UPS vs USPS comparison. What are the differences between UPS and USPS?

The best way to compare the advantages and analyse the differences between UPS and USPS couriers is to check the information we prepared for you. We have compared USPS and UPS rates, their unique features and shipping options for individuals and businesses to help you choose between companies.

USPS is an American courier company, owned by the government of the USA. USPS has exclusive access to letterboxes marked “U.S. Mail” and personal mailboxes in the United States and also provides international shipping.

UPS is also the American-based courier which offers multiple shipping services for international and domestic shipping. Some of the shipping options include express shipments, air shipments, ground delivery, and freight transportation.

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UPS and USPS shipping services

USPS and UPS offer a variety of services to suit different shipping needs. UPS and USPS shipping services can be divided into domestic and international.

UPS provides one of the fastest shipping options through its UPS Express Critical Domestic service. Moreover, it is allowed to ship alcohol via UPS shipping services.

USPS offers free pick up, free Priority and Express Mail packaging, and a range of delivery options that fit many small business needs. However, shipping alcohol is forbidden through USPS.

USPS domestic shipping services

USPS Retail Ground
Delivery time: 2-8 business days

USPS Media Mail
Delivery time: 2-8 business days

USPS First-Class Mail
Delivery time: 1-3 business days

USPS Priority Mail
Delivery time: 1-3 business days

USPS Priority Mail Express
Delivery time: 1-2 days or overnight

USPS international shipping services

USPS Global Express Guaranteed
Delivery time: 1-3 business days

USPS Priority Mail International Service
Delivery time: 6-10 business days

USPS Priority Mail Express International
Delivery time: 3-5 business days

USPS First-Class Package International Service
Delivery time: Varies by destination

UPS domestic shipping services

UPS Standard
Delivery time: 3 business days

UPS Ground
Delivery time: 1 -5 business days

UPS Hundredweight Service
Delivery time: 1-5 business days

UPS 3 Day Select
Delivery time: 3 business days

UPS 2nd Day Air
Delivery time: 2 business days

UPS Next Day Air
Delivery time: Next business day

UPS Express Critical
Delivery time: Contact UPS

UPS international shipping services

UPS Express Critical
Delivery time: Contact UPS

UPS Worldwide Express
Delivery time: 1-3 business days

UPS Worldwide Expedited
Delivery time: 2 – 3 business days

UPS freight shipping services

UPS also provides freight shipping services for both domestic and international shipments including:

  • UPS Air Freight
  • UPS Ocean Freight
  • UPS LTL Freight
  • UPS Worldwide Expedited Ground Freight

UPS vs USPS – Which is better for eCommerce?

When choosing between UPS and USPS for eCommerce and business, you need to consider your specific shipping needs, volumes and delivery locations. The eCommerce merchants choose UPS for its reliability and comprehensive tracking system, which can be crucial for international shipping. UPS also offers freight forwarding and logistics services for business customers. If you need fast and affordable shipping of small packages and parcels, USPS is the best option for delivering across the US and worldwide. With USPS, you can also ship to P.O. boxes and mailboxes.

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UPS and USPS shipping rates comparison

When comparing USPS and UPS shipping rates, both companies offer affordable delivery options. USPS shipping rates are more attractive for sending small packages if they don’t need to be delivered urgently. However, UPS can be a better choice for delivering urgent, bulky or heavy shipments.

Take a look at the table to compare UPS and USPS rates for shipping 2 kg package domestically:
UPS vs. USPS ServicesUPS vs. USPS Delivery timeUPS vs. USPS Cost
UPS Ground6 Days$13.69
UPS 3-Day Select5 Days$23.40
USPS Priority Mail 2-Day2 Working Days$13.95
USPS Retail Ground3-7 Working Days$12.90
Here you can also compare UPS and USPS shipping rates for sending 10 kg package within the US:
ServicesDelivery timeCost
UPS Ground4 Days$31.71
UPS 3-Day Select3 Days$67.68
USPS Priority Mail 2-Day2 Working Days$49.95
USPS Retail Ground3-7 Working Days$42.25

UPS vs USPS reliability and insurance options. Which one is safer?

The United States Postal Services and the United Parcel Service are two of the most reliable carriers in the United States and worldwide.

UPS provides free insurance for every shipment valued under $100. Also, the company offers a comprehensive tracking system so you can check the movement of the delivery.

USPS provides free insurance for item values under $100 when using Priority Mail Express. You also get $50 insurance for shipping with Priority Mail. However, the USPS has a less reliable tracking system.

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Advantages of UPS and USPS. Which courier is better?

Both companies have their advantages and disadvantages, so when it comes to deciding which courier is better, let’s compare UPS and USPS main features:


  • Cheaper options for sending small packages and mails,
  • Delivers to mailboxes and PO boxes (in the US),
  • Free pick-up,
  • Saturday delivery.


  • Guaranteed express shipping,
  • Cost-effective options for heavy shipments,
  • The efficient tracking system,
  • No holiday peak pricing surcharges.

UPS vs USPS comparison summary

UPS is an excellent choice for urgent and same-day shipments. With guaranteed delivery, you can be sure the package will be delivered on time, and your customers will be satisfied with the service. UPS shipping rates and advanced tracking system are also the reasons why many business owners all over the globe work with this company.

USPS is preferred by companies that need weekend deliveries and affordable options for shipping small packages. USPS Priority service also offers flat rate boxes that allow for multiple items to be shipped inside. USPS shipping services and lower rates will suit eCommerce businesses and individuals who need to send personal packages and mail.
Take a look at the basic information and stats comparison of UPS and USPS:
Market share27%19,36%
The yearly volume of packages5,5 billion6,2 billion
The average delivery time (standard)1-5 business days1-3 business days
Shipping locationsMore than 220 countries and territoriesMore than 190 countries
Number of employees481,000 (2018)600,000 (2019)

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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.