Which Container Size Should You Get? (Updated Visuals)

SHIPPING CONTAINERSSIZE & DIMENSIONS

Which Container Size Should You Get? (Updated Visuals)

So you’ve decided you want to get a shipping container for your portable storage needs? How can you determine the best shipping container size for your situation?

This guide will help you select the best container size for your storage requirements the first time around!

Why Container Size is So Important

When planning for onsite storage, it’s important to realistically evaluate how much additional room you need. This will help you determine the right container size to adequately handle your equipment and valuables.

Overestimating the required square footage needed will leave you with a large, mostly unused storage container consuming precious space on your property.

On the flip side, underestimating your required storage space will lead you back to square one. If you get the wrong container size, you’ll end up with the same problem you had originally: not enough space.

And when this happens, it’ll inevitably cost you more money, space, and time in the end.

Container Sizes, Specs & Dimensions

Here is a table of the most common container sizes, specs, and dimensions.

We’ll get into the specialized container sizes in a minute.

Container SizeSpecs & DimensionsStorage CapacityDelivery

10ft Container
Internal: 9’4″ X 7’8″ X 7’10”
External: 10’0″ X 8’0″ X 8’6″
Door: 7’8″ X 7’6″
Max Payload: 35,000 lbs
Max Gross: 38,500 lbs
Tare Weight: 3,500 lbs
Cubic Capacity: 560 cu.ft.
Clearance: 60ft – 80ft
Height Required: 14ft
20ft Standard Container
20ft Standard
Internal: 19’4″ X 7’8″ X 7’10”
External: 20’0″ X 8’0″ X 8’6″
Door: 7’8″ X 7’6″
Max Payload: 62,150 lbs
Max Gross: 67,200 lbs
Tare Weight: 5,050 lbs
Cubic Capacity: 1,165 cu.ft.
Clearance: 60ft – 80ft
Height Required: 14ft
40ft Standard Container
40ft Container Size
Internal: 39’3″ X 7’8″ X 7’10”
External: 40’0″ X 8’0″ X 8’6″
Door: 7’8″ X 7’6″
Max Payload: 59,200 lbs
Max Gross: 67,200 lbs
Tare Weight: 8,000 lbs
Cubic Capacity: 2,350 cu.ft.
Clearance: 100ft – 120ft
Height Required: 14ft
40ft High Cube
40ft High Cube
Internal: 39’3″ X 7’8″ X 8’10”
External: 40’0″ X 8’0″ X 9’6″
Door: 7’8″ X 7’6″
Max Payload: 58,425 lbs
Max Gross: 67,200 lbs
Tare Weight: 8,775 lbs
Cubic Capacity: 2,694 cu.ft.
Clearance: 100ft – 120ft
Height Required: 14ft

10′ Container Size

10ft units are a little less than 8 ft by 8 ft on the interior where your storage items will be kept. The exact interior length and width are 7’8” and 7’10”.

The smallest storage solutions, the 10ft container size stores about half a one-car garage. They take up about half a parking space, making them ideal for relatively tight spaces.

If you’re just looking to store things around the house or yard, a 10′ unit is probably your best option.

10ft containers are also cut from larger units. So they usually have cargo doors and/or roll-up doors.

20′ Standard Container Size

20ft containers the most popular size. In fact, 20 footers are the leader in oversized portable storage.

The storage space on the inside of 20ft containers is slightly less than 8ft by 8ft.

20ft containers have the storage capacity of about a one-car garage or 150 square feet. So they can comfortably store about one or two rooms.

And since 20ft units are so popular, they’re relatively low cost. Plus, they’re commonly available in all conditions in ports across the U.S. (and the rest of the world for that matter).

40 ft Container Dimensions

40ft containers are 7’8” wide and 7’10” tall on the interior.

But with their relatively long length, 40 ft units store about the same as a two-car garage. This is about 300 square feet or 2-3 rooms.

Like the 20ft container size, 40ft units are commonly available in ports throughout the U.S and the rest of the world in any condition or grade.

40′ High Cube

40 ft High Cubes have almost the same specs and dimensions as the standard 40 footer. BUT High Cube containers are 1 ft taller for 12 percent more space.

With an extra foot of headspace, 40ft High Cubes are perfect for storing oversized or over-height items.

But like 40′ standard units, 40′ High Cubes take up about 2 standard parking spaces.

Specialized Container Dimensions & Specs

Specialized sizes are not as readily available (or relatively low cost) as the more common 20ft, 40ft, 40 High Cube, and even 10ft ISO container dimensions we just went over.

Specialized High Cube Container

These special containers are 7’8” wide on the inside.

But like 40ft High Cubes, special container sizes have 8’10” of height, rather than 7’10” like standard-sized units.

These units are ideal for large storage items or storage situations that require shelving, overhead lighting or a loft.

