20ft Shipping Container Dimensions – Weight & Measurements

The 20-foot shipping container is undeniably one of the most preferred by various industries around the world. It also makes up one of the most commonly sold containers.

This is particularly because the 20 ft shipping container dimensions are small enough to fit into most storage spaces and large enough to accommodate the contents of a standard one-car garage. So just how large is a 20ft shipping container?

Dimensions of the 20ft Container

According to industry standards, a one or two-bedroom apartment or a standard passenger vehicle can fit into a 20ft container. However, mathematically, the following dimensions reveal a more precise size of a 20-foot container.

Standard 20ft Container Dimensions

Exterior Dimensions

  • Square Feet: 160 sq ft (14.86m2)
  • External Dimensions (feet): 20’ long x 8’ wide x 8’ 6” high
  • External Dimensions (meters): 6.06 m long x 2.44 m wide x 2.60 m high

Interior Dimensions

  • Square Feet: 146 sq ft (13.56m2)
  • Internal Dimensions (feet): 19’ 4” long x 7’ 9” wide x 7’ 10” high
  • Internal Dimensions (meters): 5.9 m long x 2.35 m wide x 2.39 m high
  • Door width (feet): 7 ft 9 in
  • Door Width (meters): 2.34 m
  • Door height (feet): 7 ft 6 in
  • Door height (meters): 2.28 m


  • Volume: 1,172 cubic feet (33.2 cubic meters)
  • Weight: It has a tare weight of 5,070 lbs. (2300 kg), a maximum payload weight (max cargo weight) of 55,126.9 lbs. (25,000 kg), and a maximum gross weight of 60,197 lbs. (27,305 kg).

High Cube 20-foot container dimensions

Exterior Dimensions

  • Square Feet: 160 sq ft (14.86m2)
  • External Dimensions (feet): 20’ long x 8’ wide x 9’ 6” high 
  • External Dimensions (meters): 6.06 m long x 2.90 m high x 2.44 m wide

Interior Dimensions

  • Square Feet: 146 sq ft (13.56m2)
  • Internal Dimensions (feet): 19’ 4” long x 7’ 9” wide x 8’ 10” high
  • Internal Dimensions (meters): 5.96 m long x 2.35 m wide x 2.69 m high
  • Door width (feet): 7ft 9in
  • Door Width (meters): 2.34 m
  • Door height (feet): 8ft 6in
  • Door height (meters): 2.58 m


  • Volume: 1,320 cubic feet (37.4 cubic meters)
  • Weight: It has a tare weight of 5,115 lbs. (2320 kg), a maximum payload capacity of 55,126.9 lbs. (25,000kgs), and a maximum gross weight of 60,242 lbs. (27,325 kg).

Benefits and Common Uses of 20-foot Steel Shipping Containers

A 20-foot shipping container is an affordable option for your storage or import needs. What’s more, as one of the most commonly used shipping containers, you will be spoiled for choice once you decide to purchase it.

The 20 ft container can be used for a wide range of functions including storage, shipping, and conversion into restaurants, office space, family homes, and Airbnb.

The standard 20 ft shipping container is portable, relocatable, and can fit into most vacant positions without size adjustments.

How Much Can You Fit Inside a 20 ft Container?

A 20 ft container can hold between 25-28 CBM worth of goods. Its capacity to hold goods is significantly dependent on the nature of goods since some commodities cannot be stacked up and some boxes may be too large to fit efficiently. You can load up to 15000 kg without experiencing a weight surcharge.

What’s the Maximum Load for a 20ft shipping container?

The unloaded weight of a 20-foot shipping container stands at 2,300 kg. In theory, it can be loaded to a maximum weight of 28 tons (25, 400 kg). However, this also depends on the nature of the cargo as discussed above, existing restrictions or limitations of the shipping line, and specific shipment details.

How Many Pallets Can Fit into a 20-foot container?

When dealing with American pallets whose dimensions are 40” x 48” (1.016 m x 1.219 m), a standard 20 ft shipping container can hold up to 10 pellets provided the load is not hanging over the sides.

However, when using European pallets with dimensions of 1.2 m x 0.8 m, the base of a 20 ft container can hold up to 11 pallets if the load is not overhanging the container’s sides.

Packing Tips to Make the Most of Your 20 ft Container

  • If using the container for logistical purposes, you will need to have some sturdy boxes, bubble wraps, and packing peanuts. Pack breakable items in bubble wrap or newspapers and then surround them with packing peanuts to protect them.
  • Full-Capacity loading is wishful thinking. It is impossible to fully load your container until there’s no more space left. Hence, don’t overestimate how much you can load up. 
  • Pack your items as tightly as possible. You can achieve this by placing boxes with heavy items around those with lighter or breakable items to prevent the tossing and turning that occurs during transportation. You can also secure boxes and furniture using container attachments.
  • Use standardized platforms such as pellets to load your shipping container. This will ease the loading and unloading process.
  • Pack up your container using the “heavy ones first” approach. This simply means you stack up your container by first loading up heavier items like furniture before packing up lighter ones.
  • Ensure to pack up the heavier boxes at the base of your container and the fragile and lighter ones at the top to prevent damage during transit.
  • Avoid packing items such as spray cans, guns, perishable food items, plants, seeds, and flammable items into your shipping container.

What Types of 20 ft Shipping Containers can I purchase?


A one-trip shipping container has only made one trip across the ocean. Hence, you are likely to receive it in pristine condition. They may be relatively costly but are often worth every coin.

Cargo Worthy

Despite having been used multiple times before, cargo-worthy containers are still in good condition and can be used to hold and transport cargo. They may sometimes have minor imperfections such as dents or surface dust.

Wind and Water Tight (WWT) Containers

WWT containers will prevent wind and water damage to the contents of your 20 ft container. They are an ideal choice for the storage of static items.


As-Is containers are as cheap as they come. However, be prepared to deal with significant defects like holes and inoperable doors.


What is the internal length of a 20ft container?

The interior dimensions of a standard 20 ft container are 19 ft 4 in long by 7ft 10 in high by 7ft 9 in wide.

What is the capacity of a 20ft HC container?

A 20 ft HC container has a capacity of 1,320 cubic feet which translates to 37.4 cubic meters.

How much does it cost to ship a 20ft container?

The cost of shipping a 20-foot container internationally is dependent on several factors such as the destination of the container and the nature of its contents. A rough estimate lies somewhere between $1200 and $6000.

What fits in a 20 ft container?

A 20 ft container can hold the contents of a one or two-bedroom apartment, a standard passenger vehicle, or a standard one-car garage. However, the much a 20 ft container can hold greatly depends on the nature of the cargo being loaded into the container.


The 20 ft container dimensions make it an ideal choice when you are concerned with space. This popularly used container will hold your cargo or household goods while taking up limited space.

One remarkable feature of the 20 ft shipping container is that it sparks your imagination and ability to create new things. You can customize it into a modern restaurant, a house, or even a creatively designed Airbnb! 

If you are ready to have your 20 ft steel container shipped to your doorstep, don’t hesitate to give us a call.

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