Shipping Carrier Comparisons

Who’s the Best? UPS, FedEx, or USPS?

How to Choose the Right Carrier for Your Business

When it comes to shipping, there are the main carriers that include UPS, FedEx, USPS, and DHL. There are also quite a few regional carriers whose service areas vary from service to service. Since Essential Hub is a multicarrier API, we support and provide discounted shipping rates across most major carriers. We also provide support across a variety of integrations, shopping carts, warehouse management systems, and other software your business uses to fulfill orders.

Our shipping specialists often recommend a multicarrier shipping strategy. It may sound complicated, but it’s not. Especially not when you consider that the Essential Hub team can implement all the necessary business rules and setup for you to ensure that each package ships at its optimal service level and rate.

USPS Shipping for Business

The United States Postal Service (USPS) provides residential and commercial delivery for your eCommerce packages. Unlike other privately-owned carriers, the USPS ensures that every single residence in the entire United States—including places that are rural, remote, and hard to reach—has a way to receive mail. They offer a wide range of services to meet the needs of online retail stores, including flat-rate shipping options.

Not only that, but they also offer international shipping, which is great news if you’re looking for a carrier that can handle both. Shipping time, prices, tracking, and insurance vary by mail class type. Whether you need to ship quickly to meet a deadline, or efficiently to save some money, USPS has an option for your business.

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How to Find the Best USPS Shipping Rates in 2021 (for Both Domestic and International)

The world has changed quite a bit, especially over the last year. Rates and shipping times spiked, but now we’re seeing a return to normalcy (at least for domestic). Privately held carriers, however, have seen a spike in not only rates but also their surcharges and accessorials. Luckily, the USPS has kept costs low.

USPS Domestic Business Shipping Rates

USPS Mail ClassEstimated Transit TimeTracking IncludedPost Office Starting Commercial ListCan you save more at EHub?
First Class Mail®1-3 business days$0.398
First Class Package Service®1-3 business days$3.01
Priority Mail®1-3 business days$7.16
Priority Mail USPS Cubic®1-3 business days$7.32
Priority Mail Express®Overnight for 2 days$22.75
Parcel Select®2-8 business days$3.30
Parcel Select Lightweight®2-9 business days$2.15
USPS Retail Ground®2-8 business days$7.70

International Business Shipping

Mail ClassEstimated Transit TimeTracking IncludedPost Office Starting Commercial ListCan you save more at EHub?
Global Express Guaranteed®1-3 business days$64.41
First Class Package International Service®7+ days$13.45
Priority Mail Express International®3-5 business days$42.85
Priority Mail International®6-10 business days$35.72

Are there postage discounts for businesses?
You bet there are, and they’re better rates than the table above showed. The thing is, because of our contracts, we don’t share exact rates on our website. Rates are also dependent on what you’re shipping and where you’re shipping it to.

What about small businesses? Do I save more shipping as a business or from a personal account?
Small businesses have plenty of opportunities to save as well. It’s cheapest to go through the business side of things. Even USPS’ commercial list price is less expensive than the retail list price.

How can Essential Hub Be Cheaper Than the Post Office?
While it may seem counterintuitive, you’ll see additional savings by supporting the USPS through us. We’ve already pre-negotiated the discounts and rates for you. Because we partner with businesses like yours, our volume is so high we can get rates typically reserved for high-volume retailers and corporate giants.

The proof is in the pudding though, right? Our shipping specialists are ready to show you a detailed, transparent analysis of how much you’ll save on shipping through Essential Hub. This isn’t a generic model either, it’s based on your actual shipping data. No obligation to sign up either.

USPS’ Secret Weapon for Discount Rates – Priority Mail Cubic Shipping

What is cubic shipping? It’s shipping heavy yet small items. Usually, you have to choose between speed and price, right? Not with cubic. It’s as fast as it is cheap, with packages taking 1-3 days to ship to their destination. That’s with tracking included, too. It’s the type of package where multiples can stack in a truck with fewer chances of damage happening, so there’s reason to incentivize its use with sweet rates.

What types of packages qualify for cubic?
This magic shipping service does have specifications that your packages have to meet to qualify.

  • Weigh between 1-20 pounds
  • Dimensions (Height x Width x Length / 1728) must be .5 cubic feet or less. Is your box around the size of a shoebox? It probably qualifies.

That’s it as far as requirements go. Find out more information about priority mail cubic.

Connect with Our USPS Shipping API

When you use our shipping API, your sites have access to the best USPS rates (along with other carriers too). With hundreds of integrations connecting carriers, shopping carts, and marketplaces, we pass the savings on from our contracts to you.

