High Cube Shipping Containers vs Standard Containers

Ever thought of getting temporary watertight storage units that offer reliable structural integrity? If so, then using storage containers probably crossed your mind. 

Containers are your best bet when it comes to storage for construction sites, on-site temporary storage, and inventory overflow, depending on your needs. 

In this comprehensive guide, we highlight what a high cube (HC) shipping container is, HC container dimensions, and where HC containers can be used.

What Is a High Cube Shipping Container?

high cube container height

There’s no striking difference between a high cube shipping container and a standard shipping container other than the high cube container dimensions. 

High cube containers are very similar to standard containers except when it comes to the height of the container. A standard container has a maximum height of 8’6, whereas high cube containers are 9’6 tall. The extra foot allows for easy storage, transportation of bulky cargo, and a little more ceiling height when it comes to high cube shipping container homes.

Just like standard containers, high cube containers are used to ship a variety of dry cargo. However, they are referred to as high-cube since they resemble cubes when viewed from the front and back. 

Standard vs. High Cube Shipping Containers

Standard Shipping Containers


In a one-on-one volume comparison, the 40′ standard shipping container is smaller than a 40′ high cube container. As a result, it also weighs less. 

These features of the standard container present a host of potential benefits. For starters, they are suitable for transportation since they are lighter and for storage where there isn’t much cargo.


  • Lower energy consumption: Less energy is needed to heat and cool them due to their smaller internal dimensions. This results in considerable cost savings. 
  • Easy transportation: Since they are shorter in height, they are not affected by obstructions on the road such as power lines or low bridges. This also enhances safety during transportation. 
  • Low transportation costs: They are lighter, hence require less fuel, which in turn translates to lower transportation costs. 
  • Cheaper option: When looking to secure a container while on a budget, then the standard containers are your cheaper alternative due to their small size. 
  • Saving on material costs: A shorter height means less material is used; this translates to savings in building material.


Despite the long list of advantages that the standard containers offer, they also present some disadvantages. Some of their disadvantages include:

  • Their small size poses a limitation on the amount of cargo that can be transported in them or the number of items stored in them. 

High Cube Container


The 40’ high cube containers are taller and weigh more than the standard containers. This considerable increase in height comes with some advantages over their shorter counterparts. 

High cube shipping containers are mostly used to ship larger amounts of cargo and storing huge amounts of items since they are bigger.


  • Additional storage space: Since high cube containers are taller, you can store or fit more items in them. This would also make the container appear more spacious if you’re looking to use it for housing or as a storage unit. 
  • Provides space for plumbing and wiring: the extra space allows for the wiring and plumbing work that’s necessary in every household. 
  • More comfort: the additional space allows the container greater housing capacity and makes it comfortable to live in.  


The disadvantages of the high cube containers include:

  • They are more expensive compared to the standard containers due to their extra volume. 
  • High Cube containers are also costly to transport since they are bulky and susceptible to obstructions, such as low-lying bridges and power lines. They are also costly in terms of material. Due to the extra height, more material is used both on the inside and on the outside.

Sizes and Dimensions 

High-cube shipping containers come in the following sizes.

10ft High-Cube Container


These containers are used for storing large items that won’t fit inside a standard height container. They are extremely rare as most of them are made from cutting new 20ft high cubes in half or cutting used 40ft high cubes to make 10ft high containers. 

They provide maximum storage due to their additional height while occupying less space. 10ft HC containers are suitable for storing bulky goods and transporting overweight cargo.  

Some people also prefer to build houses and offices using these containers as it is a cheaper option compared to the expensive housing mortgage. 

Other people prefer to use these containers as extra storage for useful documents. 

Below are the dimensions of a 10ft high-cube container.


External length: 10ft 

External width: 8ft 

External height: 9’6 

Internal length: 9’6 

Internal width: 7’8 

Internal height: 8’10 

Floor space: 80sqft 

Weight: 3100lbs 

The prices of these 10ft high-cube containers range from $2,995-$3,995 depending on the availability and condition.

