The United States Postal Services (USPS) is one of the most well known carriers in the country, offering ecommerce merchants reliable and affordable shipping options.
The carrier offers several services for both domestic and international shipping. But with so many shipping services, finding the cheapest way to ship with USPS depends on a number of variables. However, with the right tools and a bit of research, merchants can find affordable rates to any destination.
A great place to start is to check out the Easyship courier service comparison tool, where you can find the cheapest way to ship USPS by comparing transit time and shipping rates for the different services.
In this article, we'll help you understand both domestic and international USPS shipping services, the different factors that determine your shipping rate, and how to find the USPS cheapest shipping service.
Finding the Cheapest Way to Ship USPS
As you would expect, there is no one-size-fits-all cost when determining USPS cheapest shipping as this depends on several factors. These include:
- Custom packaging: Sometimes, using your own custom packaging results in the cheapest way to ship USPS especially for lightweight packages traveling for short distances.
- Dimensional based rates: If you want to ship small but heavy packages, you may find USPS cheapest shipping via the Mail Cubic service where the shipping rate is determined based on the dimensional weight of your package, rather than its weight.
- Flat Rate Packaging: When shipping heavy packages for longer distances, using USPS Flat Rate box options may be the cheapest way to ship USPS.
- Speed: The faster you want your package delivered, the more the delivery cost
- Service Restriction: Different USPS services have specific weight and dimension restrictions. For example, First Class Packages must weigh less than 13oz, while Media Mail is restricted to shipping media and educational material. Other USPS services allow package weights up to 70 lbs.
Cheapest USPS Domestic Shipping
Different USPS services are fit for shipping different packages based on the above factors. Here, we discuss the different USPS domestic services, and how each service is best suited as the USPS cheapest shipping option for certain types of packages.
This is the cheapest USPS shipping option for mailing lightweight shipments weighing less than 1lb within the US and territories. Packages are delivered within 1-5 business days. Since this is not a guaranteed service, the delivery may be delayed.
Shipping rates are determined by the shipping zone and package weight. The maximum weight is 13oz when using retail service, and 15.999oz for shipping labels purchased via 3PL logistics company like Easyship. Maximum package dimension for domestic shipments is 23" x 18" x 15".
This is a separate service from First-Class Package Service. It is reputed as the cheapest USPS shipping option for sending letters and large Envelopes/Flats
This is the USPS cheapest shipping option for mailing media and educational materials such as books, printed music, sound and video recordings like CDs and DVDs. So if you are in the business of selling educational materials, this is the best USPS shipping option for you.
Delivery timelines average 2-8 business days, but there may be delays since this is not a guaranteed service.
Shipping rates are determined by package weight, and the maximum weight for domestic shipments is 70lbs.
This is the fastest USPS mail service that offers a money-back guarantee and overnight delivery to most US locations, including P.O. boxes. This is the best service for you if you need to guarantee that your package will be delivered fast and on time.
Priority Mail Express offers both weight-based rates and Flat Rate envelopes. Weight-based rates are best for you if your package is light-weight and traveling short distances, while Flat Rate envelopes are excellent for heavy packages traveling long distances.
This is a quick and affordable USPS domestic service that delivers packages to mail slots, mailboxes, and PO boxes within 1-3 business days. But it is not a guaranteed service, meaning delivery may be delayed.
This is a special Priority Mail service where packages are priced based on their outer dimensions rather than their weight. It is the fastest and the cheapest USPS shipping option for mailing small but heavy packages that weigh over 1lb and under 20lbs.
There are 5 pricing tiers, from 0.1 to 0.5, and the shipping rate for your package depends on the cubic tier your package fits in. Packages are delivered within 1-3 business days.
Here is how you calculate the cubic tier of your package:
(Length x Width x Height)/1728
Parcel Select Ground is the slowest and Cheapest USPS shipping service for mailing large and heavy items that exceed package dimension and weight limits for other services, or packages that cannot be sent through air services.
Delivery timelines average 2-8 days but may take longer since this is not a guaranteed service.
You also benefit from USPS cheapest tracking since delivery confirmation is included for free on all domestic shipments. Due to longer delivery times and more package handling, you should pack your items properly when using this service.
