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UPS Vs USPS: Which is better for shipping?

UPS Vs USPS: Which is better for shipping?

Some weeks ago, I read a story about a business owner lamenting the poor conditions of the items she ordered. She trusted the delivery company to deliver her packages reliably, but it became one of her worst business experiences, as she’d have to spend extra money getting those goods in shape. In the same story, many more people shared their experiences with delivery companies and their delivery fears, and it made me realise just how crucial reliable delivery service plays in the lives of businesses and individuals.

When talking about delivery, two major players come to mind–UPS and USPS. With both offering a variety of services, deciding which one is "better" for your needs can be tricky.  This article will explore key differences between these delivery giants and how to choose one for your next shipment. Let's look into these key differences, starting with the very foundation of their offerings—the services they provide.

Services Offered


UPS, or United Parcel Service, is a global courier delivery company known for its reliable and fast shipping services, especially for larger and heavier packages. It operates worldwide and offers a wide range of services, including:

Nationwide Shipping (Within the USA):
UPS provides nationwide shipping services across the United States. Their shipping options are reliable and efficient, whether you're sending a package to a nearby city or a distant state. A wide network of distribution centres and delivery drivers ensures your packages are transported swiftly and securely.

International Shipping:
In addition to domestic shipping, UPS offers international shipping services to destinations around the globe. Whether you're sending a package to Europe, Asia, Africa, or any other continent, they facilitate fast and easy international deliveries. With expertise in customs clearance and international logistics, they help you minimise delays.

Related:  How To Shop and Ship From USA to Nigeria Using Heroshe

Flat Rate Shipping:
UPS offers flat-rate shipping options for customers looking for simplicity and predictability in shipping costs. With flat-rate shipping, you pay a fixed rate based on the size and weight of your package, regardless of the destination. The catch is that you have to use your packaging, and this service is only available within the US.

Freight Shipping:
UPS offers freight shipping services for larger and heavier shipments to accommodate your needs. Whether you are shipping pallets, crates, or oversized packages, their freight shipping services provide reliable transportation for your goods. UPS can handle shipments of all sizes and weights with air, ocean and ground freight options.

UPS Express Critical:
When speed and urgency are paramount, UPS Express Critical delivers. This premium shipping service offers expedited delivery for time-sensitive shipments. Whether you're sending medical supplies, critical documents, or perishable goods, UPS Express Critical ensures your package is delivered quickly and securely, even on weekends and holidays.


 United States Postal Service is an independent agency of the US  federal government responsible for providing postal services in the United States. Their shipping options include:

Priority Mail Express:
This is the fastest USPS shipping option, providing overnight delivery to most U.S. addresses, including PO boxes. It has features like free tracking, insurance up to $100, and free package pickup. Priority Mail Express also offers a money-back guarantee if the package doesn't arrive on time.

Priority Mail:
Priority Mail is another popular service offered by USPS. It provides fast delivery within 1-3 business days based on the destination, with flat-rate options available for various box sizes. Priority Mail includes features like USPS Tracking, up to $50 insurance for retail pricing, and free package pickup. This service is suitable for shipping packages weighing up to 70 pounds.

USPS Ground Advantage:
USPS Ground Advantage, or Retail Ground or Parcel Select Ground, is a cost-effective option for shipping large or heavy items that are not time-sensitive. Delivery typically takes 2-5 business days, depending on the distance. USPS Ground Advantage offers tracking and affordable pricing based on package weight, size, and distance travelled.

First-Class Mail:
First-Class Mail is USPS's most affordable option for lightweight packages and envelopes weighing up to 13 ounces. It's commonly used for sending letters, postcards, small packages, and flats. First-Class Mail typically delivers within 1-5 business days for domestic addresses, with features like USPS Tracking available for an additional fee. 

International Shipping:
USPS provides several international shipping options tailored to different needs. 

  • Global Express Guaranteed ensures the fastest delivery, with guaranteed arrival within 1-3 business days.
  • Priority Mail International Express is a swift and cost-effective choice, delivering packages within 3-5 business days. It offers flat-rate envelopes and boxes for simplified pricing and includes tracking. 
  • Priority Mail International delivers packages within 6-10 business days. 
  • First Class Package International Service is budget-friendly for smaller packages under 4 pounds, and delivery times vary by destination.

USPS delivers to over 190 countries, and their features for international shipment tracking, signature confirmation, and flat-rate options.

Related: 20 Tips for Safe and Secure International Shipping

Cost and rates

Pricing is often the most critical factor for many when choosing a shipping service. Let’s look at the shipping rates for both services.


Daily Rates:
UPS offers daily rates for shipping, which can vary depending on factors like package weight, size, destination, and the type of service you choose. These rates are updated regularly and are available for deliveries within the USA. These rates will only apply if you schedule a UPS pickup or have a contract providing daily rates.

Retail Rates:
Retail rates are the standard shipping rates that individuals and small businesses pay when shipping packages through UPS. They are based on package weight, size, destination, and the chosen shipping service (such as UPS Ground or UPS Next Day Air). You can choose to use the retail rates if you do not have a UPS account, have not scheduled payment, or are shipping from a UPS retail store.

Flat Rate Shipping – UPS Simple Rate:
UPS Simple Rate is a flat-rate shipping option offered by UPS that provides a predictable and straightforward pricing structure for certain package sizes and weights. With UPS Simple Rate, you pay a flat rate for shipping regardless of the destination within the United States. You must provide your packaging and choose your delivery speed to use this rate.

