Freight Density Calculator

Easily calculate freight density, estimate NMFC freight class, and optimize your LTL shipping costs with our free, user-friendly calculator

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To use the Density Calculator


Enter the dimensions of your shipment


Enter the total weight per item


If you are shipping additional items, add as many new items as necessary

Determining Freight Class

Freight density plays a major factor in choosing the right freight class. By calculating your freight density, you can more accurately plan your shipment, saving you time and money.

For an accurate estimate of your shipment’s freight class, start by entering your shipment’s dimensions and weight into the calculator, adding more lines as necessary.

If you may have additional questions, please contact our freight experts at

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Density Calculator FAQ

Disclaimer about NMFC Standards for Freight Classes:

The Class number provided in the Uber Freight Density Calculator is only an estimate and does not take into account the commodity. Moreover, this calculator does not factor in possible liability or handling characteristics of the commodity. Due to these limitations, items shipped that are not classed solely based on density may be more likely to have an incorrect classification.

What is freight density and how is it calculated?

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Density Calculator FAQ

What is freight classing?

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What is NMFC?

In LTL, Freight class helps determine shipping rates. The Freight class of a commodity is based on its density, stowability, handling, and liability. Also known as NMFC classification or NMFC code, this system assigns a specific class to each commodity, ranging from class 50 (lowest cost) to class 500 (highest cost), with 18 classes in total.

NMFC refers to the National Motor Freight Classification defined by National Motor Freight Traffic Association (NMFTA).

1. Density: Density is calculated by dividing the weight of the item (in pounds) by its volume (in cubic feet). Items with lower density typically have a higher freight class, while items with higher density have a lower freight class. To calculate the density, first measure the dimensions (length, width, and height) of the item or pallet, and multiply them together to find the volume. Then, divide the weight by the volume to get the density.

2. Stowability: Stowability refers to how easily an item can be loaded and transported with other items in a truck. Items that are irregularly shaped, hazardous, or have special requirements (e.g., temperature control) may be more challenging to stow and could have a higher freight class.
3. Handling: Handling takes into account factors such as the ease of loading and unloading, the risk of damage, and any special equipment or care required during transit. Items that are fragile, heavy, or require special handling may have a higher freight class.

4. Liability: Liability considers the potential for theft, damage, or accidents that could occur during transit, as well as the item's value. High-value items or items that are more susceptible to damage may have a higher freight class.

To determine the appropriate freight class for a shipment, consult the NMFC directory or contact Uber Freight for assistance. It's crucial to accurately determine the freight class to avoid additional fees, reclassification, or delays in shipping.

Commodities with density-based classes are assigned an NMFC class based on their weight per cubic foot (density). This approach is commonly used for commodities that may vary significantly in density or do not fit into the other predefined classes. Some examples of density-based commodities include:

1. Plastics and plastic products
2. Machinery or machine parts
3. Paper or paper products
4. Articles of wood, such as furniture or wooden crates
5. Metal products, such as steel or aluminum items
6. Textiles, fabric rolls, or carpets
7. Electronics and electronic equipment
8. Building materials, such as drywall or insulation
9. Apparel or clothing
10. Foodstuffs, non-frozen, is another density based

Density-based classes have become increasingly common in the LTL shipping industry. This is because density is a more objective measure compared to other factors, such as stowability, handling, and liability, which can be subjective and challenging to standardize.

Density-based classifications help carriers optimize the use of their limited trailer space and more accurately reflect the true costs of shipping a particular commodity. As a result, carriers and shippers are adopting density-based classes for more and more commodities over time.

Density-based class items differ from items like auto transmissions, that have a permanent class regardless of size or weight.

Accurately determining the freight class is essential to avoid additional fees or delays in shipping.

To determine the Freight density of an item: LxWxH / 1728 = Cubic Feet (CU FT), Weight (Pounds)/CU FT = Density (#PCF)

Step by step calculation:
1. Measure the shipment's dimensions: length, width, height using the farthest points, including pallet and packaging materials.
2. Multiply the measurements together (length x width x height).
3. Divide the result by 1,728 (cubic inches per foot) to find the total cubic feet of the shipment.
4. Weight the shipment including pallets and packaging.
5. Divide the weight by the total cubic feet. This result is the freight density, or pounds per cubic foot (#PCF).

This density value should then be matched to the corresponding class using a Table such as the one on this page.
This Uber Freight density calculator will perform the calculation for you based on your inputs

Freight class is an essential factor in LTL shipping because it helps determine shipping rates and streamlines the transportation process. By categorizing commodities based on their characteristics, carriers can optimize their operations, and shippers can accurately estimate shipping costs. Freight classes range from class 50 (lowest cost) to class 500 (highest cost).

