UPS vs. USPS: Which Shipping Carrier Is Best in 2024?

Two of the most commonly used carriers are UPS and USPS. Both offer a wide range of shipping services and can be an excellent choice, depending on your specific needs.

In this article, we'll provide you with an in-depth comparison of UPS vs. USPS, examining their services, pricing, delivery times, and other factors that can help you make an informed decision about which carrier to choose.

Related Reading: UPS vs. Canada Post

What is the Difference Between UPS and USPS?

UPS, a US-based logistics and package delivery company, is a giant in the industry. With a presence in over 220 countries, it operates a vast fleet of trucks, planes, and facilities. 

UPS provides a range of services, including ground, air, and freight shipping, and also offers e-commerce fulfillment services tailored to help businesses manage their online orders and deliver to their customers.


On the other hand, USPS is the national postal service of the United States, which has been around for over two centuries. 

It is responsible for delivering mail and packages to every address in the country, and it operates one of the largest vehicle fleets in the world. 

Over time, USPS recognized the growing demand for shipping services related to e-commerce and has created partnerships and initiatives to cater to the needs of business owners and offers a range of services that are particularly beneficial for ecommerce businesses, such as priority mail, first-class mail, and media mail. 

Related Reading: Why and How China Post and USPS are Killing Your Private Labeling Business


UPS vs. USPS: Which Is Cheaper?

We've compiled the data on how much it costs to ship a 10kg package with UPS vs. USPS, both within the US and overseas.

The following examples are approximate rates for shipping a 10kg (22 lbs) package and the value declared to get the prices presented in the table was the minimum.

UPS vs. USPS: Domestic Shipping

Here's a table comparing the approximate rates for shipping a 10kg (22 lbs) package from California to New York using the various shipping services offered by UPS vs. USPS.

Carrier Shipping Service Price Shipping Days
UPS UPS Ground $22.64 Next day
UPS 3-Day Select $56.62 3 business days
UPS 2nd Day Air $70.60 2 business days
UPS Next Day Air Saver $133.50 Next day
UPS Next Day Air Early $167.48 Next day early
USPS Priority Mail Small Flat Rate Box $10.20 2 business days
Priority Mail Medium Flat Rate Box $17.10 2 business days
Priority Mail Large Flat Rate Box $22.80 2 business days
Priority Mail $91.90 2 business days
Priority Mail Express 1-Day $184.95 Next day

If you're trying to save some bucks on ground shipping, USPS Priority Mail may be your best option. It's a bit cheaper than UPS Ground, but you gotta make sure your item fits in their small, medium, or flat-rate box.

However, if delivery time is a consideration and you need the package to arrive the next day, you should go with UPS Ground, as it offers faster delivery.

For delivery on the next business day, UPS Ground is significantly cheaper than USPS Priority Mail Express 1-Day.

UPS vs. USPS: International Shipping

Here's a table comparing UPS vs. USPS rates for shipping a 10kg (22lbs) package from the US to the UK:

Carrier Shipping Service Price Shipping Days
UPS UPS Worldwide Saver $313.18 2 business days
UPS Worldwide Express $325.30 2 business days
UPS Worldwide Express Plus $371.40 2 business days
USPS Priority Mail International $164.60 6-10 business days
Priority Mail Express International $179.20 3-5 business days
USPS GXG Envelopes $268.25 1-3 business days

If you're not in a rush to get your package and want to save some money, USPS Priority Mail International is the cheapest option and less expensive than UPS shipping options.

But, if you need your package to get to its destination quickly and within 2 business days, you should consider UPS Worldwide Saver. It's faster than USPS, although to get the cheapest rate you should opt for their UPS 10K box (which measures 17'x13'x11′).

UPS vs. USPS: Which Is Faster?

While UPS usually charges more than USPS for shipping packages, they offer quicker delivery times for some shipping services, especially for international shipping.

USPS also has expedited options for domestic shipments such as Priority Mail Express, but their delivery times are generally not as fast as UPS.

If delivery time is an essential aspect of time-sensitive shipments, then UPS is definitely worth considering. 

So, if you prioritize speed over cost, UPS might be your better option.

UPS vs. USPS: Which Is Better? 

Deciding whether UPS vs. USPS is better will depend on the shipping needs. 

As shown in the table above, UPS is generally faster and more reliable for time-sensitive shipments and they can guarantee delivery within a specific timeframe. However, their shipping services are more expensive than USPS.

USPS, on the other hand, offers more affordable rates and is often the better option for shipping small, lightweight packages. However, their delivery times can be less predictable, and they may not offer as many expedited services as UPS.

