UPS SurePost vs Ground: Which is Best for You?

Shipping options and terms can feel overwhelming to understand

  • Written by Tess Holman
  • Published on August 15, 2023
  • Time to read 9 minutes


Shipping options and terms can feel overwhelming to understand. This can be especially true if you’re a small business owner wearing the many hats that come with entrepreneurship. UPS provides reliable service to businesses and consumers when shipping products. This blog post aims to discuss the benefits of using both UPS Surepost and UPS Ground. That way, you can know the best choice for your business or shipment. The main points of this blog are to educate you on:

• The similarities and differences between UPS SurePost vs Ground.

• What factors to consider when choosing UPS SurePost vs Ground.

• What to expect once you’ve decided on which service to use.

Both UPS SurePost vs Ground offer a lot of value to the businesses and individuals who choose to use them as a shipping option! So, let’s dive in and answer these questions!

UPS SurePost® and UPS Ground® Main Similarities and Differences

These services are meant to provide an economical shipping solution for smaller packages that don’t require urgent delivery. The main difference between these two services is that UPS SurePost changes hands during the last leg of the journey to be delivered by USPS, while UPS Ground packages are handled entirely by UPS.

UPS SurePost

UPS SurePost is a collaborative shipping service between UPS and the United States Postal Service (USPS). It is designed to provide cost-effective shipping for lightweight packages that do not require fast delivery. UPS initially handles the package, but the final delivery is made by USPS, reaching the customer’s mailbox or P.O. Box.

Pros of UPS SurePost:

• Cost-Effective: UPS SurePost is a budget-friendly option for shipping lightweight items. Businesses can save on shipping costs compared to other UPS services, making it an attractive choice for small and medium-sized businesses.

• Wide Coverage: UPS SurePost allows deliveries to residential addresses, including rural areas, which can be challenging for some courier services. The extensive network of USPS ensures that packages reach even remote locations.

• Convenience: Customers do not need to be present during delivery, as packages are left in their mailboxes or P.O. boxes. This convenience can increase customer satisfaction and reduce the risk of missed deliveries.

• Package Tracking: UPS SurePost offers package tracking, allowing businesses and customers to monitor the shipment’s progress throughout its journey, providing peace of mind and transparency. The same tracking number is used even after the package transfers hands from UPS to USPS.

Cons of UPS SurePost®:

• Longer Transit Times: Since UPS SurePost involves a handover from UPS to USPS, the delivery process may take longer than UPS Ground. This delay can be a concern for customers who prioritize speedy deliveries. The average transit time for a SurePost shipment is 2-7 days within the continental US. If you are shipping outside of that, the delivery time can be longer.  In a report released by UPS, 98% of packages using Sure Post only experienced a one-day delay.

• Although it is important to note that while it can take a day longer to arrive with SurePost, a SurePost package can be delivered on Sunday. So, in some cases, even with the delay, the package may arrive faster than with UPS Ground®.

• Limited Weight and Size Capacity: UPS SurePost has a weight limit of 70 pounds and other size restrictions. Businesses shipping larger or heavier items may need to consider other shipping options.

UPS Ground

UPS Ground is a service offered by UPS that caters to residential and commercial customers. It ensures reliable, cheap, and timely delivery of packages across the United States, with the option for businesses to choose guaranteed delivery dates.

Pros of UPS Ground:

• Faster Delivery: Unlike UPS SurePost, UPS Ground provides faster transit times as an end-to-end UPS service. This time is typically 1-5 days. This makes it an excellent choice for more time-sensitive shipments. You can determine travel times by clicking the following link and entering your destination and delivery zip code. Ground Time-in-Transit Maps

• Higher Weight and Size Capacity: UPS Ground allows for heavier packages with a weight limit of 150 lbs. This option can also accommodate a broader range of products, which benefits businesses dealing with bulkier items.

• Guaranteed Delivery Dates: Businesses can opt for UPS Ground® with guaranteed delivery dates. This provides peace of mind to the customer that they know when the product will arrive. 

• UPS Access Point: UPS Ground offers the option for customers to redirect packages to a UPS Access Point location, adding flexibility to the delivery process.

Cons of UPS Ground®:

• Cost Considerations: While UPS Ground® provides excellent service and faster delivery, it may come at a higher cost than UPS SurePost.

• Address Limitations: UPS Ground may not be suitable for delivering to specific remote or difficult-to-access locations. In turn, this limits its reach for customers living in such areas.

Comparison: UPS SurePost vs. UPS Ground

An infographic is shown outlining the pros of both UPS SurePost and UPS ground services

UPS SurePost vs Ground serves different shipping needs and caters to different customer requirements. Let’s compare them side by side to understand which option is the best fit for various scenarios:

Package Weight and Size:

→ UPS SurePost: Ideal for lightweight packages up to 70 pounds with size restrictions.

→ UPS Ground: Suitable for lightweight and heavier packages, with a higher weight capacity of 150 lbs.

Delivery Speed:

→ UPS SurePost: Generally slower due to the handover process from UPS to USPS. Delivery is estimated at 2-7 days.

→ UPS Ground: Faster and more reliable, offering end-to-end delivery by UPS. Delivery is estimated at 1-5 days.


→ UPS SurePost: More cost-effective for lightweight shipments.

→ UPS Ground: This may be costlier, especially for heavier or time-sensitive shipments.

Delivery Area:

→ UPS SurePost: Wide coverage, including residential and rural areas.

→ UPS Ground: Extensive coverage but may have limitations in certain remote regions.

Customer Convenience:

→ UPS SurePost: Offers convenience by delivering to mailboxes and P.O. boxes, reducing the need for customer presence during delivery.

→ UPS Ground: This may require customer presence for delivery, but the option to redirect to a UPS Access Point adds flexibility.

Delivery Insurance: 

→ UPS SurePost: These packages are covered up to $100 until the package changes hands with USPS. If something happens to the package during its time under the care of USPS, it is not covered. 

→ UPS Ground: Insurance covers up to $100. Your package might be worth more than that, but only $100 of that item is covered. You can purchase additional coverage for a fee.


In conclusion, choosing between UPS SurePost vs Ground largely depends on the specific needs and priorities. UPS SurePost is an excellent choice for cost-conscious businesses shipping lightweight items to various locations, including residential and rural areas. 

On the other hand, UPS Ground​ is preferred for time-sensitive shipments, heavier packages, and guaranteed delivery dates despite the potentially higher costs. Look at your individual needs and priorities before choosing between these two services.  Choosing the best service will ultimately simplify operations and improve your bottom line.

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