UPS vs. USPS: Difference and Which is Cheaper UPS or USPS?

Whenever you want to ship any item, you think which package delivery company you should choose to get the item shipped. You would think about the prices, rates, or the cost of the delivery service. There are many options out there, but if you are strict about the prices and the delivery time, then you will think about the two biggest package delivery companies, United States Postal Service (USPS) and United Parcel Service (UPS).

USPS and UPS, both are considered as the biggest package delivery company in the world. But which one you will choose if you have to ship a package. In that case, you will try to find the difference between UPS and USPS. In your opinion who is cheaper, UPS or USPS? Let’s find out the difference between USPS and UPS regarding price, rates, speed, etc.


There are lots of differences between these two giant package delivery companies. Both the companies cover the wide range of options for every type of business, especially for smaller businesses, in terms of options, services, and rates.

Basically, United Parcel Service (UPS) is a public company founded in 1907. This company is considered as the world’s biggest package delivery company. It offers the Courier express, Freight forwarding, and Logistics services. It also operates UPS Airlines.

USPS, on the other hand, is an independent agency founded in 1775. Its authority is mainly because of the length of time of its long existence. This package delivery company is also known as US Mail, Postal Service, etc. It also offers a wide range of options for small businesses.

UPS Shipping vs. USPS Shipping Options:

 United Parcel Service (UPS)United States Postal Service (USPS)
Shipping OptionsOvernightOvernight
2 Day2 Day
3 Day1 Week
4 Day
Weight Limit150 lbs70 lbs
Free Pickup?No, but available for additional chargeYes, with Priority Mail Express
Free Tracking?YesYes, for Priority Mail and
First Class deliveries
Number of Drop-Off LocationsDelivery address
or pick-up location
Delivery address,
PO Box,
optional hold at
a post office
InsuranceUp to $100 with
additional coverage available
$50 to $100
depending on delivery
Bulk Mail DiscountYesYes

You can see UPS shipping vs. USPS shipping yourself. If you go with UPS, then you can enjoy the next day delivery because it is the specialist in it. It offers you next business day delivery by 8 a.m., next business day delivery by 10:30 a.m., next day by noon, and two business days delivery. If the package is non-urgent, then 3-day and 4-day delivery options are also available.

If you go with USPS, then you have many options for short and long-term delivery. The options are next day delivery by 10:30 a.m., 1-3 business day delivery, 2-3 business day delivery for small packages and envelopes, and if the package is not urgent or oversized, then the delivery up to eight business days.

These are the UPS and USPS shipping options.

Which is Cheaper UPS or USPS?

USPS vs UPS Shipping RatesMost of the UPS and USPS customers usually ask “Is UPS cheaper than USPS?” They ask this question because they want to know which will be cheaper to ship, UPS or USPS. They don’t know the prices, rates, or cost of the services of these two companies. So, let’s find out the UPS prices vs. USPS prices of different mail classes and services:

UPS vs. USPS Rates:

Here is how USPS compares to UPS for residential delivery of B2C shipments:

  • UPS Ground vs. USPS Priority:

12x10x6 Package Across 8 Zones (ex. Seattle, WA to Atlanta, GA)

Actual Weight2 lbs.2 lbs.
DIM Weight5 lbs.N/A
Base Charge$13.10$10.28
Fuel Surcharge$0.69N/A
Residential Surcharge$3.40N/A
Total Cost$17.19$10.28

8x8x8 Package Across 6 Zones (ex. Palo Alto, CA to Lincoln, NE)

Actual Weight2 lbs.2 lbs.
DIM Weight4 lbs.N/A
Base Charge$11.17$9.19
Fuel Surcharge$0.59N/A
Residential Surcharge$3.40N/A
Total Cost$15.16$9.19
  • Parcel Select Ground vs. Ground Service:

24x12x12 Package Across 4 Zones (ex. Minneapolis, MN to Chicago, IL)

Actual Weight8 lbs.8 lbs.
DIM Weight25 lbs.N/A
Base Charge$15.58$10.97
Fuel Surcharge$0.82N/A
Residential Surcharge$3.40N/A
Total Cost$19.80$10.97
  • First-Class Package Service vs. Ground Service:

8x6x4 Package Across 4 Zones (ex. Minneapolis, MN to Chicago, IL)

Actual Weight13 oz.13 oz.
DIM Weight2 lbs.N/A
Base Charge$9.39$3.88
Fuel Surcharge$0.49N/A
Residential Surcharge$3.40N/A
Total Cost$13.28$3.88
  • Priority Mail vs. 3-Day Service:

8x6x4 Package Across 8 Zones (ex. Seattle, WA to Atlanta, GA)

Actual Weight1 lb.1 lb.
DIM Weight2 lb. N/A
Base Charge$24.26$7.25
Fuel Surcharge$1.27N/A
Residential Surcharge$3.40N/A
Total Cost$28.93$7.25

