USPS & Big Packages: 7 Common Questions (Answered)

The US Postal Service is the most popular mail carrier for letters, documents, and small parcels because they offer the best rates with prompt delivery times.

They do offer many other services. USPS also has services for delivering big packages.

We thoroughly checked these services and how USPS generally handles big packages:

Here’s How Big A Package Can Be For USPS:

When shipping packages with USPS, the maximum weight allowed is 70 pounds; packages must not be more than 108 inches in total length and girth when shipping through Priority Mail or Priority Mail Express services. For Retail Ground, up to 130 inches in total length and girth are allowed.


How Does USPS Deliver Big Packages?

USPS has a few services that can handle big packages:

Priority Mail & Priority Mail Express

The more commonly used USPS mailing services are Priority Mail and Priority Mail Express, and both services can be used for big packages but with a weight and size limit.

Through these services, you can ship a package up to the maximum weight of 70 pounds with a dimension of up to 108 inches in total length and girth.

You can use your own box as long as they fit in these dimensions or any free shipping boxes available at the post office.

Priority Mail guarantees delivery in 1 to 3 business days, while Priority Mail Express does it in 1 to 2 business days.

USPS Retail Ground

Another shipping service that you can use is the USPS Retail Ground.

Through this service, you can ship packages with a dimension of up to 130 inches in total length and girth. The maximum weight is still 70 pounds, and there are additional charges for oversized packages.

Retail Ground is a more affordable option, but it takes 2 to 5 business days for a package to be delivered. This is great for non-urgent deliveries.

Regardless of which service you will avail of, USPS typically delivers big packages using the same post office vehicles that carry the mail and smaller items.

What differentiates Retail Ground from the other two services is that it uses large trucks to transport the packages between two post office locations before they are dispatched and loaded into USPS delivery vehicles.

Priority Mail and Priority Mail Express use air transport to get mail and packages to farther locations, which is why the delivery time is shorter than Retail Ground. This explains why these services cost more than Retail Ground.

Does USPS Deliver Large Packages To Your Door?

Some carriers leave the packages at your door when no one is around to receive them. USPS leaves mail and small parcels in the mailbox.

Since large packages don’t fit in the mailbox, do they leave them at your door?

USPS does not typically leave packages at your door unless there is an instruction.

When delivering packages that do not fit in the mailbox, the USPS carrier would knock on your door and try to hand the package to you. They do this regardless of if the package requires a signature or not.

If no one is home, they will leave a notice saying there was an attempt to deliver your package and who it is from. The notice will allow you to either schedule redelivery or pick up the package from your local post office.

If the package has a note or instruction saying “leave if there is no response,” that is the only time USPS carriers will leave a package at your door.

How does USPS handle delivering packages to the door? Find out more here!

What Is The Best Carrier For Big Packages?

While USPS is a good and reliable carrier for shipping packages of different sizes, it is not the best for big packages.

USPS does have a maximum weight limit of only 70 lbs for big packages. So if you want to ship something bigger and heavier, you may want to look into other carriers.

UPS or FedEx is your best option for shipping big packages.

Both UPS and FedEx have a limit of 150 pounds for big packages. The cost to ship these packages would depend on the package’s weight, dimensions, and destination.

Between the two, the shipping rates of FedEx are generally cheaper. It would only cost around $188 to ship a 100-pound package from California to New York through FedEx, but it would cost roughly $192 with UPS.

However, the delivery time of UPS is faster. Delivering the same package would take only four days with UPS, while FedEx would take six days.

So it’s up to you to choose which of these two carriers you prefer based on what matters to you more: pricing or delivery time.

How Much Does It Cost To Ship Big Packages With USPS?

When shipping big packages with USPS, the fee depends on the package’s weight, dimension, and destination.

Through Priority Mail, the rates start at $9.00, which includes postage and shipping fees. Through Priority Mail Express, rates start at $27.25.

For example, if you plan to ship a 60-pound package from California to New York using Priority Mail, you would be paying roughly $160.

If you want to save money on shipping costs, you can use a USPS Flat-Rate shipping box. This is an excellent and cost-effective option if the contents of your package can fit in the box.

You would only pay as much as $22.45 to ship a 60-pound package using a Large Flat-Rate box. You can use USPS Retail Ground for big packages that are “more than 108 inches in total length and girth.”

The rate starts at $8.80, plus a surcharge may apply for oversized packages.

The Retail Ground service is another great option if you want to pay lower shipping fees and the item you’re shipping is non-urgent.

Want to know more about USPS Click N Ship? We answer 8 common questions!

Does USPS Use Other Carriers For Big Or Heavy Packages?

Even though UPS and FedEx compete with USPS, these carriers also work together.

There are times when UPS and FedEx hand over home delivery to USPS as part of their last-mile arrangement.

However, you may be wondering if it works the other way around. Does USPS use UPS or FedEx for big packages?

The answer is both yes and no, and we will explain.

USPS may use UPS and FedEx for destination city delivery. This is to transport mail pieces and packages between cities because USPS does not have its planes, but UPS and FedEx do.

This is faster and more cost-effective for USPS than trying to find space on commercial flights. So you can expect UPS and FedEx planes to transport USPS packages from one city to another.

However, the US Postal Service will not use UPS and FedEx for home delivery. UPS and FedEx, on occasion, would hand over mail and packages to USPS to deliver to customers’ homes, but it is never the other way around.

Do Bigger Packages Take Longer To Ship?

When you avail of Priority Mail services, the maximum time it would take to receive your package is three days, regardless of size.

It will be two days if you opt for Priority Mail Express.

Of course, you can only avail of Priority Mail and Priority Mail Express if your package dimension is not more than 108 inches in total length and girth.

Bigger packages would take longer to ship if you used USPS Retail Ground. This service is used for packages bigger than 108 inches with an upper limit of 130 inches in total length and girth.

Through Retail Ground services, packages could take as many as five days to ship, depending on the location.

It would take longer to ship big packages through Retail Ground because this service uses large container trucks instead of planes to transport the packages between cities.

Does USPS Pick Up Large Packages?

USPS picks up large packages for delivery but only for Priority Mail and Priority Mail Express services.

Package pickup is a service USPS offers so that customers do not need to drive to the post office when mailing a package. They can set it up online and choose a date and time that the package will be ready for pickup.

This is a free service regardless of how many packages are scheduled for pickup. However, this service is limited to packages no greater than 108 inches in total length and girth.

If your package exceeds the said dimensions, you must use USPS Retail Ground, and there is no pickup service. It is only available at the post office, so you would have to bring the package there to avail of the service.


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