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The Definitive Shipping Container Capacity Chart


If you’re planning to use a shipping container for storage, you’re probably wondering how much stuff you can fit inside. To help you gauge the amount of inventory or equipment you can keep in an onsite storage container, we’ve crunched the numbers and created the definitive container capacity chart.

    Weight capacity
    Internal volume
    Volumetric shelf space
  • 10-Foot Container
    ~22,000 lb
    ~9,980 kg
    555.5 cubic-feet
    15.7 cubic-meters
    135 cubic-feet
    3.8 cubic-meters
  • 10-Foot High Cube
    ~22,000 lb
    ~9,980 kg
    626.4 cubic-feet
    17.7 cubic-meters
    144 cubic-feet
    4.1 cubic-meters
  • 20-Foot Container
    ~55,000 lb
    ~24,900 kg
    1156 cubic-feet
    32.7 cubic-meters
    405 cubic-feet
    11.5 cubic-meters
  • 20-Foot High Cube
    ~55,000 lb
    ~24,900 kg
    1303.7 cubic-feet
    36.9 cubic-meters
    432 cubic-feet
    12.2 cubic-meters
  • 40-Foot Container
    ~61,000 lb
    ~27,600 kg
    2367.2 cubic-feet
    67 cubic-meters
    810 cubic-feet
    22.9 cubic-meters
  • 40-Foot High Cube
    ~61,000 lb
    ~27,600 kg
    2619 cubic-feet
    74 cubic-meters
    1620 cubic-feet
    45.9 cubic-meters

Assumes 1.5-foot shelf depth with shelving along both long walls. While you can technically make a perfect shelving system that creates more space, these conservative calculations are based on designs that we have found to be cost-effective and practical for accommodating features like doors and climate control units.

The numbers above are calculated using the interior dimensions of shipping containers. When using these numbers to determine what you can store in your container, we recommend using a packing efficiency modifier because it’s nearly impossible to use every square inch of space. For example, if you need to gauge the volume of dry goods you can fit in a container with shelves, multiply the volumetric shelf space by a packing efficiency modifier of .8 or .7 to create a realistic estimate.

To give you a sense of scale here are some calculations we’ve made.

10 foot container loaded with oil drums

How many oil drums can you fit inside a container?

  • 10-foot standard and high cube containers = 40 drums
  • 20-foot standard and high cube containers = 80 drums
  • 40-foot standard and high cube containers = 160 drums

If you use every possible inch of space, how many banker’s boxes can you fit inside a container?

  • 10 foot standard container = 441 bankers boxes
  • 10-foot high cube container = 490 bankers boxes
  • 20-foot standard container = 912 bankers boxes
  • 20-foot high cube container = 1026 bankers boxes
  • 40-foot standard container = 1953 bankers boxes
  • 40-foot high cube container = 2170 bankers boxes

20-foot container filled to capacity with banker's boxes.

One twenty-foot container is 160 square feet - about the size of the smallest legal apartment in San Francisco.

Comparison between a shipping container and San Francisco's smallest apartment.

A 40-foot container could fit two Volkswagen Beetles with room to spare.

Two Volkswagen Beetles inside a 40-foot shipping container.

Storage containers can be modified to provide proper storage for a wide range of products. For instance, containers used for restaurant inventory storage usually include climate control features. Custom shelving and cabinetry also keep storage tidy. Whatever you plan to store, it will be secure inside a container, just review the chart above to make sure it will fit.

To learn more, check out our other resources:

Questions? Contact us at or 877-393-4219.

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