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UPS, FedEx, DHL, & More

FedEx vs. USPS: Which Is The Best Courier for Your eCommerce Business?

FedEx vs. USPS is often debated by eCommerce businesses. Here's a quick look at how they compare, including which courier is faster and cheaper.
FedEx vs. USPS: Which Is The Best Courier for Your eCommerce Business?
Jules

By Jules

 

May 3, 2019

Key Points:

  • FedEx offers multiple delivery options and is especially known for its quick delivery services
  • USPS Priority Mail typically offers faster delivery compared to FedEx Home Delivery
  • If you’re sending a package larger than 3 pounds, FedEx is usually cheaper than USPS

FedEx vs. USPS is often intensely debated by eCommerce companies. Both couriers are very effective at what they do respectively – but which is better for your eCommerce business?

FedEx and USPS both have their own distinct histories. FedEx, a multinational courier company, specializes in overnight delivery services and excellent parcel tracking. USPS, or the United States Postal Services, is a government agency and primary postal service of the US, being a popular way to ship mail and small packages both domestically and internationally.

Table of Contents

FedEx vs. USPS: Which is Best for Your eCommerce Business?

Choosing the best courier for your own eCommerce company largely depends on your specific business needs.

FedEx, with its superior parcel tracking system, 150 lb. weight limit and expertise in overnight shipping, is generally a better option for companies shipping out larger packages to both domestic and international destinations that need to get to their destination quickly and securely.

USPS, on the other hand, is much more cost-effective for shipping smaller packages of about two lbs. or less. For startups and small businesses, it’s generally a more economical option.

Beyond these basic differences, each courier has their own unique advantages and disadvantages to consider for your eCommerce company. Let’s take a look at their respective service options, strengths and weaknesses, delivery times and FedEx vs. USPS shipping rates to gain a better understanding of which one is a better option for your eCommerce business!

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FedEx Shipping Services

FedEx offers multiple delivery options and is especially known for its quick delivery services, particularly its revolutionary use of overnight shipping to get packages to their destinations rapidly.

FedEx offers a number of shipping options, including:

  • Ground Delivery: Business ground delivery within one to seven business days.
  • Home Delivery: Residential delivery by ground within one to seven business days.
  • FedEx Same-Day: Same-day door to door delivery within hours, depending on availability. Operates seven days a week, 365 days a year throughout the U.S.
  • FedEx 2-Day: Delivers in two business days to most areas of the U.S.
  • FedEx Express Saver: Delivers in three business days to most of the United States.
  • FedEx First Overnight: One of the most rapid shipping options available. Delivers the next business day at 8 a.m., 8:30 a.m. or 9 a.m. local time to most parts of the US.

USPS Shipping Services

USPS, like FedEx, offers its own set of shipping options to consider. For shipping smaller packages, USPS offers superior value compared to FedEx and other couriers like UPS and DHL, though is more limited in scope.

For its services, USPS currently offers:

  • Priority Mail: Offers a flat rate on boxes less than 70 lbs. and delivers within one to three business days.
  • First Class Mail: Designed for small packages under 13 lbs. and envelopes. Offers one to three business day shipping.
  • Retail Ground: Economical shipping for oversized packages that aren’t time-sensitive in terms of delivery.
  • Priority Mail Express: USPS’ fastest delivery option, with overnight delivery seven days a week.
  • Media Mail: Special service for shipping media and education video and audio files. A 70 lb. weight limit is enforced with two to eight business day shipping.

Pros and Cons of FedEx?

FedEx, like every courier, has its own distinct advantages and disadvantages. Here’s a quick look at some of them:

Pros:

  • Offers more insurance coverage
  • Offers discounts of six to 20 percent
  • Ship Manager tool available for package tracking and management
  • In-person service
  • Ships packages weighing up to 150 lbs.
  • Weekend deliveries

Cons:

  • Has fewer pickup and drop-off locations in comparison to USPS
  • Charges pick-up fees for one-time shipment
  • Pick-ups are mostly service-based
  • Limited assortment of free packaging, especially for express services
  • Higher shipping rates

Pros and Cons USPS?

