The Cheapest Way to Ship Small Packages

David Chan | Sep 19, 2022 | Carriers

Are you looking for the cheapest way to ship small packages? You’ve come to the right place. Every e-commerce entrepreneur desires to keep business costs down and maximize revenues. And minimizing shipping costs goes a long way in achieving this. Come with us as we explore more about the best shipping services for small packages. Let’s get started.

Cheapest Way to Ship Based on Delivery Speed 

Different shipping companies come with different delivery timeframes and shipping costs. Generally, for small packages, the United States Postal Service (USPS) is considered the cheapest option for deliveries within 1-5 days. Check out the following options under this service:  

First class

USPS First Class service is a pocket-friendly and easy way to send small packages, usually under 13 oz ( 1 pound). The allowed dimension for a first-class package is up to 108 inches. You can use this service to send items anywhere within the US.

The First class service prices start at $ 4.50 with deliveries made within 2-5 days and come with an insurance cover of up to $ 5000 for merchandise only.

Priority Mail Flat Rate Boxes

For packages that weigh more than 13 oz, you’ll need to switch to the Priority Mail Flat Rate Boxes Service. Under this service, you can ship packages up to 70 lbs to any state at the same price. The deliveries are made within 1-3 business days. The prices start at $8.70.

Best Way to Ship Next Day 1

When time is of the essence, and you need to send a package in a matter of hours, then next-day shipping is your best bet. You can choose from the 3 most popular couriers; USPS, USP, and FedEx.

However, among the 3, USPS is the cheapest option with its Priority Mail Express service. Regular pricing for this package starts at $26.95 with extra charges for holiday and Sunday delivery.

UPS Next Day Saver follows with prices starting at $29.66 and deliveries guaranteed by the end of the following day. FedEx Standard Overnight Shipping comes third at a starting price of $31.22 for next-day delivery for locations within 150 miles.

Best Way to Ship Internationally 

The Cheapest Way to Ship Small Packages

Shipping costs for international deliveries vary based on the destination. Generally, the farther the destination, the higher the shipping costs. The 3 most popular shipping companies: USPS, UPS, and FedEx, offer different prices for international deliveries. Typically, USPS offers the cheapest international shipping rates compared to the other two. 

USPS Priority Mail International Canada

Canada is among the cheapest international shipping destinations available. The USPS Priority Mail International Canada offers an economical and fast way of shipping packages to Canada. This service allows you to choose the flat rate option for envelopes and small boxes up to 4lbs as well as medium and large boxes up to 20 lbs at a starting price of 29.60. You can also opt for the ship by weight option for packages of up to 70 lbs at a starting price of $40.45.

This plan includes tracking and $2000 insurance for merchandise to cover loss, damage, or missing contents. The expected delivery time for this service is between 6-10 business days.

UPS Worldwide Saver

The UPS Worldwide Saver guarantees afternoon delivery for international shipments within 3 days. The service also comes with free UPS packaging. This is most suitable if you want fast delivery without time for receiving the products. 

While the prices for this service depend on the weight of the package and the delivery destination, it starts at $ 72.96 for the next-day delivery of a 1-pound package.

FedEx International Ground 

This low-cost shipping service offers door-to-door shipping services between US and Canada, as well as Within Canada. With FedEx International Ground, you can ship packages up to 150 lbs with an expected delivery of between 1-7 days. The prices for this service start at $ 22.61.

Cheapest Ways to Ship Packages by Size 

The size of a package given by its weight and height significantly determines its shipping cost. The bigger the package, the larger the space it will occupy and the higher the shipping costs. You should thus be very careful when choosing the packing material for your items.

Based on the size, the following are the cheapest shipping options for different items:

Best shipping methods for gift cards

Since gift cards are small, the best shipping method is the USPS Priority Mail Flat Rate Envelop. This method allows you to ship packages under 70 lbs at one low flat rate. The price for this service is determined by the envelope you choose and not the weight or destination distance. All packages sent via the Priority mail flat rate envelope service are delivered within 1-3 days.

Best shipping methods for small packages

USPS offers the best shipping rates for small packages compared to UPS or FedEx. You can use USPS Priority Mail Flat Rate Box to send small packages under 70 lbs at a predetermined low rate based on the box you use. The pricing does not consider the weight, size, or distance the package will travel. The prices for the service start at $9.45, and deliveries are made within 1-3 days.

The best shipping method for medium and large packages

You’ll need to look beyond USPS for medium and large packages, as it does not accommodate packages above 70 lbs in weight. In this case, UPS or FedEx are the options with their UPS Simple Rate or FedEx One Rate. 

The UPS Simple Rate service allows you to ship packages up to 50 lbs to anywhere in the US at a flat fee based on the package size. The pricing for this service starts at $13.90 for medium boxes and $18.40 for large boxes. The price also depends on your delivery speed, ranging from 1-3 days.

FedEx One Rate allows you to ship packages up to 50 lbs to any destination in the US at a flat rate. The pricing depends on the distance of the shipping destination and not the size of the package.

Best Shipping Method for Gift Cards: USPS Priority Mail Flate Rate Envelop 

USPS Priority Mail Flat Rate is the best shipping service for documents and small packages under 1 lb. This service features one flat rate for sending packages and envelopes weighing up to 70 lbs to their destinations.

