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Master USPS Shipping Costs: The Complete USPS Shipping Rates by Weight Chart

Looking for current USPS shipping rates based on weight? Our no-frills guide presents a clear USPS shipping rates by weight chart to quickly determine your shipping costs. You’ll also find essential insights on how weight influences USPS shipping, ensuring you make informed decisions before sending out your packages.

Key Takeaways

  • USPS shipping rates are determined by weight, dimensions, and destination, with heavier and larger packages generally costing more. The maximum weight for domestic packages is 70 pounds.
  • USPS offers a variety of shipping options suited for different needs, including First Class Package Service for items up to 13 ounces, and Priority Mail services for faster delivery of heavier packages up to 70 pounds.
  • To save on shipping costs, USPS provides Flat Rate shipping for packages up to 70 pounds and offers commercial prices with discounts of up to 28% for customers who meet certain criteria, such as volume requirements.

Understanding USPS Shipping Costs by Weight

Knowledge of USPS shipping costs is vital whether you’re an individual sending a package to a loved one or a business owner shipping products to customers. The cost of shipping a package with USPS is primarily determined by three factors: package weight, dimensions, and destination. As a rule of thumb, heavier packages generally incur higher shipping costs, and the size of the package can also affect the cost due to increased handling and transportation requirements.

Shipping costs also rise with the distance the package needs to travel, due to increased transportation and handling charges.

  • Package Weight Breakdown
    • Within USPS shipping, the package’s weight significantly influences the cost.
      • The shipping costs increase as the weight of the package increases, showing a direct proportionality between the two.
      • Heavier packages result in higher shipping expenses.
      • The USPS has established several weight categories for shipping, and the maximum weight limit for domestic packages is 70 pounds.
      • It’s important to note that lower maximum weight standards may apply to APOs, FPOs, and DPOs.
    • Understanding this system is key to evade surplus weight charges and choose the suitable shipping service.
  • Determining Your Package’s Weight
    • To avoid unexpected shipping fees and ensure correct postage, it’s vital to accurately measure your package’s weight.
      • The recommended method for accurately measuring package weight for USPS shipment is to use a postal scale, which provides precise measurements for accurate postage calculation.
      • However, in the absence of a postal scale, you can use alternative methods such as a bathroom scale or a kitchen scale.
  • Weight Limits and Overweight Packages
    • Besides weight measurement, it’s important to take into account weight limits.
      • USPS has weight limits for different shipping services, and exceeding these limits may result in additional fees or service restrictions.
      • For example, Priority Mail allows the shipment of items weighing up to 70 pounds and measuring up to 108 inches in total length and girth.
      • If a USPS package surpasses the maximum weight limit, it could be returned to the sender or subject to additional postage charges.

Navigating USPS Shipping Options

USPS provides a wide array of shipping options, each designed to meet various needs. Some of the options include:

  • First Class Package Service: Ideal for parcels weighing 13 ounces or less.
  • Priority Mail: The go-to option for packages over one pound.
  • First Class Mail: Has a weight limit of 15.99 ounces.
  • Priority Mail: Renowned for its faster delivery, albeit at a higher cost.

Depending on your specific needs, you can choose from a range of options that offer varying delivery times and shipping costs between First Class Mail, Priority Mail, and Priority Mail Express.

  • First Class Mail Service
    • First Class Mail Service is an affordable option for shipping lightweight packages. 
    • This service has a pricing structure based on weight and destination. For instance, the pricing details include $1.16 for 1 oz, $1.36 for 2 oz, and so on, up to the weight limit of 15.99 ounces.
    • While tracking is not provided for small-sized items such as postcards, letters, and flats, it is available for First-Class Package Services at no extra cost, ensuring you can keep tabs on your shipment’s journey.
  • Priority Mail and Priority Mail Express
    • If speed is of the essence, Priority Mail and Priority Mail Express are the options to consider.
    • USPS Priority Mail typically delivers within 1-3 business days, while Priority Mail Express offers next-day to 2-day delivery for most destinations. The latter is the most efficient option for ensuring overnight delivery.
    • Both these services accept packages up to 70 lbs, making them a versatile choice for a wide range of shipping needs.

Maximizing Savings with USPS Flat Rate and Commercial Prices

When it comes to shipping, cost-effectiveness is a primary concern, and USPS addresses this with its Flat Rate and Commercial Prices. The Priority Mail Flat Rate service offers a fixed-rate option for sending packages weighing up to 70 pounds, eliminating the need to weigh each package individually.