Here’s a comparison of the different storage capacities of the more commonly available special container sizes:

  • 45′ High Cubes store slightly more than a two-car garage.
  • 53′ High Cubes store roughly the same as a three-car garage.
  • 48′ High Cubes store the same as a ‘two and a half’ car garage.

Let’s briefly cover their container specs and dimensions, in addition to these EVEN MORE specialized units in the marketplace:

  • Flatracks – 20′ and 40′
  • Open Tops – 20′ and 40′
  • 20′ High Cube (cut from larger High Cubes).

Then we’ll wrap up by discussing how you can determine the right size for your storage needs.

45 ft High Cube Shipping Container Specs

45ft High Cubes are a foot taller than normal 8’6 containers. This offers an extra 12 inches of headspace.

The storage capacity of 45′ units is a little more than a typical 2-car garage. And they consume a tad more than 2 parking spaces.

InteriorDoorExterior
Length: 44’5”
Width: 7’8”
Height: 8’10”
Width: 7’8”
Height: 7’5”
Length: 45’0”
Width: 8’0”
Height: 9’6”

53 ft High Cube Shipping Container Specs

53 ft High Cubes are a foot taller than the 8’6 standard container height.

And they have the storage capacity roughly equivalent to a 3 car garage.

InteriorDoorExterior
Length: 52’5”
Width: 7’8”
Height: 8’10”
Width: 7’8”
Height: 7’5”
Length: 53’0”
Width: 8’0”
Height: 9’6”

20 ft Flatrack Shipping Container Specs

20 ft Flatracks consume roughly about one parking spot. They’re great for storing oversized items that can fit into a one-car garage.

20′ Flatracks are perfect for oddly-shaped cargo.

InteriorDoorExterior
Length: 19’3”
Width: 7’8”
Height: 8’10”
Width: 7’8”
Height: 7’5”
Length: 20’0”
Width: 8’0”
Height: 9’6”

20 ft Open Top Shipping Container Specs

20 ft Open Tops take up about 1 parking space.

These containers are unique in that they don’t have a roof. So they’re great for overheight storage AND maximum stability.

InteriorDoorExterior
Length: 19’3”
Width: 7’8”
Height: 8’10”
Width: 7’8”
Height: 7’5”
Length: 20’0”
Width: 8’0”
Height: 9’6”

40 ft Flatrack Shipping Container Specs

40 ft Flatracks take up about 2 regular parking spaces.

These specialized container sizes are designed to handle oversized items.

The 40′ Flatrack container specification makes them ideal for oddly-shaped, over-width, and/or over-height cargo.

InteriorDoorExterior
Length: 39’5”
Width: 7’8”
Height: 8’10”
Width: 7’8”
Height: 7’5”
Length: 40’0”
Width: 8’0”
Height: 9’6”

40 ft Open Top Shipping Container Specs

40 ft Open Tops occupy about two standard parking spaces. These containers are made to handle oversized storage.

Specialize open-top ISO container dimensions are great for commercial, industrial, and agricultural applications. Or for any site that needs overheight storage and container stability.

InteriorDoorExterior
Length: 39’5”
Width: 7’8”
Height: 8’10”
Width: 7’8”
Height: 7’5”
Length: 40’0”
Width: 8’0”
Height: 9’6”

20 ft High Cube Shipping Container Specs

20 ft High Cubes have the same general container specs as standard 20 footers. But with an extra foot on top, they provide an added 12% of cubic storage space.

InteriorDoorExterior
Length: 19’3”
Width: 7’8”
Height: 8’10”
Width: 7’8”
Height: 7’6”
Length: 20’0”
Width: 8’0”
Height: 9’6”

Which Container Size is Right for You?

Determine which container size you should buy or rent boils down to four main questions:

  1. How much do you need to store? What storage capacity is ideal?
  2. What height are the items you need to store? If you have oversized items, consider a High Cube or Open Top unit.
  3. How much space do you have on-site for the container?
  4. How much do you want to spend? If you want a lower-priced unit, go with a common container size rather than a specialized unit.
Shipping Container Dimensions

What if You Want a Custom Container Size?

The 10ft to 53ft container sizes make up the VAST majority of units in circulation today.

But what if you want a container dimension or spec other than the standard and specialized sizes?

Good news is, you’re in luck.

Our Premier Partners offer container customization. So if you want a custom container size, one can often be created to your preferred specs.

But beware, it’s probably going to cost you a pretty penny.

Still Can’t Decide on Container Size?

Within reason, it’s best to overestimate rather than underestimate your required storage space.

After all, you don’t want to be stuck renting or purchasing another size because you planned for the minimum. It’s always nice to have extra space for your year-round needs.

Hey, you might even use that extra space to create an office space or little getaway area for yourself! You never know what life is going to throw at ya.

To be safe, it’s best to not rush the planning stage. Getting the right shipping container size AND condition for your storage needs are important to get right the first time around.

If you need help deciding which container size to get, give us a call. We’re here to help!

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