UPS Shipping for Business

Using the Big Brown to meet your shipping needs

UPS is the world’s largest package delivery company and, in 2020, they had the highest consumer satisfaction score among all US-based logistics companies.

You don’t have to be a big company to benefit from their expertise. With a huge range of services that includes everything from domestic ground shipping to international shipping to overnight shipping, small businesses have more than enough options to meet their ecommerce fulfillment needs.

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UPS Shipping Options

We told you UPS offers a lot of different options for shipping, and we weren’t kidding—there are 36 options available on their website!

UPS delivers to residential and commercial addresses both domestically and internationally. Whether your business needs 2nd Day Air or UPS Ground, there is a mailing option that will meet your needs. And with EHub, you’ll get a better price on whatever method you choose.

UPS Service Levels

UPS® Standard UPS Next Day Air®
UPS Next Day Air Saver® UPS® Ground
UPS 2nd Day Air A.M.® UPS SurePost®
UPS Worldwide Express® UPS Expedited™
SurePost® Bound Printed Matter UPS Mail Innovations® (Domestic and International)
UPS 2nd Day Air® UPS® Saver
UPS 3 Day Select® UPS Next Day Air® Early A.M.®
UPS Express® UPS SurePost® Lightweight
UPS Worldwide Express Plus® Access Points Economy
UPS SurePost® Media

Don’t let the sheer volume of options overwhelm you. Essential Hub (EHub) experts know the Big Brown inside and out, and we can help you find the solutions that work for you.

UPS Ecommerce Shipping with EHub

In 2020, over two billion people purchased goods and services online, and ecommerce is only going to continue to grow. As one of the most trusted shipping and logistics companies in the world, UPS shipping rates are competitive with a variety of service levels.

EHub’s shipping software integrates seamlessly with UPS platforms to ensure you can deliver the best possible shipping experience for your customers at the best price for your company.

And so much more. Contact us today to get your UPS shipping estimate.

Need International Shipping? UPS Has It.

Need something in London by the next morning? UPS can do it. Need affordable shipping for your favorite customer in Hong Kong? UPS can do it. Need reliable service for monthly pallet shipments to South Africa? UPS can do it.

Just like their domestic shipping programs, UPS international shipping services work for businesses large and small. Whether you are shipping thousands of packages or just a few, UPS has a program that matches your budget, timeline, and customer expectations.

And with EHub’s help, they can do all of it for less.

UPS Shipping vs. Other Carriers

When it comes to ecommerce, there isn’t a “best” carrier, only best-for-you carriers.

Who your best carrier is will depend on what you’re shipping, where you’re sending it, how fast it needs to get there, what types of tracking and insurance you need, and how much you can spend to do it all.

UPS vs USPS
UPS usually beats USPS on service and price for large, heavy packages, and while UPS ground shipping usually takes longer than USPS First Class Mail, UPS has far fewer restrictions on what can be shipped.

Check out the comparisons below for more information.

DOMESTIC SHIPPING

CarrierUPS Ground ShippingUSPS First ClassUSPS Cubic
Weight10+ lbs.Less than 5 lbs.1-20 lbs.
Transit Time
48 States
5 Business Days (Saturday delivery for an extra fee)2-3 Calendar Days (Saturday delivery included)2-3 Calendar Days (Saturday delivery included)
Outside 48 States / Rural DeliveryAvailable for an extra feeIncludedIncluded
Guaranteed DeliveryAvailable for an extra fee (exceptions apply for peak shipping times, acts of God, etc.)NoNo
Package DimensionsOver 1 Cubic Footn/a< 1/2 Cubic Foot (L x W x H) / 1728
PO Box or Military DeliveryNoIncludedIncluded
Flat Rate ServicesUp to 50 lbs.*Up to 50 lbs.n/a

*Per Contract – 10 or 50 lbs. depending on package type.

INTERNATIONAL SHIPPING

CarrierUPS Worldwide ExpeditedUPS Worldwide Express, Express Plus, & SaverUSPS Priority Mail Express International
WeightMaximum weight 150 lbs.Maximum weight 150 lbs.Maximum weight 70 lbs.
Transit Time
48 States
2-5 business days (no Saturday delivery)1-3 business days (Saturday delivery available for an extra fee in certain areas)3-5 business days
Outside 48 States / Rural DeliveryAvailable for an extra feeIncludedIncluded
Guaranteed DeliveryYesYesAvailable in some locations for additional fee
Package DimensionsMaximum combined length and girth is 165”Maximum combined length and girth is 165”Maximum combined length and girth is 108”
PO Box or Military DeliveryNoNoIncluded

UPS Shipping vs. FedEx Shipping

With service levels that are fairly similar, some of the biggest differences between UPS and FedEx are based around rates, fees, and surcharges.

