How Much Does a Yard of Sand Weigh?

Beginning a new landscaping or construction project is exciting for many homeowners, as it means they’re getting closer to their dream yard or home. If you’re like me and favor the do-it-yourself approach, ensuring you can get the supplies you need to your property is essential. If you need to bring a lot of sand back to your home, you may wonder, “How much does a yard of sand weigh?”

Yard of sand weighs between 2,600 and 3,200 pounds. The weight isn’t consistent because there are different types of sand, each with its own grain size and shape. Plus, the amount of moisture in the sand and overall density can vary, leading to weight differences.

Regardless of the type of sand, a yard of sand is heavy. Plus, it’s a substantial amount of volume. If you need to know whether you can safely transport a yard of sand or if a yard is the amount of sand you genuinely need, here’s what you should know.

How Much Does a Yard of Sand Weigh

How Much Does a Yard of Sand Weigh?

A yard of sand can weigh different amounts, but it typically falls in the 2,600-to-3,200-pound range. When converted to tons, a yard of sand generally weighs between 1.3 and 1.6 tons.

One of the most significant factors is the grain size and shape, as there are different types of sand. This impacts how closely the grains fit together, which alters the ratio of sand to air in the yard.

Similarly, moisture levels also impact weight. Wet sand weighs more than dry sand, as water replaces air between the grains. Plus, moisture can compact the sand down. Since a yard is a measure of volume, higher compactness means there are more sand grains in that volume, making it heavier.

Finally, each sand type may have different densities. With different densities, you get differing weights even if the volume is the same. As a result, a yard of sand isn’t guaranteed to weigh a specific amount, instead falling into the range listed above.

What Does a Yard of Sand Look Like?

What Does Yard of Sand Look Like

Usually, the easiest way to get a picture of what a yard of sand looks like is to understand what the term “yard” means in this context. When you’re discussing a yard of sand, a yard is a measure of volume. It refers to a cubic yard, a cube that’s 1 yard high, 1 yard deep, and 1 yard wide.

Another way to look at it is in cubic feet. A yard is 3 feet in length. As a result, a cubic yard is also representable with a cube 3 feet high, 3 feet deep, and 3 feet wide. In total, that calculates out to 27 cubic feet of volume.

However, when you purchase a yard of sand, you aren’t receiving a packaged cube of sand. Instead, the retailer provides you with the right amount of volume, often resulting in differing height, depth, and length measurements.

For example, you could end up with a rectangle 1 foot high, 4 feet deep, and 6.75 feet wide. That still works out to 27 cubic feet of volume, so it is a cubic yard of sand, even though the shape differs from a cube.

How Much Does 2, 3, 4, 5, 10, 15 Yards of Sand Weigh?

Yards Pounds Tons
2 5,200 to 6,400 2.6 to 3.2
3 7,800 to 9,600 3.9 to 4.8
4 10,400 to 12,800 5.2 to 6.4
5 13,000 to 16,000 6.5 to 8
10 26,000 to 32,000 13 to 16
15 39,000 to 48,000 19.5 to 24

What Impacts How Much a Yard of Sand Weighs?

How Much Yard of Sand Weighs

In many cases, you’ll need to estimate the weight of a yard of sand to make sure that the transportation method you’re using can handle it. Several factors can cause variances in the total weight. As a result, it’s wise to understand what they are, allowing you to determine if the sand you’re purchasing falls on the higher or lower end of the weight range.

Here’s a quick overview of the factors that impact how much a yard of sand weighs.


One of the most significant factors impacting the weight of a yard of sand is whether wet or dry. Water weighs more than air. As a result, if water fills the gaps between the grains instead of air, the yard of sand is heavier.

With dry sand, the weight is typically near 100 pounds per cubic foot (lbs/ft³), though it can vary depending on the other factors discussed below. Wet sand may weigh closer to 130 lbs/ft³, though the exact weight will also vary based on grain size, grain shape, and overall density.

Grain Size and Shape

Each type of sand has a unique grain size and shape. Fine sands usually have grain sizes between 0.075 mm and 0.425 mm. If the sand is coarser, its grain size may be closer to 2 mm to 4.75 mm. Medium sand falls in between those two ranges.

Additionally, the shapes can range from angular to rounded and may be regular or irregular. Angular shapes usually fit more closely together than rounded ones.

When sand is finer, it typically weigh more than coarser sand of the same volume. Similarly, when sand is more angular, it can weigh more than rounded sand of the same volume. Primarily, this is because there’s more sand and less air in the space, resulting in a higher weight.


The density of sand can vary. When sand is loose, a state usually achieved by moving or agitating it, there’s more air involved. As a result, loose sand can have a density of nearly 1,442 kilograms per cubic meter (kg/m³).

Packed dry sand – compacted during the packaging process – typically has a density closer to 1,682 kg/m³. Packed wet sand usually has a density nearer to 2,082 kg/m³.

Weight of Sand Per Cubic Foot

As mentioned above, the weight of sand varies on several factors. With dry sand, the weight per cubic foot is usually close to 100 lbs. However, it may weigh more if the grains are fine and the density is higher, such as what you find with packed sand.

