The Cubic Foot: A Unit of Volume in Everyday Life

Cubic feet are a measurement unit of volume in the imperial and US customary systems. It is used to evaluate the volume of objects or space in three dimensions. A cubic foot can be defined as the volume occupied by a cube where each dimension measuring one foot in length.

One of the key advantages of using cubic feet is its practicality in real-world scenarios. It helps Professionals to make informed decisions about how to utilize or allocate the space effectively.

We will define cubic feet with its mathematical representation in this article. We will describe its different applications in different fields. We will provide some examples to learn how to determine the volume of three-dimensional objects in cubic feet.

Definition of Cubic Feet:

Cubic feet are a unit of volume used to measure how much space something takes up in three dimensions object. A cubic foot is the volume of a cube whose sides each measure one foot in length. It is equivalent to approximately 28.3168 liters or 0.0283168 cubic meters.

SI unit of volume is the cubic meter but the cubic feet is still often used in the United States and the United Kingdom because it is more familiar and practical for everyday measurements.

For example; if you want to know how much space a refrigerator takes up, you would probably measure it in cubic feet. This is because it is easier to visualize a cubic foot than a cubic meter.

The Formula for Calculating Cubic Feet:

The formula of cubic feet is used to compute the volume of a three-dimensional object or space. This involves multiplying length, width, and height together. This formula is particularly useful when dealing with objects that are not perfect cubes, like rectangular prisms or irregular shapes.

The formula for calculating volume in cubic feet is as follows:

Volume (cubic feet) = Length (feet) × Width (feet) × Height (feet)

In this formula,

  • A length is defined as the measurement of the longest side of the object.
  • Width refers to the shorter side of the object.
  • Height represents the vertical measurement from the bottom to the top.

Steps to Determine Cubic Feet:

Follow these steps to calculate the volume in cubic feet:

  1. Determine the length, width, and height of the object in feet. If the dimensions have been measured in other measurement units, convert them into the feet by using the following conversion table. 
  2. Take the length, width, and height measurements in feet and multiply them.
  3. The result of this calculation gives you the volume in cubic feet.
Measurement UnitConversion to Feet
InchDivide by 12
CentimeterDivide by 30.48
YardMultiply by 3
MeterMultiply by 3.281
Table: Conversion Table


Let’s illustrate the above steps by using the example.

Calculate the volume of a box in cubic feet with the following dimensions:

Length = 2 meters

Width = 100 centimeters

Height = 12 inches


Step 1: Convert these dimensions to feet.

Length in feet: 2 × 3.281 = 6.562 feet

Width in feet: 100 ÷ 30.48= 3.28084 feet

Height in feet: 12 ÷ 12 = 1 foot

Step 2: Multiply the measurement of the dimension in feet together.

Volume = 6.562 × 3.28084 × 1 = 21.5288 ft3

Alternative Methods to Evaluate Cubic Feet:

  1. Measure the length, width, and height of the object without worrying about unit conversion at this stage.
  2. Multiply the length, width, and height measurements together, without any unit conversion. You will get the cubic volume in other cubic units (i.e. cubic meters, cubic centimeters, etc.) from this.
  3. After obtaining the volume in cubic units, use the following conversion table to convert the volume into cubic feet:
Cubic UnitConversion to Cubic Feet
Cubic InchDivide by 1728
Cubic CentimeterDivide by 28316.8466
Cubic YardMultiply by 27
Cubic MeterMultiply by 35.3147
Table: Conversion Table


Calculate the volume of a rectangular wooden box in cubic feet with the following dimensions:

Length = 2 centimeters

Width = 80 centimeters

Height = 50 centimeters


Step 1: You can find the volume in cubic centimeters by multiplying the length, width, and height measurements together.

Volume = 2 centimeters × 80 centimeters × 50 centimeters = 8000 cm³

Step 2: After obtaining the volume in cubic units (cm³), use the conversion factor from the table to convert it to cubic feet:

Volume in cubic feet = 8000 cm³ ÷ 28316.8466 = 0.282517 cubic feet

Different Applications of Cubic Feet in Different Fields:

Here are some examples of how cubic feet are used in different industries and disciplines:

Construction and Architecture:

  • Determining building and room volumes for planning and design.
  • Estimating concrete, lumber, and other material quantities for construction projects.
  • HVAC system design and sizing for proper ventilation and air conditioning.

Logistics and Warehousing:

  • Calculating storage capacities for warehouses and shipping containers.
  • Optimizing cargo and freight space in transportation.

Gardening and Landscaping:

  • Calculating soil volume for planting beds, pots, and garden landscaping.
  • Estimating mulch, compost, or other materials needed for gardening projects.

Furniture and Interior Design:

  • Determining the size and capacity of cabinets, closets, and storage units.
  • Planning and arranging furniture within rooms.

Packaging and Shipping:

  • Designing packaging materials for products to ensure safe transport.
  • Costs of shipping are computed based on the volume of the package.

Solved Example of Determining Cubic Feet:

Here’s a solved example of determining cubic feet:

Example 1:

Evaluate the volume in cubic feet of a refrigerator that has the following dimension:

Length: 2.5 feet

Width: 2 feet

Height: 6 feet


Multiply the length, width, and height measurements together to determine the volume in ft3.

Volume = Length × Width × Height

Volume = 2.5 ft × 2 ft × 6 ft = 30 cubic feet

Example 2:

Calculate the volume of a garden bed in cu ft with the following dimensions:

Length = 4 meters

Width = 2 meters

Height = 0.5 meters


Multiply the length, width, and height measurements together to find the volume in cubic meters.

Volume = 4 m × 2 m × 0.5 m = 4 cubic meters

Convert to Cubic Feet

1 cubic meter = 35.3147 cubic feet

Volume in cubic feet = 4 cubic meters × 35.3147 cubic feet/m³ = 141.2588 cubic feet

Thus, the volume of the garden bed is approximately 141.2588 cubic feet.


In this article, we have explored the definition and formula of cubic feet. We learned different methods to calculate volume in cubic feet. The different application of cubic feet has been covered in this article. We have provided solved examples of finding volume in cubic feet for our readers.

Mahesh Vyas

I am Engineer and Web Developer. I made to find the better solutions for our engineering community, help and provide the information about engineering and technology. Follow me on Twitter and Instagram.

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