UPS vs. USPS vs. FedEx? Which Carrier is Right for You in 2023?

As an eCommerce merchant, choosing the right shipping carrier is crucial

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

Your Carrier Matters

As an eCommerce merchant, choosing the right shipping carrier is crucial. Not only does it directly impact customer satisfaction, but also overall business success. That’s why it is essential to learn about carriers, what they offer, and how their services might work with your business. No two carriers are the same. Today, we’ll dive into the waters and see how UPS vs. USPS vs. FedEx stack up against one another.

So, we’ve created a guide to help you decide which carrier might best suit your business needs. In this blog, we will compare the 3 top carriers (UPS vs. USPS vs. FedEx), highlight their pros and cons, and provide valuable tips to help you make the most of their services. By the end, you’ll have a better understanding of each carrier and a good overview to make an informed decision regarding carriers. From there, you can help empower your eCommerce venture to thrive.

The Top 3 Carriers

The three major shipping carriers in the United States – USPS, UPS, and FedEx – offer various services and features to fit different businesses. 

United States Postal Service (USPS)

A graphic illustration of a plane and delivery truck demonstrate that USPS has both air and ground capabilities

Since its establishment in 1775, the USPS has been essential to the United States mail and package delivery system. Most importantly, it has an extensive nationwide network of post offices and carriers. Therefore, it can reach nearly every corner of the U.S., including remote areas. Moreover, the USPS provides numerous shipping options for both businesses and individuals.

The USPS connects people, businesses, and communities, fostering communication, commerce, and national unity.

So, what are its pros and cons in the UPS vs. USPS vs. FedEx battle?


  • Cost-Effectiveness: USPS offers competitive pricing, especially for lightweight packages and flat-rate shipping options. Therefore, it is a  budget-friendly choice for small businesses and startups.
  • Extensive Coverage: With an extensive network of post offices and mail carriers, USPS can reach virtually every address in the United States, including rural areas.
  • Reliable for P.O. Boxes: USPS is the go-to choice for delivering to P.O. Boxes, which can be essential for specific customers.


  • Slower Delivery Speeds: While USPS offers economical options, it may not be the best choice for time-sensitive deliveries, as its delivery speeds are generally slower than UPS and FedEx.
  • Limited Tracking Features: USPS tracking can be less detailed compared to UPS and FedEx, which might make it challenging to provide real-time updates to your customers.

Tips for USPS

Now that you know the pros and cons, there are two main standout factors to consider when using USPS. Here’s what you should do:

  • Utilize Flat Rate Shipping: Take advantage of USPS Flat Rate boxes for cost-effective shipping of small, heavy items.
  • Leverage USPS Priority Mail: For time-sensitive deliveries, consider using USPS Priority Mail, which offers faster delivery times at reasonable rates.

Overall, the USPS is beneficial because it is cost-effective, covers a lot of ground, and delivers to P.O. boxes well. However, it has slower delivery speeds and not as great of tracking mechanisms. If you want to make the most of it, its best features include flat-rate shipping and priority mail.

Now, let’s move on to UPS. 

United Parcel Service (UPS)

Since 1907, UPS has grown into a leading global logistics provider. It serves millions of customers daily with an extensive network of distribution centers, delivery trucks, and airplanes. Using this vast network, UPS ensures packages reach domestic and international destinations on time and safely. 

Moreover, UPS is known for its efficient tracking system and expedited shipping options. Therefore, UPS is often a good choice for time-sensitive packages. Whether a small parcel or a large shipment, UPS remains committed to delivering with excellence, earning its reputation as a dependable ally in the modern world of shipping and logistics.

But what does it offer in terms of pros and cons? Let’s take a look.


