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    What size shipping container do I need?

    As simple, self-contained units capable of incredible versatility, shipping container popularity is on the rise – especially when used for container conversions.

    But what size is best for you?

    Read our handy guide, which covers the size of each container type and just a few of the possible uses you could consider for your shipping container conversion.


    What size shipping containers are the most common?

    The most common ISO shipping containers on the market are usually either 10, 20, or 40-foot containers, but a smaller 8-foot container is also available for those pushed for space.

    And in case you are having trouble imagining a cubic foot (who isn’t?!) consider a box that has a width, length, and height, each roughly the length of your forearm – that’s around a cubic foot.

    An 8-foot container

    • External dimensions: Approximately 8 feet long, 7.1 feet wide, and 7.5 feet tall
    • Internal dimensions: Slightly smaller due to wall thickness
    • Capacity: About 351 cubic feet


    A 10-foot container

    • External dimensions: Approximately 10 feet long, 8 feet wide, and 8.6 feet tall
    • Internal dimensions: Slightly smaller due to wall thickness
    • Capacity: About 563 cubic feet


    A 20-foot container

    • External dimensions: Approximately 20 feet long, 8 feet wide, and 8.6 feet tall
    • Internal dimensions: Slightly smaller due to wall thickness
    • Capacity: About 1,170 cubic feet


    A 40-foot container

    • External dimensions: Approximately 40 feet long, 8.6 feet wide, and 9.6 feet tall
    • Internal dimensions: Slightly smaller due to wall thickness
    • Capacity: About 2,694 cubic feet


    What can I use a converted shipping container for?

    At the end of their lives travelling across the seas, shipping containers can be converted for many, varied purposes – limited only by your imagination.

    With a range of customisation options, including adding windows, doors, internal features such as shelves, or adding services including water, gas, and electricity, a shipping container can be anything you want it to be.

    8-foot container conversion ideas

    • Personal storage – ideal for storing overflow personal items you want to keep but don’t need at hand, like out-of-season clothes, holiday essentials, or family heirlooms.
    • Compact garden storage – a more compact option that can fit into your garden’s nooks and crannies, perfect for storing a lawn mower, gardening equipment, or even outdoor furniture.
    • A mini-office or workstation – maybe you only work from home part-time, or you don’t need space for clients or filing cabinets? If this is the case, a mini-office in your garden could be just the bit of headspace you need.
    • Equipment storage – hobbies and the children’s extracurricular activities can generate lots of equipment, including sporting equipment, golf clubs, a bicycle or two, or even construction equipment.
    • Motorcycle housing – are you a biker looking to store your bike while protecting it safely and securely from theft and the elements? Consider a motorbike storage container!
    • Mobile kiosks or ticket booths – once modified, an 8-foot container can make an excellent mobile kiosk or ticket booth for fairs and events, or concessions, merchandising, and ticket sales at outdoor events.
    • Retail displays or pop-up shops – with eye-catching modification and design, an 8-foot container can be all you need to draw in customers and sell your specially curated selection of goods.


    10-foot container conversion ideas

    • Portable workshops – if you craft or manufacture goods for a living, an external workshop will be essential. A 10-foot container will give you plenty of space for workbenches, tool storage, and open spaces to measure and cut raw materials.
    • Small business storage – ideal for keeping stock safe from criminals and damage from the weather, a 10-foot container is plenty of space for excess or overflow seasonal stock before you put it out for selling.
    • Trade show booth – sometimes referred to as an exhibition space, a 10-foot container is ideal for companies or individuals needing a trade show booth to increase their presence at professional marketing events. With enough space for you to stand within and for visitors to walk around and exciting displays, you can show everyone what you can bring to the table.
    • Small commercial properties – from coffee shops to farm shops, a 10-foot container gives enough space for a few customers, store staff and the equipment or stock you need to run the business.
    • WC facilities – for camping and caravan parks to open-air lidos and parks, a 10-foot container can give you enough space for a few cubicles and handwashing space.
    • Personal care services – ideal for bijou hair and beauty parlours, tattoo studios, dog groomers, or massage therapists, you can create an intimate, comfortable space to welcome customers one at a time.


    20-foot container conversion ideas

    • Construction site storage – perfect for storing perishable goods, like concrete mixes or paints and flooring, a 20-foot container gives construction sites plenty of durable, weatherproof storage options.
    • Residential moves – if you are packing up your entire home and moving a further distance, packing into a shipping container can be a more economical option.
    • Multi-person office space – suitable for use for multiple staff, a shipping container office space can be customised in any number of ways to include storage options, branding, and a welcoming feel for visiting customers.
    • Changing rooms and shower facilities – with plentiful space for lockers, shower cubicles, and benches for seating, outdoor sports venues like astroturf pitches and outdoor lidos can host tournaments and competitions without worrying about facilities.
    • Larger retail spaces – with extra space for increased stock displays, more customers, and seating areas, 20-foot containers have the footprint needed for larger businesses, including shoe shops, coffee shops and cafes, market stalls, world food stores, or gift and trinket shops.


    40-foot container conversion ideas

    • Warehouse or Industrial Storage – Our largest containers are ideal for storing inventory, equipment, or materials in a warehouse or industrial setting thanks to their security and weatherproofing.
    • Oversized or Bulky Item Storage – If you have oversized items that won’t fit in a smaller container, a 40-foot container provides the necessary space. It can accommodate large machinery, vehicles, furniture, or other bulky items that need to be stored securely and safely.
    • Tiny homes – in response to towering house and mortgage costs, many are now looking for alternatives to the traditional housing stock. A 40-foot container can provide ample room for a single inhabitant or a couple, giving them an alternative option with all the mod-cons they are used to.
    • Guest annexes, B&Bs, and holiday rentals – perfect for installing near sites of special interest or outstanding natural beauty, guest annexes in shipping containers are perfect for tourism-led short stays.
    • Bars and eateries – with room for a kitchen, bar, and spaces to seat customers, bars and eateries can create show-stopping themed destinations suitable for use all year round.


    Considering a shipping container conversion?

    The main reason people choose shipping container conversions is their versatility – business and domestic customers are limited only by their imagination.

    By working with our in-house design team, we can create any space you can describe, work within your pre-determined budget, and even deliver it to your chosen site upon completion. A real win-win for you!

    To get started, call us on 0870 240 9405 or fill in our enquiry form and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

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    July 10, 2023 | Lauren

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