How to Measure Your Freight (and Your Freight Class)

How to Measure Your Freight (and Your Freight Class)

Getting your freight from point A to point B isn’t as simple as putting it on a truck and waiting. You have to choose the right freight service, and then you have to measure your freight.


While the best expedited shipping services can simplify this process, savvy shippers also know how to accurately measure freight and determine freight class. In this infographic post, we have visual instructions for measuring your freight prior to shipping.

Measuring your freight in five easy steps

measuring freight size & determinign freight class

Measuring your freight is relatively simple. Before working with expedited shipping services, here are the five steps you need to complete to successfully measure your freight.

  1. Measure the width (W), length (L), and height (H) of all your items in inches.
  2. Multiply the width (W) by the length (L) by the height (H) to determine the size of your freight in cubic inches.
  3. Add the cubic inches of all items together to determine the total cubic inches.
  4. Divide the total cubic inches by 1,728 to convert that number to cubic feet.
  5. Weigh your shipment, and then divide the weight by the cubic feet to determine the density. The density is the ratio of weight to volume.


Once your freight is properly measured, your freight class can be determined. The National Motor Freight Classification is the standard that determines freight classes for all. Every commodity that’s shipped falls into one of the 18 freight classes.


There are four main characteristics that determine shipment freight class. Those four characteristics include:


  • Density
  • Stow-ability
  • Handling
  • Liability


The measurement of your freight, as well as the characteristics listed above, will determine what freight class your shipment will fall in. For example, to be categorized in freight class 50, your shipment should contain durable items and fit on a shrink-wrapped 4X4 pallet. It also will be over 50 pounds per cubic foot. To be in class 70, your shipment will most likely be a car engine and weight between 15 and 22.5 pounds per cubic foot. For class 175, your freight will probably be a sofa or clothing items and will weight five to six pounds per cubic foot. Class 300 deals with things like wood furniture and freight that is only two to three pounds per cubic foot. Finally, class 500 would be something like a bag of gold dust weight less than one pound per cubic foot.


Being able to accurately measure your freight can make a huge difference when it comes to freight class, and ultimately, cost. Make sure you follow these steps so you can be put in the right class by your expedited shipping service.

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