This service is particularly advantageous for heavier packages that would otherwise incur higher shipping costs based on their weight. On the other hand, commercial prices provide discounts of up to 28% off retail prices, presenting potential savings for businesses and frequent shippers compared to domestic prices.

  • Priority Mail Flat Rate Solutions
    • Priority Mail Flat Rate solutions offer a single rate regardless of weight, making them a cost-effective option for heavier shipments.
    • These include Flat Rate Envelopes and Flat Rate Boxes, which are available in a variety of shapes and sizes to accommodate different shipping needs.
      • The costs of these options vary depending on the chosen packaging, with prices ranging from $9.20 for Small Flat Rate Boxes and from $14.75 to $17.10 for Medium Flat Rate Boxes.
    • Bear in mind that prices could change and might vary based on location and shipping method.
  • Accessing Lower Commercial Rates
    • Lower commercial rates can offer extra savings for businesses.
    • By meeting specific criteria such as minimum volume requirements or using third-party solutions, businesses can access these lower rates. Once the account is set up, businesses can access the commercial rates for USPS shipping services and benefit from discounted prices.
    • This makes USPS commercial rates a valuable option for a range of businesses, from small enterprises to large corporations.

How Size Impacts USPS Shipping Rates

Package size is another critical factor that can significantly impact shipping costs. Larger packages generally cost more to ship due to increased handling and transportation requirements.

Dimensional weight, a concept used to calculate shipping rates for lightweight but large packages, may lead to increased shipping costs compared to actual weight.

Consequently, knowing how to calculate the dimensional weight and recognizing the importance of reducing package size can potentially yield considerable cost savings.

  • Understanding Combined Length and Girth
    • The concept of combined length and girth is crucial in understanding the size of a package. By adding the length of the package to the total distance around its thickest part, you can calculate the combined length and girth:
      • This measurement is used by all USPS shipping methods to determine package size, with packages exceeding a certain size potentially incurring higher rates.
  • Maximum Dimensions for Shipping
    • Understanding the maximum dimensions for shipping packages with USPS is crucial. Exceeding these limits may result in additional fees or service restrictions:
      • For instance, the maximum size limit for USPS Retail Ground shipments is 130” in combined length and girth.
      • The largest branded USPS Priority Mail box available is the Priority Mail Large Flat Rate box, which can accommodate up to 70 pounds. Being aware of these limits can help you avoid potential penalties and ensure your packages are shipped efficiently and cost-effectively.

The USPS Retail Pricing Landscape

A clear understanding of the USPS retail pricing landscape is key to making the most cost-effective shipping decisions. USPS retail rates are the standard prices accessible to all customers at a Post Office or via USPS.com Click-N-Ship.

However, discounted rates, also known as commercial base pricing, are lower than retail rates and are offered to customers who buy and print shipping labels through online postage service providers.

Understanding the difference between these rates can assist you in finding the best prices for your shipments:

  • Retail vs. Discounted Rates
    • Retail rates are the standard prices that you would usually pay at a retail USPS counter or via USPS.com Click-N-Ship.
    • On the other hand, discounted rates are lower than retail rates and are offered to customers who buy and print shipping labels through online postage service providers like Stamps.com.
    • These discounted rates can provide substantial savings, particularly for businesses and frequent shippers.
  • Where to Find Updated USPS Shipping Rates
    • Finding updated USPS shipping rates is an essential step in the process of planning for your shipping costs.
    • The most current and updated USPS shipping rates can be obtained from the official USPS website, where USPS updates their shipping rates periodically, usually once a year. 
    • You can also access current USPS shipping rates from various reputable third-party websites like ShipStation, Pirate Ship, Easyship, and Pitney Bowes.

Specialty Services and Considerations

Beyond the basic shipping services, the postal service, USPS, also provides specialty services and options for additional convenience and security. These include:

  • Insurance options and tracking services for packages.
  • Special handling for fragile or delicate items.
  • Ability to manage special delivery preferences.

By leveraging these specialty services, you can add an extra layer of protection to your shipments and customize your delivery preferences to suit your specific needs.

  • Insurance and Tracking Options
    • Insurance and tracking options provided by USPS can give you peace of mind by protecting your shipments and allowing you to monitor their journey:
      • Priority Mail and USPS Ground Advantage both provide up to $100 of insurance coverage, with the option to purchase additional coverage up to $5,000, and a money back guarantee for added assurance.
    • On the tracking front, you can access USPS tracking details for your shipment through the USPS website, mobile app, or customer service channels, enabling you to keep a close eye on your package’s location at all times.
  • Special Handling and Delivery Preferences
    • If your shipments have specific requirements or need special attention, USPS has got you covered:
      • The USPS offers a specialty service called Special Handling-Fragile, specifically tailored for shipping fragile or delicate items that need extra care.
    • The United States Postal Service accommodates special delivery preferences through their Special Delivery Service, which allows you to customize how and where you would like your packages to be delivered.

