Comparison: High Cube Shipping Containers Vs. Standard Shipping Containers

What is a High Cube (HC) Shipping Container?

While these containers are available in sizes and layouts similar to any other standard sized container, high cube shipping containers are defined by their height. A high cube shipping container or HC container is an intermodal storage container unit with an external height of 9ft. 6in. That’s a 2,895.6 mm shipping container for the rest of the world. It’s added height gives owners and renters additional headspace and a convenient way to increase storage capacity by adding additional volume, without needing a longer container. While this might be your first time hearing this term, we thought it would be helpful for you to examine high cube shipping containers vs standard shipping containers so that you can better explore your container height size options.

Standard Shipping Containers vs. High Cube Shipping Containers

As mentioned above, the main difference between a standard shipping container and a high cube shipping container is the height. High cubes stand an additional foot above the 8ft. 6in. standard shipping container. This height difference also results in taller doors and some additional container weight.

What are the Dimensions of a High Cube Container?

20" High Cube Shipping Container

*(note that the exact internal and door dimensions can vary slightly by manufacturer and factory)

External Dimensions for Common High Cube Containers:

Height: 9’ 6”

Width: 8’

Length: 20’, 40’ or 45’

Door Opening

Width: 7’ 8”

Height: 8’ 6”

Internal Dimensions of a High Cube Container

Height: 8’ 10” – Height varies slightly depending on floor type and material width

Width: 7’ 9”

Length: 20 ft – 19’ 4”; 40 ft. – 39’ 6”

20 ft. High Cube Shipping Container Capacity (Volume): 1,317 ft. cubed

40 ft. High Cube Shipping Container (Volume): 2,700 ft. cubed

Weights:

Tare Weight (Weight of the empty container): 20 ft. – 5,200 lbs.; 40 ft. – 8,600 lbs.

Payload (Weight the container can safely hold): ~ 20 ft. – 62, 000 lbs.; ~ 40 ft. – 62,900 lbs.

Browse HC Shipping Containers

What are the Dimensions of a Standard Shipping Container?

20' Standard Shipping Container Dimensions40' Standard Shipping Container Dimensions

*(note that the exact internal and door dimensions can vary slightly by manufacturer and factory)

External Dimensions for Common Standard Shipping Containers

Height: 8’ 6”

Width: 8’

Length: 20’, 40’ or 45’

Door Opening

Door Width: 7’ 8”

Door Height: 7’ 6”

Internal Dimensions

Height: 7’ 10”

Width: 7’ 9”

Length: 20 ft. – 19’ 4”; 40 ft. – 39’ 6”

20 ft. Standard Shipping Container Volume: ~ 1,170 ft. cubed

40 ft. Standard Shipping Container Volume: ~ 2,390 ft. cubed

Weights:

Tare Weight (Weight of the empty container): 20 ft. – 5,200 lbs.; 40 ft. – 8,250 lbs.

Payload (Weight the container can safely support): ~ 20 ft. – 62,000 lbs.; ~ 40 ft. – 63,400 lbs.

Browse Standard Shipping Containers

How to Choose the Right Height Shipping Container?

Now that you know the specs of the two most common shipping container heights, how do we choose between the two of them? Let’s answer a few important questions to help us decide on which shipping container will serve your needs.

Is weight a factor?

If your main concern for transporting or storing heavy items is weight, then the recommendation is to choose the shortest height and shortest length that will still allow you to fit all your belongings.

What are you using the container for?

Storage or shipping containers are used for many reasons these days. Here are a couple of examples that might help you when choosing the type of container needed based on the unit’s intended use. 

Storing Property

For those who plan to keep their shipping containers in their backyards to secure their belongings, or for temporary storage of goods, tools and vehicles will most likely fit in an 8ft 6in standard container. 

If you are looking to store taller items, or if you need added storage volume but your yard is unable to accommodate the extended length of a container, a high cube container may be just what you need.

Offices, Workspaces, or Shipping Container Homes

If you plan to work in the container space often, or want to convert your container into a living space, we recommend 9’ 6” high cube containers. This will give you and anyone else utilizing that space additional comfort and headspace. You’ll thank us later.

Price Difference: High Cube Shipping Containers vs Standard Shipping Containers

Your budget is an important factor in choosing the right storage or shipping container for you or your business. If all other variables are equal, standard sized shipping containers and high cube containers are relatively equal in price. Prices for high cube containers will be a little higher to account for their weight and added volume but the difference is often fairly small.

*This is only true if you have done your homework to ensure that you are comparing containers with the same width, length, condition type, and delivered from the same location (or equal miles shipped).

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