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Is UPS or USPS Cheaper for a 1LB Package?

By A Kishore Aksharthan on 2/22/2024 · 5 minute read

When it comes to shipping services, UPS and USPS stand as two of the most prominent shipping carriers within the United States, each providing a broad array of shipping services as established figures in the shipping sector. UPS distinguishes itself through rapid delivery speeds and detailed tracking capabilities, whereas USPS is frequently highlighted for its cost-effectiveness and widespread availability. This article aims to compare the two to ascertain which offers more affordable services.

In this ups vs usps shipping rates comparison article, we'll take a look at the differences between the shipping rates they offer to help you choose the ideal shipping service provider for your business. 

Is UPS or USPS Cheaper for Small Packages?

First of all, it’s important to understand what qualifies as a small package. This refers to any parcel or box that weighs 70 pounds or less and fits within the standard size and volume limits set by the carrier.

Given that both UPS and USPS have a small package limit of 70 pounds, it’s straightforward to compare them to decide which is more cost-effective for shipping small boxes.

UPS Shipping Rates

The table presents the various services offered by UPS along with corresponding price ranges based on the package weight. The services include

  • UPS Next Day Air Early
  • UPS Next Day Air
  • UPS Next Day Air Saver
  • UPS 2nd Day Air A.M.
  • UPS 2nd Day Air
  • UPS 3-Day Select
  • UPS Ground.

Prices vary from $10.10 to $241.38 for packages weighing between 1 and 10 pounds, gradually increasing for heavier packages up to 70 pounds, with the highest price range being $26.03 to $782.36.

USPS Shipping Rates

Comparing the postal services, USPS and UPS offer competitive rates for ground shipping with their services being USPS Retail Ground and UPS Ground, respectively. Both services provide similar delivery timescales, ranging from 2 to 5 business days.

A detailed examination of their pricing structures for various weight categories reveals that USPS Retail Ground tends to have a higher starting price than UPS Ground, but it maintains a lower maximum rate. This pricing model suggests that USPS Retail Ground may be more economical for shipments covering longer distances, whereas UPS Ground could be more cost-effective for shorter delivery routes.

For a clearer perspective, consider a package that weighs between 21 to 30 pounds; sending this package to a local destination would incur a charge of $23.00 with USPS Retail Ground compared to $16.69 with UPS Ground.

However, if this package were to be shipped to a much distant location, the cost would significantly increase to $219.32 with UPS Ground, while USPS Retail Ground would only charge $95.60 for the same weight bracket.

This pricing analysis highlights the importance of considering both the weight of the package and the shipping distance when choosing between USPS Retail Ground and UPS Ground services to ensure cost-efficiency.

Is It Cheaper to Use a Flat Rate Box or Your Own Box?

One’s choice should be strategic when deciding on the type of box to use, ensuring it’s not only suitable for the purpose but also cost-effective. Here are several guidelines to follow to make an informed decision at the appropriate time:

Scenarios When It Is Cheaper to Use a Flat Rate Box

  • For shipping small, heavy items, flat-rate shipping offers a cost-effective solution since the price remains the same regardless of the package’s weight or shipping distance, as long as the item fits in the provided box.
  • To prevent package rejections or surcharges, utilizing flat-rate packaging ensures that the packages meet carrier standards and avoid additional fees for exceeding size limits.
  • Businesses performing high-volume in-house fulfillment benefit from using flat-rate boxes, which simplifies packaging and keeps costs low by eliminating the need for custom packaging and storing materials. Some carriers, like FedEx, offer free flat-rate boxes when their express services are utilized.
  • When shipping to distant or remote locations, flat-rate boxes can offer cost savings as the price is consistent regardless of the destination, making it an attractive option for difficult-to-reach areas.
  • For shipments containing multiple items, consolidating them into a single flat-rate box can be more economical than shipping each item separately.

Scenarios When It Is Cheaper to Use Your Box

  • Shipping small, lightweight goods may be less expensive using your packaging, as standard weight-based pricing could provide lower rates than flat-rate options for lighter items.
  • Businesses that primarily ship locally might find that flat-rate boxes are not the most cost-effective choice, as standard shipping rates may be lower for nearby destinations. For instance, shipping a regulation basketball weighing 1.3 pounds via Standard UPS Ground could cost around $10.90, whereas using UPS Simple Rate via UPS Ground would incur a minimum charge of $21.05.

Conclusion

When it comes to ups vs usps shipping rates, it depends on the kind of package you want to send as well as the destination you are sending it. Always make sure you weigh the package properly and research accordingly before committing to any of the above-mentioned shipping service providers.

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