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SurePost vs. SmartPost: Which is Better for You?

SurePost vs. SmartPost is often hotly debated by online merchants. Here's a closer look at how they compare across various areas!
SurePost vs. SmartPost: Which is Better for You?

By Jules


November 15, 2019

When it comes to making a choice between FedEx SmartPost vs. UPS SurePost, it’s important that eCommerce retailers have a clear understanding of what last-mile deliveries entail. The last mile of the delivery journey is actually the most expensive part of the process as orders might need to travel hundreds of miles between cities and rural areas or even across continents. This steep price often comes as a surprise to many online merchants.

Both SmartPost and SurePost use USPS to deliver parcels for the last mile of delivery to customers, and they're generally quite similar in many regards. However, they do differen in several subtle yet important ways. So how do you know which one is best for your business?

To help you figure out last-mile delivery, we're giving you a quick look at exactly what it is, what the benefits of using shipping solutions like SurePost and SmartPost are, and how the two shipping options stack up against each other.

What is Last-Mile Delivery?

Last-mile delivery is the final stage of the delivery process and sees packages move from a distribution point or facility to the end-point, the customer.

Although the term suggests this is just about the literal final mile of delivery, it could actually refer to anything from a few city blocks to more than several hundred miles, depending on how far the package has to travel to be delivered to the recipient. This last leg of delivery usually involves the services of small package carriers to get the packages delivered to the end users.

Many customers and business owners misunderstand this unique facet of the transportation and delivery network. It might seem unimportant, but last-mile delivery actually makes up some 28 percent of the total cost of shipping an item!

Benefits of UPS SurePost and FedEx SmartPost

Using unique shipping options, like SurePost and SmartPost, that leverage USPS’ logistic network to make last-mile deliveries to customers come with a number of benefits. Here are just a few that may help your business.

Cost Reduction

This is the top benefit of using UPS SurePost and FedEx SmartPost! Both UPS and FedEx services use USPS for last-mile delivery, which means retailers can save on the total cost of sending their products across cities and rural areas.

Saturday Delivery

Another great benefit of UPS and FedEx both utilizing USPS services for the last leg of their delivery services is that customers are able to receive packages on Saturdays.

No Residential Surcharges

With their regular delivery services, both UPS and FedEx charge residential surcharges. However, with last-mile delivery offered by SurePost and SmartPost, these carriers waive their residential surcharges. This is in largely because both carriers don’t have to use their large trucks to complete the final mile of delivery.

P.O. Box Delivery

Ordinarily, FedEx and UPS don’t deliver packages to PO boxes. However, with their last-mile delivery partnership with USPS, they’re able to drop off packages at PO boxes with SurePost and SmartPost. This flexibility makes receiving shipments easier for customers who rely on PO boxes for their mail and packages.

You can find more information about how FedEx does PO box delivery in our guide here!

Easier Drop-Off

With the use of either of these services, there’s no need for any special drop-off arrangements. Business owners can simply group these packages with their  normal packages instead of making special trips to the post office to drop them off.

Solid Tracking Options

Both services offer robust parcel tracking services that offers peace of mind to both customers and online merchants, as they're able to reliably track their packages. With both SurePost and SmartPost tracking, customers (and retailers) are fully aware of where their packages are as they go through the delivery process.

SurePost vs. SmartPost

Making a choice between using FedEx SmartPost vs. UPS SurePost is never easy, especially because both are similar in many ways. However, several notable differences exist. Let’s take a closer look at how they compare to each other!

Shipping Fees

Both last-mile delivery options don’t charge any residential surcharges, and retailers are able to save up to 20 percent in comparison to standard UPS and FedEx shipping options.

UPS, though, charges three percent more in comparison to its standard shipping options. Parcel weight and dimensions, to a large extent, determine shipping fees.


Both delivery options have their rules as far as package dimensions are concerned. FedEx SmartPost accepts packages that weigh up to 70 lbs. with dimensions of 130 inches in length and girth.

UPS SurePost, on the other hand, has four categories:

  • SurePost Less than One lb., which accepts packages of up to 450.76 grams
  • SurePost One lb. or More, which accepts packages of up to 70 lbs.
  • SurePost Bound Printed Matter, which accepts packages of up to 15 lbs.
  • SurePost Media, which accepts a maximum weight of 70 lbs.

For the first and second categories, the maximum dimensions of all packages is 130 inches, while the last two categories have a maximum of 108 inches.

Drop-Off Locations

When it comes to drop-offs, UPS SurePost packages are dropped off at the USPS location closest to the final destination of the package, such as a post office, which ultimately makes delivery easier in general.

FedEx SmartPost differs in this regard, as the courier has the packages dropped off at the nearest USPS regional hub.

Last-Mile Delivery

One of the drawbacks of utilizing these delivery options is that they have slower delivery times. FedEx delivers within two to seven business days, depending on the location of the recipient. Deliveries outside the contiguous 48 states of the U.S. will generally take longer to complete.  The delivery area covers the whole of the U.S., including includes Hawaii and Alaska, as well as U.S. territories such as Puerto Rico, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, all other U.S. territories, PO boxes and military APO, FPO, and DPO destinations.

SurePost offers a general delivery timeframe of four to six business days while also offering similar coverage as SmartPost.

SurePost vs. SmartPost: Compare Them Closely

Making a choice between FedEx SmartPost vs. UPS SurePost depends mostly on what works best for your business. Whichever you choose, your company will benefit from their reduce shipping costs, Saturday deliveries, PO box delivery services, and other great perks!

Easyship partners with both FedEx and UPS, offering you access to several of their shipping solutions at discounted rates. Sign up for an account today to enjoy lower shipping rates with both couriers!