose the option of inches per pound, the DIM factor is 139 :
DIM weight = (Length × Width × Height) / 139

If your unit of choice is centimeters per kilogram, the formula is:
DIM weight = (Length × Width × Height) / 5000
It's important to check size and weight restrictions before deciding which shipping company to use. FedEx ships packages up to 150 pounds or 70 kilograms.
USPS calculator
Until recently, USPS was the cheapest option for customers. Dimensional weight was applied only for zones five and up, and the dimensional factor equaled 194. In mid2019, these terms changed.
Now, the USPS dimensional factor is 166.
DIM weight = (Length × Width × Height) / 166
A useful fact is that dimensional weight is not taken into account if your package is smaller than one cubic foot. However, a downside to using USPS is that the maximum actual weight of a package can't exceed 70 pounds.
Example of calculations
Remember that coat hanger we wrote about earlier? Let's compare its three dimensional weights. Let's say it had dimensions of 70 × 14 × 14 inches:

FedEx DIM weight = (70 × 14 × 14) / 139 = 99

UPS DIM weight = (70 × 14 × 14) / 166 = 83
— assuming that you ship from a retail location 
USPS DIM weight = (70 × 14 × 14) / 166 = 83
UPS and USPS dim weights are smaller, so they would both probably be cheaper than FedEx. The cheaper option between UPS and USPS would depend only on the price rates that depend on distance. Let's assume that you live in New York and your friend lives in Seattle. The cost of shipping with USPS would be $196.61. The cheapest one provided by UPS would cost you $139.62. In this case, the most affordable option is UPS.
Now you know how to calculate dimensional weight. To make better decisions and save money, we recommend checking the price calculators of each company before sending your package. And before you go, check out our grocery calculator to check the amount of money you should spend on groceries per month to avoid sinking into debt.
How can I minimize the dimensional weight of packages?
Some strategies to minimize the dimensional weight of packages include:

Check the size and weight restrictions before choosing to use the services provided by a certain shipping company;

Use lightweight materials that do not compromise the safety of the product;

Find custom packaging or packaging that includes tailoredtoproduct shapes; and

Explore the possibility of flat or foldable packaging when possible.
How can I calculate dimensional weight in lbs?
In order to calculate your dimensional weight in pounds, you should do the following:
 Measure the dimension of your package: include the length, width, and height.
 Calculate the volume of your package.
 Find the corresponding dimensional factor, which is usually provided by your shipping company.
Your formula should look like this:
DIM weight = (length × width × height) / DIM factor
What is best package for a dimensional factor of 3lbs?
The smallest package dimensions allowed for a dimensional weight of 3lbs are:
 Length of 5 inches;
 Width of 3 inches; and
 Height of 23 inches.
Each of these dimensions should follow the guidelines for shipping companies such as FedEx, UPS, and USPS.
What is dimensional weight?
Dimensional weight is a pricing technique used by shipping companies to be able to give a value to any package from which a shipping cost can be determined. It can be calculated using the dimensions of your package (length, width, and height).