UPS, FedEx, DHL, & More

The Best Shipping and Mailing Services in the US

Michelle Mondonedo

by Michelle Mondonedo

On 2019 M07 2

by Michelle Mondonedo

U.S.-based merchants are spoiled for choice when it comes to domestic courier availability.

The United States Postal Service (USPS) remains a very popular option due to its affordable shipping rates and its federal mandate that requires it deliver to every address in the United States.

But how does USPS domestic shipping compare to other popular express couriers?

In this post, we aim to demystify domestic shipping by comparing USPS service offerings against other competitors in the U.S. shipping landscape.

Domestic shipping options in the U.S.

Here are the popular couriers that eCommerce businesses look to for handling their U.S. domestic shipping:

How long does domestic shipping take?

Domestic delivery time frames vary, and depend on the distance your parcel is traveling and the speed your chosen service offers.

Some couriers provide same day local delivery, while delivery outside a metro area or within the same state can average between 1-3 business days depending on the speed of service chosen.

For cross-country shipping, you can expect the average time frame to be around 5 days if you’re using a ground solution, with the shortest being from 1-3 days for air freight and some being as long as 6-8 days.

What is the cheapest way to ship a package domestically in the U.S.?

eCommerce shipping costs depend on the following factors:

  • Weight of your parcel
  • Dimensions of your parcel’s packaging
  • The distance your parcel will travel

One way to easily compare domestic shipping prices is to use Easyship’s Get A Quote feature.

In the following examples, we will see how much it costs to ship a 3 pound package in a box similar to the size of USPS’ Small Flat Rate Box, across different distances.


Rates for a 3 lb parcel, 9 in x 5.5 in x 2 in, within New York City metro

Courier Service Delivery Time Frame Cost*
USPS Priority Mail 1-3 days $6.95
FedEx Express Saver 2-3 days $13.03
UPS Ground 3-4 days $12.87

*Easyship's Negotiated Rates

The Priority Mail service is USPS’ flagship domestic service, and when compared to express couriers offering similar delivery time frames, it clearly has the advantage for offering the lowest domestic shipping price.

Rates for a 3 lb parcel, 9 in x 5.5 in x 2 in, from New York to Chicago

Courier Service Delivery Time Frame Cost*
USPS Priority Mail 1-3 days $7.65
FedEx Express Saver 2-3 days $17.49
FedEx Ground 4-6 days $9.07
UPS Ground 3-4 days $12.87

*Easyship's Negotiated Rates

When shipping across states, USPS still remains competitive, with a shorter delivery time frame and lower cost.

When comparing UPS Ground vs USPS Priority Mail, UPS loses out as it has a slightly longer time frame and is $5 more than USPS’ rate.

Rates for a 3 lb parcel, 9 in x 5.5 in x 2 in, from New York to Los Angeles

Courier Service Delivery Time Frame Cost*
USPS Priority Mail 1-3 days $8.25
FedEx Express Saver 2-3 days $27.08
FedEx Ground 4-6 days $10.05
UPS Ground 3-4 days $13.82

*Easyship's Negotiated Rates

Even when shipping across the country, USPS continues to be the most economical option. The ground services offered by express couriers still have slightly longer delivery time frames, and are pricier than USPS.

However, if you are looking for a speedy solution that delivers during a specific time frame and provides frequent tracking, there may be value in using an express courier that charges a higher rate.

What is the cheapest way to ship large packages domestically?

Each courier has different size restrictions so the definition of “large” will vary.

On average, couriers will ship items that weigh no more than 150 pounds with a length no longer than 108 inches, and girth + length more than 165 inches. Anything larger than these dimensions could qualify as a freight shipment.

For items that are below these restrictions, it’s advised to keep the shape of the shipment as a square or rectangular box, as couriers can charge extra fees for odd shaped packaging.

The materials of your packaging also matter; if you use wood or metal, extra fees can also be charged.

How to offer fast shipping domestically

If you’re looking to offer a speedy delivery service to your customers, USPS offers the Priority Mail Express service, which promotes an “overnight delivery guarantee” to most US addresses.

Here’s how it compares to other express couriers:

Overnight Rates for a 3 lb parcel, 9 in x 5.5 in x 2 in, from Denver to Seattle

Courier Service Delivery Time Frame Cost
USPS Priority Mail Express 1-2 days $42.22*
FedEx Priority Overnight 1-1 day $56.01*
UPS Next Day Air Saver 1-1 day $79.15**

*Easyship's Negotiated Rates
**Retail Rates

On pricing alone, USPS wins again, offering the cheapest overnight rate. Still, Easyship data reflects that delays may happen, resulting in a delivery lead time average of 1-2 days for their overnight services, compared to FedEx and UPS which manage to deliver within 1 day most of the time.

While FedEx and UPS charge higher rates, some may see the value in paying more for better quality tracking and the higher chances of their shipment arriving on time.

USPS Domestic Shipping: The Economical Option for SMBs

Our price comparisons prove why SMBs continue to rely on USPS’ Priority Mail services to handle their domestic standard shipping: their rates are affordable, the 1-3 day time frames are acceptable, and they legally have to deliver to all US addresses.

However, when it comes to the UPS vs. FedEx vs. USPS debate, express couriers still offer a lot of value to SMBs who are willing to pay for speedy, reliable services that must deliver between specific time frames, or require special solutions such as frequent tracking services to appeal to more demanding clientele.