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Small Shipping Boxes For Cheap

Less is more, they say. Here's how to get small shipping boxes for cheap or – for free.
Small Shipping Boxes For Cheap
Ian Heinig

By Ian Heinig

 

May 12, 2021

Keeping it compact is a smart way to save on shipping. After all, shipping couriers like USPS price their rates by either package dimensions or weight, whichever is larger. (Except for Flat Rate services).

Small shipping boxes are available from all common domestic courier companies as well as shipping supply retailers. Prices vary depending on the type and size of box you want. If you’re not picky, you can always score small shipping boxes for free.

This blog walks you through where to buy small shipping boxes. This way, the next time you’re about to Google “small shipping boxes near me,” you’ll already know where to go.

Easyship works to save merchants money on shipping every which way. Easyship also offers instant savings up to 70% off all shipping rates from all couriers.

To get an instant savings quote for your next shipment, try our free shipping rate calculator.

Your Options For Small Shipping Boxes

Small shipping boxes come in many shapes, sizes and materials. Prices vary based on size and material, while some are 100% free.

Here are the most common types of small shipping boxes used in eCommerce.

1. Corrugated Cardboard Boxes

Corrugated cardboard boxes are the most popular type of small shipping box. Cardboard makes a study container for smaller items, including fragile items. You can get small cardboard boxes that fold open, slide open, and more.

Small cardboard shipping boxes are available at small, extra small, and mega-tiny. You can buy boxes made for shipping items like jewelry or even DVDs (thanks, USPS). A few common box dimensions you’ll find include:

  • 3 x 3x 1.5”
  • 3 x 3 x 3”
  • 4 x 4 x 4”
  • 6 x 6 x 2”

Every shipping company accepts cardboard boxes for shipments.

2. Custom Small Shipping Boxes

Custom boxes are personalized to your brand. Typically made of cardboard, the box exterior is stamped with your company logo or other messaging. Doing so helps your customers to remember their unboxing experience, which leads to customer loyalty and repeat purchasing.

Custom boxes can be ordered as small as you like. For example, the custom box company Uprinting lets you set your box dimensions as small as 3 x 2 x 1”, as seen here:

Custom boxes aren’t cheap, as far as packaging goes. You’ll pay somewhere around $1 per box at the least. That said, wowing customers with a speciality box may be vital to a repeatable brand experience – and totally worth the spend.

3. Insulated Shipping Kits

Insulated shipping kits are actually two boxes in one. There's an outer cardboard box, and the styrofoam/polyurethane container that fits inside. The dual box design keeps the inner container air-sealed and temperature-controlled for up to five days. You can use insulated small shipping boxes to send delicate items, including medical supplies or food.

Small insulated shipping boxes are more expensive than regular boxes. That said, how else are you going to ship ice cream?

4. Poly Mailers

A poly mailer is a lightweight yet sturdy plastic bag designed to ship non-fragile products. Just affix the shipping label to the bag exterior, and the top is self-sealing.

Poly mailers come in a variety of smaller sizes, including:

  • 4 x 8”
  • 5 x 10”
  • 6 x 10”

(Source: Uline)

Poly mailers are an inexpensive alternative to small shipping boxes. They come in a variety of sizes, colors, and materials. Using a poly mailer instead of a box can help reduce your package weight, which, in turn, helps reduce your shipping costs.

Poly mailers are best for sending items that won’t break in transit, like apparel or pre-packed items. Most locations that sell small shipping boxes also offer poly mailers.

Where to Buy Small Shipping Boxes

Where can you buy small shipping boxes? Well, most everywhere that offers shipping boxes also offers small shipping boxes. Here’s the Easyship shortlist of ways to get cheap small shipping boxes.

Uline

Uline is an online wholesaler of shipping supplies, including small shipping boxes. The Wisconsin-based company offers 1,700+ box sizes to choose from. This means you can find the perfect size for all your products.

Here are just some of the smallest shipping boxes available on Uline.

As you can see, Uline carries a huge selection of small shipping boxes at various dimensions and weight classifications. Since Uline is a wholesaler, you likely can’t find a better deal anywhere – and that goes double if you order in bulk. On average, you can expect to pay as little as $0.25 for small shipping boxes.

Price aside, the advantage of shopping with Uline is the fast delivery. With 10 warehouses around the US, Uline offers same-day shipping for orders placed before 6 PM. Fast and cheap is a great combo in the world of shipping.

