of the more common questions asked in the container business is, “How do I
figure out the capacity of my container?” The answer to this question is fairly
simple to figure out with a basic calculator. The following are a couple
variables that can change the final capacity.
their dimensions being derived from? (Outer or Inner dimensions)
What type of
Hook-Up the container uses? (Cable-Hook or Hook-Lift)
most people will use the interior dimensions to get the most accurate capacity.
Cable-Hook containers will slightly affect the capacity do due to a “Dog Box”
or housing for the Cable-Hook which typically sets at the front inside portion of
the container taking up very little space. Hook-lift containers will derive the
most accurate figure because it has a true front with no dog box. Below are 3
simple dimensions you will need to help you can calculate the yardage of your
Inside Width – Best described as the
distance between the side sheets of your container.
Inside Height – Is simply the
distance from the floor to the top of the top rail on your container.
Inside Length – This is the distance
from the back side of the front end sheet, to the inside of the rear end sheet
or tailgate sheet.
You will notice when
comparing containers from multiple manufactures and haulers the size can vary
slightly in length and/or height which in return will affect capacity either
increasing or decreasing slightly.
Some of the reason for
variations in container dimensions from different manufactures are due to
design features that a certain manufactures containers may have and also for
logistical reasons an adjustment of an 1/2” to an 1” can make the difference in
whether or not an addition container can be stacked on the load when they are
delivered to the hauler.
The Haulers container may
vary in size based on what manufacturer they purchase their containers from and
also what style truck/hoist they use to haul the containers, for example
haulers may have multiple containers with a capacity of 20 Yd. and the foot
print of those containers can be different (ex.
16’ in length or 22’ in length) and the overall height will be adjusted to achieve the 20 Yd.
capacity, either way the container is still classified as a 20 Yd.
Below is a diagram showing
the areas to measure for the dimensions need to calculate the capacity of your
Now that you see what areas are needing measured to
figure out your capacity, let’s show you how to use those dimensions to
actually calculate the capacity.
The formula to figure out the volume or capacity of a space is as follows:
L (Length) x W (Width) x H (Height) =
Cubic Inches of your Container
Now you’ll take that number & divide it by 46,656
(Cubic Inches in a Yard)
LxWxH / 46,656 = Yards your Container
(EXAMPLE: 260” x 88” x 61”
= 1,395,680 / 46,656 = 29.91 yds.)
You can use the same formula to figure out the volume
or capacity of a space done in feet instead of inches and it is as follows:
L/12 (Length/12) x W/12 (Width/12) x H/12
(Height/12) = Cubic Feet of your Container
Now you’ll take that number & divide it by 27
(Cubic Feet in a Yard)
L/12 x W/12 x H/12 = LxWxH / 27 = Yards
your Container can hold
(EXAMPLE: 21.66’ x 7.33’ x 5.08’ = 806.54 / 27 = 29.9yds)
Now that you know how to figure out the capacity of your
containers, you can also use it to determine exactly what size you’ll need when
purchasing new containers in the future.