Key Points:

  • A parcel is a package that weighs less than 150 pounds and can be moved without assistance
  • Couriers like USPS, FedEx, and UPS are often called parcel shippers because they transport millions of small packages daily
  • Parcel Select rates are based on USPS parcel shipping zones

Q: How do you know you’re using a bottom-dollar USPS shipping service?

A: When other shipping couriers use that same service to save on their shipping costs.

Yep, that's right. USPS Parcel Select is a shipping service so cheap ... that it’s used by other shipping companies like FedEx and DHL. In fact, USPS Parcel Select is an economical ground delivery service built for medium- and large-sized parcel shippers. Previously, this service was known as Parcel Post and Parcel Select Ground.

Read this blog to learn about USPS Parcel Select Shipping and where to get the cheapest rates for this economy service. The fastest way to ensure you’re getting the cheapest rates is by using our free rate calculator. Just plug in your shipment weight and destination for a real-time rate estimate.

Table of Contents

What is Parcel Shipping?

A parcel is a package that weighs less than 150 pounds and can be moved without assistance. Couriers like USPS, FedEx, and UPS are often called parcel shippers because they transport millions of small packages daily. In other words, parcel shipping means that you’re shipping smaller, lightweight items under 150 pounds.

Other carriers like FedEx and DHL make use of USPS Parcel Shipping because it offers delivery to non-urban areas every day of the week but Sundays. The extensive USPS delivery network, in combination with cut-rates, makes Parcel Select Ground a viable option for larger shippers of every sort.

The alternative to parcel shipping is freight shipping. In freight shipping, the shipping company doesn’t transport individual packages. Instead, the items are all loaded onto wooden palettes, or palletized, then transported in bulk. Due to its cost-effectiveness, freight shipping is a common method for large or medium-sized shippers to move large amounts of goods.

Larger merchants have a choice between freight and parcel shipping. To learn more, check out the full guide to freight shipping.

USPS Parcel Select Shipping Features

USPS Parcel Select Shipping is an economical ground delivery service to all US domestic addresses. Parcel Select is a cost-effective way to ship large, lightweight boxes because the price is based on either package dimensions or weight, whichever is larger

The tradeoff for cost savings is slower delivery. Parcel select shipping takes 2-8 days to be delivered, region depending.

USPS Parcel Select is limited to larger merchants. To qualify, you’ll need to submit records of your shipment volumes to USPS.

Features of USPS Parcel Select shipping include:

  • A mix of savings and reliability
  • Delivery lead times: 2-8 business days
  • Zero fuel, residential or Saturday surcharges
  • Delivery to all US addresses, including PO boxes and military addresses
  • Tracking included

Restrictions of USPS Parcel Select include:

  • Only available for US domestic shipping
  • Maximum package weight: 70 pounds
  • Maximum package dimensions: 130 inches in combined length/girth

Do you ship a lot of packages? If so, you may benefit from the ability to ship items price by box dimension instead of weight. Consider USPS Parcel Select as a shipping option if you ship high volumes and lighter boxes.

The Cost of USPS Parcel Select Shipping

Your cost for USPS Parcel Select is determined by the following shipping factors:

  • Package weight
  • Size
  • Shape
  • Destination

If your package exceeds 1 cubic foot in volume, your postage may be based on either the actual weight or the dimensional weight. Dimensional weight is a measure of the box dimensions, with an estimated weight assigned based on the height, width, length and girth.

In effect, this pricing option can save you money if you ship large but lightweight boxes, as well as heavy packages.

For example, below is a real rate quote for a shipment of cameras sent with USPS Parcel Select. Our package weighs 70 pounds and is being sent from Denver, CO to New York, NY.

Rate quote for a shipment of cameras sent with USPS Parcel Select

As we can see, USPS Parcel Select is the cheapest option for our heavy package. For a couple dollars more, we could use Parcel Select Signature to add delivery confirmation. Important to note: Priority Mail gets our package there for just a couple dollars more.

Parcel Select rates are based on USPS parcel shipping zones. As this blog on shipping zones explains, this means that you pay less to ship closer to you. Here are the rate quotes for shipping from Denver to Salt Lake City, UT instead of faraway New York.

Shipping rate quotes for shipping from Denver to Salt Lake City

As we can see, the rates are much cheaper when our delivery destination is close by.

Other Considerations for USPS Parcel Select

USPS Parcel Shipping rates may be priced by speciality pricing models. It’s important to make sure your shipments don’t exceed the service weight or size limits, or you’ll run into costly surcharges.

Oversized Prices

Parcels that exceed 108 inches in length may be charged the Oversized Price. You won’t be charged by package weight, but no package may exceed 70 pounds, or 130 inches in combined length/girth.

Nonmachinable Price

A Nonmachinable Price may apply to packages of odd size or contents, including:

  • Parcel is more than 27 inches long, 17 inches long, 17 inches high
  • Parcel is less than 6 inches long, ¼ inch thick, and 3 inches high
  • Parcel weights less than 6 oz. or more than 35 pounds
  • Parcel contains 24 or more ounces of a liquid
  • Parcel is a tube, roll or can
  • Parcel is considered subject to damage en route

Double-check if your package qualifies for specialty pricing if you use USPS Parcel Select shipping. This is how you get the cheapest USPS parcel shipping.

Shipping Boxes for USPS Parcel Select

You can ship using any boxes with USPS Parcel Select, including custom boxes. To save money, you can order free shipping boxes from courier websites. Or buy your own boxes from shipping supply wholesalers like Uline.

Learn more about free shipping boxes

No International Shipping for USPS Parcel Select

Sadly, parcel shipping from USPS is only available in the US. That means there’s no USPS parcel shipping to Canada. No USPS parcel shipping to Australia.

But, if you’re looking for discounted rates on USPS international, our following article shows you all the USPS discounted rates for 2021. Plus, you’ll see exactly how much you’ll save on international shipping with USPS with Easyship.

Parcel Shipping with Easyship

Parcel shipping is a service offered by all common couriers. USPS Parcel Select is a mega-cheap service that high-volume shippers can use exclusively, like competing couriers like FedEx and UPS. USPS Parcel Select has a few special pricing modes that can be a real saver for the right businesses.

Want to save on all USPS shipping services? Create your free Easyship account for instant access to our discounted courier rates. There’s no minimums, no hidden fees, no requirements. Just savings backed by a great all-in-one shipping platform.