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USPS First Class vs Priority: Upcoming Changes

choosing the best service can be difficult

  • Written by Paola Olivera
  • Published on July 14, 2023
  • Time to read 9 minutes

USPS First Class Replaced by New USPS Service: Ground Advantage

When it comes to shipping with USPS, choosing the best service can be difficult. Two popular options to decide between are USPS First Class vs Priority. However, in July 2023, USPS will make significant changes by shifting the USPS First Class Packaging Service to Ground Advantage Service. In this blog post, we will define what USPS First Class is, what USPS Priority is, and compare USPS First Class vs Priority. On the other hand, we will cover what USPS Ground Advantage is and compare USPS First Class vs Ground Advantage.

Whether you’re sending a letter or a package, understanding the differences between USPS First Class vs Priority and USPS First Class vs Ground Advantage will help to ensure your shipment arrives at its destination efficiently and within budget.

What is USPS First Class Mail?

USPS First Class is a mail service provided by the United States Postal Service (USPS). It is designed for sending lightweight items such as letters, postcards, and small packages. USPS First Class offers relatively fast delivery, typically taking 1 to 5 business days for mail and 2-5 business days for small packages. The pricing for First Class is based on the item’s weight, with additional charges for larger dimensions. It is a cost-effective option for sending lightweight shipments within the United States. However, it has a weight limit of 13 ounces, and if a shipment exceeds this limit, an alternative service like USPS Priority Mail may be required.

What is USPS Priority Mail?

USPS Priority Mail offers faster delivery compared to USPS First Class. Priority Mail typically takes 1 to 3 business days for delivery, and this timeframe is generally more reliable and consistent than First Class. Priority Mail suits various packages, including more extensive and heavier items.

The pricing for Priority Mail is determined based on factors such as weight, size, and distance. It provides additional features such as reliable tracking for domestic and international shipments, insurance options for added security, and the ability to request signature confirmation upon delivery. Priority Mail also offers the option of using Flat Rate boxes and envelopes, which have fixed rates regardless of weight or distance, making it cost-effective for specific shipments.

Comparing USPS First Class vs Priority

An infographic compares the differences between Usps first class vs priority.

Delivery Speed

  • USPS First Class: Typically takes 1 to 5 business days for mail delivery and 2-5 business days for small packages. 
  • USPS Priority Mail: Also takes 1 to 3 business days for delivery, with generally more reliable and consistent service than First Class.

Cost and Pricing

  • USPS First Class: More cost-effective for lightweight items, with pricing based on weight and additional charges for larger dimensions.
  • USPS Priority Mail: Offers more options for weight and size selection. Rates may be higher than First Class for similar items, but it can be more cost-effective for more extensive and heavier packages. Priority Mail also provides the option of using Flat Rate boxes and envelopes with fixed rates.

Weight Limits

  • USPS First Class: Has a weight limit of 13 ounces (approximately 369 grams). Suitable for lightweight items such as letters, postcards, and small packages.
  • USPS Priority Mail: Allows packages weighing up to 70 pounds (31.8 kilograms). Better suited for shipping larger and heavier items.

Additional Features

  • USPS First Class: Provides limited additional services. Tracking is available for specific international destinations but may not be available for all locations. Insurance options and signature confirmation are generally not provided.
  • USPS Priority Mail: Offers a broader range of additional features. Includes reliable tracking for domestic and international shipments, insurance options for added security, and the ability to request signature confirmation upon delivery.

In summary, USPS First Class is a cost-effective option for lightweight items, while USPS Priority Mail offers faster delivery, accommodates larger and heavier packages, and provides additional services like tracking and insurance. The choice between USPS First Class vs Priority depends on factors such as delivery speed requirements, package weight and size, and the need for additional features.

However, since USPS First Class is changing to USPS Ground Advantage, the information provided above for USPS First Class will no longer be applicable as of Jul 9, 2023.

Here’s what you need to know moving forward.

Introducing USPS Ground Advantage: What is it?

An infographic compares and contrast the differences between Usps first class vs priority. It also shows the updated service of ground advantage.

Starting July 9th, 2023, USPS is set to launch USPS Ground Advantage, a new ground shipping service that offers affordability and reliability. This service combines USPS Retail Ground, First-Class Package, and Parcel Select Ground services, along with returns options like First-Class Package Return service and Ground Returns, into a single, streamlined solution for all your shipping needs.

USPS Ground Advantage has been specifically tailored to meet the needs of shippers of any scale, offering a cost-effective solution for domestic ground shipping to destinations spanning all 50 states. U.S. military bases, territories, possessions, and Freely Associated States. Let’s delve into the features and benefits of this exciting new service.

Delivery Speed and Affordability

With USPS Ground Advantage, packages are delivered within 2–5 business days, making it a reliable choice for timely shipments. It offers the best-priced service for items weighing up to 15.999 ounces, based on weight (rounded up to 4 ounces, 8 ounces, 12 ounces, and 15.999 ounces) and zone (distance). For packages exceeding 15.999 ounces, charges are calculated based on weight rounded to the nearest pound.

Convenient Shipping Options

To make shipping hassle-free, USPS Ground Advantage provides various options for postage payment. You can pay for postage using stamps, a self-service kiosk, Click-N-Ship service, or at a Post Office location. Additionally, the service offers free Package Pickup2, allowing you to schedule a pickup from your home or office at no extra cost.

Enhanced Tracking and Returns

Tracking is included with USPS Ground Advantage, providing visibility into the progress of your packages. This ensures peace of mind and allows you to keep your customers informed about their shipments. Moreover, for business customers, USPS Ground Advantage return service is a convenient option for customers who need to return items, streamlining the return process.

Insurance Coverage and Hazardous Materials

When shipping with USPS Ground Advantage, $100 insurance coverage is included for outbound and return shipments. Additionally, you can purchase up to $5,000 in additional coverage against loss or damage for merchandise. Furthermore, USPS Ground Advantage is the ideal selection when shipping hazardous materials (HAZMAT) that require ground transportation.

It’s important to note that while USPS Ground Advantage offers speedy and reliable service, certain factors may affect delivery times. Shipments to specific locations, such as Alaska, Hawaii, and offshore destinations, as well as those containing hazardous materials or live animals, may encounter slight delays in service.

In conclusion, with its affordable rates, reliable delivery, and convenient features, USPS Ground Advantage is set to revolutionize ground shipping. Whether you’re a small business owner, an e-commerce seller, or an individual shipper, USPS Ground Advantage offers a cost-effective and efficient solution for your shipping needs. Prepare to embrace this new service and enjoy its benefits to your shipping experience.

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