You’ll need special flat rate envelopes or boxes to use USPS Priority Mail Flat Rate service. If you want to mail a gift card to someone, the best way is to use USPS Priority Mail Flat Rate Envelope. 

This will allow you to ship at a predetermined rate regardless of the weight or destination of the gift card. The service comes at a starting price of $ 7.75 for commercial and $ 8.95 for non-commercial. The postal service provides free envelopes, free tracking, and $ 50 if the package is destroyed or lost under priority mail shipping.

Priority Mail flat rate pricing depends on the size of the package you are shipping. Deliveries for the Priority Mail Flat rate envelopes packages are made within 1-3 days.

Best Shipping Method for Small Packages: USPS Priority Mail Small Flat Rate Box 

The Cheapest Way to Ship Small Packages

The best and most economical service for sending small items like jewelry or T-shirt is USPS Priority Mail Flat Rate. This allows you to send any item less than 70 pounds to any place at a single flat fee. Any package sent via Flat Rate must use specified Flat Rate boxes as the box acts as postage. 

For you to use the priority mail flat rate service, you’ll need to ensure that your item perfectly fits in the box. The USPS Priority Mail Small Flat rate box costs $9.45, with an expected delivery time of between 1-3 days. 

The Priority Mail flat rate box is 8 ⅝ * 5 ⅜ * 1 ⅝ in dimensions and comes with expedited delivery, free tracking, and insurance of up to $50.

An alternative option is to use FedEx One Rate with FedEx Express saver, with a starting price of $12.05 for a small box. This will take about 3 days to deliver. You can also go for UPS Ground Service with a starting price of $10.15. This will take up to a week to deliver.


Best Shipping Method for Medium and Large Packages: UPS Simple Rate or FedEx One Rate 

The Cheapest Way to Ship Small Packages

To ship medium and large packages, you can go for either UPS Simple Rate or FedEx One Rate, as they are not different in terms of prices. This service allows you to ship anywhere in the US at a flat rate based on the size of your packaging.

The maximum weight allowed for UPS simple rate shipping is up to 50 pounds. The price for this service starts at $13.90 for medium boxes and $ 22.85 for large boxes of up to 1050 cubic inches. The prices also vary depending on your delivery speed, ranging between 1-5 working days.

FedEx One Rate similarly allows you to ship packages weighing 50 pounds or less to any place in the US at a fixed price. The FedEx One Rate cost depends on the packaging, delivery destination, and speed of delivery.

FedEx One Rate uses delivery zones in determining the price for the service. The zones are categorized into 3: local, regional, and national, depending on the distance and priced differently. The local zone covers shipments moving between 0-150 miles, the regional zone between 151-600 miles, and the national zone covers shipments beyond 600 miles. The price starts at $15.70 for a medium box and $ 24.20 for a large box.

Best Shipping for Oversized Packages: UPS Ground Services 

While the USPS priority mail is the cheapest shipping service, it does not allow shipping of packages more than 70 lbs. If you are looking for the best way to ship big, bulky, and heavy items such as furniture, you should consider FedEx or UPS. These two shipping companies can ship packages up to 150 lbs with their regular services.

The UPS Ground service is a cost-effective, day-specific delivery package that delivers within 1-5 days anywhere in the US. Compared to FedEx, UPS ground service offers more on-time deliveries, up to 2 days faster. However, this service is more costly, with a price quote of $ 191.64 with a four-day delivery period for a 100 lb package from New York to California compared to $187.80 with 6-day delivery for FedEx.


As an e-commerce entrepreneur, you aim to minimize costs to realize more profits. High shipping costs can lower your profit margins leading to lower revenues. As such, it’s important to choose your shipping service carefully and keep the costs low.

USPS, FedEx, and UPS are today’s most popular and effective shipping services. Among the three couriers, USPS offers the best rates for small packages. However, it does not guarantee delivery time. UPS and FedEx are better for shipping large packages. These two do not have much difference in terms of pricing. FedEx offers superior services with the best tracking and fastest deliveries.

Well, there you have it, the 3 best shipping services you can try. Choose a shipping partner who offers you the cheapest rates while remaining effective. Going for a company with delayed deliveries will result in your business losing customers. Identify your business needs and understand what your customers expect from you to make the right choice.

No matter the shipping partner you choose among the three companies, tracking software like ParcelPanel can help you put your mind to rest and concentrate on other important roles. Parcel panel provides real-time sync and tracking of all your shipments in one place, putting your mind at rest and allowing you to focus on other important roles. 

This tracking software will help you boost your customers’ satisfaction and consequently boost your sales by providing the best after-purchase experience. With Parcel Panel, you can create your own branded tracking page and send it to your customers. This will build trust and bring customers back to your store for more sales.

Parcel panel keeps your customers engaged by sending proactive and timely shipping notifications. The tool also comes with smart data analytics to give important insights into your shipping process and help identify the carrier that best suits your needs. Better still, the software integrates seamlessly with over 20 e-commerce platforms and apps like Shopify, WooCommerce, Zendesk, Intercom, and Loox.

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