Which is Cheaper UPS or USPS? This is an important question. Let’s face it when sending a package there are two main requirements we all look for… value for money and speed.
With UPS & USPS being natural choices for customers when sending parcels, comparing the two together is common.
What are the differences between UPS Ground and USPS Priority Mail? Which service is the cheapest in 2022?
That’s exactly what we are going to look into now… with this deep dive comparison of UPS and USPS.
UPS vs. USPS Summary
- Both provide affordable services with fast track options available
- USPS is better equipped to ship smaller domestic packages cost-effectively
- UPS is a good choice for customers shipping large, heavy parcels
- USPS offers free Saturday delivery. UPS charges extra to deliver on Saturdays
UPS vs. USPS Price Comparison
UPS and USPS are courier services that provide both domestic and global shipping options to customers.
So which service should you choose when you ship a package? The answer isn’t that straightforward. Both have their advantages and disadvantages, with many potential variables affecting your choice.
However, to help form a conclusion we have run some tests. These cover different package weights and destinations. This is a definitive 2022 look at which service is cheaper UPS or USPS?
Let’s get started…
Domestic Shipping: Which is Cheaper UPS or USPS?
The Test: Domestic Small Package
To compare UPS and USPS on which is cheaper for a small package we ran some calculations on a shipment from New York to LA. The package dimensions were 10 x 5 x 4 (inches) and weighed 10lbs.
As you can see, USPS Parcel select was the cheapest option here. However, with a 7-day potential delivery time, for anyone needing fast and cheap delivery, UPS would be a better choice.
USPS is the cheapest again when it comes to expedited 2-day delivery, with Priority Mail costing just $46.30. UPS is slower and costs nearly double that amount for its 3 Day Select.
The Test: Domestic Large Package
We carried out a similar test for a larger package. This item was also being sent from New York to LA. However, now the dimensions are 15 x 10 x 6 (inches) and weigh 30lbs.
As you can see, on a larger domestic package USP is the cheapest choice. The delivery time of 4 days is good too. If you are looking to reduce the delivery time, the cheapest choice is USPS Priority Mail. However, at $109.25 this is expensive.
Conclusion: Cheapest Domestic Shipments UPS vs. USPS
When shipping smaller, domestic packages USPS is the cheapest choice. If your parcel weighs 10lbs or less you will find low-priced USPS service options that will deliver your item for cheaper than with UPS.
However, if you are sending a heavier package domestically UPS offers better value for money.
This is due to the fact that the same surcharges and extra fees exist on both small and large package delivery with UPS. In other words, the heavier the parcel, the more cost-effective it is to use UPS in comparison to USPS.
- Related Content: A Look at USPS and its Priority Mail Service
International Shipping – Which is Cheaper UPS or USPS?
The Test: International Small Package
To compare UPS and USPS on which is cheaper for a small international package we ran some calculations on a shipment from New York to London. The package dimensions were 5 x 5 x 2 (inches) and weighed 5lbs.
As you can see, USPS is again cheaper for a small package shipped internationally. Using their Priority Mail international you can send a small 5lb package in just over a week for $80.65.
However, for just $13.40 more you can half that delivery time to 4 days. Very good value for money.
USP cannot even compete on a small package of this size. The cheapest option is over $200.
- Related Content: What Does “USPS in Possession of Item” Mean?
The Test: International Large Package
Again, a similar test was carried out for a larger package. This item was also being sent from New York to London. However, now the dimensions are 10 x 5 x 4 (inches) and weigh 20lbs.
As you can see, USPS is also the cheapest carrier for larger international shipments. UPS is over double the cost for its Expedited service which is only one day faster than the Priority Mail Express.
Conclusion: Cheapest international shipments UPS vs. USPS
The international shipping rates for UPS and USPS are very much dependent on weight and location.
As with domestic shipments, USPS is cheaper on smaller international items. For example, you will get better rates sending a 5lb package to London through USPS than you would UPS.
However, larger shipments via USPS can also be better value for money than USP.
That being said, although we are not looking at their services for this article, DHL Express Worldwide was the overall cheapest for large international shipments.
For international shipments, it is recommended that you experiment with a shipping calculator to get an idea of the cheapest service provider for your needs.
Saturday Delivery – Which is Cheaper UPS or USPS?
For this one there is no competition. USPS is a clear winner and is cheaper than UPS. This is because they offer weekend delivery as part of the normal delivery window.
UPS, meanwhile, charges extra to deliver packages on Saturdays.
Tracking options – Which is best UPS or USPS
It is worth noting that UPS provides more detailed tracking options. If you are sending important packages for business this is clearly important.
The same applies to eCommerce store owners sending products to customers. Good tracking options make a big difference.
- Related Content: USPS Self-Service Kiosks – ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW
UPS Ground vs. USPS Priority
Let’s take a look at how they compare.
Which is cheaper: UPS Ground vs. USPS Priority?
The Test: Small Domestic Package
We decided to go really small on our test of the two services for domestic packages. Here the item is just 5 x 2 x 1 (inches) and weighs 2lb. The transit route was from Dallas to San Francisco.
This was close. However, considering USPS Priority Mail is the cheapest at $14.75 and was also the fastest, it is clearly the best choice for a small domestic package.
The Test: Large Domestic Package
We ran the same test in terms of pick-up and delivery points. Here the package dimensions are much larger 20 x 10 x 5 and weigh 30lbs.
The UPS Ground services is clearly a cheaper option for large domestic packages. At only $45.74 it is almost half the price of the USPS Priority Mail option. It only takes one day longer too.
Conclusion: Which is cheaper UPS Ground or USPS Priority?
USPS Priority is marginally cheaper than UPS Ground when it comes to small packages two lbs. or less.
However, it is worth remembering the option of flat rate boxes with USPS Priority. You can use these to ship items regardless of weight, as long as they fit inside the dimensions of the flat rate box.
Fees and surcharges are added to all USP Ground shipments. This means that large, heavy packages can offer much better value for money when compared to USPS Priority.
- Related Content: UPS PAK: A Complete Guide
Which is faster: UPS Ground vs. USPS Priority?
USPS Priority also offers better delivery speeds. In research conducted by Stamps.com, the average total delivery days for USPS Priority Mail was 1.79 days. The comparative service from UPS (Ground) has a 2.75 day average delivery time.
It should be noted that as the research was conducted in 2014, it is dated now.
While we do not have the data to run extensive tests on the average delivery times of the two providers, a lot can be said about the service descriptions.
Essentially, if you ship domestically with USPS Priority you can expect it to arrive within one and two business days. If you use UPS Ground it will be closer to 3 days.