USPS First Class vs Priority

USPS First Class vs Priority: Features and Benefits

It is now no news that the USPS First Class vs Priority mail is now the talk of the USPS brand. This is because they are standouts in their different respective areas. This is what we shall be finding out as you read on.

USPS First Class vs Priority

We could go on and on about what USPS First Class is best known for, or the services they render, and also do the same for Priority to give you a better understanding. However, we think getting to know what they are first will help you get a better understanding.


Let’s look at them individually:

What is USPS First-Class Mail?

First-Class Mail® serves as the standard delivery service provided by USPS for sending cards, letters, and large envelopes, which are also referred to as flats.

First-Class Package Service is designed for items that exceed the dimensions of flats but weigh less than one pound.

This service is known for its speed, reliability, and cost-effectiveness, and it offers business discounts.

Here are some key aspects of First-Class Mail to note:

1. Mail delivery typically takes 1 to 5 business days.

2. Small packages are usually delivered within 2 to 5 business days.

3. Letters must not exceed 3.5 ounces in weight.

4. Parcels in the retail category must not weigh more than 13 ounces.

5. While tracking is not included, Certified Mail® is an available option.

The pricing of this service depends on factors such as weight, size, and shape.

Additional charges may apply for nonmachinable envelopes (those that are square, lumpy, rigid, etc.), larger sizes, and weights exceeding the maximum ounces specified above.

Additionally, businesses may be eligible for discounted rates, with some variations in size and weight requirements for retail and commercial shipping.

Mail/Package TypeMax WeightSize RangeThickness Range
Letters [Retail]3.5 ounces3.5” x 5” – 6.125” x 11.5”0.009” – 0.25”
Postcards [Retail]0.99 ounces3.5” x 5” – 6.125” x 11.5”0.007” – 0.016”
Flats (Large Envelopes) [Retail]13 ounces6.125” x 11.5” – 12” x 15”0.25” – 0.75”
Package (FCPS) [Commercial]15.99 ouncesNo more than 22” x 18” x 15”0.75” – 15”

What is USPS Priority Mail?

Priority Mail, the USPS’s most popular mail service, has been in operation since 1968 for several compelling reasons:

1. Domestic delivery typically takes 1 to 3 business days.

2. It includes free tracking and insurance.

3. Free Flat Rate shipping boxes and envelopes are available.

4. For Flat Rate shipments weighing 70 lbs or less, there’s no need to weigh the package.

With Priority Mail, you can use flat-rate packaging without any additional cost. When you choose this option, you pay a fixed fee associated with each envelope or box, allowing you to send packages up to 70 lbs anywhere in the U.S. at the same rate.

If you use your own packaging, the cost varies based on the package’s weight and the distance it needs to travel. In this pricing system, package dimensions are a factor that affects shipping costs.

Select Priority Mail for shipping larger packages and achieving quicker delivery. If your packages weigh under 70 lbs and fit into the provided packaging, Flat-rate shipping is an excellent choice.

Which Option Should You Choose?

When deciding between USPS First-Class Package Service and Priority Mail shipping, there are some key factors to consider and they are:

1. size

2. weight of your package

3. Speed of delivery

4. Distance it needs to travel, and

5. The associated costs.

Keep in mind that package size, weight, and shipping distance can influence the overall cost, so you’ll need to determine whether you prioritize fast delivery or cost-effectiveness.

First-Class Package Service vs. Priority Mail
Restriction TypeFirst-Class Package ServicePriority Mail
Speed2 – 5 business days1 – 3 business days
DimensionsNo more than 22” x 18” x 15”Up to 108” length + girth
WeightUp to 15.99 ozUp to 70 lbs
TrackingNo tracking through USPSTracking through USPS
InsurancePurchase up to $5k insurance on merchandiseUp to $100 insurance free with most shipments
Shipping MaterialsUse your ownUse Flat Rate boxes and envelopes free OR Use your own

Opt for First-Class Package Service shipping when your items weigh less than a pound and there’s no urgency for delivery within three days.

If you choose this route, consider utilizing commercial pricing to gain some flexibility with weight limits.

Select Priority Mail shipping when dealing with heavier items or when a three-day or faster delivery is essential.

Flat-rate shipping is also an excellent choice, especially for many e-commerce businesses, and you can save costs by using free USPS shipping boxes.

If you find all of this information overwhelming, which is understandable given the complexity, you can simplify the process by using our Shipping API. It will automatically calculate the best shipping option for your needs, along with any eligible discounts.

You can sign up for free today or schedule a conversation with one of our shipping experts for more guidance.



The choice between USPS First-Class Package Service and Priority Mail shipping depends on various factors such as package size, weight, delivery speed, distance, and cost.

First-Class Package Service is ideal for lightweight items with no immediate delivery urgency, offering commercial pricing for added flexibility.

On the other hand, Priority Mail is suitable for heavier items requiring fast delivery and includes the option of flat-rate shipping.

If the decision feels overwhelming due to the complexity, you can simplify the process by utilizing our Shipping API.

This tool will automatically calculate the optimal shipping option and applicable discounts. You can sign up for free or consult with our shipping experts for further guidance.

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