Here are a few reasons why freight class is important in LTL:
1. Cost estimation: Freight class plays a significant role in determining shipping rates. Carriers use the assigned freight class to calculate shipping costs based on the weight, dimensions, and other characteristics of the shipment. Accurate freight class assignment helps shippers estimate shipping costs and make informed decisions about their logistics and supply chain management.
Example: A shipment of heavy machinery (class 85) will likely have a lower shipping rate per pound than a shipment of fragile glassware (class 200) due to the difference in handling requirements and potential for damage.

2. Carrier optimization: Freight class helps carriers optimize their loading and routing processes by grouping shipments with similar characteristics. This enables carriers to maximize their trailer space, reduce handling time, and minimize potential damage during transit.
Example: Carriers can efficiently load pallets of dense metal parts (class 50) together, while ensuring fragile electronics (class 125) are stored separately to prevent potential damage.

3. Simplified communication: Freight class provides a standardized system for communication between shippers, carriers, and other parties involved in the shipping process. This simplifies communication and reduces the likelihood of misunderstandings or discrepancies.
Example: A shipper and carrier can quickly agree on the appropriate rate for a shipment of plastic toys (class 150) by referring to the NMFC directory, avoiding confusion or disputes over pricing.

4. Insurance and liability: Freight class also plays a role in determining the value of a shipment for insurance and liability purposes. Higher freight classes often indicate higher value or more fragile items, which can affect insurance rates and liability coverage.
Example: A shipment of expensive artwork (class 500) would likely require additional insurance coverage due to its high value and potential for damage, compared to a shipment of lumber (class 55), which has a lower value and is more durable.

By assigning accurate freight classes to shipments, shippers and carriers can streamline the LTL shipping process, improve cost estimation, and optimize transportation operations.

Reclassification surcharges occur when the freight class assigned to a shipment is incorrect, resulting in the carrier reassessing the shipment and adjusting the shipping rate accordingly. To avoid reclassification surcharges in the future, follow these steps:

1. Accurate information: Ensure that you provide accurate information about your shipment's weight, dimensions, and description. This includes measuring and weighing your shipment carefully, as well as being precise about the contents.

2. Determine the correct freight class: Consult the National Motor Freight Classification (NMFC) directory or contact your carrier or a freight broker for assistance in determining the appropriate freight class for your shipment. Remember that the freight class is based on the shipment's density, stowability, handling, and liability characteristics.

3. Understand density-based classes: For density-based classes, calculate the density of your shipment by dividing its weight (in pounds) by its volume (in cubic feet). Measure the dimensions of your shipment accurately and calculate the volume. Then, use the density to determine the correct freight class according to the NMFC guidelines.

4. Proper packaging: Ensure that your shipment is well-packaged, with adequate protection for fragile or high-value items. Proper packaging not only reduces the risk of damage but can also help prevent reclassification if the carrier believes the original packaging did not meet their requirements.

5. Clear documentation: Prepare clear and accurate shipping documentation, including the bill of lading, that provides all necessary information about the shipment, such as weight, dimensions, freight class, NMFC# and description. Be sure to always list the NMFC code as well as the sub number listed with the NMFC to define the Class. This will help avoid misunderstandings or misinterpretations by the carrier.

6. Verify carrier classifications: Before booking a shipment, double-check the carrier's classification system to ensure it aligns with the NMFC guidelines. Some carriers may have their own classification systems or specific rules that differ from the NMFC.

By following these steps and ensuring that you accurately determine and communicate the correct freight class for your shipments, you can minimize the risk of reclassification surcharges and maintain a smoother shipping process.

When shipping multiple items together with LTL, you should consider each item's individual freight class and follow these steps to determine the appropriate class for the entire shipment:

1. Determine the freight class of each item: Consult the National Motor Freight Classification (NMFC) directory or contact your carrier or a freight broker for assistance in determining the appropriate freight class for each item in your shipment.

2. Calculate the total weight of each freight class: Group the items by their freight class and calculate the total weight for each group.

3. Determine the predominant freight class: Identify the freight class that represents the highest total weight in your shipment. This is the predominant freight class.

4. Choose the predominant freight class for the entire shipment: Use the predominant freight class for the entire shipment when preparing the bill of lading and other shipping documentation.

However, this approach might not always be the best option, as carriers may still charge you based on the higher freight class items in your shipment, depending on their policies. In some cases, it may be more cost-effective to split the shipment into multiple smaller shipments based on their freight classes. This can help you avoid higher shipping rates associated with shipping mixed-class items together.

Consult your carrier or freight broker for advice on the most efficient and cost-effective approach for your specific situation.

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