Shipping UPS vs. USPS: Delivery Services

UPS has a bunch of services for both domestic and international shipping:

Shipping Service Description Approximate Price Range Approximate Delivery Time
UPS Ground Affordable ground shipping service within the same country $10-$50 1-7 business days
UPS Next Day Air Next-day delivery service within the same country $30-150 Next business day
UPS 2nd Day Air Two-day delivery within the same country $20-$100 2 business days
UPS 3-Day Select Three-day delivery within the same country $15-$80 3 business days
UPS Worldwide Express Fast international shipping service $50-$500 1-3 business days
UPS Worldwide Saver International shipping service is a bit more affordable but slower than the service above $40-$400 1-3 business days
UPS Standard Cheap option but with longer delivery times $15-$80 Depends on the country

Delivery times can vary, depending on the service you choose. But the faster you want your package, the more you'll have to pay for it.

USPS also offers various services, including:

Shipping Service Approximate Price Range Approximate Delivery Time Description
Priority Mail $7-25 1-3 business days Fast shipping service within the US
Priority Mail Express $25-$50 1-2 business days Shipping within the US for urgent shipments
‘First-Class Mail $0.55-$5 1-3 business days Cheap shipping option for lightweight packages and non-urgent deliveries.
Parcel Select Depends on the weight 2-9 business days Groud services for large packages.
Media Mail $2-$10 2-10 business days Cheap shipping service for books or other stuff but win log delivery times
USPS Retail Ground Depends on the weight 2-8 business days Ground service for large and heavy packages
First-Class Package $4-$6 6-10 business days For packages under 16 ounces
USPS Priority Mail International Depends on the country of destination Depends on the country of destination Fast international shipping service
USPS First-Class Package International Depends on the country of destination Depends on the country of destination Affordable for lightweight packages or letters and for non-urgent deliveries

Both UPS and USPS offer a range of shipping services that cater to different needs. UPS provides services like UPS Next Day Air and UPS Worldwide Express, offering fast and reliable delivery options both domestically and internationally. 

USPS, on the other hand, offers services such as Priority Mail and Priority Mail Express, suitable for ecommerce businesses with varying delivery times and affordable pricing options.

Pros and Cons of UPS

Before choosing a courier it is important to consider the strengths and weaknesses of each company. Here are the pros and cons of UPS:

UPS Pros

  • Quick and secure deliveries
  • Provides guaranteed express shipping
  • Same day and next day delivery
  • Offers volume discounts if you use their services often
  • Provides great tracking system

UPS Cons

  • Shipping costs are more expensive than USPS, due to fees and surcharges/li>
  • A flat rate is applied for pickup.

Pros and Cons of USPS

USPS comes with its own distinct advantages and disadvantages, including:


  • USPS is the only courier service capable of delivering to P.O. boxes and mailboxes
  • The most cost-effective option for small packages, particularly those weighing under 13 pounds
  • Maintains a strong reputation for timely deliveries even in challenging weather conditions
  • Offers free packing materials in post offices which can also be delivered to you directly
  • Provides flat-rate boxes as part of their Priority Mail service


  • Less reliable compared to UPS in terms of tracking services/li>
  • The customer service reputation is not very positive

UPS vs. USPS: Summary

Price More expensive More affordable
Shipping Express delivery for emergency shipments with same-day or next-day delivery Offers more affordable rates for small, lightweight packages, especially for domestic shipments
Delivery Time Generally faster and more reliable for time-sensitive shipments Delivery times can be less predictable
Pick-up Services You can schedule a pick-up from your location Limited pick-up only available for certain shipping services
Tracking Services Offers an accurate tracking system USPS offers tracking information but is typically updated less frequently than UPS
Locations UPS has a much smaller network of about 4,800 UPS locations, however, UPS has a larger global network and operates on a larger scale in terms of package delivery and logistics. USPS is significantly larger than UPS in the United States. USPS operates over 31,000 post offices and retail locations across the country, however, UPS has a larger global presence than USPS.

Final Thoughts: UPS or USPS?

When choosing between UPS vs. USPS, it's important to take into account all relevant aspects such as the delivery timeframe, shipping costs, package weight, destination, and level of urgency.

Both carriers provide various shipping services with different features to meet your shipping requirements, so the best option for you will depend on your preferences.

What's your choice when it comes to carriers – UPS vs. USPS? What considerations led you to that choice? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.

Helena Fernandez Morano

I'm proud to be part of an amazing group of talented political scientists who never shy away from blazing new trails, especially in uncertain times. Outside of my work in this field, I delve into the fascinating world of eCommerce. I'm always eager to join projects with scope, where I can team up with people who inspire me.

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