How To Measure Dimensions of a Box

How To Measure Dimensions of a Box

Getting box measurements correct is crucial for product packaging design. And while learning how to measure a box may sound a bit simplistic, there’s more to it than you might think. In this post, we’ll dive into how to measure box dimensions, including interior and exterior measurements, and how to correctly record those dimensions so you can accurately convey them to your product packaging company. In addition, we’ll look at how to measure a box’s volume and why all this matters so much when it comes to creating the ideal packaging for your products.  

Why Box Measurements Matter

Boxes wear a lot of hats during the product life cycle. First, they act as a miniature billboard, beckoning customers to pick up your product for a closer look (and hopefully put it into their physical or digital shopping cart!). Without attractive product packaging, your goods are at an automatic disadvantage. This is true against competitors who have done their homework in terms of creating product packaging that sells

Boxes also serve as the first — and sometimes only — line of defense, protecting your products from getting damaged during handling, storage, and shipping. Your products pass through many sets of hands before they end up at your customer’s front door. Thus, the box that houses your product needs to be designed in a way that ensures your goods will still be in prime condition when your customers receive them. If your product is designed to be stored in the box after purchase, the box also acts as a storage solution for the life of the product. With so much depending on your boxes, getting your box dimensions correct the first time is very important.

To determine the amount of space the box takes up.

This is important for both shipping and storage. You can calculate how much space it will take up in a vehicle or warehouse.

To calculate the shipping cost.

Shipping costs are typically based on the size and weight of the package. By knowing the dimensions of your box, you can get an accurate estimate of shipping costs.

To fit on store shelves. 

If you’re selling your product in stores, the dimensions of the box need to be compatible with the store’s shelves. If the box is too big, it may not fit on the shelves.

Three intricately designed product boxes. From left, there is a tea bag box with a blue gradient background and white design with moths and moons titled Lunar Phase. In the center is a black and white liquid hand soap box. On the right, there is a deep purple melatonin gummy box with moons and stars designed on it.

Getting Started Measuring Box Dimensions

Before you begin calculating box measurements, you’ll first need to know your product dimensions. Measuring your product using the same formula you use to measure the box will keep you and your product packaging provider on the same page. Because of this, it’s best to measure your product using the standard length x width x height formula. (We’ll cover this measurement formula in depth later.) As a general rule, the box your product will be housed in should be just slightly larger than the product itself. We recommend adding about 1/8th inch (0.125 in.) to the length, width, and depth of your product. This helps to ensure the box dimensions are large enough. Keeping wiggle room to a minimum helps keep your product from moving around inside and potentially breaking.

How To Calculate the Dimensions of a Box

The dimensions of a box formula is pretty straightforward: length x width x height. This format is also what your product packaging provider will use when creating your containers. The length of the box is the longest side when looking at it from the top. The width of the box is the shortest side when looking at it from the top. Last but not least, the height is the side that’s perpendicular to the sides you used to measure the length and width. (Sometimes you’ll see this measurement referred to as depth instead of height.) 

For example, if a box was fifteen inches long by eight inches wide by four inches high, you’d record the measurement as 15” x 8” x 4”. Writing the dimensions of a box correctly eliminates confusion with your product packaging company. You want the supplier to have the exact specifications of your order.

A kraft product box with the length, width, and height indicated with arrows. The length of the box is the longest side facing you. The width of the box is the shortest side perpendicular to the length. And last but not least, the height is the longest side perpendicular to the length.

Measuring the Exterior or Interior Dimensions of a Box

One common mistake when measuring the dimensions of a box is to take the outside measurements. Measuring box dimensions this way doesn’t properly take into account the thickness of the box, especially if you’re using a heavier material like corrugated cardboard. The double-walled structure of corrugated cardboard can add quite a bit of additional bulk. So using interior measurements ensures a perfect fit for the product, regardless of how thick the walls of your product packaging are. Using exterior dimensions risks ending up with boxes that are too small, with your products squeezed tightly up against the side of the container or not fitting at all. That’s why most companies that provide product packaging require box dimensions from the interior, not the exterior. 

Calculating the Volume of a Box

Knowing how to properly calculate the volume of a box can make it easier to gauge how much space it will take up. That’s useful when determining things like how many boxes can be stacked to a pallet and how much space each unit will take up in a warehouse. The method used for calculating volume is simple. Just multiply all of the dimensions of your box together. The formula for volume is the same as the box dimensions formula: length x width x height. However, remember that the final measurement will be cubed — in other words, square inches, centimeters, or whatever unit you used to calculate the dimensions of your box.

Ready To Begin Creating Boxes for Your Products?

Boxes are the multi-tool of the product packaging world, making your products look good while protecting them from damage as they make their way to consumers. Measuring the dimensions of the boxes you’ll need for your product line is just the first step. We work with a range of businesses to create customizable folding cartons that look great and provide plenty of protection during shipping.

Once you have your box measurements, you can use our folding carton template generator for your boxes to get a free dieline template. You can print out the dieline to test the size. Additionally, you can order a printed proof so you can see how your final box design will print.

If you have any questions about carton sizing, label selection, or printing, don’t hesitate to contact the Customer Care Team by phone or Live Chat! Our team is ready to serve your business with care and excellence.

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