USPS Flat Rate (Domestic) allows merchants to ship packages for a fixed price, regardless of the package weight or shipping zone using specified USPS Flat Rate boxes. It is an excellent option for shipping heavy-weight packages to the furthest shipping zones.
The table below shows estimated shipping rates for the different USPS services when sending a 2lb package from Brooklyn, NY to Miami, Florida
|Service||Transit Time||Estimated Cost|
|First-Class Package||5 Days||$4.00|
|Parcel Select||7 Days||$7.78|
|Priority Mail||3 Days||$8.45|
|Priority Mail Express||1 Day||$32.75|
As you can see, the First-Class package wins out here as the USPS cheapest shipping services for mailing a 2lb package from Brooklyn to Miami. This may be different for larger packages and weights, so use the Easyship’s shipping rates calculator to compute rates accordingly.
USPS cheapest International Shipping
USPS offers several international shipping services, and just like domestic shipping, finding USPS cheapest international shipping service depends on the weight of your package and delivery speed.
Here, we discuss the different USPS international services, and how you can find the cheapest way to ship USPS with each service.
This is the cheapest USPS shipping option for sending lightweight packages that weigh less than 4lbs to international destinations. It is not a guaranteed service, and delivery timelines vary by destination. International shipping rates are determined by package weight and Country Group.
This is the fastest and affordable service that offers guaranteed delivery for select international locations to more than 180+ countries within 3 to 5 business days.
It is one of the cheapest USPS cheapest shipping options for sending mail and packages internationally to more than 180 countries within 6-8 days. Since it is not a guaranteed service, there may be delivery delays based on origin, destination, and customs delays.
This may be the cheapest USPS shipping option for mailing heavy packages internationally. It allows merchants to send packages across borders for a fixed price, regardless of weight or shipping distance using specified USPS Flat Rate Boxes.
The table below shows shipping rates for the different USPS international services when mailing a 2lb package from Connecticut to Hong Kong.
|Service||Transit Time||Estimated Cost|
|First-Class Package International||7-15 Days||$26.36|
|Priority Mail International - Small Flat Rate Box||6-10 Days||$36.45|
|Priority Mail International||6-10 days||$51.44|
|Priority Mail Express International||3-5 days||$67.28|
As you can see, USPS First Class Package International turns out to be the cheapest way to mail a 2lb package from Connecticut to Hong Kong.
Other Factors to Consider When choosing USPS Cheapest Shipping
Quality shipping goes beyond cost. Apart from the shipping rate, you should also consider other value-added services that will help you offer streamlined shipping experience to your domestic and international customers. They include:
It is important that you and your customers have a way of tracking packages to help reduce delivery anxiety or instances of lost packages. Although USPS does not offer elaborate tracking capabilities, it includes USPS confirmation delivery, also known as USPS tracking in most of its domestic services.
Delivery confirmation helps you track and confirm your packages delivery dates and time, and report any instances of delayed delivery or lost packages. USPS tracking is also available on some international shipments, but further restrictions apply.
When shipping high value items, it is important that you insure them. Some USPS services include some basic insurance coverage, while others do not include any at all. Most of the time, the base coverage is insufficient for high-valued goods, and you may need to purchase an additional insurance cover. Easyship can help you cover your packages up to $5000.
Streamline Your USPS Shipping With Easyship
Different factors come to play when determining the cheapest way to ship USPS, and the different services are suited for shipping different packages based on type of packaging(flat rate/custom), package weight, service restrictions, and delivery speed.
And while there is no one-size-fits-all cost when determining USPS cheapest shipping for the different packages and box sizes, you can always find the most affordable shipping solution using the right shipping tools.
Easyship helps you up your shipping game and find Cheapest USPS shipping in the following ways.
- USPS services comparison: Using our courier comparison tool, you can compare shipping time and rates from the different USPS shipping services to find the one that suits your business
- Commercial Plus Pricing: If you access the different USPS services through our platform, you get great shipping discounts to drive your shipping cost further down.
- Shipping rates Calculator: You can use our shipping rates calculator to compare shipping rates from different couriers and see how they stack up with USPS postage rates.
- Save time and money: Our powerful shipping software will make it easy for you to manage shipments and save time and money on domestic and international shipping.
Sign up for a free Easyship account to start shipping with USPS today and save up to 70% on your rates!
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