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FedEx Ground vs. UPS Ground vs. USPS: Explained

Jan 11, 2023

6 min read

FedEx Ground®

FedEx Ground® is a day-certain service offered by FedEx that includes any parcels being shipped by road or rail. It provides an affordable shipping option for small and medium businesses. For as low as $10.80, customers can expect their packages to be delivered by FedEx Ground® in 1 – 5 business days. For urgent shipments that need to arrive the next day, there are other FedEx services, such as FedEx Express Saver®, but FedEx Ground®® is ideal for less-than-urgent shipments.

The maximum size for FedEx Ground® deliveries is 165 inches in combined length and girth, while the maximum weight is 150 pounds. FedEx Advanced tracking software lets you track incoming and outgoing shipments and receive notifications and alerts.

FedEx Home Delivery uses the FedEx Ground® network to deliver packages to home addresses every day of the week for a $4 residential surcharge. In addition, FedEx doesn’t deliver to P.O. Boxes.

 

UPS® Ground

UPS® Ground is a reliable and economical way for eCommerce businesses and shippers to ship packages in 1- 5 business days. Shipping prices start at $11, depending on the package’s size and weight.

UPS® Ground is a popular ground shipping option for eCommerce shippers who want affordable, day-definite deliveries. Packages can weigh up to 150 lbs. However, the box must not exceed 108 inches in length and 165 inches in combined length and girth.

All your UPS® Ground shipments are automatically insured for up to $100 worth of damage, loss, or delays when you purchase a shipping label from UPS. Currently UPS has suspended it’s on-time delivery guarantee of UPS® Ground packages until further notice, but some services still offer a full refund if the package is late.

You can also get free tracking information for your shipment via the UPS website or mobile app.

 

USPS Priority

Priority Mail is the U.S. Postal Service offering that lets you send packages up to 70 lbs domestically. It offers a cost-effective ground shipping option for online businesses on a budget. You can deliver packages to your customers for as low as $9.00 in 1-3 business days.

Priority Mail service includes a live package tracking system and free package pickup service at your home or office. Shippers don’t have to pay surcharges for fuel price fluctuations, residential and rural deliveries, as well as Saturday deliveries.

The weight limit for USPS Priority Mail® packages is 70 lbs, and the size limit is 108 inches in combined length and girth. Alternatively, if you use USPS packaging, you pay a flat rate regardless of the package contents, weight, or distance traveled.

 

Which carrier service is best for overnight shipping?

Overnight delivery (also called next-day delivery) is an expedited shipping option that guarantees delivery the next business day, excluding Alaska and Hawaii. FedEx, UPS, and USPS provide multiple delivery options for overnight delivery (including early morning, mid-day, and end of day), depending on how far away the destination is.

Compare the shipping rates for overnight day shipping of a 9 x 8 x 7 in. package weighing 5 lbs from New York, New York, 10012 to Boston, Massachusetts, 02203 with FedEx Ground®, UPS® Ground, and USPS Priority Mail®.

Delivery ServiceDelivery TimeCost of Shipping
FedEx Ground®1 to 5 business days$12.17
UPS® Ground1 to 5 business days$12.55
Priority Mail Express 1-Day1 to 3 business days$39.45

Home deliveries are the backbone of eCommerce businesses. So, if you want to ship time-sensitive packages, FedEx Ground® and UPS® Ground offer the cheapest shipping options.

 

Which carrier service is best for small, lightweight shipments?

Mailing companies are focusing on providing cost-effective eCommerce shipping for lightweight packages — packages whose weight is a maximum of 5 lbs.

Compare the rates for shipping a 3 lbs package from Denver, Colorado, 80202 to Memphis, Tennessee, 38103 with UPS® Ground, FedEx Ground®, and USPS Priority Mail®.

Delivery ServiceCost of Shipping
FedEx Ground®$13.25
UPS® Ground$13.67
USPS Priority Mail®$14.70
UPS small flat rate box
(6 x 6 x 6 in.)
$12.55
FedEx Small Box
(10-⅞ x 1-½ x 12-⅜ in.)
$12.05
USPS Priority Mail® Small Flat Rate Box
(8-⅝ x 5-⅜ x 1-⅝ in.)
$10.40

UPS® Ground and FedEx Ground® offer the cheapest shipping options if you want to ship a small package under 5 lbs. Alternatively, you can pay even cheaper rates if your package size meets the UPS or USPS flat rate requirements.

