How Many Square Feet Is 1 Container?

Have you ever wondered: “How many square feet is 1 container?” It’s a question that may pop into your mind when you’re thinking about storage or shipping. Well, buckle up because we’re about to dive into the world of containers and their square footage!

Containers come in various shapes and sizes, so the square footage of 1 container can vary. However, the most common type of container, known as a standard shipping container, typically measures around 320 square feet. That’s like having your very own compact, yet versatile, little space!

But wait, there’s more! You might also come across high-cube containers, which offer a bit more vertical room and can measure up to 375 square feet. So, whether you’re looking for a space to store your belongings or planning a creative project, knowing the square footage of 1 container can be incredibly handy!

Key Takeaways – How many square feet is 1 container?

  • Shipping containers typically measure around 8 feet wide by 8 feet 6 inches tall.
  • So, the square footage of 1 container is approximately 320 square feet.
  • Containers can vary in length, with common sizes being 20 feet or 40 feet long.
  • The square footage of a container will depend on its length, but the width and height are standard.
  • Containers can be repurposed for various uses, such as homes, offices, or storage spaces.

How Many Square Feet Is 1 Container?

How Many Square Feet Is 1 Container? Understanding the Dimensions and Capacities

Shipping containers have become increasingly popular in recent years for a variety of purposes. Whether it’s for storing personal belongings, creating a tiny home, or even building pop-up shops, understanding the dimensions and capacities of these containers is essential. In this article, we will delve into the topic of how many square feet is one container, providing detailed information and insights.

The Dimensions of a Shipping Container

When it comes to shipping containers, size matters. While the most common size is the 20-foot container, there are also 40-foot and 45-foot containers available. The dimensions vary slightly between manufacturers, but generally, a standard 20-foot container measures approximately 20 feet long, 8 feet wide, and 8.5 feet tall. This means that the container has a total area of 160 square feet. However, it’s important to note that the usable floor space inside the container may be slightly smaller due to the thickness of the walls and the doors.

On the other hand, a 40-foot container doubles the length of the standard 20-foot container while maintaining the same width and height. This results in a total area of approximately 320 square feet. Similarly, a 45-foot container offers even more space with a total area of around 360 square feet. These larger containers are ideal for larger storage needs or customized projects where more square footage is required.

It’s also worth mentioning that there are high cube containers available, which have an additional foot of height compared to standard containers. This extra height can be beneficial for certain purposes, such as converting the container into a living space or accommodating taller equipment.

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The Capacities of Shipping Containers

In addition to the dimensions, it’s important to consider the capacity of a shipping container, as this will determine how much you can fit inside. The capacity of a container is measured in TEUs, which stands for Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units. One TEU is equivalent to one standard 20-foot container. So, a 20-foot container has a capacity of 1 TEU, a 40-foot container has a capacity of 2 TEUs, and a 45-foot container has a capacity of 2.25 TEUs.

When it comes to storage capacity, the 20-foot container typically has a volume of around 1,170 cubic feet. The 40-foot container, with its larger dimensions, offers approximately 2,390 cubic feet of storage space. These volumes can provide ample storage for various needs, from household items to commercial inventory.

It’s important to consider that the weight capacity of a container can vary depending on the type of container and the intended purpose. Standard containers can typically support a weight of up to 58,000 pounds, while high cube containers can handle slightly more weight at around 64,000 pounds.

The Benefits of Shipping Containers

Shipping containers offer several benefits that have contributed to their widespread use today. Firstly, their sturdy construction makes them highly durable and able to withstand harsh weather conditions and transportation. Additionally, their modular nature allows for easy transportation and stacking, making them ideal for shipping and storage purposes.

Moreover, shipping containers are highly versatile and can be easily modified to suit various needs. From insulation and electricity installation for a comfortable living space to custom fittings and windows for a pop-up shop, the possibilities are endless. Their relatively affordable cost compared to traditional building methods is another advantage that makes them appealing to a wide range of individuals and businesses.

Lastly, their accessibility and availability make them a convenient option. Shipping containers are widely available globally, and they can be purchased new or used. They can also be easily transported to desired locations, providing a flexible and convenient solution for various projects.

Tips for Utilizing Shipping Containers

Now that we have explored the dimensions, capacities, and benefits of shipping containers, here are a few tips for making the most out of your container:

1. Proper Planning:

Before embarking on any container project, ensure you have a clear plan in mind. Consider the purpose of the container, its location, and any modifications or additions you may require. This will help you optimize the space and functionality of the container.

2. Insulation and Ventilation:

If you plan on using a shipping container as a living space or an office, proper insulation and ventilation are crucial. Insulation helps regulate temperature and reduce energy consumption, while proper ventilation ensures fresh air circulation.

