Does UPS Charge by Weight or Size? (Your Full Guide)

Shipping companies are always thinking up new ways to calculate costs to give them an edge over the competition, and UPS is no different.

So, does UPS charge by weight or size per package, and what do you need to know to avoid any extra charges? If you’d like to find out, keep reading this article to see what I learned!

Does UPS Charge by Weight or Size In [currentyear]?

UPS charges by both weight and size, using a formula for dimensional weight to calculate overall shipping costs in [currentyear]. To figure out your shipping cost, calculate the package’s dimensional weight by multiplying its length, height, and width in centimeters, and divide by 5,000. Round the resulting number to the nearest half kilogram to get your package’s dimensional weight.

If you want to better understand how to best anticipate your shipping costs with UPS, as well as how to avoid paying any unnecessary charges, be sure to keep reading for more facts!

Does UPS Calculate by Weight?

UPS does calculate shipping costs by weight. However, shipping costs are not calculated by weight alone.

UPS relies on a method called dimensional weight, in order to determine the price of shipping any given package.

Dimensional weight reflects a package’s density, which is the amount of space it takes up, rather than how physically heavy it is or how much the package actually weighs.

You can find your package’s dimensional weight by multiplying the dimensions of the package (ie the length, width, and height) measured in centimeters.

Next, divide the resulting number by 5,000, and round to the nearest half kilogram.

This weight often differs from the physical weight of the package, and while the dimensional weight is usually what is used to calculate price, it doesn’t always determine shipping costs.

If you want to read more about dimensional weight, how/why UPS uses it, and how to calculate your package’s dimensional weight, you can visit this page of the UPS website.

How Do I Figure Out Shipping Costs at UPS?

How Do I Figure Out Shipping Costs at UPS?

UPS determines the shipping costs of any given package by comparing the package’s dimensional weight and actual weight.

The larger of these two numbers is known as the billable weight, or the weight that determines the actual shipping cost incurred by the customer.

To find out how much UPS will charge to ship your package, you can find out by doing these calculations manually, or by using the tool on UPS’ website.

If you want to avoid all of the math and measuring that comes with determining your shipping costs manually, you can get a quote for your package by visiting this page of the UPS website.

 To access it, click on the “quote” drop-down menu.

While the online tool makes things easy and helps save you time and energy, it’s not always accurate.

This is especially true if you don’t know or aren’t willing to do some measurements on your package.

To get the most accurate estimate of your shipping charges, it’s best to measure your package and do the formulas manually and carefully.

To find your package’s shipping costs manually, you first need to find your package’s dimensional weight.

The dimensional weight of your package can be found by measuring the length, width, and height of your package in centimeters, and then multiplying these three values together.

Once you’ve multiplied the dimensions together, divide by 5,000, and then round to the nearest half kilogram.

Next, weigh your package on a scale to find its physical weight- be sure to round up any fraction of a pound to the next full pound to help avoid extra fees later on.

Next, compare these two values. If your dimensional weight is a greater number than the physical weight, then that value becomes your billable weight.

The billable weight of your package is the value that determines the shipping costs you’ll pay to UPS for your package to be shipped.

Even with all of this hard work, however, you can still end up seeing extra charges if you’re not careful and don’t follow UPS rules properly.

How Can I Avoid UPS Charges?

Like any other company, UPS has extra charges that are added on if the rules aren’t followed.

These charges are known as shipping charge corrections, and typically are applied to packages whose shipment details don’t accurately reflect the package.

Here are some reasons you may incur a shipping charge correction if you’re not careful:

  • Your dimensional weight was calculated or entered incorrectly
  • Your physical weight was calculated or entered incorrectly
  • Your package’s longest side exceeds 48 inches or the second-longest side exceeds 30 inches
  • Your package is not fully encased in corrugated cardboard- i.e any cylindrical item such as a barrel, drum, pail, or tire that is not fully encased in a corrugated cardboard shipping container
  • Your package is over 150 lbs
  • Your package is over 165 inches in length and girth combined

If you want to read more about the various shipping charge corrections that UPS has, as well as the fees associated with each shipping charge correction, you can check out this helpful page on the UPS website.

The easiest way to avoid shipping charge corrections is simply by avoiding the above scenarios.

You can do this by carefully measuring and calculating your package’s dimensions and weight, as well as choosing an appropriately-sized and sturdy box for shipping.

You can also avoid these charges by visiting your local UPS Store, and having an associate help you measure and calculate your package’s dimensions and weight, as well as print your label and organize shipping.

To find out more, you can also read our posts on whether or not UPS gives free boxes, UPS shipping restrictions, and if UPS delivers to door.


UPS calculates shipping costs by looking at both your package’s size and physical weight. Your package’s size, i.e its dimensions, are used to calculate its dimensional weight, which is then compared to the package’s physical weight.

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Marques Thomas

Marques Thomas graduated with a MBA in 2011. Since then, Marques has worked in the retail and consumer service industry as a manager, advisor, and marketer. Marques is also the head writer and founder of

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