UPS is globally recognized for their ground delivery services. Their huge ground fleet and next day services provide top-notch service domestically and internationally.

On the other hand, FedEx has twice as many planes as UPS and specializes in air delivery and international shipping. FedEx also has contracted with the USPS to offer their hybrid SmartPost program.

DOMESTIC SHIPPING

CarrierUPS Ground ShippingFedEx Ground Shipping
Weight10+ lbs.10+ lbs.
Transit Time
48 States
5 business days (Saturday delivery for an extra fee)5 business days (Saturday delivery for an extra fee)
Outside 48 States / Rural DeliveryAvailable for an extra feeAvailable for an extra fee
Guaranteed DeliveryAvailable for an extra fee (exceptions apply for peak shipping times, acts of God, etc.)Available for an extra fee (exceptions apply for peak shipping times, acts of God, etc.)
Package DimensionsOver 1 cubic footOver 1 cubic foot
PO Box or Military DeliveryNoNo
Flat Rate ServicesUp to 50 lbs.*Up to 50 lbs.*

*Per Contract – 10 or 50 lbs. depending on package type.

INTERNATIONAL SHIPPING

CarrierUPS Worldwide ExpeditedUPS Worldwide Express, Express Plus, & SaverFedEx International Economy
WeightMaximum weight 150 lbs.Maximum weight 150 lbs.Maximum weight 150 lbs.
Transit Time
48 States
2-5 business days (no Saturday delivery)1-3 business days (Saturday delivery available for an extra fee in certain areas)2-5 business days (Saturday delivery available for an extra fee in certain areas)
Guaranteed DeliveryYesYesYes
Package DimensionsMaximum combined length and girth is 165”Maximum combined length and girth is 165”Maximum combined length and girth is 130”
PO Box or Military DeliveryNoNoNo

When you use our shipping API, you will have access to the best UPS rates for all your ecommerce domestic and international shipping needs. We can connect your stores and fulfillment platforms with shipping options that meet your needs and your customers’ expectations.

If you’re ready to simplify your shipping, contact us now and let us show you how EHub can take the stress out of shipping.

FedEx Shipping for Business

Get your ecommerce packages to the world on time

If you run a small ecommerce business, you might be the CEO, COO, CFO, CTO, and CMO while still managing fulfillment and shipping.
That’s a lot to manage.

EHub’s pre-negotiated rate discounts, easy-to-print labels, multiple insurance options, and free tracking can take things off your very full plate.

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FedEx Shipping for Business

With delivery available to domestic and international commercial and residential addresses, FedEx has a variety of products and services ready to meet your ecommerce shipping needs.

FedEX Service Levels

FedEx Ground® FedEx First Overnight® Extra Hours
FedEx International Economy® FedEx International Priority®
FedEx 2Day® FedEx Standard Overnight®
FedEx International First® FedEx Home Delivery®
FedEx Ground® Economy Returns FedEx International Ground®
FedEx® Collect on Delivery (C.O.D.) or FedEx Ground® C.O.D. FedEx Ground® Economy parcel select
FedEx Appointment Home Delivery® FedEx Date Certain Home Delivery®
FedEx® Delivery – Adult Signature Required FedEx® Delivery – Indirect Signature Required (API Only)
FedEx Standard Overnight® Extra Hours FedEx International Broker Select®
FedEx Europe First® FedEx Europe First®
FedEx Priority Overnight® FedEx 2Day® A.M.
FedEx Express Saver® FedEx Ground® Economy
FedEx® Returns FedEx Economy (Canada)
FedEx Ground® Economy parcel select lightweight FedEx One Rate®
FedEx Ground® Electronic C.O.D (E.C.O.D.) FedEx Evening Home Delivery®
FedEx® Delivery – No Signature Required FedEx® Delivery – Direct Signature Required
FedEx ShipAlert® FedEx Priority Overnight® Extra Hours

FedEx has the world’s largest cargo airline fleet, 7-day delivery, and unmatched tracking systems, and setting up a FedEx small business account allows you to deliver to customers around the globe while accessing business account rates and shipping discounts.

