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Storage Container Sizes 101: Dimensions, Types and Cost

Storage Container Sizes 101: Dimensions, Types and Cost

Storage containers, sometimes called shipping containers or Conex containers, come in two standard lengths: 20-foot and 40-foot.

Since they share the same width and height, their difference in length sets them apart. For companies, construction teams or individuals looking to store materials, containers in these sizes get the job done. But for more specialized storage, teams should look into special containers.

While standard containers are relatively inexpensive, special containers provide add-ons and modifications for an increased price. Because of rising material costs, companies that store tools and raw materials need to make the most of their storage. So, by understanding the features and dimensions of each container type, teams can find the best investment.

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Shipping Container Size Chart

Container Dimensions and Capacity
Container Type External Length External Width External Height Cubic Capacity Max Payload
10-Foot Container 10 ft. 8 ft. 8 ft. 6 in. 536 cu. ft. 19,530 lbs
20-Foot Container 20 ft. 8ft. 8 ft. 6 in. 1,169 cu. ft. 55,126.9 lbs
20-Foot High Cube Container 20 ft. 8 ft. 7.9 ft. 1,320 cu. ft. 55,126 lbs
40-Foot Container 40 ft. 8 ft. 8ft. 6 in. 2,385 cu. ft. 61,200 lbs
40-Foot High Cube Container 40 ft. 8 ft. 9 ft. 6 in. 2,660 cu. ft. 63,052 lbs
45-Foot High Cube Container 45 ft. 8 ft. 9 ft. 8in. 3,040 cu. ft. 72,800 lbs

Shipping container dimensions affect everything from the type of material you can store to the maximum weight it carries. Depending on your storage needs, certain containers provide the most utility. Among standard containers, high cube models even offer an extra foot of height to maximize storage space. The chart below breaks down the essential measurements of each container type.

What Sizes Do Shipping Containers Come in?

Storage container sizes

Standard storage containers come in 10-, 20- and 40-foot varieties. Most individuals and companies will find the perfect unit in one of these sizes. While larger containers see more use in shipping, these models also work for self-storage. So, whether you want to store raw materials or construction equipment, these containers afford all the space you need. Standard shipping container sizes include:

10-Foot Shipping Container

Ten-foot containers are the least popular size. Because of their small dimensions, 10-foot containers meet the needs of individuals more than construction teams or landscaping companies. At most, this shipping container size holds the contents of a one-bedroom apartment. They are also popular among portable storage companies.

20-Foot Shipping Container

Twenty-foot containers are some of the most common models. Compared to a 40-foot container, their smaller size makes them better suited for on-site storage. For example, businesses that need to store tools or raw materials on a job site will typically use 20-foot containers.

40-Foot Shipping Container

Forty-foot containers suit the needs of large teams and shipping companies. Freight carriers on cargo ships are designed around the weight requirements of a 40-foot container so they can ship more at once. Their expanded storage space provides enough room for machines like forklifts and their attachments.

Special Container Dimensions

20-Foot Special Container Dimensions and Capacity
Container Type External Length External Width External Height Cubic Capacity Payload
Open-Top Container 19.4 ft. 7.8 ft. 7.9 ft. 1,155 cu. ft. 62,214 lbs
Reefer Container 17.9 ft. 7.5 ft. 7.4 ft. 2,093 cu. ft. 61,078 lbs
Double Door Container 19.4 ft. 7.8 ft. 7.9 ft. 1,172 cu. ft. 55,126 lbs
Pallet Wide Container 19.3 ft. 8 ft. 7.8 ft. 1,213 cu. ft. 61,905 lbs
Flat Rack Container 19 ft. 7.9 ft. 7.7 ft. 1,154 cu. ft. 66,458 lbs
Side Door Container 19.4 ft. 7.7 ft. 7.7 ft. 1,094 cu. ft. 45,856 lbs
Hard Top Container 19.4 ft. 7.7 ft. 7.7 ft. 1,155 cu. ft. 62,214 lbs
Tank Container 19.7 ft. 8 ft. 7.8 ft. 5,547 gallons 60,425 lbs
Insulated Container 19.1 ft. 7.6 ft. 7.5 ft. 970 cu. ft. 47,070 lbs

While standard and high cube units are some of the most popular models, they aren’t the only shipping container sizes. Whether your goods need to remain at a specific temperature or can’t fit into standard units, a special container can help. While they generally come at a higher price, they allow for the safe storage of materials that other models can’t hold.

special shipping containers

Open-top Containers

open-top containerAs the name implies, open-top containers don’t have a roof. This is great for cargo that doesn’t quite fit the other models, but not ideal if you need to stack the containers. Teams load raw materials and machinery into this container with a crane boom. Open-top containers are an excellent choice for job equipment that must stay on-site.