When dealing with wet sand, the weight per cubic foot is usually closer to 130 lbs. Again, there are weight variances due to different densities or grain fineness.

How Many Yards Are in a Ton of Sand?

A US ton represents a weight of 2,000 points, based on that, a yard of sand exceeds one ton in weight, as the typical weight of a yard of sand is usually in the 2,600-to-3,200-pound range.

Precisely how many yards of sand are in a ton can vary based on the moisture content, density, and grain size and shape. However, a ton of sand usually falls in the 0.63 to 0.77 yards range.

Finer, wetter, or denser sand will fall on the lower end of that range as it weighs more than coarser, dryer, or looser sand of the same volume. Coarser, dryer, or looser sand is usually at the higher end of the range.

How Many 50 lb Bags of Sand in a Yard?

How Many 50 lb Bags of Sand in a Yard

When you buy a prepackaged 50-pound bag of sand, it’s usually designed to cover 0.5 cubic feet. Since a yard is 27 cubic feet, it would take 54 50-pound bags of sand to equal a yard.

However, some bags of sand may be designed to cover more or less than 0.5 cubic feet. As a result, it’s critical to review the manufacturer’s packaging to see if it lists a different figure. If so, divide 27 (the number of cubic feet in a yard) by the coverage listed. That will tell you how many bags you’d need to purchase a yard of sand.

How Much Does a 5 Gallon Bucket of Sand Weigh?

Using a 5-gallon bucket to move sand is a convenient option. However, that bucket can end up surprisingly heavy. Generally, a 5-gallon bucket of dry sand weighs about 60 to 70 pounds, depending on density and fineness. If the sand is wet, the bucket could weigh closer to 80 to 90 pounds.

How Many Wheelbarrows Are in a Yard of Sand?

Wheelbarrows in Yard of Sand

The number of wheelbarrow loads in a yard of sand generally depends on the size of the wheelbarrow. A full-sized wheelbarrow can usually hold 3 cubic feet of material. If you’re using a full-sized wheelbarrow, then you’d have 9 wheelbarrow loads of sand in a yard.

But some wheelbarrows are smaller, only carrying 2 cubic feet. With those, you’d have around 14 loads of sand in a yard.

However, in both cases, that assumes you fill the wheelbarrow up based on its maximum capacity. If you don’t carry the maximum amount of sand every time, you’ll need to make more trips with a wheelbarrow to unload or move a full yard of sand.

How Many Yards of Sand Can a Pickup Truck Carry?

Usually, a truck bed has enough physical space to carry 1 or 2 cubic yards of sand. For 2 yards, you’d generally need a full-size pickup truck, while smaller trucks may only have room for 1 yard.

However, trucks aren’t only limited by the volume of the truck bed; there’s also the weight to consider. Trucks have maximum payloads. The maximum payload represents the total weight a truck can carry in the bed and cab combined, including factoring in the weight of the driver, passengers, and any other items.

You need to make sure that the total weight of the sand you’re transporting – and the weight of anything else in the vehicle – doesn’t exceed the maximum payload. The payload limit isn’t based on whether a truck is labeled as a “1-ton truck,” as that isn’t a reference to the maximum payload.

Instead, it’s best to check the vehicle documentation to determine the maximum payload. It doesn’t just vary by truck size or classification but also by make, model, and model year. Essentially, every truck is different, so look up the specifications for the vehicle you want to use to figure out if it can handle the weight.

How Much Area Does a Yard of Sand Cover?

How much area a yard of sand covers depends on the depth you want to maintain. If you aim for a depth of 3 inches, the coverage is typically near 108 square feet. For a depth of 4 inches, the area it will cover moves down to about 81 square feet. If you’re going for a depth of 1 foot, you can cover 27 square feet.

How to Calculate How Much Sand You Need

How to Calculate How Much Sand You Need

If you need to calculate how much sand you’ll need, you must determine the total cubic volume you want to cover. First, measure the length and width (in feet) of the space and multiply those figures together. Once you do, you have the square footage of the spot you want to cover.

Next, multiply the square footage by the desired depth. That gives you the cubic volume. Take the cubic volume and divide that by 27, as there are 27 cubic feet in a yard. That number represents the number of yards you’ll need to handle your project.

Sand Weight Calculator

If you don’t want to handle the math yourself, you can estimate the weight of the sand you’ll need for your project using a sand weight calculator. Simply input the length, width, and depth of the place you cover with sand as part of your project. Identify the material type and click calculate for the estimated tons and required yards.

You also have the option of inputting price information for the sand you’re looking to purchase. With that, you’ll also receive a cost estimate for the sand needed for the project.


Overall, a single yard of sand typically weighs between 2,600 and 3,200 pounds. The exact weight varies depending on the moisture level, density, and grain shape and size. In many cases, a truck bed can handle a yard of dirt, depending on its maximum payload capacity. Additionally, you’ll want to calculate precisely how much sand you’ll need before purchasing a yard to ensure you’re getting the correct amount for your project.

Did you learn everything you want to learn about how much a yard of sand weighs? If so, let us know in the comments section. Also, if you know someone asking, “How much does a yard of sand weigh?” make sure to share the article.

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