3. Utilize Vertical Space:

Shipping containers offer limited floor space, so it’s essential to maximize vertical space. Consider using shelves, hooks, or racks to keep items organized and utilize the height of the container effectively.

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4. Secure Your Container:

If you plan on using a shipping container for storage, make sure to properly secure it. Install sturdy locks and consider additional security measures like security cameras or alarms to protect your belongings.

5. Regular Maintenance:

To ensure the longevity of your shipping container, perform regular maintenance checks. Inspect for any signs of damage, keep the container clean, and address any issues promptly to prevent further damage.

Where to Find Shipping Containers

If you’re interested in purchasing a shipping container, several options are available.

1. Shipping Container Suppliers:

Many companies specialize in selling new or used shipping containers. These suppliers often have various sizes and customization options to choose from.

2. Online Marketplaces:

Websites like eBay, Craigslist, and Facebook Marketplace occasionally have shipping containers listed for sale. It’s important to conduct thorough research and inspect the containers in person before making a purchase.

3. Renting:

If you only need a shipping container for a specific project or a temporary period, consider renting one instead of purchasing. Rental companies typically offer various sizes and durations to suit your needs.


Shipping containers offer a versatile, affordable, and convenient solution for various storage and building needs. Understanding the dimensions and capacities of these containers is essential for making informed decisions and utilizing the space effectively. Whether you’re looking to create a unique living space or need extra storage for your belongings, shipping containers can provide the square footage you need in a durable and customizable package.

How Many Square Feet Is 1 Container?

Frequently Asked Questions

Welcome to our FAQ section on the square footage of shipping containers. Here, we answer common questions related to the topic. Dive in and discover everything you need to know!

What are the dimensions of a standard shipping container?

A standard shipping container typically measures 20 feet long, 8 feet wide, and 8.5 feet tall. This means the container has a total floor space of 160 square feet. However, it’s worth noting that other sizes are available, such as 40-foot containers with 320 square feet of floor space.

Keep in mind that the internal space might be slightly smaller due to wall thickness, door frames, and other structural elements. Nevertheless, the floor space is the typical measurement used in determining the square footage of a shipping container.

What are the dimensions of a high cube shipping container?

A high cube shipping container is similar to a standard container, but with increased height. It has the same width and length as a standard container but stands 9.5 feet tall. This extra foot of height provides additional storage space.

With the increased height, the floor space of a 20-foot high cube shipping container remains the same at 160 square feet. Similarly, a 40-foot high cube container still has 320 square feet of floor space, just like its standard counterpart.

Can I combine multiple containers to create a larger living or working space?

Absolutely! Shipping containers are often combined to create larger living or working spaces. By stacking or attaching containers side by side, you can expand the floor area. The total square footage will depend on the number and configuration of the containers you choose to combine.

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Many architects and designers have leveraged the versatility of shipping containers to build unique homes, offices, and even retail spaces. With proper planning and structural engineering, the possibilities are virtually endless.

What are some alternative uses for shipping containers?

Shipping containers have evolved beyond their original purpose as cargo vessels. Today, they are widely used for alternative purposes. They have been transformed into pop-up shops, food trucks, art installations, and even swimming pools.

Additionally, shipping containers are popular in the housing industry, providing cost-effective and sustainable housing options. They can be easily repurposed into comfortable living spaces, eco-friendly offices, or spacious storage areas. The versatility of shipping containers makes them a fantastic choice for innovative projects.

Are there any regulations or permits required when using shipping containers for construction?

Regulations and permit requirements vary depending on your location and the planned usage of the shipping container. It’s essential to research local building codes and consult with relevant authorities before embarking on a container construction project.

This step will ensure compliance with safety, structural integrity, and zoning regulations. Working with professionals, such as architects, engineers, and contractors experienced in container conversions, can help navigate the process smoothly and ensure all necessary permits are obtained.

What size Shipping Containers can you purchase?


Okay, so let’s wrap things up and summarize what we’ve learned about container sizes and square feet.

Containers come in different sizes, like 20-foot and 40-foot, which refers to their length. The width is always the same, about 8 feet. But for the height, there are two options: standard and high cube. Standard containers are around 8.5 feet tall, while high cube containers are taller at about 9.5 feet.

To figure out how many square feet are in a container, we can multiply the length by the width. So, a 20-foot container would be around 160 square feet, and a 40-foot container would be about 320 square feet.

Remember, these measurements are just estimates because the actual square footage may vary slightly. But now you know the basic idea of how to calculate the square feet in a container. Pretty cool, right?

This is Anthony Thompson, chief editor and the founder of this site, Tinyhousegarage. I'm a home architect. Basically, I've created this site to help people build tiny houses with a limited budget and land space or people who are homeless. As a home architect, I became very disheartened when I saw homeless people around me, which influenced me to create this site to help people build beautiful tiny houses.

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