If you’re planning on sending your parcel by post, you’ll need to know the dimensions of your package as well as the total weight before it’s ready to go.
Many people remember to check how much their parcel weighs, but forget to measure the actual size and without this information, the parcel may be delayed or cost more than you thought.
We explain in more detail why the length and girth of your parcel is so important and how you can get the measurements more accurate.
Why measure up?
Most people are aware that some parcels must conform to certain weigh limits in order to be sent, and that heavier parcels could cost more.
However, as well as limits on the weight, there are also maximum dimensions for height, width and depth, with courier services specifying a limit on the total cubic volume of a parcel. This is calculated by using the length, width and depth which is what makes knowing these measurements even more essential. The height and the width together is known collectively as the girth.
If your parcel is oddly shaped, allowances won’t be made for the peculiarities of the dimensions. A laser machine will simply measure how big it is at the largest points and use these calculations to come up with an overall figure. If this figure is in excess of the maximum capacity, your item will be subject to a hefty charge.
As a rough idea, the way in which to measure total capacity is as follows:
Length + (2 x width) + (2 x depth) = cubic volume
Another way is to simply add the length to the girth of the parcel.
Each courier may vary slightly but the maximum cubic volume is typically set around 325 cm. This is why it’s important to know the length and girth, and ultimately the total cubic volume.
These limits are not in place to be deliberately obstructive but to ensure that the parcels receive can go down conveyor belts to be sorted with minimum risk of damage and can fit comfortably into delivery vehicles.
Calculating the girth
The girth is the measurement which goes all the way around your parcel in one direction – but not on the longest side.
To get the length of the item, take a tape measure and get the dimensions of the side which is the longest overall. This is the length of the item.
You will next need to measure how tall the item is and how wide. Each of these measurements needs to be doubled, and then these two figures added together; this will provide you with the girth. When you combine the girth figure with the length, this will give you the cubic volume.
In order for many carriers to accept your item, this total cubic volume should not be more than 325 cm. Some will carry larger items, but only at an increased cost.
Below is a practical example of how to calculate the girth and then the total cubic volume:
Item dimensions: 50cm (length) x 20cm (width) x 10cm (height)
20cm (width) x 2 = 40cm
10cm (height) x2 = 20cm
40cm + 20cm = 60cm
Girth = 60cm
60cm (girth) + 50cm (length) = 110cm
Total cubic volume of parcel = 110cm
Remember, as mentioned higher up, if your parcel has an unusual shape, it is the tallest, widest and highest points that you need to measure as your parcel is measured by lasers Which will take the widest measurement to calculate the cubic volume.
if you have a cylindrical parcel such as a fishing rod or art poster, your girth is the widest measurement across the tube i.e. It's diameter X 4. Add this to your length for the total measurement.