Dimensional Weight & Volumetric Weight Explained. How to Calculate Price?

For eCommerce merchants, shipping costs typically rank among the highest operational expenditures. As a result, it’s vital to understand how to keep these expenditures as low as possible. Previously, the overall weight of a shipment was considered to determine shipping costs. A heavyweight package would always cost more to ship than a lightweight box, whether you were shipping bricks or feathers. The bag of feathers is more expensive to send than a box of bricks despite the fact that both weigh two kilograms. Therefore, shipping companies developed a method known as a dimensional weight to determine a package’s weight that also takes the density of the products into consideration.


Considering the amount of room low-density products like feathers take up in a truck, ship, or aircraft, shipping companies have to charge for shipping based on actual weight, which is not economical. Consider as well how much more room the feather bag occupies in contrast to the bricks. No matter the delivery method, every carrier has devised packaging techniques to increase their capacity and, eventually, their profitability. In this article, we are going to discuss all about dimensional weight and how to calculate it. Let’s get right to it.

What is Dimensional Weight?

Dimensional Weight & Volumetric Weight Explained

Shipping companies estimate the amount of space a package will occupy using a pricing method called dimensional weight. Dimensional weight, often referred to as volumetric weight, is a method that shipping companies use to determine the cost of shipping based on the volume, i.e. the length, breadth, and height of a product. It is a pricing strategy employed by shipping companies to prevent them from suffering financial losses on big, light-weight shipments, such as a truckload of feathers.


FedEx DIM weight calculator

Dimensional weight is computed using a calculation based on the volume weight of a package and the measurements of the box. Therefore, only if the volumetric weight is more than the gross weight of the package; is the delivery fee calculated by the dimensional weight. All major shipping companies, including UPS, USPS, and FedEx, now charge for dimensional weight for both domestic & global deliveries.


Dimensional weight calculator

What exactly is the DIM factor?

Shipping carriers divide weight in terms of dimensions using a factor known as the DIM factor, or dimensional factor. It shows the maximum amount of package volume permitted per weight unit. The DIM factor employed by one shipping company may not necessarily be the same as that employed by another; carriers will establish their own dimensional weight calculator in accordance with their own requirements and service levels. For instance, USPS priority mail utilizes a DIM factor of 166, whereas UPS and FedEx both use a DIM factor of 139.


How to Calculate Dimensional Weight?

Dimensional weight is computed using the package’s length, breadth, and height, whereas the actual weight is the weight of the shipment as measured on the scale. Therefore, the enormous package filled with feathers might be regarded as being heavier than a box of bricks. By dividing the package’s cubic volume by the shipping factor, volumetric weight is calculated. 


Dimensional weight = (box length * width * height) / DIM factor


Calculations of dimensional weight can differ depending on the shipping carrier, the shipment, the route that the package takes, and more. The steps to calculate volumetric weight are as follows:


  • The dimensions of your shipment should be measured for height, breadth, and length.

  • After calculating the weight, round it to the closest whole number.

  • The package’s cubic size can then be calculated by multiplying the dimensions. 

  • The final step is to divide the cubic size by the dimensional factor, also known as the DIM divisor. 


How to lower the dimensional weight of your shipments?

Making your packages smaller will help you to minimize the volumetric weight. The first step is to determine whether your product can be safely packed in a smaller box. You may be paying more than you need to if you use the same box size for every purchase despite the fact that your products’ sizes vary. When possible, optimize the use of available space and minimize the box’s size. If the factory packing has a lot of space available, you might think about taking a product out of its original packaging and shipping it in a much smaller package.


How can ReachShip help calculate prices based on dimensional weight?

ReachShip helps calculate prices based on dimensional weight

Are you exhausted from making your own calculations for dimensional weight and prices? Don’t want to deal with equations and calculations, variables, and measurements? You can delegate the difficulty of shipping to ReachShip, a leader in the field. The ReachShip shipping calculator will automatically calculate the exact shipping costs based on the package measurements and shipping address details. ReachShip can streamline your entire shipping process from calculating the shipping costs, helping you compare shipping rates and services, purchasing postage, generating and printing shipping labels, and ultimately tracking shipments.


Wrapping Up

You can decide how to package your products more effectively if you understand dimensional weight or volumetric weight and how it is calculated. By reducing the size of your packaging, you can avoid paying excessive shipping fees and save money on packing supplies. The best part is that despite the low delivery cost, you are still making buyers happy when they receive their orders on time. If you have any questions regarding dimensional weight, please let us know in the comments section below.


Further Reading

How to Make an Accurate Shipping Estimate? Calculate Shipping Costs and Compare

How to Calculate Shipping Costs Easily?

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