USPS, like FedEx, has its own unique advantages and disadvantages to consider for your eCommerce business. A few of them include:

Pros:

  • Many locations across the US
  • Offers free one-time or repeat pickups for businesses that use large volume shipping
  • Offers a large selection of free Express Mail and Priority Mail packaging for businesses to choose from to save money on cost of shipping supply
  • Free packaging tracking for all services
  • Improved insurance coverage for Express and Priority Mail shipments
  • All-in-one pickups for different mail services
  • Easy-to-print postage and shipping labels at home
  • In-person service
  • Delivers to mailboxes and P.O. boxes

Cons:

  • Less effective tracking and responsive customer service compared to FedEx
  • Can only ship items that weigh 70 lbs. or less
  • Generally more expensive if you’re sending out large quantities of packages individually

Which Is Faster: FedEx or USPS?

USPS Priority Mail typically offers faster delivery compared to FedEx Home Delivery, delivering packages in 1.79 days on average compared to 2.21 days for FedEx for parcels shipped on a Monday using normal delivery service.

While USPS is typically a better option for normal service, online merchants shipping out large parcels abroad that need them delivered quickly are probably better off relying on FedEx given their expertise in overnight shipping and superior package tracking.

FedEx Ground vs. USPS Priority

Not sure if you should ship FedEx Ground vs. USPS Priority? No need to worry. Let’s talk about both of the features of the shipping services.

Shipping with FedEx Ground

FedEx Ground is a low-cost shipping service that delivers to businesses and offers a fast-delivery service to various locations. When you opt for FedEx Ground, shipments typically travel by truck. Here are some features of using FedEx Ground.

  • Shipping/Transit Time: Delivery within the US takes 1-5 business days. Shipping to and from Alaska and Hawaii requires 3-7 business days.
  • Weight Limit: Packages up to 150 pounds can be shipped.
  • Delivery Area: FedEx Ground delivers throughout all 50 states to all US business addresses.

Shipping with USPS Priority

USPS Priority Mail service that offers fast delivery time and free package pickup at your home or office. Here are some of the features of using USPS Priority.

  • Shipping/Transit Time: Delivery within the US takes 1-3 business days.
  • Weight Limit: Packages up to 70 pounds can be shipped.
  • Delivery Area: USPS Priority Mail allows you to ship to all 50 states.

Is It Cheaper to Ship FedEx or USPS?

For shipping packages less than two lbs., USPS is usually cheaper than FedEx. When it comes to shipping parcels greater than two lbs., FedEx can be more cost-effective than USPS, offering cheaper rates. However, if you can fit your item into a small, medium or large flat rate shipping box, USPS is cheaper than FedEx.

Let’s say you’re shipping a 2-pound package from New York to Los Angeles. Here is a table comparing FedEx and USPS rates.

Courier

Service

Delivery Time Frame

Starting Cost

USPS 

Priority Mail 2-Day

2 business days

$15.20

USPS

Priority Mail 2-Day Small Flat Rate Box

2 business days

$8.45

USPS

Priority Mail Express 1-Day

1 business day

$53.20

FedEx

FedEx Ground

1-5 business days

$14.39

FedEx

FedEx Express Saver

3 business days

$34.86

FedEx

FedEx 2-Day

2 business days

$43.28

Overall, we can see that shipping with USPS offers cheaper shipping services than FedEx on average.

FedEx vs. USPS: Choose the Best Courier

Both FedEx and USPS offer their own advantages and disadvantages for eCommerce companies and work better in different situations.

Easyship partners with both FedEx and USPS, offering clients access to their pre-negotiated shipping rates for convenient and affordable shipping options worldwide. Easyship’s shipping rates calculator is another great tool to utilize, offering transparency into shipping rates to give you the most affordable, fastest and best value shipping option.

Sign up for a free account to start shipping with FedEx and USPS!

FedEx vs. USPS FAQ

Is FedEx more reliable than USPS?

Not necessarily. The USPS offers roughly the same protection for packages sent via FedEx and UPS. With any courier, delivery times can vary for whatever reason it may be.

Which is cheaper: FedEx vs. USPS?

It depends on several variables: package weight, dimensions, shipping distance and delivery speed. If you’re sending a package larger than 3 pounds, FedEx is usually cheaper than USPS.


See how FedEx and USPS stack up against other competitors: