The Difference between High Cube Vs Standard Dry Van Containers

The container industry may seem complex and overwhelming to an outsider, however in the past 60 years the industry has remained relatively unchanged. The containers used for overseas shipping have changed very little in design and structure over the years and the size options are still rather limited.

The most popular type and size of containers is the 40 Foot followed closely by the 20 foot container. The 40 Foot is the container typically used for overseas shipping, and for that reason is most readily available. Because of its availability, it tends to be the most economical per square foot. The 40 foot container is what most consumers looking for container storage purchase, if they have the space for it. The 20 Foot container is most often purchased when space is limited.

The 40 Foot and 20 Foot containers come in two different heights, one is known as the standard height and the other is the High Cube or High Boy container. The main difference in these two containers is in the height, the standard container is 8 ½ feet tall while the high cube is a foot taller at 9 ½ feet tall. The High Cube containers offer more cubic feet space and a taller door opening as well. However, the width of the door is the same as the standard container. There is no difference in the width and length between these two containers. For detailed information on the dimensions, please click here.

What is the definition of a High Cube (HC) Shipping Container?

High cube shipping containers are defined by their height. An external height of 9ft. 6in. is the criterion for a high cube shipping container or HC container.

It provides more headroom and a simple method to expand storage capacity by adding volume without requiring a longer container thanks to its taller height. While this may be your first time hearing about it, we thought you’d want to know what high cube shipping containers vs regular shipping containers is all about so that you can make better decisions regarding your container height size choices

The Advantages of a 40 Foot High Cube vs a 40 Foot Standard Container

The most common question asked by consumers is, “What is the difference between a High Cube and standard Dry Van container?” Apart from the obvious height difference discussed previously, there is very little difference in the price for used 40 foot standard and High Cube containers. 

The standard Dry Van container is denoted as (DV) while the High Cube is (HC). Because the price of the containers is dictated by supply and demand, you’ll find little difference between the price of the High Cube and standard 40’ containers. This is because most manufacturers shipping products overseas utilize the High Cube container for its greater cubic foot capacity. They want to maximize their overseas journey by packing the most product into their containers, and a High Cube container allows them to do this. 

These Used or “retired” containers are then sold in the market for storage or other, non shipping, purposes. When shopping for containers it is best to get pricing for both, as you may find that you can purchase the High Cube for a few hundred dollars more, or in some instances the same cost, as a standard Dry Van. The price difference for the newer “One-Trip” container is greater than for the used containers, usually $800 to $1,000 difference. 

The dimensions of the door opening between the High Cube and standard Dry Van containers is another difference. Although the door widths are comparable, the extra door height of a High Cube is key when storing tall or oversized items that need extra clearance. The height of the door opening for a 40’ standard Dry Van is 7’5”, while the High cube is 8’6”. This is also an advantage if you are converting the container into some sort of dwelling.

The internal height difference can also be an advantage for the High Cube container. The internal height of the 40’ Dry Van is 7’9”, while that of the High Cube is 8’10”. The extra head space is the reason that we highly recommend going with a High Cube if your plan is to convert it to an office or any sort of dwelling.

The Advantages of a 20 Foot High Cube vs a 20 Foot Standard Dry Van Container

The difference between the 20’ standard Dry Van container and 20’ High Cube or High Boy container is in the height. The High Cube offers an extra foot of height, extra cubic capacity, and a taller door opening. Unlike the 40’ High Cube, the 20’ High Cube is not offered in the used condition and can only be purchased in a One-Trip Container condition.

 The 20′ Dry Van Container size is 20′ L x 8′ W x 8′ 6″ H. and the 20′ High Cube Containers size is 20′ L x 8′ W x 9′ 6″ H. The High Cube offers an extra foot in height which translates into a larger cubic capacity as well as a taller door opening. The internal height of a 20’ Dry Van container is 7’9”, while the 20’ High Cube is 8’10”. 

The extra headspace is ideal when converting the container into an office or any type of dwelling. The door opening of a 20’ Dry Van is 7’5” while that of the 20’ High Cube is 8’6”. The taller door opening makes it convenient when loading items that may require extra height clearance. 

It is important to note that the 20’ High Cube container is only offered in the newer One-Trip condition. The reason for this is that the shipping companies do not typically use these 20 High Cubes for shipping overseas so there are very few “retired” containers of this size available for sale as used. 

When shopping for a 20’ container, we recommend getting pricing for both the new and used 20’ Dry Vans and High Cube Containers as the difference in costs vary from location to location and the extra space and better condition you get from purchasing a One-Trip 20’HC compared to a used 20’ Dry Van may be worth the extra cost.

Choosing one of these containers shouldn’t be that difficult, at the end of the day, it is to what will work best for your storage or shipping needs. For quotes on rental or buying new or used containers, contact our dedicated staff at On-Site Storage Solutions at (888) 977-9085; we’ll be delighted to offer you the container that best meets your requirements.

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