Volumetric Weight Vs. Actual Weight: Understanding the Difference and How to Calculate It

Bukola Adekunle
July 2, 2024
2 mins read

Shipping can sometimes be confusing, especially when it comes to calculating the cost based on the weight of your package. At Fez Delivery, we often receive questions about the difference between volumetric weight and actual weight, and how to calculate them. In this blog post, we explain what these terms mean, why the size of your package matters, and how to calculate both types of weight.

Does size matter when shipping?

Yes, the size of your package does matter when shipping. Shipping companies, including airlines, ships, and delivery services, have limited space for cargo. This means that the size of your package can be just as important as its weight. If only actual weight were considered, large but lightweight items could be shipped at a lower cost, which wouldn't be fair to the shipping company. That's why volumetric weight is used to ensure that large items that take up more space are appropriately charged.

What Is Actual Weight?

Actual weight is the literal weight of your package. It's the weight you get when you place your package on a weighing scale.

How To Calculate Actual Weight

To calculate the actual weight, simply place your package on a weighing scale and note the weight displayed. This is your package's actual weight.

What Is Volumetric Weight?

Volumetric weight, also known as dimensional weight, is a measurement used by shipping companies to account for the space a package occupies. For example, a large box of feathers might not weigh much, but it takes up a lot of space. In such cases, the size of the box is used to calculate the shipping cost instead of the actual weight. This ensures that the shipping cost fairly reflects the space the package occupies.

How To Calculate Volumetric Weight

To calculate the volumetric weight of your package, follow these steps:

1. Measure the length, width, and height of your package in centimetres (cm).

2. Multiply these dimensions together to get the volume in cubic centimetres.

3. Divide the result by 5000 to get the volumetric weight in kilograms (kg).

Here's the volumetric weight formula:

Volumetric Weight = Length x Width x Height 


Example Calculation:

If your package of feathers has dimensions of 100 cm (length), 60 cm (width), and 80 cm (height), the calculation would be: 100 x 60 x 80 = 96 kg


Tips to get the right weight for shipping

1. Compare the Weights: Find out the actual weight of your package using a scale. Calculate the volumetric weight using the formula above. Compare the two weights and use the greater one to determine the shipping cost. This ensures that you are charged fairly based on the space your package occupies.

2. Talk to Your Shipper: Alternatively, you can discuss your shipment with your shipper. Most shipping companies would have a shipping weight guide. Once you provide them with the accurate dimensions of your package, they can help you calculate the correct shipping weight.

3. Get a Quote: Most shipping companies will calculate the shipping cost for you and provide a quote based on the greater of the actual or volumetric weight.

Understanding the difference between actual weight and volumetric weight can help you better estimate your shipping costs and avoid any surprises. At Fez Delivery, we're here to assist you with all your local and international shipping needs, ensuring you get affordable shipping rates, and your packages arrive safely and on time.