USPS – Detailing The “Faster” Shipping Options



The USPS offers two package shipping options that promise 2-3 day delivery anywhere in the US.  The service is not guaranteed by USPS but, except for peak holiday seasons, it is a reliable service that will typically meet its own service standards.

Let’s look at the unique characteristics of the two services

USPS 1st Class Package

  •  For packages or envelopes 13 ounces and under
  • Rates based on weight the are same for all addresses in the US including AK and HI
  • Can be purchased online from selected authorized vendors (not or at the Post Office
  • Tracking available for 90 cents extra at the Post Office or free when purchased at selected vendors

Priority Mail  

Available for all weights up to 70 pounds

  • May pay extra for weight over a one cubic foot threshold **
  • Rates based on both weight and distance
  • Postage can be purchased online (at a discount) or from the Post Office (retail)
  • Free tracking
  • Free pickup on request
  • Free flat rate boxes (unlimited weight to anywhere in the US) available
  • Maximum box size = 108 inches, length + girth *

Here are the common characteristics for these two services:

  •  Insurance available for a fee – starting at $1.95 for $1-$50 of coverage.  For $51-$100, the insurance fee is $2.45
  • Delivery date is not guaranteed
  • Delivers to PO’s, FPO’s, APO’s and every valid address in the US
  • Delivers Mon-Sat (as of this post)
  • Drop off with any USPS letter carrier or at USPS locations
  • Certified Mail, Registered Mail, Signature Confirmation, and COD all available for a fee

I know, I know – this is old-hat review for some of you, but it is important to understand the details of these as well as the slower delivery options I’ll discuss in the next post. Stay with me.

Next up – USPS Standard Mail and Parcel Select.

*   Girth” is the total inches around the smallest two dimensions of a box .  The length is the largest dimension of the box.

**  Over one cubic foot (1728 cubic inches) “Dim Weight” rules apply.  Dim Wt = length x width x height of the package divided by 192.  For a 12” x 12” x 13” package, the calculation would be 12x12x13/192 = 9.75.  You round dim weight up to the nearest pound so the package will be rated at the larger of actual weight or ten pounds.

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