Gravel Calculator – Estimate Yards and Tons

Calculate the amount of gravel or aggregate needed in tons and cubic yards by entering the dimensions below. Estimate material given the length/width/depth, the area, or the volume of material needed.

Calculate Material Using Project Dimensions

Optionally enter the price per ton or cubic yard

Calculate Material Using Area and Depth

Find area Using our square footage calculator
Optionally enter the price per ton or cubic yard

Calculate Material Using Volume

Find volume Using our cubic yards calculator
Optionally enter the price per ton or cubic yard


Cubic Yards
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How to Estimate How Much Gravel You Need

Gravel and other landscaping material are often sold either by the ton or the cubic yard. While this varies by supplier, many sell large volumes by weight in tons.

Therefore, to know how much material you will need to order, you will need to start with getting the weight of the material you need.

To find the weight of material in tons, you’ll need to know the approximate density of the material. Fortunately, there are some common densities that you can use for these calculations. See the chart below to see how many tons are in a cubic yard of gravel.

Gravel material at a landscape supplier

Step One: Calculate Volume in Yards

In addition to the weight of the material, you also need to know the volume of the space you are filling. Both weight per cubic yard and the total volume are necessary to determine how many tons you will need to order. Therefore, the first step to estimating how much gravel, sand, or soil you need is to estimate the volume of material needed.

Start by measuring the length, width, and depth of the area you need to fill in the same unit of measurement.

Multiply the length, width, and height together to find the volume of the space. If you measured in inches, then what you have is the volume needed in cubic inches, and if you measured in feet, then you have your total cubic feet.

Next, convert the volume to cubic yards.

If the initial measurements were in inches, then convert cubic inches to cubic yards by dividing the total number of cubic inches by 46,656. If the initial measurements were in feet, then divide the total number of cubic feet by 27 to get cubic yards.

Graphic showing the formula to calculate gravel needed where the volume in cubic yards is equal to the length times the width times the height in feet, divided by 27.

As a shortcut, try our cubic yardage calculator to conveniently calculate your volume.

Step Two: Calculate Gravel Weight in Tons

Armed with the volume of material needed in cubic yards, the weight of material in tons can be found by multiplying the volume by the material density. Most gravel weighs 1.4 to 1.7 tons per cubic yard. See below for more common material densities.

For example, let’s find the amount of gravel needed for a space that is 10 feet long, 10 feet wide, and 1 foot deep.

volume = length × width × depth
volume = 10′ × 10′ × 1′ = 100 cu ft
cu yds = 100 cu ft / 27 = 3.7

weight = cu yds × density
weight min = 3.7 × 1.4 = 5.2 tons
weight max = 3.7 × 1.7 = 6.3 tons

How Many Tons in a Yard of Gravel

The chart below shows how many tons are in a yard of gravel, rock, sand, soil, and other landscaping materials.

Weight per cubic yard and cubic meter of gravel and other common landscape material
Material Weight per Cubic Yard Weight per Cubic Meter
Pounds Tons Kilograms Metric Tons
Gravel (¼” – 2″) 2,800 – 3,400 lbs 1.4 – 1.7 tons 1,660 – 2,020 kg 1.66 – 2.02 tonnes
Rock (2″ – 6″) 3,000 – 3,400 lbs 1.5 – 1.7 tons 1,780 – 2,020 kg 1.78 – 2.02 tonnes
Sand (wet) 3,000 – 3,400 lbs 1.5 – 1.7 tons 1,780 – 2,020 kg 1.78 – 2.02 tonnes
Sand (dry) 2,600 – 3,000 lbs 1.3 – 1.5 tons 1,540 – 1,780 kg 1.54 – 1.78 tonnes
Topsoil (wet) 3,000 – 3,400 lbs 1.5 – 1.7 tons 1,780 – 2,020 kg 1.78 – 2.02 tonnes
Topsoil (dry) 2,000 – 2,600 lbs 1 – 1.3 tons 1,190 – 1,540 kg 1.19 – 1.54 tonnes
Riprap 3,400 – 4,000 lbs 1.7 – 2 tons 2,020 – 2,370 kg 2.02 – 2.37 tonnes

How Many Yards in a Ton of Gravel

The chart below shows how many yards are in a ton of gravel, rock, sand, and soil.

Table showing how many yards per ton of gravel, rock, soil, and sand.
Material Cubic Yards per Ton
Gravel (¼” – 2″) 0.59 – 0.71 cu yd
Rock (2″ – 6″) 0.59 – 0.67 cu yd
Sand (wet) 0.59 – 0.67 cu yd
Sand (dry) 0.67 – 0.77 cu yd
Topsoil (wet) 0.59 – 0.67 cu yd
Topsoil (dry) 0.77 – 1 cu yd
Riprap 0.5 – 0.67 yds

Check out our stone and mulch calculators for estimating other landscape materials.

How to Account for Overage and Compaction

In most instances, it’s a good idea to factor in additional gravel or overage when calculating what you need. For example, some gravel may be lost when you transport it to the final site. It may slip off your wheelbarrow or spill from the back of the truck prematurely.

In addition, if you are backfilling an area with gravel, there may be voids that you have not accounted for, which will increase the amount of gravel needed to complete the job. To account for these, it’s generally a good idea to order an additional 10%.

For example, if your calculations call for 5.2 tons of gravel, you will want to purchase 5.7 tons to account for necessary overage.

Gravel is also sometimes compacted prior to other materials being placed on top of it. This compacting can lose as much as 20% of the total volume you wanted to fill. Therefore, after accounting for overage, you will need an additional 20% of material to account for the volume lost during compacting.

In the above example, 5.7 tons is necessary to include overage, but to account for compacting, you would need roughly 6.8 tons to make up the lost volume. Keep in mind that not all gravel needs to be compacted, and some varieties compact more than others, so this much additional material will not always be required for every project.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Do you order gravel by the yard or ton?

This will largely depend on how much gravel you need and the supplier you are purchasing it from. Most suppliers sell gravel by the ton, but some may sell it by the yard, particularly if you only need a small amount.

How much will 1 ton of gravel cover?

This will vary depending on the size of the gravel, which can range from ½” to 2″ in size. A ton of gravel will generally cover between 0.59 to 0.71 cubic yards, with larger-sized gravel covering less area than smaller-sized gravel.

How much is one truck load of gravel?

Trucks come in many sizes and can handle various amounts of weight. The average pickup truck can carry 1 cubic yard of gravel, while a dump truck can carry 13 to 25 tons of gravel.

At a cost of $35 to $50 per ton, a full dump truck load could cost anywhere from $455 to $1,250.