Volumetric weight calculator

If your parcel is bulky, most couriers will charge based on volumetric weight, calculated from the size of your parcel, rather than weight.

Enter your parcel details

What is volumetric weight?

Volumetric weight is the calculated weight based on the length, width and height of a parcel converted to volumetric kilograms. The formula used to calculate the volumetric weight varies by courier and the service used. For example, some couriers apply a different volumetric formula for their express and economy service.

Why is volumetric weight charged?

The bigger an item is, the more room it takes up on a vehicle or aircraft, and therefore the more it costs to send. If an item is large but light, the price will be based on the size rather than the weight.

Although this box is only 2kg in physical weight, because it's bigger, it's volumetric weight will be more than 20kg.

Calculate volumetric weight
for courier delivery

Different courier companies use different metrics, but the most common method is to multiply the 3 parcel dimensions in centimetres and divide by 5,000.

Don’t worry, the handy tool above calculates this for you, but if you want to work it out for yourself, here’s how it’s done:

Length x Width x Height / 5000
Multiply the 3 dimensions

Multiply the length x height x width of your parcel in cm.

For example, 20 x 20 x 30
Divide the answer by 5,000*

You've now calculated the volumetric weight in kg.

*To calculate volumetric weight using inches, simply divide by 305
Compare to the physical weight

If the number is greater than the physical weight, then your shipment will be billed based on the volumetric weight.

120cm x 55cm x 50cm

= 66kg (vol.weight)

Calculate volumetric weight for freight delivery

Most road freight, air freight services and airlines use a 6,000 divisor. To calculate the volumetric weight for a freight shipment, multiply the length x width x height in cm and divide by 6,000.

Calculate total chargeable weight of a shipment

Different couriers use different methods for calculating the total chargeable weight of a shipment, and this can affect the chargeable weight and therefore the price of some shipments quite considerably.


1 Shipment containing 2 parcels

Parcel 1:

Physical Weight 10kg

Volumetric Weight 14kg

Parcel 2:

Physical Weight 12kg

Volumetric Weight 10kg

Method 1

The most common way of calculating the chargeable weight of a shipment is by comparing the total physical weight of all the parcels in a shipment to the total volumetric weight of all the parcels and charging whichever is the greater.

This method is used by FedEx and UPS

Total physical weight - 22kg

Total volumetric weight - 24kg

Shipment chargeable weight - 24kg

Method 2

Some couriers, like DHL, charge on a piece basis. So, they calculate the chargeable weight of each parcel individually, then add the chargeable weight of each parcel together.

This method is used by DHL

Parcel 1 chargeable weight - 14kg


Parcel 2 chargeable weight - 12kg

Total chargeable weight - 26kg

In this example, you will see that DHL will charge 2kg more for the same shipment, despite using the same volumetric divisor to calculate dimensional weight.


Save on shipping bulky items

You can save on shipping bulky items with some of our postal services as they do not charge volumetric weight. For example, DPD charge a flat rate per parcel, so you do not incur any volumetric fees. Alternatively, use one of our specialist large parcel services from DHL, Parcelforce and FedEx.

Shipping bulky items

Use the right size box

If your shipment contains one or more irregular shaped parcels, the volumetric weight of each parcel will be calculated based on the smallest rectangular shape that the parcels can be accommodated into, so make sure you use the right box.

Learn more about packaging

Sending pallets

If you're sending a pallet, remember the size of the pallet will be accounted for when calculating the volumetric weight of your shipment, so consider using a Euro pallet (1200 x 800mm) rather than a standard UK pallet (1200x1000mm) if your items are small enough.

Learn more about our pallet service


The volumetric divisor depends on the courier and service you're using. If you’re sending air freight, or economy freight, the divisor will likely be 6,000. If you’re sending with an express courier like UPS or FedEx, the devisor will likely be 5,000.

Some couriers charge a different devisor for shipments travelling by road, whether that be domestically or to the EU. But don't worry, ParcelHero always calculates the applicable devisor at the point of quote and includes all applicable surcharges.

Learn more about sending to the UK
Sending worldwide with ParcelHero

1 cubic metre is equivalent to 200kg volumetric weight at a devisor of 5,000 and 166.6 kg at a devisor of 6,000.