12x12x4 Package Across 6 Zones (ex. Palo Alto, CA to Lincoln, NE)

Actual Weight2 lbs.2 lbs.
DIM Weight4 lbs.N/A
Base Charge$25.01$9.19
Fuel Surcharge$1.31N/A
Residential Surcharge$3.40N/A
Total Cost$29.72$9.19
  • Priority Mail Express vs. 2-Day Service:

12x10x6 Package Across 3 Zones (ex. Dallas, TX to Houston, TX)

Actual Weight1 lb.1 lb.
DIM Weight5 lbs.N/A
Base Charge$19.52$22.10
Fuel Surcharge$1.02N/A
Residential Surcharge$3.40N/A
Total Cost$23.94$22.10

12x10x8 Package Across 8 Zones (ex. Seattle, WA to Atlanta, GA)

Actual Weight4 lbs.4 lbs.
DIM Weight6 lbs.N/A
Base Charge$51.31$47.74
Fuel Surcharge$2.69N/A
Residential Surcharge$3.40N/A
Total Cost$57.40$47.74

You can see that USPS is the best postal service at low rates. There is a huge difference in shipping cost UPS vs. USPS. USPS is best for small businesses because it is offering the best rates and free pick up on Priority Mail service. It also has a wide range of urgent and non-urgent packages. UPS, on the other hand, has additional charges or fees for pick up and some other services.

Now, you can see what is cheaper, UPS or USPS. In most of the cases, you will find USPS less expensive than UPS.

UPS vs. USPS Speed:

UPS vs USPS SpeedIf we talk about the speed of shipping or how much time both the delivery companies take to deliver a package, then UPS is better than USPS. If you want your package or shipment to be delivered very fast, then you should go with the UPS services. Its Express Critical, Next Day Air Early, Next Day Air, Next Day Air Saver, 2nd Day Air A.M, 2nd Day Air, 3 Day Select, UPS Ground, and Ground with Freight Pricing services offer faster delivery than USPS.

You can see how much time different UPS services take for final delivery below:

ServiceDelivery Commitment 
UPS Express CriticalSame DayDelivery within one hour of shipment collection
UPS Next Day Air EarlyNext Business DayDelivery as early as 8: 00 a.m
UPS Next Day AirNext Business DayDelivery typically by 10:30 a.m
UPS Next Day Air SaverNext Business DayDelivery typically by 3:00 p.m
UPS 2nd Day Air A.M2 Business DayDelivery typically by 10:30 a.m.
UPS 2nd Day Air2 Business DayDelivery typically by end of day
UPS 3 Day Select3 Business DayDelivery by end of day
UPS Ground1-5 Business DaysDelivery based on distance to destination
UPS Ground with Freight Pricing1-5 Business DaysDelivery based on distance to destination

Here is the time that different USPS services take to deliver shipment:

ServiceDelivery Commitment 
Priority Mail ExpressOvernight GuaranteeOvernight scheduled delivery by 10:30 a.m.
Priority MailShipping in 1–3 Business DaysDelivery in 1, 2, or 3 business days
First-Class MailMail in 1–3 Business DaysDelivery in 1, 2, or 3 business days
USPS Retail GroundShipping in 2–8 Business DaysDelivery based on distance to destination
Media Mail2–8 Business DaysDelivery based on distance to destination

Pros and Cons of UPS & USPS:

UPS and USPS Pros Cons


  • If you are a business or a person, then UPS tracking service will help you to find the package, and you will find the updates regularly.
  • It’s good for you if your package is over 10lbs. You can save some money with it.
  • As you know its tracking capability is great, so it can easily resolve the lost/damage claims.


  • It’s beneficial only if your package is over 10lbs.
  • UPS stores are not available in most of the rural areas. So, you will face problem while placing the order or getting your package if you are living in rural area.


  • The cost of almost every service offered by USPS is very low as compared to other package delivery companies.
  • Transit times of many USPS services are often less than UPS.
  • Its wide range of delivery options is good for the customers.


  • The confirmation number you receive only allows you to track the shipment if it has been delivered.
  • There are many additional tracking options you will need to purchase where those are included in UPS.
  • Insurance for United States Postal Service is more expensive as compared to UPS.
  • If you file a lost/damage claim, then it may take many weeks to process the claim.


Conclusion: Overall, USPS is better than UPS in terms of shipping rates. We also made the package shipping price comparison, and after seeing the UPS vs. USPS shipping rates, we think that small business owners should choose USPS for affordable shipping. USPS shipping cost is very low as compared to UPS. The wide range of urgent and non-urgent options attract the customers.

*If you have any views, then feel free to share with us by commenting below. We love to hear from you.*

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