FedEx is the International Shipping Expert

Whether you need it delivered in one day or one week, FedEx has the tools and transport solutions you need to get your package to Perth, Paris, or Phnom Penh.

The only carrier to include free delivery seven days a week, FedEx also has a huge library of resources to help you understand the ins and outs of international shipping documentation forms and rates.

FedEx’s variety of international shipping options means you are sure to find a solution that works for your package volume, budget, timelines, and customer expectations.

And with EHub’s intuitive, user-friendly program and pre-negotiated shipping rate discounts, using FedEx for your ecommerce needs, you’ll get the biggest bang for your buck.

FedEx Ecommerce Shipping with EHub

More people than ever are shopping and shipping online, and FedEx shipping rates, delivery options, and support are designed to help small and mid-sized businesses grow.

Even better, FedEx is contracted with the US Postal Service to run the SmartPost program, combining the strengths of both carriers into an affordable, efficient program that maximizes your shipping dollars.

Adding the power of EHub’s integrated shipping software to FedEx’s global distribution infrastructure makes it easier for you to:

  • Print a FedEx shipping label
  • Find and track orders
  • Insure packages
  • Verify addresses
  • Manage returns

FedEx Shipping vs. Other Carriers

Each carrier has strengths and weaknesses, and most businesses use more than one depending on what they are shipping, where they are shipping it, and when they need it delivered.

Here’s how FedEx stacks up against the competition.

FedEx vs. UPS
Comparing FedEx & UPS isn’t quite apples and oranges. More like oranges and clementines. They are similar, but they aren’t the same.

FedEx doesn’t have as much variety and flexibility in its options as UPS does, but it’s the best at what it does well. It also covers many popular service levels like UPS.

Its huge air fleet and expertise in international shipping regulations make FedEx a leader in express, long-haul, and international deliveries.

DOMESTIC SHIPPING

CarrierFedEx Ground ShippingUPS Ground Shipping
Weight10+ lbs.10+ lbs.
Transit Time
48 States
5 business days5 business days (Saturday delivery for an extra fee)
Outside 48 States / Rural DeliveryAvailable for an extra feeAvailable for an extra fee
Guaranteed DeliveryAvailable for an extra fee (exceptions apply for peak shipping times, acts of God, etc.)Available for an extra fee (exceptions apply for peak shipping times, acts of God, etc.)
Package DimensionsOver 1 Cubic FootOver 1 cubic foot
PO Box or Military DeliveryNoNo
Flat Rate ServicesUp to 50 lbs.*Up to 50 lbs.*

*Per Contract – 10 or 50 lbs. depending on package type.

INTERNATIONAL SHIPPING

CarrierFedEx International EconomyFedEx International PriorityUPS Worldwide Express, Express Plus, & Saver
WeightMaximum weight 150 lbs.Maximum weight 150 lbs.Maximum weight 150 lbs.
Transit Time
48 States
2-5 business days (Saturday delivery available for an extra fee in certain areas)1-3 business days (Saturday delivery included)1-3 business days (Saturday delivery available for an extra fee in certain areas)
Guaranteed DeliveryYesYesYes
Package DimensionsMaximum combined length and girth is 130”Maximum combined length and girth is 130”Maximum combined length and girth is 165”
PO Box or Military DeliveryNoNoNo

FedEx vs. USPS

FedEx and the US Postal Service are competitors, but they are also shipping partners.

The FedEx SmartPost® program is a public/private partnership between the two shipping giants that provides affordable residential shipping and returns delivery for low-weight, high-volume shipments.

Combining FedEx’s express air delivery capabilities with USPS’s ability to deliver to every address in the country, SmartPost® uses FedEx’s fleet to quickly get packages to the right city, after which the package is handed off the package to USPS for final delivery.

Because of their unique relationship, comparisons between FedEx and USPS aren’t always straightforward. Contact our shipping experts if you want to learn how you can leverage these programs to your advantage.

