How to calculate the weight of your parcel without scales or a ruler

How to calculate the weight of your parcel without scales or a ruler

The best and most accurate way to check an item’s weight is of course, to weigh it using scales – but if you find yourself needing to get an idea of an item’s weight and find yourself without any, it can be helpful to use household or commonplace items to calculate an approximate weight of your parcel. While not an exact science, it can help you to estimate the cost of sending a parcel until you’re able to weigh and measure it properly.

While this guide can help you get a ballpark weight and size for your items, it's far better to be as precise as possible – using scales and a ruler will ensure you avoid a parcel being held at one of our depots or being returned to you, due to under declaring the weight or size.

If you're likely to be sending items regularly through the post, it's a good idea to invest in a pair of scales. Even a basic set will be accurate enough for postage purposes without having to break the bank – with many options available from high street retailers and online marketplaces for around £10 – a quick Google search will show you what’s available.

Handy comparisons in the cupboard

Ordinary things in the cupboard are useful as they’re mostly sold by weight; a bag of sugar or flour, tin of beans or tomatoes or a packet of crisps or sweets are all labelled in grams / kilos and can allow you guesstimate how much your items weigh.

For example:

  • A standard packet of crisps weighs 25g, which is roughly about the same as a small silver ring or lightweight necklace
  • A regular can of baked beans or tinned tomatoes weigh around 400 - 440g which is about the same as a sweater
  • Hunt around for any pre-packed unused items you have in the house; a 250g packet of noodles, a 500g packet of pasta, a 750g bag of rice, a 1kg bag of sugar, a 1.5kg bag of flour can be useful comparisons for weight.

See also our ipostparcels #LifeHack infographic below for some other household items to weigh against.

Rough weights of popular items

ipostparcels collect and deliver countless parcels every day of all sorts of size, weight and value, so we couldn’t possibly list them all here, but to give you an idea of some of the more commonly sent items with their approximate weight, please see below:

  • A single DVD in a case weighs around 100g
  • A mid-sized teddy bear weighs approx. 400g
  • Footwear - for e.g. a pair of size 10 men’s trainers approx. 800 - 900g or size 5 women’s approx. 300 – 400g
  • Jeans – it will depend on the size and gauge of denim, but an average size and mid weight pair of ladies jeans weighs approx. 450g while men’s will weigh around 700g
  • Books  - there will be great variation from one to another but generally speaking; a 100 page glossy magazine weighs approx. 250g, a 400 page paperback is approx. 300g and a 400 page hardback approx. 700g

Taking into account packaging weight

Remember the packaging you send your items in will add to the overall weight of your parcel so please take this in to account.

Fairly light in weight, padded envelopes are ideal for sending items such as DVDs, brochures or smaller items such as costume jewellery or gifts. Cardboard boxes will protect your items better, but will weigh more. As a guide, see below for some approximate weights of envelopes and small boxes for posting:

  • An empty, standard shoebox weighs around 200g
  • A small empty box with dimensions of 18 x 11 x 6 cm weighs around 15g
  • A C4 paper envelope weighs around 25g
  • An A4 bubble padded envelope is around 25g

In addition you'll need to factor in the padding you'll need to pack around your items such as bubble wrap or air pockets.

Setting up a business? We recommend weighing each of the different size envelopes and boxes and taking a note of their weight. Then you can calculate this easily into your shipping costs on your website or eBay shop.

How to measure your parcel without a ruler

It’s important to understand that not only the weight of your parcel affects the price you’ll pay to ship a parcel across the UK or abroad, but also the dimensions of the parcel. So as well as weighing it, make sure you measure your parcel to get the cheapest delivery rates available for the item.

As with use of scales for weight, we always advise you measure your parcel correctly using a ruler to get the most accurate price, however, if you don’t have a ruler to hand, take a look below to help you get it right by using an ipostparcels #LifeHack

Step 1 - measuring

Always measure the length, width and height of your parcel in metric – that’s mm / cm

If you’re struggling to find a ruler or a tape measure to measure your parcel, use our paper measurements to ensure you get the dimensions correct.

Alternatively, we have measured some handy household items that will be able to help you when it comes to sizing up your parcel.  


Step 2 – weighing

Always make sure you weigh your parcel in metric – that’s grams / kilograms.

If you’re struggling to find scales to weigh your parcel try feeling the weight of your parcel against everyday household items.



If you’re sending heavier items, did you know that 2 litres of fluid weighs roughly the same as 2kg? This handy ipostparcels #LifeHack should help you when it comes to getting the weight of your parcel correct. 

So remember, in parcel delivery, size and weight matters!

Once you know the weight and dimensions of your parcel, our quick quote will calculate the cheapest International or UK rates for you.

Ready to send a parcel in the UK or ROI?

We offer a cheap and fast next day delivery service across the UK and Republic of Ireland with prices starting from as little as £1.99*. You can save £1.25 on your order by dropping off at one of our 50+ depots or save £3 on each parcel you send by dropping off at one of our depots and having your recipient collect their parcel from one of our depots.

Our Next Day UK parcel delivery prices start from...

*Prices shown exclude VAT and is based on our depot drop off service. £1.99 price based on depot drop off 

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Ready to send a parcel internationally?

We ship to over 160 countries worldwide with prices starting from £7.74* and we can deliver to many countries within 2-3 days when you choose our express service. There are a few things to know when sending a parcel outside of the UK, whether it’s bound for an EU country or further afield – for more information and helpful advice read more about shipping parcels abroad.

*Prices excluding VAT and based on our depot drop off service. £7.74 price based on depot drop off and sending a parcel to Germany with a weight of 0.5kg and max dimensions of 10cm x 10cm x 10cm

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Included on all orders

  • Free £25 contents cover on all UK and ROI orders
  • Free £50 contents cover on all International orders
  • We'll collect your parcel from your home or business address
  • Fully tracked online service and delivery notifications for you and your recipient


Ways to make sending your parcel even cheaper

  • Save £1 on every additional parcel you send in a UK order
  • Save £1.25 on every parcel you send if you drop off at one of our 50+ depots
  • Save £3 if you drop your parcel off at a depot and your recipient collects from a depot
  • Save up to £35 by using our top up service

Related content:

UK Prohibited items
International prohibited items
Posting made easier (and cheaper!)
How to package parcels for international delivery

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ipostparcels have the cheapest next day delivery prices in the UK from 2 - 25kg. See price comparison prices here. * £1.99 (ex VAT) from price based on a next day XS parcel size with a UK depot drop off and UK depot collection service. Delivery to Northern Ireland, Ireland, The British Isles, The Highlands, Islands and parts of Scotland operate on a 1-3 day delivery service and incur additional costs. £7.74 (ex VAT) price based on a parcel weight of up to 25kg (50cm x 50cm x 50cm) on a UK depot drop off and economy delivery service to Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg or Austria. All prices quoted on content pages (outside of the quick quote and booking form) will be based on the depot drop off discounted price for UK deliveries and on a 0.5kg parcel with dimensions of 10cm x 10cm x 10cm for all international air countries. The size and weight of your parcel affects the price you will pay so it’s important to weigh and measure your parcel correctly to ensure your parcel arrives on time without any delays. Use our quick quote for all pricing options. If you do not select the "signature required" delivery option, UKMail will not be liable should your items be subsequently lost or damaged after the delivery (see clause 5.2.2 of the Terms & Conditions). We define a "Parcel" as a package with dimensions up to 80cm x 80cm x 80cm or up to 120cm x 50cm x 50cm or up to 140cm x 35cm x 35cm.

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