Reefer (Refrigerated) ContainersReefer container

Reefer containers, or refrigerated containers, feature internal climate control systems. These models function like refrigerators for goods that need to stay cold on the move. They are often used to store animal byproducts, produce or pharmaceuticals. Some units can reach temperatures as low as minus 20 degrees Fahrenheit.

Double Door Containers

double door containerThis container has double doors that swing out from both ends of the unit, which is vital when you need to load or unload materials from both sides quickly. Teams can also open the doors and easily park vehicles inside.

Pallet Wide Containers

pallet wide containerPallet wide containers focus on storing pallets, with 20-foot models holding up to a dozen stacks at a time. Their dimensions ensure that pallets slide in and remain secure during transport. With no chance of pallets slipping out from their stacks, any company that uses pallets should invest in this container. Its design also lets pallet jacks easily remove materials from the unit.

Flat Rack Containers

flat rack containerLike an open-top container, flat rack models lack a roof. Additionally, flat racks remove both walls running along the length of the container. Heavy cargo can easily fit into this container thanks to having only two walls at either end of the unit. However, due to the lack of surfaces, companies should never stack materials in this container.

Side Door Containers

side door containerThese containers offer a sliding door running along the long side of the model. While you can only unload them from one side, this design suits bulky materials. It’s also ideal for cargo that requires more than one person to carry out.

Hard Top Containers

hard top containerHard top containers feature a removable steel sheet on the roof. Without the steel sheet attached, these containers look like open-top models. Like open-top containers, teams should use a crane to load and unload cargo. Additionally, hard top containers allow for safer storage once teams place all their materials inside.

Tank Containers

tank containerTank containers specialize in transporting liquids. Sometimes referred to as tankers, these containers allow for the safe storage and transfer of water, oil or any other industrial fluid. Although the tanks are cylindrical, they fit into a rectangular container for optimized storage.

Insulated Containers

insulated containerLike refrigerated units, insulated containers store cold materials. But while reefer containers use climate control systems, insulated models only maintain the temperature within. So, if goods need to stay frozen or at room temperature, an insulated container is a great option.

Storage Container Sizes FAQs

Learning the basics of storage container sizes will ensure you can make the best investment. However, some storage customers have additional questions that could affect their purchase.

Are Storage Containers and Shipping Containers Different Sizes?

Storage containers and shipping containers generally share the same dimensions. Shipping containers require a CSC plate, which stands for “convention for safe containers.” This plate certifies their quality and ensures you can safely store cargo within. While most storage containers are wind- and water-tight, they have less strict requirements for use.

How Wide Is a Shipping Container?

Standard ISO shipping containers are 8 feet wide. Modifications such as internal refrigeration may cut down on shipping container width.

What Makes a Shipping Container “Dry”?

Dry shipping containers, sometimes called sea containers, store and transport dry goods. They feature a water-resistant and airtight design that protects anything stored inside. Materials such as barrels, pallets and electronics should always ship within a dry container. More so than other containers, you should always ensure a dry container is in good condition before sending it off.

What Is a Conex Container?

A Conex container is another name for shipping and storage containers. Conex box, also spelled as Connex storage, was a term used during the Korean War that referred to these containers. Conex boxes standardized the dimensions used by other containers to this day.

What Are Portable Storage Containers?

Portable storage containers are storage units delivered to a specific location. While most storage containers reside at a facility, these models reside at homes and work sites. While they come in 20- and 40-foot varieties, some portable containers feature smaller sizes.

How Much Does a Container Cost?

A new storage container costs between $5,000 and $7,000. Customers looking for a small, pre-owned unit may pay as little as $1,000. On top of this, a container’s size, condition or modifications can affect the price. To avoid these steep prices, few companies pay for long-term storage containers upfront.

More often than not, renting a container is a better investment. Since different projects involve different tools and heavy machinery, many businesses rent containers with these tools. Not only does this avoid steep fees, it also provides teams added flexibility. Additionally, many storage renters provide free upkeep if a unit needs maintenance or a replacement if it sustains significant damage.

Companies of all shapes and sizes need the best storage options. When you rent containers through BigRentz, you’ll receive the best storage at an affordable price.

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