Leveraging USPS Online Tools

USPS online tools can significantly streamline your shipping process. These tools can simplify the shipping process, save time, and help you save money.

Tools such as the USPS Shipping Calculator can provide you with a quick estimate of shipping costs based on package details and destination, and preparing shipments online can provide access to discounted shipping rates and save time.

  • The Convenience of the USPS Shipping Calculator
    • The USPS Shipping Calculator is a handy tool that lets you quickly estimate shipping costs based on package details and destination. By inputting the relevant information into the calculator, you can obtain an accurate estimate of your shipping costs, allowing you to:
      • Plan your shipping budget accordingly.
      • Compare shipping costs for different destinations.
      • Determine the most cost-effective shipping method.
      • Calculate shipping costs for multiple packages.
    • This tool is not only convenient, but also reliable, providing estimates that you can rely on for your shipping needs.
  • Preparing Shipments Online
    • In today’s digital age, preparing shipments online is relatively easy by providing specific information such as:
      • Postal code
      • Country
      • Tracking number
      • Weight
      • Destination address
      • Return address
    • You can easily prepare your shipment online with USPS. Services such as USPS Click-N-Ship or other shipping platforms offer the convenience of creating and printing shipping labels from the comfort of your home, making the shipping process more streamlined and efficient.

Practical Tips for Shipping with USPS

Knowing the right practices to follow can make shipping with USPS a smooth and cost-effective experience. From avoiding common errors like using inadequate boxes or incorrect packaging, to utilizing automation tools that enhance efficiency, there are several ways to ensure your shipping process is as seamless as possible.

Here, we share some practical tips that can help you avoid pitfalls and maximize the efficiency of your USPS shipping process:

  • Packaging Best Practices
    • Packaging is a crucial aspect of shipping. Proper packaging not only protects your items during transit but can also potentially reduce shipping costs by minimizing package size and weight.
    • When packaging items to be shipped with USPS, it’s recommended to:
      • Use rigid boxes with all flaps intact.
      • Use clear or brown packaging tape.
      • Reduce void space by shrinking packages.
      • Use more economical packaging to reduce the size and weight of your package for USPS shipping.
  • Drop-off and Pickup Options
    • Utilizing convenient drop-off and pickup options can save you time and streamline your shipping process. USPS offers several drop-off options for shipping packages, including:
      • USPS Mailboxes
      • Kiosks
      • Contract Postal Units
      • Collection boxes
      • Post offices

For added convenience, USPS also offers home pick-up for packages. By taking advantage of these options, you can make your shipping process more efficient and hassle-free.


  • Understanding USPS shipping costs and the various factors influencing them can help you make informed decisions when shipping packages.
  • From the role of package weight and size to the significance of the destination, each aspect plays a crucial role in determining the cost of shipping.
  • By leveraging USPS’s range of services, online tools, and special handling options, you can not only ensure the safe and timely delivery of your packages, but also make the shipping process more efficient and cost-effective.
  • Remember these tips the next time you plan to ship a package with USPS, and make the most of your shipping experience.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How much does USPS shipping cost per lb?

  • USPS shipping cost varies by weight. You can find the priority class shipping rates on the USPS weight chart.

How much does it cost to ship a 10 lb package?

  • The cost to ship a 10 lb package can vary depending on the shipping carrier, destination, and service level. It’s best to check with specific carriers for accurate pricing.

Does USPS ship by weight or size?

  • USPS determines shipping cost based on both the size and weight of the package. The shipping cost is influenced by the destination, shipping speed, and any additional services requested.

What are the primary factors influencing USPS shipping costs?

  • The primary factors influencing USPS shipping costs are package weight, dimensions, and destination. Heavier and larger packages generally incur higher shipping costs, as do packages that need to travel longer distances.

What’s the difference between USPS retail rates and discounted rates?

  • The main difference between USPS retail rates and discounted rates is that the retail rates are standard prices you would pay at a USPS counter or via USPS.com, while discounted rates are lower and offered to customers who purchase and print labels through online postage service providers like Stamps.com. This allows for more cost-effective shipping options for customers.