USPS Mail Types Explained. Speed VS Costs

Any eCommerce business that needs to ship products has to pay shipping costs no matter what. And to make matters worse, you’ll undoubtedly find that you spend more and more money on shipping as your store expands and sales increase. Fortunately, you don’t have to rely solely on your carrier if you know how to ship effectively. In this article, we’ll go over all of the USPS mail types, as well as their shipping speed and cost, as well as some ideas for lowering shipping costs. Your company ships hundreds or perhaps thousands of packages per month. Your profit margins might be significantly affected by even a tiny fluctuation in the cost of shipping.


Understanding the various USPS mail types enables you to select the best speed and price for each shipment and provide the best shipping options to customers without sacrificing your business margins. You can choose the type of delivery that best suits your needs with USPS express and standard mail services. Depending on what you’re sending and when you want it delivered, find the quickest delivery service or the most economical shipping pricing. Read on to learn more about USPS shipping options and the least expensive shipping options that are effective for your specific business needs.


USPS Mail Types: Speed VS Cost at a Glance

USPS classifies mail into six separate services. Service levels and postage costs vary depending on the mail class. The class of mail you choose will depend largely on the contents of the package and the speed at which you want the package to be shipped. The three mail classes you’ll use the most for the majority of your e-commerce deliveries are priority mail, priority mail express, and first-class mail which can be both economical and fast. The following are the six classes:


  • Priority Mail Express

  • Priority Mail

  • First-Class Mail

  • First-Class Package Service

  • USPS Retail Ground

  • Media Mail

Determine which USPS mail class best fits your shipping objectives by looking at the table below.

Class of USPS Mail  Delivery Timeline Starting Cost 
Priority Mail Express Guaranteed next-day to two-day delivery by 6 p.m $26.95 at the post office and online, and $23.50 for commercial
Priority Mail 1-3 days $8.70 at the post office and online, and $7.37 for commercial
First-Class Mail 1-5 days $0.60 at the Post Office and $0.455 for Commercial
First-Class Package Service 2-5 days $4.50 at Post Office and $3.37 for Commercial
USPS Retail Ground 2-8 days $8.50 at the Post Office
Media Mail 2-8 days $3.49 at the Post Office, and $2.17 for commercial

Priority Mail Express (Guaranteed next-day to two-day delivery by 6 p.m)

The fastest domestic mailing service, USPS Priority Mail Express, operates seven days a week, 365 days a year, with a few exceptions. Priority Mail Express is the ideal option if getting your shipment delivered overnight is your primary concern. Overnight shipping is not necessary for many e-commerce shipments, though as they do come at a significant price. On the other hand, in the age of prime deliveries, customers love overnight deliveries and do not mind paying a bit more for the same.


Priority Express Mail is probably only appropriate in exceptional circumstances or when you want to provide your company a competitive edge by providing next-day delivery. A money-back guarantee is offered along with next-day delivery to the majority of U.S. addresses and PO Boxes. You can send anything weighing less than 70 pounds without weighing it because of their free flat rate envelopes. Postage and shipping labels for Priority Mail Express can be purchased online or at a Post Office branch. A $100 insurance coverage is included. Shipping can also be offered on a Sunday or holiday for an extra fee. The shipping prices begin at $26.95.


Priority Mail (1-3 days)

Priority Mail is one of the most popular mail services provided by USPS. Although it isn’t as quick as the 1-2 day shipping choices offered by Priority Mail Express, it still provides quick delivery at a considerably more affordable shipping cost for businesses. The mail that the USPS considers to be of the highest priority to ship out is classified as USPS Priority Mail. It can be used to send packages including mailable products, documents, large envelopes, tubes, and parcels. Typically, this service is used to mail papers, gifts, and goods.


Based on where your package originates and where it is heading, domestic deliveries usually arrive in 1-3 business days. With Priority Mail Flat Rate, you don’t have to weigh goods weighing 70 lbs or less, tracking is free, insurance is included, and shipping boxes and envelopes are all provided. Priority Mail postage and mailing labels are available at any Post Office or online. The shipping prices begin at $8.70.


First-Class Mail (1-5 days)

If you’re selling lightweight items, First-Class Mail is another convenient alternative. First Class Mail is a less expensive mailing option than Priority Mail. Standard-sized, single-piece envelopes holding up to 3.5 oz as well as big envelopes and compact parcels weighing up to 13 oz can all be sent using First-Class Mail, which is a reasonably priced service. It can be used to send cards, documents, large envelopes, and small items. Bills and letters for both personal and professional usage are frequently handled by this service. At a Post Office, prices begin at $0.60.


First-Class Package Service (2-5 days)

USPS First Class Package Service is a quick and inexpensive option to mail compact packages weighing up to 15.99 ounces to any location in the United States. When compared to Priority Mail and Parcel Select Ground, First Class Package Service offers larger cost reductions for lighter packages. Personal shipment is the most common usage for this service. The mail class also provides fast, countrywide delivery in five days or less, roughly matching the pace of Priority Mail. Deliveries can be made to any address in the United States, as well as a PO Box and several APO/FPO/DPO locations. There are various parcel pick-up options offered by the USPS, and USPS Tracking is included without charge. The shipping prices begin at $3.37.


USPS Retail Ground (2-8 days)

USPS’s most affordable method for shipping items of all sizes, including large boxes, to domestic destinations, is known as Retail Ground. A Retail Ground package normally takes between 2 and 8 days to arrive, but USPS can take up to 14 postal working days to deliver products sent via this method. You can ship larger and unusually shaped items, such as canisters, rolls, and boxes with odd measurements, over Retail Ground, even though Priority Mail takes priority over First-Class Mail and Retail Ground. However, you cannot utilize Retail Ground to ship items that are more than 130 inches long and wide and 70 pounds or more. USPS Retail Ground may send small and big parcels, thick envelopes, and tubes holding presents and items domestically. USPS Tracking is included for free. The majority of USPS’s extra services for monitoring your Retail Ground delivery are available for purchase. This mail class can only be purchased at the Post Office. The shipping prices begin at $8.50.


Media Mail (2-8 days)

USPS offers Media Mail as a slower, less expensive shipping alternative for bound print media with 8 or more pages, CDs, recordings, DVDs, and books. Sending media items via Media Mail is a reasonably priced option offered by USPS. Publications, video recordings, DVDs, CDs, printed music, and other audio recordings can all be sent using Media Mail as long as their weight is under 70 pounds. Sending these things by Media Mail will save you money, but it may take longer for them to reach their destination. Your item should arrive between 2 and 8 days according to USPS estimates. The disadvantage of Media Mail is that USPS is allowed to open and examine your item to look for signs of systemic abuse. The shipping prices begin at $2.17.


To Conclude

Given its straightforward pricing system and versatile shipping classes, using USPS for shipping is a fantastic choice for your e-commerce shop. When compared to companies like UPS and FedEx, USPS can save you money while offering slower delivery times. However, getting started with USPS is simple. You can use a multi-carrier shipping solution like ReachShip if you are unsure of which shipping class will best meet your needs. ReachShip will provide you access to all of the shipping options offered by USPS and numerous other shipping carriers like FedEx, UPS, DHL, and Australia Post. We hope this article has given you a deeper insight into all the USPS Mail types. If you have any questions regarding the various mail types, please let us know in the comments section below.


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