 

Cheapest Way to Ship Heavy or Oversized Packages

In 2023, FedEx and UPS hiked their shipping rates by an average of 6.9%. This applies to oversized, large packages as well.

Compare the rates for shipping a large, heavy package (60 lbs) from Denver, Colorado, 80202 to Memphis, Tennessee, 38103 with UPS® Ground, FedEx Ground®, and USPS Priority Mail®.

Delivery ServiceCost of Shipping
FedEx Ground®$110.99
UPS® Ground$107.76
USPS Priority Mail®$108.35

As we can see, if you need to ship heavier packages, USPS Priority Mail and UPS® Ground services offer the best shipping rates among the three carrier services.

In addition, shipping services apply oversized surcharges on any package that exceeds the following weight and size requirements.

Delivery ServiceMaximum WeightMaximum Dimension
FedEx Ground®150 lbsLength 108'' and Length + Girth less than or equal to 165”
UPS® Ground150 lbsLength 108'' and Length + Girth less than or equal to 165”
USPS Priority Mail®70 lbsLength 27'', width 17'', and height 17'' and Length + Girth less than or equal to 108”

Similarly, if your item is too large in relation to their weight, your package may be subject to dimensional weight pricing. This technique helps shipping carriers calculate shipping costs based on the space a package occupies on the delivery truck.

You can use this DIM weight calculator to compare the billable weight charged by FedEx, UPS, and USPS.

 

Which carrier service is best for 2-day national shipping?

Both domestic and international shipping costs depend on several factors, including origin, destination, package weight, dimensions, service, and surcharges (e.g., oversized packages, hazardous materials, etc.)

Compare the rates for 2-day shipping of a 7 x 5 x 6 in. package weighing 5 lbs from Provo, Utah, 84601 to Sacramento, California, 95814 with FedEx, UPS, and USPS Priority Mail®.

Delivery ServiceCost of Shipping
FedEx Ground®$12.93
FedEx 2Day$34.23
UPS® Ground$13.33
UPS 2nd Day Air®$32.32
USPS Priority Mail®$13.45

As we can see, FedEx Ground® delivery service is comparatively cheaper than UPS® Ground and UPS Priority Mail. In addition, for shorter distances within the United States, all three shipping solutions charge lower rates compared to express delivery services.

 

Which carrier service is best for 2-day shipping to nearby zones?

For domestic package delivery, the more shipping zones a package travels through, the higher the shipping cost and vice versa. Zone skipping is a great strategy for small businesses and eCommerce retailers looking to bypass the charges applied to packages as they travel over established zones.

Here’s an example of a sample shipment from Arizona City, Arizona, 85123, to Amarillo, Texas, 79107.

Delivery ServiceCost of Shipping
FedEx Ground®$14.96
UPS® Ground$15.43
USPS Priority Mail®$15.40

For 2-day shipping, FedEx Ground® service offers the most competitive rates for nearby zones between the three carrier services.

 

Which carrier service is best for shipping to residential addresses?

Compare the rates for a 7 x 7 x 5 in. package weighing 7 lbs from Miami, Florida 33130 to a residential address in New York, New York 10012 with FedEx Home Delivery (part of FedEx Ground® network that delivers packages to residential addresses), UPS® Ground, and USPS Priority Mail®.

Delivery ServiceCost of Shipping
FedEx Home Delivery®$19.88
UPS® Ground$20.50
USPS Priority Mail®$25.45

FedEx Ground® and UPS® Ground offer the cheapest options for residential package deliveries. However, note that both these services apply a surcharge on residential and Saturday deliveries. In contrast, USPS doesn’t charge these additional fees.

 

Choose the Best Carrier Options with Sifted

Shipping partnerships are key when you are shipping a considerable amount of packages or are an eCommerce business. Choosing the right shipping carrier can help you successfully implement your shipping strategy, meet your logistics needs, and keep your customers happy.

eCommerce retailers and other businesses rely on Sifted to remove the complexity of their warehousing and shipping operations. It offers tools for shippers to gain visibility into carrier rates, enforce negotiated rate compliance, and avoid carrier surcharges and penalties.

Let Sifted take lifting out of your shipping and warehousing. Get a free, no-commitment demo of Sifted!

Topics: Carrier Optimization, FedEx, Parcel Carriers, UPS, USPS
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