Freight Density Calculator

Freight Density Calculator

Calculating freight density and freight class are easy with our freight density calculator. Simply enter your freight dimensions and weight.

What Is Freight Density?

The Freight density is the physical weight of the shipment in relation to the size of the shipment. If you have a low-density shipment, it will have a higher classification. Denser loads have lower classifications. Freight density measures the shipment’s density or pounds per cubic foot (PCF). You will need to know your freight density when using a density-based freight carrier or when the NMFC for your shipment is Not Otherwise Indicated (NOI). Our freight density calculator will help you determine your cargo’s density and freight class in seconds.

Determining Freight Class By Freight Density Calculator

Freight density plays a significant factor in choosing the correct freight class. Calculating your freight density can save you time and money and prevent your shipment from being audited and delaying delivery. For an accurate estimate of your shipment’s freight class, start by entering your shipment’s dimensions and weight into the freight density calculator. Please get in touch with us if you have questions about finding your freight class using our freight density class calculator.

Calculate Your Freight’s Density & Class

How Do You Calculate Freight Density?

Freight density is calculated by finding the loads’ cubic feet and then dividing the weight of the load by its cubic foot. Here is the standard equation to calculate the freight density of your shipment: (Length x Width x Height) Divided (1728) = Cubic Feet. The next step after you have calculated your shipment’s cubic feet is to do the following equation: (Cubic Feet) Divided by ( Shipment Weight) = Pounds per cubic foot(PPCF).

The following table describes how NMFC classes relate. IMPORTANT: This does not consider any class adjustments based on handling, liability, and stowability, which can affect the class and, therefore, the cost.

  • The freight shipping class is based on the density of the item.
  • More dense items, such as metals and heavy machinery, have low classifications, such as Class 60 through 100.
  • Fragile or large items are less dense and their freight classes range from class 125 to 500

freight density table

Three Step Freight Density Equation

1) Measure the shipment’s height, width, and depth. In taking these measurements, you must measure to the farthest points, including pallets or other packaging. (On shipments with multiple pieces, repeat this step for each part).

2)Multiply the three measurements (height x width x depth). The result is the shipment’s total cubic inches (or feet).

3) divide the shipment’s weight (in pounds) by the total cubic feet. The result is the pounds per cubic foot, i.e., density.

Enter the length, width, height, and weight of your cargo. Our freight density calculator will instantly show its density and recommended freight class.

Freight Class Density vs. NMFC Number

There are two ways to determine freight class – NMFC Number and Freight Class Density.

NMFC-based freight class – The Nation Motor Freight Traffic Association (NMFTA), a nonprofit membership organization of motor carriers, created the National Motor Freight Classification® (NMFC) system to assign freight classes for a multitude of commodities.

Density-based freight class – There are two circumstances under which density, not NMFC, will determine a cargo’s freight class.

1) You are using a density-based carrier.

2) the NMFC for what you are shipping is Not Otherwise Indicated (NOI). Sometimes, that may be because you are shipping several items with different freight classes in the same crate.

The freight density of an object is the measurement of its compactness or pounds per cubic foot (PCF). Watch the video below to learn how freight density and freight class are closely related.

Get started shipping now with a free freight quote. Have more questions about freight class, freight density, or freight shipping? One of our expert Freight Agents can help you along the way. To speak with one of our agents, call 800.716.7608.

How Is LTL Class Density Calculated?

LTL Carriers will generally charge for freight based on the weight and cube of the shipped items. To assist with this, the National Motor Freight Traffic Association publishes the National Motor Freight Classification guide. This standard allows determining freight classes to compare different commodities and shipped products. Every shipped item falls into one of 18 freight classes, represented by numeric numbers ranging from class 50 to class 500.

Freight Density is critical.

There are four different aspects or characteristics that determine any given commodities freight class. The factors determining a commodity’s class are density, stowability, handling, and liability.

Freight Density

The freight density is the pounds per cubic foot of your item. It is the primary key in determining freight class (however, the characteristics listed below can, in some cases, have a very profound effect on the class and, therefore, the cost). Typically, lower freight classes represent items of higher freight density and, hence, a lower price.


Stowability takes into account how easy it is to stow the commodity. The harder it is to stow or transport this item compared to other things, the more this factor will increase the freight class and cost. Some factors include if it is unusual dimensions or if it contains hazardous materials. Additionally, some items are regulated by government or carrier policies and items with characteristics that prevent them from being near or shipped with other things.


Handing considers the commodity’s ability to be handled as the freight is loaded and unloaded from the LTL terminal to the LTL terminal. The greater the difficulty in handling, the more this factor will increase the freight class and cost. Packaging, unit dimensions, and fragility are considered when determining how handling impacts the class.


Liability considers how likely the item will be damaged, stolen, or damaged to other freight and property. The greater the liability risk, the more this factor will increase the freight class and cost.

Importance of your freight’s density.

A shipment’s dimensions, weight, and freight density influence the freight classification. In short, a load with a lower freight density has a higher freight classification. On the other hand, a shipment with a higher freight density has a lower freight classification. See which class your freight falls into with our simple freight density calculator.

Takeaways on Freight Density Calculators:

– Freight density is the most significant variable in determining the shipment’s freight class.

– More dense items such as steel and machinery have lower classifications such as Class 50 through 85. Fragile or bulky items fall into higher freight classes, often between 150 and 500.

How Freight density and Other Factors Affect Freight Rates

Freight rates are determined by several factors, including package dimensions, weight, distance and freight class, and your package’s Pounds per Cubic Foot (PCF) or density. Your package’s PCF is closely related to the freight class applied to your freight shipment. A low PCF will result in a higher class rating. In turn, a higher class rating corresponds to a higher cost to ship your freight.

What if an NMFC number cannot classify your commodity or product?

If your commodity or product cannot be classified by a National Motor Freight Classification (NMFC) number, then apply a general class rate or NOI (Not Otherwise Indicated) class to determine your shipping cost. For example, a shipment that works out to 2 pounds per cubic foot and weighs 100 pounds (Class 300) will be much more expensive to ship than an item with the same weight but equates to 9 pounds per cubic foot (Class 100). In other words, the more space your freight occupies on a truck or in a container, the more costs you will incur for transport.

NOI shipping terms are typically quoted and processed manually through select freight carriers. For this reason, shippers are encouraged to ensure their weights and dimensions are accurate to avoid billing adjustments based on PCF and class changes. By far the most common sense for a re-bill or billing adjustment, it is also the most avoidable. Never guess or estimate dimensions and weights when shipping freight.

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