How to Choose the Right Size Shipping Container for Your Needs: 20ft vs. 40ft

How to Choose the Right Size Shipping Container for Your Needs: 20ft vs. 40ft

Shipping containers are versatile storage solutions that add extra storage space on a temporary or permanent basis and protect your goods when you need to ship them. They come in 20-foot and 40-foot lengths and rest flat against the ground for ease of access and loading. You can store anything you like in a shipping container as well as ship items that are too large for standard forms of transport. Shipping containers are available for rent or purchase, enabling you to scale up or shrink your storage needs with the least amount of effort.

Before you take on a container, you need to figure out how much space you need, so you get the right size. That way, you avoid the frustration of not having enough storage space and can feel confident that a 20ft container rental is right for you, or go larger with a 40ft container.

The Shipping Container Dimensions of 20ft and 40ft Units

A 20ft container has a usable volume of 1,170 cubic feet, and a 40ft container has approximately 2,390 cubic feet. The interior dimensions of both sizes are slightly smaller than their exterior dimensions. They are:

20ft Shipping Container

Length – 19’4″
Width – 7’8″
Height – 7’10”

40ft Shipping Container

Length – 39’6″
Width – 7’8″
Height – 7’10

The doorway dimensions for both container lengths are the same with a width of 7’8″ and a height of 7’6″.

Shipping containers are built to the transportation industry standards to ensure that the units fit onto trucks and trains. However, taller units are available if you need more height to store equipment or goods.

Doing the Storage Space Math

The interior dimensions of the storage unit are a hard limit that you use to figure out what can fit into each size of the unit. If you’re storing equipment or machinery, you can measure its dimensions and compare it against the interior dimensions of the container. However, if you’re storing items of different sizes or of the same size, you’ll want to take each dimension and multiply it until you’ve reached each interior dimension.

For example, you have items in boxes that are 12″ long, and you want to stack them lengthwise in the container. The 19’10” length of the container means you can stack 19 boxes lengthwise and have 10″ of space left to stack more products or leave a gap. This can be applied to the remaining dimensions of your inventory and lets you determine how much you can store in a shipping container.

Determining How Much Available Space You Have on Your Property

The exterior dimensions of a shipping container help you figure out if you can buy a 40-foot shipping container, or if you should buy two 20-foot containers and place them side by side. You’ll need a space that’s flat and level for the placement of the unit. The units can be placed on asphalt, concrete, and packed gravel as long as they can lay flat on their base when it’s put into place.

How LGI Transport Can Help You With Picking the Right Size Shipping Container

At LGI Transport, we know everything there is to know about shipping containers. Give us a call to talk about your needs for using a shipping container for storage or shipping. Our team is here to explain how containers work, what you can expect from having one on your property, and help you determine if you should rent or buy one. We’ll deliver the container and put it where you want it to go. You can also go online and fill out our form to request a free quote for the type of container that interests you.