Amazon

No talk about shipping would be complete without a mention of Amazon. The main benefit of using Amazon to buy small shipping boxes is free two-day delivery for Prime members. Amazon also stocks a wide variety of shipping boxes, though none so cheap as on Uline.

On average, you can expect to pay $0.50 – $1.00 for small shipping boxes on Amazon. However, Amazon’s convenience and the speed of delivery may fit your needs.

Walmart/Target/Home Depot

Popular brick-and-mortar retailers now offer online ordering, making them a convenient source for all shipping supplies. For example, Walmart now offers free shipping on all online orders above $35. And if you’re out and about, you can pop into these stores to grab what you need.

That said, big box retailers aren’t the cheapest option for small shipping boxes. Like Amazon, you’ll pay $0.50 – $1 per box from these retailers. For savings on supplies, you’re better off using a wholesaler that specializes in boxes such as Uline.

Where to Get Free Small Shipping Boxes

Great news: common couriers like USPS, FedEx, and UPS all offer free shipping boxes.

In fact, shipping supplies and boxes of many sizes are free from courier companies. Simply visit the courier website and place your order. You can order any number of boxes you need.

This issue with free boxes from couriers is the limited selection. If you’re shipping jewelry items, for example, you’ll find these free boxes to be a bit oversized. When you need a perfect-fit box, it might be better to buy from Uline.

Here’s a list of free small shipping boxes for UPS, USPS, and FedEx.

UPS

All UPS shipping boxes and shipping supplies are free. You can pick up boxes from UPS Stores or order online. Here are the smallest free boxes available from UPS:

  • UPS Express Box, Small (13 x 11 x 2”)
  • UPS 10kg Box (16 x 13 x 10”)
  • UPS Express Tube (8 x 6 x 6 “)
  • UPS World Ease Document Box (17.5 x 12.5 x 3 ")

You can read more about UPS boxes in our guide to UPS boxes.

USPS

USPS provides the widest array of free small shipping boxes. The following free shipping boxes are available from USPS:

  • USPS Priority Mail – Flat Rate
  • USPS Priority Mail
  • USPS Priority Mail Regional Rate
  • USPS Priority Mail Express
  • Global Express Guaranteed
  • USPS Dual-Use Priority Mail/Priority Mail Express

Here are the smallest sizes of USPS free shipping boxes:

  • Flat Rate Box, Small: 9 x 8 x 1.75”
  • Priority Mail Express Box, Small: 12.25 x 8.75 x 6"
  • Priority Mail Flat Rate Envelope, Small: 6 x 10”
  • Priority Mail Box, Small: 7.25 x 7.25 x 6.5”

Note: If you’re shipping Flat Rate, you’ll need to use a small Flat Rate box. Fortunately, the cost for free small Flat Rate shipping boxes is...free.

You can read more about USPS boxes in our guide to USPS boxes.

FedEx

All shipments sent with FedEx Express Services get free FedEx boxes and packaging. FedEx Ground shipments (aka economy shipping), however, don’t qualify for free boxes.

You can order free FedEx boxes online or from FedEx stores. The following free boxes and supplies are available from FedEx:

  • FedEx Express boxes (S - L)
  • Airbills
  • Pouches
  • Poly mailers
  • Envelopes

FedEx offers just one small shipping box, the FedEx Express Box. The dimensions are 10.75 x 12.25 x 1.5”.

For more details on all FedEx packaging, read our guide to FedEx boxes.

Small Shipping Boxes Are Cheap

Small shipping boxes are available from couriers for free. If you’re in need of a speciality sized box, though, the free boxes from couriers may be a bit clunky. You can order specialty sizes of small boxes from retailers like Uline, Walmart or Amazon.

Tired of overpaying for shipping? With Easyship, you’ll save up to 70% off all shipping rates from all couriers. To unlock these savings, you only need to create a free account.

Small Shipping Boxes FAQ

What is the smallest shipping box?

The smallest shipping box available from Uline, a shipping supply wholesaler, is 3 x 3 x 3”. You can ship in smaller boxes, however, if you can find them.

Where can I get small boxes for free?

Common domestic carriers like UPS, FedEx and USPS all offer small free shipping boxes. To order, visit the courier website and look for the “Shipping Supplies” section.