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Your Guide to Understanding Freight Classes in the USA

For the best understanding of freight classes in the USA, you may need a detailed guide.  As a business owner, it is all too important you understand freight classes and their implications. 

If your company performs continuous shipping and delivery, it is even more crucial that you learn. However, if you are new to the freight and shipment scene, don’t panic. This guide to freight classes will provide all you need to know freight classification.

The freight transportation system is one of the largest industries in the US. According to the stats, this industry single-handedly affects about 44million jobs within the States. There are also millions of businesses that rely on the freight system to thrive. So, it may be safe to say the trucking and freight delivery service is the backbone of countless people in the USA.

However, an industry as large as this must have standards. Otherwise, everything runs the risk of being mediocre, or worse, falling apart. In the freight transportation industry, the standard is freight classes. 

This begs the question, ‘what are freight classes?’ More importantly, what is the impact of freight classes in the USA?

This guide to freight classes will give all the information you need to know about shipment classifications. We will also give you some pointers on using a freight class calculator and more.

What Are Freight Classes?

Here is the first step in our guide to freight classes. Freight class is a vital measurement system that carriers use to formulate the cost of shipping your freight. 

Freight classes allow for standard prices across all Less-Than-Truckload freight shipping providers. This means that you, as a business owner, will already know what it may cost you to make a shipment. 

Furthermore, you can also compare prices between shipment providers since you already know the possible charges.

The NMFTA, National Motor Freight Traffic Association, determines freight classes. You see, every type of commodity has an NMF classification. So, the NMFTA will then assign it a specific freight class number for LTL freight shippers. For example, refrigerators have freight class number 92.5, while cabinets belong to class 110.

Freight classes exist to ensure consistent freight shipment prices. In essence, it ranks the ease with which LTL shippers can get a shipment to its destination. The more complicated the delivery is, the higher the freight class, and of course, the higher the shipping price. In the USA, freight classes range from 50 to 500. 

Why is Freight Class So Important?

Our guide to freight classes includes understanding why these classes are important. Why does everybody keep talking about freight classes? Well, here’s why!

It helps to determine the cost of freight

One of the significant factors that determine shipment cost is freight classes. Fortunately, this means they can give you an idea of the final price of transporting your goods. 

Therefore, freight classes help you spend less time haggling on the cost of shipping your commodities. By going through our guide to freight classes, you can optimize your shipping costs and cut extra expenses.

It helps carriers to organize their shipment

Freight class can help shippers decide the best way to organize goods in a trailer. You see, sometimes, both fragile products and more resilient goods may fall in the same shipment. 

However, the proper freight classes will help shippers understand which commodity is stackable and which isn’t. This way, they can optimally organize their cargo from the ground up.

It prevents damage to your freight

Freight classes are not only determined based on the ease of transporting specific commodities. The fragility of the goods also comes into play. Essentially, the more fragile the shipment is, the higher the freight class. 

By correctly classifying your freight, shippers can know how delicate or hefty it is. Hence, they can handle it as such. This reduces the risk of damage to your goods in transit and ensures they arrive safely.

Freight Class Calculator: Factors That Determine Freight Class

Before you can determine your shipment’s freight class, you must first identify specific parameters about it. Only then can you make an accurate calculation of its freight class. Here is a guide to the factors that determine freight classes.


While some commodities already have predetermined freight classes, others are determined by their densities. The density of your merchandise (packaging and all) is its total cubic feet divided by its weight (in pounds). As a rule of thumb, higher freight densities mean lower freight class. Lower freight classes usually cost less than upper freight classes.


This refers to how well your freight fits into the truck. Items that are oddly shaped, too long or overly heavy can be a hassle to load. Not to mention they may not fit well with other shipments in an LTL truck. 

Shipments should also have a free load-bearing surface to facilitate stacking. However, if an item is difficult to load or stow, it receives a higher freight class. More often not, this means higher costs.


This ease of handling also impacts a shipment’s freight class. Most shipments will go through multiple checkpoints and offload stops before they get to their final destination. 

Freight that is excessively heavy, fragile, or has odd shapes will require specialized handling. This may cause such shipment to have a higher freight class.


Finally, the potential liability of freight is also considered when assigning freight classes. A shipment that may easily damage, get stolen, or even damage other freight receives higher freight classes. For instance, perishable or combustible shipments have a higher liability. The value of liability increases per pound of freight.

Types of Freight Classes

Here is a quick guide to the variety of freight classes that exist. There are eighteen (18) different types of freight classes. 

Here we rank them from the heftiest and more durable to the most fragile. Furthermore, the various categories of freight classes fall between 50 and 500. Below is a list of the types of freight classes.

  1. Class 50 – Over 50 pounds per cubic foot
  2. Class 55 – Between 35 and 50 pounds per cubic foot
  3. Class 60 – Between 30 and 35 pounds per cubic foot
  4. Class 65 – Between 22.5 and 30 pounds per cubic foot
  5. Class 70 – Between 15 and 22.5 pounds per cubic foot
  6. Class 77.5 – Between 13.5 and 15 pounds per cubic foot
  7. Class 85 – Between 12 and 13.5 pounds per cubic foot
  8. Class 92.5 – Between 10.5 and 12 pounds per cubic foot
  9. Class 100 – Between 9 and 10.5 pounds per cubic foot
  10. Class 110 – Between 8 and 9 pounds per cubic foot
  11. Class 125 – Between 7 and 8 pounds per cubic foot
  12. Class 150 – Between 6 and 7 pounds per cubic foot
  13. Class 175 – Between 5 and 6 pounds per cubic foot
  14. Class 200 – Between 4 and 5 pounds per cubic foot
  15. Class 250 – Between 3 and 4 pounds per cubic foot
  16. Class 300 – Between 2 and 3 pounds per cubic foot
  17. Class 400 – Between 1 and 2 pounds per cubic foot
  18. Class 500 – Less than 1 pound per cubic foot

Wrap Up

Freight classes are a vital part of the trucking and freight delivery service in the USA. Hopefully, our guide to freight classes has given you some insight into all you need to know. 

Remember, understanding freight classes is not essential to only the trucking companies. It can help you develop more efficient shipment plans and save you a lot of money in the long run.

Do you need excellent and reliable truck shipping services? Take advantage of our trucking and freight delivery services for different classes. 

If you are not sure of your shipment’s freight class, we can help! Call+16476915535 to speak with one of our experts today!