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Did you know that not all shipping containers are created equal? That’s right, in the world of shipping and storage containers, standard steel cargo containers are just the beginning. And when it comes to selecting the perfect solution for your needs, size does indeed matter 


One of the most common dilemmas faced by those renting or purchasing these storage solutions is the decision between high-cube and standard-sized containers. You might ask: “Aren’t they essentially just metal boxes?” Well, yes, but choosing the wrong one could drastically impact your shipping or storage plans.  


Whether you anticipate modifying a container or using it as-is, knowing the difference between these sizes can be quite helpful. 


Keep reading as our team at A American Container outlines what you need to know!  


gray 40 foot container


Key Differences Between High Cube and Standard Containers 


Right off the bat, the most noticeable difference between a high cube and a standard container lies in their height. 


  • High cube containers are a foot taller giving them a height of 9.6 feet. 
  • Standard cargo containers are 8.6 feet tall.  


This variation in height might seem insignificant, but it plays a major role when it comes to the container’s volume. For instance, a 40-foot-high cube container has a cubic capacity of approximately 2,700 cubic feet, compared to 2,350 cubic feet in a standard-height container of the same length.  


The choice between these two would depend on your specific needs regarding durability, weight, and ease of modification.  

The Pros and Cons of High Cube Containers  


High-cube containers come with their own unique set of advantages and drawbacks. To maximize their utility, you must understand these aspects fully.  




The most apparent benefit of high-cube cargo containers is that they provide extra space. The extra space can be especially useful when shipping or storing bulky or oddly shaped items that may not fit into standard steel storage containers.  


Another advantage of high cubes is that they are particularly suited for certain types of conversions – particularly those requiring additional height. They are ideal for living spaces, mobile office units, or retail pop-up shops, due to the extra headroom they provide.  




Despite their advantages, there are some things to consider. First, their larger size might not always be a benefit. They can be too big for use in areas with space constraints and can also lead to increased transportation costs.  


Also, while they may offer more space, they aren’t always the best suited for heavier cargo. As they have the same floor area as the standard container, loading them with excessive weight can put a strain on the floor and framework.  


Finally, high cubes tend to be more expensive than their standard counterparts due to the extra materials used in their construction. For those on a tight budget, this might make them a less appealing choice.  


When to Choose a High Cube Over a Standard Height Container 


Choosing between the two generally depends on your specific needs. The spaciousness offered by one cubic foot might not seem like a significant consideration on paper, but it can make a notably big difference in practice.  


#1. Necessity of Extra Height  


Think about what you intend to store. If it involves tall items – be it machinery, stacked boxes, or customized interior fittings for a modular building project – you’ll find the extra foot height of high cube containers beneficial. It provides added room at the top, reducing the effort of tetris-like packing. 


#2. Consideration for Volume—Not Just Square Footage  


With an extra 344 cubic feet of volume—not just square footage—high cubes can easily accommodate bulky items, machinery, or less streamlined shapes. 


That extra foot might mean the difference between perfectly fitting your goods and needing a second cargo container! 


#3. Modification Potential 


When it comes to modifying a steel shipping container, high cubes can often be the better choice. Their additional height creates an extra foot of vertical space that might be just what you need to accommodate that loft bedroom, upper storage shelving, or just a more spacious feeling in your container office conversion.  


That being said, adapting a steel container is not a one-size-fits-all operation. With each project, your choice between a standard or high cube container should be a careful consideration dictated by the requirements of your project. 


Since You’re Here > Are Steel Cargo Containers Watertight? 


Tampa General Food Pharmacy food pantry modification

A 40-foot high cube container that was modified into a food pantry in Tampa.


A American Container – Your Reliable Source for On-Site Storage   


Remember, while high cube containers offer greater storage capacity and flexibility, they may not be suitable for every situation. Ultimately, the size you choose will depend on what you want to store or what kind of modifications you have in mind.  

Not sure which container style is best for you? That’s what our team is here for! We’ll walk you through all the options at our Tampa lot and help you decide which kind of container is best for your project or storage needs.  


Ready for a quote? Contact A American Container at 813-640-1911 or 813-945-9521 and we’ll help you find the right-sized container so you can store with confidence!  


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