Key Points:

  • DHL and UPS generally offer comparable pricing, though shipping costs vary due to a number of factors
  • Using the Easyship Courier Comparison tool is a great way to determine estimated delivery times as well as shipping costs, customer support, parcel tracking, and other factors
  • Easyship partners with DHL and UPS and offers automatic, discounted shipping rates for domestic and international shipments

DHL vs. UPS has been a relentless debate for years in the eCommerce community. Both the Bonn, Germany-based DHL and Sandy Springs, Georgia-based UPS, among the largest and most influential couriers in the world, have their own distinct service options, advantages, and disadvantages to consider carefully.

Before deciding which courier is best for your online retail company, it’s important to better understand both of them. To that end, here’s a closer look at DHL and UPS’ partnership, the cost and delivery speed differences between them, their available service options, and unique advantages and disadvantages!

Table of Contents

Are DHL and UPS the Same?

No, although the two couriers have partnered together in the past, causing some confusion and misunderstanding. In 2008, UPS announced a 10-year partnership with the U.S.-based subsidiary of DHL, which saw UPS handle some freight shipments of DHL Express, DHL International, and deferred shipments to the U.S.

The partnership also saw UPS provide air cargo services for DHL packages between the United States, Mexico, and Canada.

Is DHL Cheaper Than UPS?

DHL and UPS generally offer comparable pricing, though shipping costs vary due to a number of factors. A few of these include:

  • Package Weight: The weight of your shipment is typically the most important factor when calculating shipping costs. The more your package weighs, the more you pay!
  • Package Dimensions: This is another important metric for determining shipping costs. Larger, bulkier packages typically require higher shipping costs, whether you’re using DHL, UPS, or another courier.
  • Shipment Destination: Parcel shipments to farther locations will typically cost more overall.

All in all, these factors and others more than anything will determine whether DHL or UPS offers more affordable shipping rates.

Is DHL Faster Than UPS?

Just as with shipping costs, a number of factors determine shipment delivery time. A few of these include:

  • Courier service type
  • Point of shipment origin
  • Point of shipment delivery
  • Method of shipment

Using the Easyship Courier Comparison tool is a great way to determine estimated delivery times as well as shipping costs, customer support, parcel tracking, and other factors.

A comparison of UPS Ground and DHL Express Worldwide reveals that the DHL Express Worldwide option has an edge when it comes to delivery speed, though DHL eCommerce - Parcel Priority is typically faster than UPS® Ground. Both UPS® Ground and DHL eCommerce - Parcel Direct offer comparable delivery times overall.

DHL Service Options

There are various shipping services offered by DHL, both domestic and international. Some of them include:

  • DHL Economy Select
  • DHL SameDay Sprintline
  • DHL Express Easy
  • DHL GlobalMail Business
  • DHL Express 9:00
  • DHL Express 10:30
  • DHL Express 12:00
  • DHL Express Worldwide
  • DHL Jetline
  • DHL Groundline
  • DHL Secureline
  • DHL Sprintline

Notably, not all of DHL’s domestic and international services are available at all locations.

UPS Service Options

UPS also offers its own unique service options. A few domestic services include:

  • UPS®Ground
  • UPS Express Critical®
  • UPS 3 Day Select®
  • UPS Next Day Air Saver®
  • UPS 2nd Day Air®
  • UPS 2nd Day Air®A.M.
  • UPS Next Day Air®
  • UPS Next Day Air® Early

Some international services offered by UPS also include:

  • UPS Express Critical®
  • UPS Worldwide Express®
  • UPS Worldwide Plus®
  • UPS Worldwide Express® Freight
  • UPS Worldwide Saver®
  • UPS Worldwide Expedited®
  • UPS® Standard to/from Canada
  • UPS® Air Freight Direct
  • UPS® Air Freight Premium Direct
  • UPS 3-Day Select® from Canada
  • UPS Air Freight® Consolidated

Advantages and Disadvantages of DHL

DHL has its own fair share of pros and cons to weigh carefully like all couriers. Here’s a quick look at some of them!

Advantages of DHL

  • Established global presence in about 220 countries
  • Door-to-door delivery of packages
  • Air and sea delivery
  • No pickup fees
  • 24/7 international support
  • Offers refunds for service failures on its part

Disadvantages of DHL

  • Less significant presence in the U.S.
  • Occasional extra charges or surcharges

Advantages and Disadvantages of UPS

UPS also offers its own unique advantages and disadvantages when it comes to eCommerce. Here’s some to consider!

Advantages of UPS

  • Stronger U.S. presence
  • Many cost-effective shipping options
  • Negotiable rates
  • Total control of the entire shipping network
  • Simple shipping processes

Disadvantages of UPS

  • Surcharges apply when necessary, especially on additional handling or address correction

How Easyship Can Help

DHL vs. UPS is always a major debate amongst eCommerce businesses. Choosing which one works best for your company depends on key factors such as where you’re shipping to and what your budget is.

Here at Easyship, we partner with multiple couriers, including DHL and UPS, to ensure seamless and cost-effective shipping solutions for your business. With Easyship, you'll gain instant access to tools and features such as the following:

  • Duties & Taxes Visibility: Easyship works out all duties and taxes for your international shipments to handle your international orders with ease. Calculate your duties for overseas shipments here
  • Global Fulfillment: Easyship has warehouse partners on four continents to reach customers worldwide. Plus, Easyship helps scale up fulfillment capabilities without increasing overhead costs
  • Shipping Policy Generator: Our shipping policy generator helps merchants and crowdfunding campaigns generate their shipping policy by providing tracking and insurance options, plus other vital information for your shipping process

Sign up for free today to see which courier works best for you!


Which is better DHL or UPS in the UK?

Both couriers offer comparable services and features. However, DHL is typically more affordable than UPS in the UK.

Which is faster DHL or FedEx for international shipping?

DHL shipping is generally faster than FedEx for international shipping.

How do DHL and UPS compare for a 3-pound package?

DHL Express Worldwide costs $79.36 for shipping a 3-pound package from NY to the UK in 1-2 business days. Alternatively, it costs $70.97 to ship the same package from NY to the UK with UPS.

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