Parcel Select Lightweight: A Guide for Smaller-Sized Shipping

this service is specifically designed for lightweight items

  • Written by Alex Dolce
  • Published on December 21, 2023
  • Time to read 9 minutes


If you sell small products, you have a lot of different options when it comes to shipping them. However, which option is the right one? One might be perfect if your packages weigh less than a pound. This option is Parcel Select Lightweight. 

But what is this service exactly?

In this blog, we’ll explore what Parcel Select Lightweight is, the types of businesses that can benefit from it, when to use it, and how long it typically takes to deliver a package.

This helpful shipping service lets you comfortably ship anything from bracelets to books, small electronics to socks. Let’s dive right in!

What is Parcel Select Lightweight?

Parcel Select Lightweight is a shipping service the United States Postal Service (USPS) provides. This service is made for lightweight parcels. Specifically, parcels that weigh less than 1 pound (16 ounces). It’s an economical option for businesses and individuals who send bulk quantities of lightweight items at a budget-friendly rate.

So, what businesses fit best with this service? Let’s have a look. 

Best Businesses for Parcel Select Lightweight

  1. E-commerce Retailers: Online stores that ship small accessories, clothing, or other lightweight products can save on shipping costs with Parcel Select Lightweight. If businesses have a high shipping volume, it’s very beneficial. 
  1. Publishers: Companies that produce and distribute reading materials often use Parcel Select Lightweight. These materials include magazines, catalogs, and promotional materials.
  1. Direct Mail Marketers: Businesses engaged in direct mail marketing campaigns can use this service. This includes sending flyers, promotional offers, and advertising materials.
  1. Small Manufacturers: Manufacturers of lightweight products, such as electronics components or small parts, can utilize Parcel Select Lightweight. It creates cost-effective shipping to distributors or retailers.
  1. Non-profit Organizations: Non-profits often use this service to send newsletters, fundraising materials, and information to donors or members.
  1. Subscription Box Services: Subscription box companies that regularly deliver small, lightweight items to subscribers can maximize savings with this shipping option.

Parcel Select Lightweight may be for you if your business fits anywhere on this list. However, there are some other factors to consider when considering this service. 

Critical Factors of Parcel Select Lightweight 

When considering this service for your shipments, here are some key factors to keep in mind:

  • Package Weight: This service is specifically designed for lightweight items. So, make sure that your products weigh less than 1 pound.
  • Delivery Time: Parcel Select Lightweight is not the fastest shipping option. Reserve it for non-urgent shipments. If expedited delivery is essential, explore USPS Priority Mail options.
  • Bulk Shipping: Parcel Select Lightweight can be incredibly cost-effective with a high volume of lightweight packages. It’s advantageous when sending packages in bulk.
  • Proper Packaging: Always ensure your items are well-packaged to prevent damage during transit.

This service might be perfect if these considerations resonate with you or your business. Let’s move on to delivery time to see how this service would fit your schedule. 

A closeup of a customer's wrist examining their watch is shown, representing them awaiting delivery.

How Long Does Delivery Take?

The delivery time for Parcel Select Lightweight can vary depending on the distance and destination. On average, a package may take 2 to 9 business days to be delivered. Remember that this is not an express service, so you must communicate the estimated delivery time to your customers and set their expectations accordingly.

Now that delivery time has been discussed, let’s look at pricing.

Pricing for Parcel Select Lightweight

Pricing is very important in determining whether this service is the right choice for your business. The cost of using this service depends on several factors:

  1. Package Weight: As the name suggests, Parcel Select Lightweight is intended for light packages. In this case, usually less than 1 pound (16 ounces). The lighter your package, the more cost-effective this service tends to be.
  1. Destination Zone: USPS divides the United States into zones based on the distance from where the package is being sent from. The farther the destination, the higher the postage cost. You can calculate postage costs using USPS zone charts or online calculators.
  1. Bulk and Presort Discounts: If your business regularly ships large quantities of lightweight parcels, you may qualify for bulk and presort discounts. These discounts can significantly reduce your shipping costs. They are often available for businesses sending a minimum volume of packages.
  1. Additional Services: Consider any additional services you may need, such as tracking, insurance, or delivery confirmation. These services can add to the overall cost but provide valuable benefits.

If you need to see what your shipping costs most likely will be, you can use USPS online calculators. Or, you can contact your local post office for assistance. Remember that pricing may change over time, so checking the most up-to-date rates when planning your shipments is essential.

If all of the factors of this service check the boxes for your business’s shipping needs, it might just be the perfect fit for you!

Final Thoughts

Parcel Select Lightweight, provided by the USPS, offers a cost-effective shipping option for lightweight parcels under 1 pound. This service benefits various different types of businesses,  from e-commerce retailers to non-profit organizations. When considering this service, consider factors like package weight, non-urgent delivery needs, bulk shipping requirements, and proper packaging. While it might not be the fastest option, Parcel Select Lightweight provides a reliable and budget-friendly solution for shipping lightweight items. 

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