UPS vs DHL Comparison. Difference between UPS and DHL

UPS and DHL are among the largest logistics companies in the world, offering multiple options for domestic and international shipping. We have prepared the UPS vs DHL courier comparison guide, highlighting the advantages and disadvantages, delivery services, shipping rates and the main differences between DHL and UPS.

UPS is based in the United States, and it is one of the world’s largest freight carriers. Currently, UPS headquarters is located in Sandy Springs, Georgia. UPS provides U.S. Domestic Package deliveries, International Package shipping, and Supply Chain & Freight operations.

DHL is an American and German courier company headquartered in Germany. DHL offers worldwide shipping services, including deliveries to sanctioned nations like North Korea. DHL ships to Europe and globally with Express Worldwide, Economy Select, Same Day Sprintline and other shipping options.

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DHL vs UPS: types of delivery services

Both DHL and UPS offer a wide range of domestic and international shipping options.

UPS offers different shipping options for national deliveries, although most of them have a transit time defined of 1 business day. UPS also provides the next day or even same-day delivery options in the 50 states and Puerto Rico. With UPS international shipping services, you can choose the same delivery options, but the transit time will vary.

The range of DHL domestic shipping services include Express service, DHL Parcel (Europe), freight transportation, warehousing or temperature-controlled logistics, among others. DHL international shipping services include DHL Sameday Jetline, DHL Sameday Sprintline, DHL Express 9:00, DHL Express 10:30, DHL Express 12:00, DHL Express Worldwide, DHL Express Envelope, DHL Express Easy, and DHL Globalmail Business.

UPS Domestic Shipping Services

UPS Express Plus
Delivery time: 1 business day, delivery by 09.00 a.m.

UPS Express
Delivery time: 1 business day, delivery by 10.30 a.m.

UPS Express Saver
Delivery time: 1 business day, delivery by the end of the day

UPS Standard Delivery
Delivery time: 1-2 business days, delivery during the day

UPS International Shipping Services

UPS Express Plus
Delivery time: 1 business day, delivery by 09.00 a.m.

UPS Express
Delivery time: 1 business day, delivery by 10.30 a.m.

UPS Express Saver
Delivery time: 1 business day, delivery by the end of the day

UPS Expedited
Delivery time: 1-2 business days, delivery during the day

UPS Standard Delivery
Delivery time: 1-5 business days, delivery during the day

UPS Freight Shipping Service

UPS Freight shipping services can be divided into door-to-door service and services with delivery to the airport.

UPS Worldwide Express Freight
Delivery time: 1-3 business days, delivery by the end of the day

UPS Worldwide Express Freight Midday
Delivery time: 1-3 business days, delivery by noon or 2 p.m., depending on the destination postcode

UPS Air Freight Premium Direct
Delivery time: 1-3 business days, delivery by the end of the day

UPS Air Freight Direct
Delivery time: 1-3 business days, delivery to the airport by the end of the day

UPS Air Freight Consolidated
Delivery time: 3-5 business days, delivery to the airport by the end of the day

DHL Domestic Shipping Services

DHL Sameday Sprintline
Delivery time: Delivery within the shortest possible time

DHL Express
Delivery time: Delivery on the next possible day

DHL Express Easy
Delivery time: Delivery by the end of the next possible business day for shipments paid at a DHL Service Point

DHL Parcel
Delivery time: 24-48h within the same country, and 3-6 days within Europe

DHL Freight transportation
Delivery time: –

DHL International Shipping Services

DHL Express
Delivery time: Next possible business day

DHL Parcel International
Delivery time: 3-8 business days Canada, 4-8 days Europe,
6-14 business days worldwide

DHL International Mail
Delivery time: 4-8 business days

DHL Freight shipping
Delivery time: –

Note that not all of DHL services, both domestic and international, are available in all locations.
Does DHL offer warehousing service?
DHL also provides a different range of warehousing and distribution solutions. Its warehouse management systems record all events and activities in the receipt, handling and storage of products and orders in the warehouse or distribution centre, including the location of inventory.

Are you looking for more comparison articles? Check the related pages below:

DHL and UPS services for eCommerce: which courier company is better for your business?

Both DHL and UPS provide logistics services for eCommerce. Depending on your delivery destinations and budget, you can decide whether DHL or UPS is better for your business needs.

DHL offers eCommerce solutions in the following countries: Australia, Canada, China, Hong Kong, India, Israel, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, USA and Vietnam. DHL offers eCommerce shipping solutions depending on the country.

UPS does not offer any exclusive eCommerce shipping solution. When considering UPS for business shipping, you choose between the same options as in National, International and Freight delivery.

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DHL and UPS – Which one is better? Compare the advantages of DHL and UPS

To help you decide which courier company is better for your business shipping needs, we compared the advantages of DHL and UPS.


  • Door-to-door delivery,
  • 24/7 international support,
  • Offers refunds for service failures on its part,
  • No pickup fees,
  • Deliveries to countries like Noth Korea and Cuba.


  • Stronger U.S. presence,
  • Many cost-effective shipping options,
  • Discount for package weight more than 21 kg,
  • Negotiable rates,
  • Time-definite delivery options within the U.S.

DHL vs UPS shipping cost comparison. Is DHL cheaper than UPS?

DHL and UPS shipping prices vary due to different factors such as package weight, package dimensions and shipment destination. These and some other factors determine whether DHL or UPS offer more affordable shipping rates. You can get the shipping quotes directly on DHL and UPS websites. To get some of the best prices for international shipping services, we recommend making a price simulation on Eurosender shipping engine as well.

DHL and UPS: which is faster?

DHL and UPS delivery time is estimated according to the service requested as well as pickup and delivery destinations. Still, a comparison of UPS and DHL reveals that the DHL Express shipping is typically faster than UPS Ground service. While DHL delivers express shipments in 1-6 working days internationally, UPS Ground takes 4-7 business days for delivery.

What items are forbidden to ship with DHL and UPS?

Before planning your shipping, it is recommended to check the list of items which are forbidden to ship with DHL and UPS couriers. Note that the following is not an exhaustive list. For a full list of forbidden and restricted items, please check the DHL and UPS official websites. Items like human remains, shipments prohibited by law, illegal drugs and some other things are forbidden by both DHL and UPS.


  • Bullion
  • Cash
  • Firearms
  • Li-Metal batteries
  • Live animals
  • Illegal goods*


  • Ammunition
  • Legal tender
  • Marijuana
  • Fireworks
  • Hazardous waste
  • Shark fins

*Including but not limited to counterfeit goods and narcotics

DHL vs UPS – which one to choose?

When comparing DHL and UPS shipping rates and prices, it is important to consider the locations, package dimensions and time-sensitivity of your shipment.

DHL is specialised on international shipping and is perfect for express documents, files, and envelopes. DHL is regarded as a world market leader in sea and airmail. With DHL, you can ship to sanctioned countries and territories.

UPS focuses more on 2-3 days deliveries but has a significant overnight delivery service across the United States as well. It provides the fastest shipping options through its UPS Express Critical Domestic service. UPS is famous for its advanced tracking tool and shipping rates.

Take a look at the basic information and stats comparison of DHL and UPS:
Market share19,60%27%
The yearly volume of packages1,5 billion5,5 billion
The average delivery time (standard)3-8 business days1-5 business days
Shipping locationsMore than 220 countries and territoriesMore than 220 countries and territories
Number of employees380, 000 (2019)481,000 (2018)

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Disclaimer: The information is the result of online research conducted in April 2020. For more information and updated data, we strongly recommend checking the information on the official website of the logistics companies mentioned above.