20ft high-cube container


The 20ft high cube container has an external height of 9’6″, which is 1 foot taller than the standard 20ft shipping container. It meets the ISO standards and the CSC requirements since they are constructed from high-quality corten steel. This container is used for both long-term and temporary dry storage of goods. 

Some of the advantages of this container are: 

  1. It is wind and waterproof. 
  2. It has a wooden floor which ensures very minimal moisture content. 
  3. It is suitable for both storage and transportation.  

This container is also higher than the standard container by 1 foot, thus giving it extra space. Like other shipping containers, the 20ft high-cube containers are built with anti-corrosive steel, which is strong and does not rust. 


Exterior Length: 20ft 

Interior Length: 19ft. 

Door: 5in 

Weight: 51115lbs 

Exterior Width: 8ft 

Interior Width: 7ft 8in 

Height: 9ft 6in 

Height: 8ft 10in 

Used 20ft high-cube shipping containers retail at approximately $2,000 each, while a new 20ft high-cube shipping container retails at around $3,000.

 40ft. High-Cube Container

 40ft. High-Cube Container

The 40ft high-cube shipping container is 1 foot higher than the standard. These containers are intended for the storage and transportation of items too large and bulky to fit in standard containers. The container is built with anti-corrosive steel; hence it does not rust. 

The containers are floored with marine-grade plywood, which prevents termites and the growth of fungi. 40ft high-cube containers are manufactured to ISO standards. They also have side vents for airflow. 

Other features of these containers are: they have ground-level access, secure and watertight- there’s no risk of damage to goods. These containers are therefore suitable for both temporary and permanent storage of items. 


Below are the internal and external dimensions of a 40ft high cube container. 

Exterior Length: 40ft 

Interior Length: 39ft 6in. 

Weight: 8,800lbs. 

Exterior Width: 8ft. 

Interior Width: 7ft 8in. 

Exterior Height: 9ft 6in. 

Height: 8ft 10in.

 A 40ft high-cube container retails at $ 5,000.

45ft. High-Cube Container


The 45ft high-cube container is 1ft taller than the standard shipping containers and is easily accessible from lockable cargo doors located on one end. These units are waterproof and are built for the storage of large and bulky goods. 

Due to their large storage capacity, they are often used for commercial, industrial, and rural materials. These high cube containers are used for all types of dry cargo.

They are particularly suitable for transporting voluminous and bulky cargo and over-height cargo.


Exterior Length: 45ft 

Interior Length: 44.5ft.

Weight: 10628.1lbs. 

Exterior Width: 8ft.

Interior Width: 7.7ft. 

Exterior Height: 9ft. 

Interior Height: 8.9ft. 

The prices vary based on size, condition, local availability, and door options. The 45ft high-cube container purchases and rentals tend to be about the national average of $1,700-$5,000.

53ft. High-Cube Container 


It is 1 foot taller than the standard height shipping container. It is also 8ft 6 in wide, making it 6in wider than the standard height container as well. 

It is made up of 14-gauge corrugated steel panels and is accessible through lockable doors on one end. The floor is made of plywood which prevents the growth of fungi. 

The 53ft shipping containers are mainly used for domestic purposes like over the road and rail service, not for international shipping. They are perfect for commercial, industrial, and rural storage applications. 

One desirable feature of a 53ft high cube container is ground-level access. They are also secure, watertight, and equipped with a high-security lock box and easy-open door handle.


Its typical dimensions are:  

Exterior Length: 53ft 

Interior Length: 52ft 5in. 

Weight: 11,110lbs. 

Exterior Width: 8ft 6in. 

Interior Width: 8ft 2in. 

Capacity: 3857 cu ft. 

Exterior Height: 9ft 6in. 

Interior Height: 8ft 11in. 

The prices of 53ft high-cube containers range from $3,500-$8900 depending on the availability and condition.


High-cubes are widely used for transporting light, voluminous and overweight cargoes due to their extra space. The extra height of the high cube shipping containers results in greater area and volume compared to the standard container. 

These containers allow for safe storage and transportation of cargo. When turned into living or business units, high-cube containers give extra headspace hence providing more comfort. Moreover, these units are durable as they are made from solid steel.

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