The United States Postal Service (USPS) is one of the most popular courier solutions for eCommerce merchants. They offer a variety of options for both domestic and international shipping. The guide below outlines the difference between two common USPS shipping options, first-class vs. priority mail.
As an eCommerce business, you should consider several factors before settling for either of these shipping options. The cost and delivery timelines are probably crucial factors that determine your delivery option of choice. That said, read on for detailed priority vs. first class differences.
What’s the Difference between First Class vs. Priority Mail?
Differentiating between first-class mail vs. priority mail will ease your choice of shipping options. First-class mail is affordable and probably the easiest way to send lightweight packages such as letters and envelopes. It is considered a top-tier shipment option compared to second-class, third class, and fourth-class mail.
Second class mail is the best choice for sending magazines, newspapers, and periodicals. Third class suits flyers, mailers, and marketing mail while fourth–class mail is the best media mail, including vinyl records, books, DVDs, CDs, and other bound print media with more than eight pages.
On the other hand, priority mail is the USPS’s priority shipping option. The option is the best for eCommerce businesses looking to send their parcels faster. Besides being a quicker than first class mail option, it also allows sending heavier packages, up to 70lbs. Comparing the first-class package vs. priority mail, priority mail is a better alternative for sending international packages as it significantly reduces shipping time. However, due to the short delivery time, it is more expensive than first-class mail.
USPS priority mail vs. first class comparison aside, priority mail is comparably closer to FedEx and UPS shipping services. However, first-class mail is more economical than FedEx and UPS pricing models, especially for packages weighing less than 10lbs.
Comparing First Class vs. Priority Mail
Getting into the details of first-class vs. priority mail makes it easy to choose between these two options.
Which one is faster?
Transit time is probably one of the crucial guiding factors when comparing first-class mail vs. priority mail. However, before making a decision, it is worth noting that both shipping options are great as they provide between two and three-day delivery timeframes. Since USPS uses shipping zones in classifying the delivery times, below is a comparison table of priority vs. first-class transit times for domestic and international shipments.
|Domestic||Zone 1||Zone 3||Zone 5||Zone 8|
|USPS First Class||2 days||3 days||2–3 days||3 days|
|USPS Priority Mail Express||1-2 days||1-2 days||1-2 days||1-2 days|
|USPS Priority Mail||1 day||2 days||2 days||3 days|
|International||Estimated Transit Time|
|USPS First Class Mail International||No exact time|
|USPS Priority Mail Express International||3-5 days|
|USPS Priority Mail International||6-10 days|