DOMESTIC SHIPPING

td>USPS Cubic

CarrierFedEx Ground ShippingUSPS First Class
Weight10+ lbs.Less than 5 lbs.1-20 lbs.
Transit Time
48 States
5 business days2-3 calendar days (Saturday delivery included)2-3 calendar days (Saturday delivery included)
Outside 48 States / Rural DeliveryAvailable for an extra feeIncludedIncluded
Guaranteed DeliveryAvailable for an extra fee (exceptions apply for peak shipping times, acts of God, etc.)NoNo
Package DimensionsOver 1 cubic footn/a< 1/2 Cubic Foot (L x W x H) / 1728
PO Box or Military DeliveryNo (unless using SmartPost)IncludedIncluded
Flat Rate ServicesUp to 50 lbs.*Up to 50 lbs.n/a

INTERNATIONAL SHIPPING

CarrierFedEx International EconomyFedEx International PriorityUSPS Priority Mail Express International
WeightMaximum weight 150 lbs.Maximum weight 150 lbs.Maximum weight 70 lbs.
Transit Time
48 States
2-5 business days (Saturday delivery available for an extra fee in certain areas)1-3 business days (Saturday delivery included)3-5 business days
Guaranteed DeliveryYesYesAvailable in some locations for additional fee
Package DimensionsMaximum combined length and girth is 130”Maximum combined length and girth is 130”Maximum combined length and girth is 108”
PO Box or Military DeliveryNoNoIncluded

If you’re ready to simplify your shipping, contact us now and let us show you how EHub can take the stress out of shipping.

The Best Carriers Based on Actual Shippers

We took actual shipping data to determine which carrier is best to use based on a given scenario. Before we dive into those, it’s good to determine what’s more important for your business? Speed of delivery? Pricing and fees? A combination of both?

Take a look at some of the common scenarios below that we took from our actual shipping data. We’re always happy to create a real comparison between carriers based on your own shipping information such as parcel dimensions, weight, shipping origin, and destination.

What’s Best for Smaller, Heavy Packages?

Say you’re shipping a collection of candles. They’re small but heavy in glass jars, fitting inside a box that measures 8” long x 8” wide x 8” high. They’re also shipping from Salt Lake City, Utah, to Chicago, Illinois (which is a Zone 6 shipment). In the end, the bookends, packing materials, and box all weigh a total of 15 lbs. An 8x8x8 box ends up being .3 cubic

Looking at the table below, USPS priority mail cubic is the best option across all factors. It’s faster, cheaper, and doesn’t have any additional charges (unlike UPS and FedEx).

What About a Bigger Box That’s Medium Weight?

In this scenario, say you’re shipping some camping gear that fits in a box that’s 15” long x 15” wide x 15” high. This parcel is shipping from Los Angeles, California, to New York City, New York (which is a Zone 8 shipment). The camping gear, packing materials, create a total weight of 8 lbs.

In this case, FedEx Ground or UPS Ground is the better option (depending on whether it’s peak season and which fees may apply).

What About Small Items Under 1 lb?

For this example, say you’re shipping a very cool keychain in a poly mailer or a bubble mailer. The mailer dimensions are 8” long x 5” wide x 2” high and the combined weight of the mailer and keychain is 12 oz. The mailer is shipping from Salt Lake City to Atlanta, Georgia (which is a Zone 7 shipment).

The USPS wins out on this with First Class Mail. It’s half the cost of Priority Mail, FedEx Ground, and UPS Ground. It also ships in the same time frame so you don’t have to compromise on speed of delivery.

What if I Need to Ship Fast with a Service Guarantee?

Sometimes you need to ship something fast, like having a 2 day guarantee. For this example, say you have an 8” long x 8” wide x 8” high box shipping golf balls from Las Vegas to Seattle (which is a Zone 5 shipment). Between the golf balls, packing materials, and box, the parcel weighs 4 lbs.

In this kind of situation, FedEx or UPS win. The prices are incredibly similar (though it’s smart to double check on any additional surcharges or fees). The USPS is not only more expensive on this one, but doesn’t include a money-back guarantee, either.

What Happens Next?

You know all about the carriers now, but really that doesn’t tell you exactly which one best for your business, right? Maybe it’s a combination of the three. We can help you create the best shipping strategy to save not only money, but time and headaches as well, with our team of knowledgeable (and responsive) shipping specialists.

No matter which carrier you go with, Essential Hub provides rate shopping, US-based support (real people, not robots), discounted rates for qualifying parcels, and integrations for your systems. Whether you choose a single carrier or want to use a multicarrier strategy, our team is ready to craft the best solution for your business.

We accomplish that in a simple 4-step process below.

1.

EHub analyzes your shipments and volume

2.

Team mines for opportunities for savings and automation

3.

Implement rate shopping and business rules

4.

Start Saving!

EHub’s API provides:

Easy-to-print labels Insurance options
Done-for-you implementation Rate comparisons
Order tracking history 24/7 support
Address verification

EHub’s API provides:

  • Easy-to-print labels
  • Done-for-you implementation
  • Order tracking history
  • Address verification
  • Insurance options
  • Rate comparisons
  • 24/7 support