  • Reliable Time-Definite Delivery: UPS is known for timely delivery. These options are ideal for businesses that need precise delivery commitments.
  • Enhanced Tracking: UPS has robust tracking features. These features help you and your customers to monitor shipments in real-time. Plus, they improve transparency.
  • Flexible Pickup Options: UPS offers various pickup options, including drop-off locations, scheduled pickups, and even access to UPS Store locations. Therefore, they can work with your schedule and needs to help streamline your operations.  


  • Higher Costs: UPS tends to be pricier compared to USPS. This is especially true for small, lightweight packages and long-distance shipments.
  • Additional Fees: Be mindful of additional surcharges and fees that UPS might apply based on package dimensions, weight, and delivery locations.

Tips for UPS:

When deciding whether to go with UPS, here are some other features to look at:

  • Use UPS Ground for Reliable Delivery: UPS Ground is a cost-effective and reliable shipping option, especially for non-urgent orders that require consistent delivery times.
  • Consider UPS Express Services: For expedited shipments, UPS offers reliable express services like UPS Next Day Air and UPS 2nd Day Air.

To summarize, the main advantages of using UPS include its delivery timeliness, advanced tracking features, and multiple pickup options. However, some of its problems mainly involve higher prices and fees than the original costs. Some of the best UPS features to consider include UPS Ground and UPS Express. You can read more about UPS vs. USPS in our blog.

Let’s move on to the final carrier.

A graphic illustration depicts a FedEx Express vehicle making a timely delivery


Since its establishment in 1971, FedEx (Federal Express) has emerged as a significant player in the transportation and logistics industry, operating in over 220 countries and territories worldwide. Their overnight and express shipping services cater to urgent delivery needs, making them popular for time-critical shipments. Additionally, FedEx offers advanced tracking features, allowing customers to monitor their packages in real-time.

With a strong emphasis on reliability and efficiency, FedEx continues to play a crucial role in connecting people and businesses globally, earning trust as a premier shipping and logistics partner.

With that introduction in mind, let’s look at its pros and cons and see where it stands in the UPS vs. USPS vs. FedEx battle.


  • Diverse Service Options: FedEx offers a wide range of services These include FedEx Express for time-sensitive shipments and FedEx Ground for cost-effective deliveries.
  • Excellent Customer Service: FedEx is well-regarded for its customer service. It provides quality assistance and support to merchants and their customers.
  • International Reach: If your eCommerce business involves international shipping, FedEx’s global network makes it a strong contender.


  • Higher Rates: FedEx’s rates can be higher than USPS, especially for specific package sizes and delivery distances.
  • Limited Saturday Delivery: FedEx Ground does not offer regular Saturday delivery, which might concern some businesses.

Tips for FedEx:

Additionally, if you are trying to decide whether FedEx suits your business needs, there is one notable feature to try out:

  • Use FedEx SmartPost for Residential Deliveries: FedEx SmartPost is an economical option for residential deliveries, especially lightweight packages.

FedEx can give you a wide variety of services, has excellent customer service, and has international shipping. However, it tends to have higher rates than the other carriers and non-regular Saturday delivery. A standout option in FedEx is SmartPost, which may be worth trying out if you deliver lighter packages.

Wrapping Things Up

In summary, choosing the right shipping carrier for your eCommerce business is about your specific needs, budget, and customer expectations. Each carrier has different strengths:

Carrier Best For
USPSCost-effective shipping and delivery to P.O. Boxes
UPSproviding reliable time-definite delivery and enhanced tracking features 
FedExBusinesses with global shipping requirements.

You can optimize your shipping strategy by understanding the pros and cons of each carrier and leveraging their respective “pros” and unique features. You can also provide a seamless experience for your customers and enhance your eCommerce business’s overall success. 

Final Tips

Remember, to maximize your shipping efficiency and cost-effectiveness, it is essential to keep track of carrier promotions and negotiate rates. If you struggle with rate visibility or want to see multiple rates and carriers simultaneously, try eHub’s shipping calculator today. Happy shipping!

LatestFrom the blog

The latest industry news, interviews, technologies, and resources.

View all posts
View all posts