Which Shipping Container Size is Right for You

Buying your own shipping container is ideal for exporters who wish to store goods for long periods or even profit by selling them, but how do you know what size shipping container to buy?

With a wealth of other uses for the best shipping containers in Australia and all across the globe, from office units to compact living, you must understand the best size for your needs.

Let’s start first with the mini takeaway so you can get started making plans to take ownership of the right size container for you.

Finding the right-sized shipping container generally depends on the reason you are using it and the type of goods you are storing and stacking. For office or home use, high cube types are best. Before deciding, assess the weight and dimensions of any goods you wish to contain.

With this answer in mind, you can more easily understand how to know what size shipping container to buy. Let’s start with some of the main things to consider before choosing.

What Are You Using the Container For?

With cargo transported by shipping containers at a staggering 275 million metric tonnes between 2018 and 2019, according to Statista, it’s not surprising that many entrepreneurs and other business owners might be considering buying one.

If, for instance, you are using one for exporting, for storing extra stock from a retail venture, or even as a tiny home, it’s crucial to decide which size is best for your needs.

The best way of knowing what size shipping container to buy is by measuring the goods or items you want to store or ship, along with a few more considerations we will discover below.

Are You Stacking Your Items?

Anyone who wants to know what size shipping container to buy should decide how you intend to place goods inside it.

For example, if you are using a shipping container for office, security, or even living spaces, square-foot dimensions will be as important to you as the height of the container.

Using the vertical space for loading or storing is essential to maximise the load, especially if you export goods.

So it stands to reason that if you are stacking items rather than simply using the floor to place items, you will be able to fit more into a smaller container.

Weight allowance

If you intend to use a shipping container for exporting goods. It’s worth understanding the exact weight of any goods before you make your final choice on the size.

The maximum weight for a 20ft container or TEU is no more than 24,000kg when loaded, and a 2-TEU (40 ft container) must weigh no more than 30,480kg.

It’s also important to understand that the maximum weight also includes the weight of the shipping container.

Here at Tiger Containers, our 20ft types weigh 2,290 kgs, and a 40ft container weighs 3,770kg.

So it’s vital that if you are filling a 20ft container with any kind of cargo, it weighs no more than 21,710 kg, including its packaging.

Do you need access to items in the shipping container?

One of the most important considerations when choosing the best shipping containers is whether you need access to your items.
If you do, the types with double doors will give a more suitable entrance and an easier way to retrieve or access your items.

What Size Shipping Containers do we Stock at Tiger Containers?

What Size Shipping Containers

10ft shipping containers

A 10ft shipping container, either used or new, is an excellent option if you have a small volume of goods to transport or store.

However, it’s worth understanding if you are shipping overseas. Some freight companies will only accept the more standard 20ft and 40ft sizes because of safety when stacking.

So a 10ft container may not be the best choice if you regularly export by sea, but it can be a better choice for overland shipping.

They are usually around 7ft 10” high and have approximately 72 square feet of space. The high cube types will give you an extra foot.

As a general guide, the best 10ft shipping containers are perfectly sized for storing goods from a small apartment or a couple of bedrooms.

A good rule of thumb is that the 10ft shipping container as a general guide is roughly half the size of a car garage.

20ft shipping containers

20ft shipping containers

If you are looking to buy the best shipping containers in Australia in terms of storage, they can usually fit around eight larger-sized pallets or 16 smaller types.

As a general guide, 20ft shipping containers can hold around 25-30 cubic metres of items.

Before buying a 20ft shipping container, it’s crucial to understand the type of cargo you have to maximise the space most efficiently. This might be an issue if some boxes are too large or have an odd shape to stack.

As this is the standard sized container, it’s not surprising it’s used mainly for shipping. However, for those looking for a sustainable, quirky and original dwelling, it’s not uncommon to find four containers bolted on to make a spectacular home!

40ft shipping containers

40ft shipping containers

With the Mediterranean Shipping Company waiting on a build of one of the largest container ships in the world, able to transport a jaw-dropping 24,232 TEU, it’s likely much of their cargo is 40ft shipping containers.

A 40ft container is the largest available container and has a vast array of uses in many types of industry and shipping cargo abroad.

This super-sized container can hold around 16 large pallets or 32 smaller pallets.

For anyone who has many goods to transport, the 40ft is an economical choice.

Its large size enables the container to carry more cargo, making it very economical for shipping large quantities of goods. It offers the convenience of two 20ft containers minus the inconveniences and expenses of transporting two separate units.

What can I use a 40ft container for?

Alongside being a good size choice for larger shipping requirements, a 40ft shipping container can be used in many different types of industries for a multitude of purposes, including:

  • Housing
  • Hotels and leisure
  • Mining
  • Retail
  • Construction

As with all sized containers, it does depend largely on the type of goods you are shipping or its intended purpose.

It’s worth knowing that smaller boxes can maximise the use of your container, as larger boxes tend to leave lots of unusable space.

Another tip from our experts here at Tiger is that a 40ft model doesn’t incur any extra weight cost, so it’s ideal for shipping heavy goods.

For more information on buying the best shipping containers, don’t forget to head over to our other helpful article for the definitive Guide to Purchasing Containers In Australia.

In Summary

Our industry experts at Tiger have a wealth of experience spanning 35 years.

Our professional and skilled staff offer stand out customer service while offering you the best prices for your shipping container needs.

With several depots across Australia, our team will deliver direct to your door and offer a 3-month satisfaction guarantee.

Get in touch on 1800 072 039 to speak with one of the friendly experts, or click here for a quote.