Shipping Comparison of USPS, UPS, and FedEx


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FEDEX

UPS

U.S. POSTAL SERVICE

WINNER

WHY

Prices

Slightly cheaper than UPS and the post office's Standard Post but still higher than flat-rate boxes from the Postal Service

Slightly higher than FedEx and much higher than the Postal Service

Cheapest across the board, with the notable exception of Standard Post ground shipping

Postal Service

Flat-rate boxes and online discounts helped the Postal Service generate the lowest prices in nearly every scenario we tried.

Delivery Options

Same day, next business day (3 guaranteed times), 2 business days, 3 business days, 1-7 business days

Same day, next business day (3 guaranteed times), 2 business days, 3 business days, 1-5 business days

Overnight to most locations, 2-3 days, 2-8 days

FedEx, UPS

FedEx and UPS provide far more options for urgent shipping than the Postal Service. They offer basically identical services and quoted us the same delivery dates and times.

Reliability

88% on-time delivery of express packages; money-back guarantee

91% on-time delivery of express packages; money-back guarantee

87.2% on-time delivery of shipments including Standard Post and Media Mail; money-back guarantee for Priority Mail Express only.

FedEx, UPS

We couldn't make an apples-to-apples comparison -- the Postal Service number is more recent, for instance, and doesn't include expedited deliveries -- so we gave this one to the private-sector carriers based on their money-back guarantees.

Customer Service

85 out of 100 in American Customer Satisfaction Index; highest average over 15 years

84 out of 100 in American Customer Satisfaction Index; second-highest average over 15 years

77 out of 100 in American Customer Satisfaction Index, down 5 percent from last year; lowest average over 15 years

FedEx

Historically FedEx has scored slightly higher than UPS and much higher than the Postal Service.

Convenience

8,700 locations, 36,500 drop boxes; online shipping services, free package pickup

18,700 locations, 40,000 drop boxes; online shipping services, free package pickup

31,250 locations, 2,500 self-service kiosks; online shipping services, free package pickup

Postal Service

Drop boxes let UPS and FedEx cover a lot of ground and accept packages 24/7 at a time when many post offices have closed or cut hours. However, the Postal Service claims thousands more retail locations, even in rural areas, and impressed us with its online services.

Free Services

FedEx Express boxes and labels; Saturday (but no Monday) delivery with FedEx Home Delivery; Date Certain, Evening, or Appointment Home Delivery; tracking

Packaging for select air services only; tracking

Priority Mail Express and Priority Mail boxes and labels; Saturday pickup and delivery; tracking for most services; no fuel surcharge or residential/commercial delivery fees

Postal Service

The Postal Service charges fewer extra fees and now offers tracking for most shipping methods.

Cheapest International Service

FedEx International Economy: time-definite delivery in 2-5 business days to more than 215 countries and territories

UPS Worldwide Expedited: 2-5 business days to more than 60 countries and territories

Priority Mail International Flat Rate: 6-10 postal business days to virtually every country

Postal Service

Service is slower, but senders can save a bundle with flat-rate boxes for international shipments up to 20 pounds.

Large/Heavy Items

Up to 150 pounds (70 pounds for Home Delivery) and 165 inches; surcharges apply; freight service available for overweight parcels

Up to 150 pounds and 165 inches; surcharges apply; freight service available for overweight parcels

Up to 70 pounds and 130 inches for Standard Post, 108 inches for Priority Mail and Priority Mail Express; flat-rate boxes ship for the same price regardless of weight

FedEx, UPS, Postal Service

FedEx and UPS accommodate oversize and overweight packages. The Postal Service promises huge savings for shipments that weigh up to 70 pounds, provided they fit in a flat-rate box.