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 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 doorstep, mailbox, or shopping bag. 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, like shoes or other more durable consumer goods, 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.
Getting Started Measuring Box Dimensions
Before you begin calculating box measurements, you’ll first need to know your product dimensions. There’s no magic formula here, but measuring your product using the same formula you’ll use to size up the box will keep you and your product packaging provider on the same page, so 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. Keeping wiggle room to a minimum helps keep your product from moving around inside and getting broken.
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. And 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”. Knowing how to write the dimensions of a box eliminates any source of confusion between you and your product packaging company as to the exact specifications of your order.
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 that box dimensions be taken 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.
If you have any questions about carton sizing, label selection, or printing, don’t hesitate to contact the Experience Team by phone or Live Chat! Our team is ready to serve your business with care and excellence.
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