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USPS Priority Mail vs. Media Mail

What's the difference between Priority Mail and Media Mail? Read this blog to find out!
USPS Priority Mail vs. Media Mail
Alexandra Ortolani

By Alexandra Ortolani

 

March 31, 2022

Key Points:

  • Priority Mail is an economical USPS service that delivers packages in 1-3 business days
  • Media Mail is an affordable way to send media and other educational materials and offers delivery in 2-8 business days
  • Priority Mail and Media Mail impose a 70-pound weight limit for package

The United States Postal Service (USPS) had a shipping and package volume of 7.6 billion in the last year – making it one of the most popular courier services globally.

USPS offers a mix of affordable and express courier services for all kinds of eCommerce merchants. USPS Priority Mail, Media Mail, and Priority Mail Express are some of the most popular domestic courier services offered by this postal service.

This blog will highlight the similarities and differences between USPS Priority Mail vs. Media Mail to understand the price difference and understand which courier service works best for your business.

Table of Contents

What is Priority Mail?

Priority Mail is an affordable, economical service that allows you to ship packages up to 70 pounds from your home or business.

  • Expected delivery in 1-3 business days
  • Flat rate options
  • Signature confirmation for an additional charge
  • Real-time tracking
  • $50 of Included insurance

This service is best for eCommerce businesses looking to cut back on shipping costs. But, if you want all the bells and whistles of USPS courier services, Priority Mail Express would be the better option for fast shipping.

What is Media Mail?

Media Mail is an economical way to send media and other educational materials up to 70 pounds, though some restrictions apply. Items you can send with this USPS service include the following:

  • Books or print media
  • 16-millimeter or narrower width films
  • Printed music and test materials
  • Video and sound recordings
  • Playscripts and manuscripts
  • Printed educational reference materials or charts
  • Medical loose-leaf pages and binders
  • Computer-readable media

It’s important to note that video games, computers, or digital drives don’t qualify for this shipping service.

Media Mail also includes the following features such as the following:

  • Expected delivery in 2-8 business days
  • Real-time tracking

This service is best for eCommerce businesses sending media or educational materials. USPS services like Priority Mail or Priority Mail Express are the better option for any other items outside the listed items for use.

What’s the Difference Between Priority Mail vs. Media Mail?

USPS is known for affordable and express postal service – but which USPS service is right for your eCommerce business?

First, we’ll highlight the similarities between Priority Mail and Media Mail so you can get an idea of the shared traits.

  • Weight restrictions: Both USPS services impose a 70-pound weight limit for Priority Mail and Media Mail packages
  • Tracking: Both services offer free USPS tracking services for your packages and envelopes
  • Free USPS packaging: USPS offers free packaging supplies (i.e., shipping labels, etc.) for your parcels that can be purchased via the USPS website or local post office

Now, we’ll break down the differences between USPS Media Mail vs. Priority Mail

  • Pricing: Priority Mail costs more, and prices start at $8.70, while Media Mail starts at $3.19. Prices vary depending on the destination, weight, dimensions, etc.
  • Delivery time: Priority Mail takes 1-3 business days to deliver parcels. On the other hand, Media Mail ship time takes anywhere from 2-8 business days
  • Insurance: Priority Mail offers $50 of included shipping insurance. However, Media Mail doesn’t provide included shipping insurance. You can opt to purchase insurance at an additional charge
  • Package pickup: Priority Mail offers free package pickup from your home or business. However, Media Mail packages aren’t eligible for free pickup.
  • Restricted Items: Priority Mail allows you to send most items as long as it’s not a part of their restricted item list. Media Mail only will enable merchants to send media or educational materials

Overall, USPS Media Mail is the right option if you’re shipping media or educational materials under 70 pounds. Choose Priority Mail service if you’re shipping anything other than media or educational materials.

Related blog: What Can You Ship with Media Mail?

How Much Does Priority Mail vs. Media Mail Cost?

Courier service, delivery speed, package weight, package dimensions, and shipping distance are all factors that come into play when calculating the cost of shipping.

USPS Priority Mail vs. Media Mail

We’ll calculate the cost of shipping with USPS Media Mail vs. Priority to various locations within the United States so that you can understand the price difference between the courier services.

Shipping from NY to Los Angeles

Say you’re shipping a 5-pound package from New York to Los Angeles. We’ll calculate the rates for shipping with Priority Mail and Media so you can get an idea of how much it costs to ship to this location.

Courier Service Retail Cost
Priority Mail $27.75
Media Mail $5.71

Shipping from NY to Chicago

Now, say you’re shipping a 5-pound package from New York to Chicago. Again, we’ll calculate the rates for shipping with Priority Mail and Media so you can get an idea of how much it costs to ship to Chicago.

Courier Service Retail Cost
Priority Mail $15.75
Media Mail $5.71

Shipping from NY to Miami

Again, let’s say you’re shipping a 5-pound package from New York to Miami. We’ll calculate the rates for shipping with Priority Mail and Media so you can get an idea of how much it costs to ship to Miami.

Courier Service Retail Cost
Priority Mail $20.35
Media Mail $5.71

Shipping with Easyship

Easyship offers competitive pricing for USPS courier services with discounts up to 89% on retail shipping rates. We’ll calculate how much it costs to ship with Easyship from the destination locations above.

Courier Service Destination Discount Cost
Priority Mail NY to LA $17.93
Media Mail NY to LA $5.71
Priority Mail NY to Chicago $10.03
Media Mail NY to Chicago $5.71
Priority Mail NY to Miami $13.48
Media Mail NY to Miami $5.71

As we can see, Easyship offers cheaper USPS rates for domestic shipping. While Media Mail rates are similar to the retail cost, Easyship makes up for that with a suite full of premium tools designed to create a frictionless shipping experience.

For instance, USPS doesn't offer included shipping insurance for their Media Mail service. However, Easyship offers up to $10,000 of shipping insurance for all shipments.

Plus, Easyship has a quick and easy shipping policy generator so you can create a seamless shipping strategy in a couple of clicks.

USPS Media vs. Priority Mail with Easyship

Priority Mail is an excellent economical solution for eCommerce merchants looking for affordable mail service. On the other hand, Media Mail is a perfect option for merchants sending print media or educational materials within the US.

By connecting to a shipping platform, USPS users can continue using the shipping services they enjoy from USPS at a fraction of the cost.

Here are some of the features Easyship users gain instant access to when creating or linking their USPS account to Easyship:

  • Easyship Shipping Rates Calculator: Access high-volume discounts from major couriers. Plus, get instant access to delivery lead times from premium shipping couriers for faster shipping
  • Shipping Dashboard: Manage orders and create shipments instantly in the Shipping Dashboard. Plus, keep track of all your delivery lead times in one place
  • High-Value Shipping Insurance: Easyship offers up to $10,000 shipping insurance for all shipments. This way, customers can have peace of mind when it comes to high-value items

Easyship users can manage their USPS shipping activity through the Easyship Dashboard while gaining access to discounts up to 89% off retail rates. All you have to do is connect your USPS account or sign up for a free Easyship account.

Ready to ship? Sign up for a FREE Easyship account and get instant access to high-volume discounts for USPS shipping and save money

USPS Priority Mail vs. Media Mail FAQ

Is USPS Priority Mail more reliable than Media Mail?

Yes and no. USPS Priority Mail offers $50 of included insurance, while Media Mail does not. However, the USPS Media Mail service does come with package tracking.

Can I use a Priority Mail envelope for Media Mail?

No, Priority Mail envelopes are only for Priority class mail and Priority class packages.


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