Affordable shipping from the US to Nigeria


Basic Services:

  • First-Class Mail: This is for lightweight packages and envelopes. Prices start low, but they increase based on weight and size.
  • Priority Mail: This is faster than First-Class Mail and comes with free tracking. Prices are based on package weight and distance.
  • Priority Mail Express: This is the fastest service USPS offers. Prices are based on weight and distance but higher than Priority Mail.

Flat Rate Options:
USPS offers Flat Rate options for Priority Mail and Priority Mail Express. No matter the weight or distance, it ships for one flat rate if it fits in the box or envelope. This can be a good deal for heavy items or long-distance shipping.

International Shipping:
USPS offers different services for shipping internationally, like Priority Mail International and First-Class Package International Service. Prices vary based on destination and package size.

Delivery Speed and Reliability

These companies offer various services to get your packages to their destination, tailored to meet different needs. Let's break down how fast they can deliver and how reliable they are in meeting those delivery deadlines.


Delivery Speed:
Ground Shipping:
UPS Ground is a reliable option for shipping packages that aren't urgent. Typically, deliveries within the same region take 1-5 business days. 

Air Shipping: If speed is of the essence, UPS offers air shipping options like UPS Next Day Air and UPS 2nd Day Air. With these services, your package can reach its destination within 1-2 business days, depending on the service selected and the destination. 

International Shipping: When sending packages overseas, UPS provides various international shipping options, including UPS Worldwide Express and UPS Standard. The delivery speed for international shipments can vary depending on customs clearance and distance.

Reliability in Meeting Delivery Deadlines:
UPS prides itself on its reliability in delivering packages on time. It has a strong track record of meeting delivery deadlines across its various services. However, like any shipping carrier, unexpected circumstances such as severe weather, natural disasters, or unforeseen events can sometimes cause delays.

To reduce such issues, UPS employs advanced tracking and monitoring systems to monitor shipments throughout delivery. Customers can track their packages in real-time using the UPS tracking tool, which provides visibility into the package's journey and estimated delivery date.

ship iphones to Nigeria in less than 14 days


Delivery Speed for Different Services:

  • Priority Mail Express: 1-2 days (guaranteed) 
  • Priority Mail:  1-3 business days
  • First-Class Mail: 1-5 business days.
  • USPS Ground Advantage: 2-5 business days
  • Parcel Select: 2-8 business days

Reliability in Meeting Delivery Deadlines:

  • Consistent Performance: USPS has a generally reliable track record for meeting delivery deadlines, especially for Priority Mail and First-Class Mail services.
  • Delivery Guarantees: USPS offers delivery guarantees for Priority Mail Express shipments, ensuring delivery by a specified date and time. Customers can track their shipments and receive notifications to stay updated on the status of their deliveries.
  • Occasional Delays: While USPS strives to deliver mail promptly, occasional delays may occur, particularly during peak seasons or high mail volume. 

Tracking Services

Both UPS and USPS offer package tracking services. UPS is known for its detailed tracking system, which provides frequent updates and estimated delivery times. USPS also provides tracking services, but its updates might not be as frequent or detailed as UPS's.

Package Size and Weight Limits 


If you have big or heavy stuff to send, UPS might be your go-to choice. They can handle packages weighing up to 150 pounds, so you can ship larger items without worrying too much about weight restrictions. Whether furniture, equipment or anything else bulky, UPS has covered you.


Now, USPS is a bit more limited in this department. Their standard services usually cap out at 70 pounds. So, if you're sending something heavier, you might need to explore other options.

Choosing the Right Carrier

Choosing the right carrier for shipping your packages is crucial to ensure timely delivery at the best price. Here’s what to keep in mind when making your decision:

Think about the weight and size of your package. Generally, heavier and larger packages cost more to ship. Compare carrier rates to find the most budget-friendly option for your package.

If you need your package to arrive quickly, prioritise overnight or expedited services. UPS often excels in this department, offering reliable and fast delivery options for urgent shipments.

Consider how convenient it is for you to send and receive packages. USPS stands out for its mailbox delivery service, which allows you to receive packages directly at your doorstep. On the other hand, UPS boasts a wider network of drop-off points, making it easier to drop off your packages at a convenient location.

Special Services:
Take into account any special services you may need. UPS and USPS offer additional services like package tracking, insurance, and signature confirmation. Choose the carrier that best meets your specific shipping requirements.

Related: Knowledge Check: Products You Can't Ship From the US

Saving Costs with Heroshe

In addition to traditional shipping carriers like UPS and USPS, you can consider Heroshe’s pick-up services. We now offer pickup services, providing our customers with a convenient alternative.

Let’s say you need to pick up an item in New York but are not in the area to do so yourself. Instead of relying on UPS or USPS to ship the item to you, you can contact us, and we'll arrange to pick it up for you at no additional cost.


In wrapping up our comparison of UPS and USPS for shipping, it's clear that both companies offer valuable services, but which one is better depends on your specific needs.

If you're looking for speed and reliability, UPS might be the way to go. Their delivery options, especially for urgent shipments, are known for quick turnaround times and on-time deliveries. 

On the other hand, if you prioritise affordability and accessibility, USPS could be your best bet. They offer a wide range of shipping options at competitive prices, and with their extensive network of post offices and mailbox services, sending your packages is convenient and hassle-free.

Ultimately, the choice between UPS and USPS depends on your preferences and requirements. If you want to explore Heroshe’s pickup services, create an account and start exploring.

Ilaya Teejay

Ilaya Teejay

Ilaya Teejay is the Content Marketing Associate at Heroshe. She believes words can shape user experiences, and she's turning this belief into a career that helps people and businesses succeed.