Everything you need to know about First Class and Priority Mail (2023)

The USPS has a long and storied history as the backbone of American commerce. The post office was founded in 1775 and has delivered parcels and letters ever since.

Today, the USPS is still primarily responsible for delivering mail to all addresses in America. However, it also offers various other services that can be extremely useful for e-commerce businesses. Many online stores rely on USPS shipping options because they offer more features at an affordable price than private carriers like FedEx and UPS. USPS handles more than 40% of all e-commerce packages.

Whether you're a new or experienced e-commerce seller, knowing the difference between First Class and Priority Mail can be helpful when shipping your packages. Find out how each category differs and how they can affect your business.


  1. Priority mail vs. First Class Mail - Differences Explained
  2. When to use First Class and Priority Mail
  3. Shipping just got easier with the next SmartShip - Save costs and time!
  4. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)Everything you need to know about First Class and Priority Mail (1)

First class vs. priority mail - Differences explained

When making decisions as an e-commerce business owner,delivery optionsthey play a key role in the success of your business. Understanding the differences between USPS First Class and Priority Mail and when it makes sense to use each option can have a big impact on your company's shipping rates, delivery speed and other factors that affect conversion rates and customer satisfaction.

First Class Mail is a very affordable option for small packages. It can be used for packages weighing up to 13 ounces and is often used by e-commerce businesses that sell sensitive items like jewelry or clothing. The biggest advantage of First Class Mail is that it's cheap - especially compared to Priority Mail (more on that below). The downside is that it is not guaranteed to arrive within 2-3 days like Priority Mail, so this may not be the best option for you if you are sending something time sensitive. First class postage rates arebased on weight not size. All postcards and flats must be rectangular. Otherwise, an additional fee may be charged.

Priority Mail is an express service provided by the US Postal Service. (USPS), a reliable, cost-effective, time-saving alternative to express mail services at a lower cost. Your package must be under £70 to qualify for Priority Mail. If you choose Priority Mail as your shipping option, you can expect your package to arrive between 2-3 days after it is dispatched from our warehouse. Priority Mail is available for domestic and international shipments.

First Class Mail is untrackable (except for some international destinations). If you need to know where your package is at any time, Priority Mail is your best choice. With Priority Mail, you can track packages through the USPS website or by phone.

How to choose: First Class Mail vs. Priority Mail

With so many different shipping methods, it can be confusing to decide which one is right for your business. Priority Mail is perfect when time is of the essence and First Class Mail is more economical. Choosing the right class depends on the type of delivery you want to guarantee and how quickly you need it. We divided the criteria into three main categories, namely speed, price and insurance. This will facilitate the decision-making process.

Speed ​​up: The main difference between First Class and Priority Mail is the speed. First Class Mail takes approximately 3 to 5 days, while Priority Mail takes 2 to 3 days. This of course depends on external factors such as weather or an unexpected delay. Rest assured, Priority Mail beats First Class Mail in delivery speed.

Taken:The price of priority mail depends on the weight and size of your package and the destination. The USPS publishes price charts for each type of postal service and the associated costs.

INSURANCE:USPS Priority Mail offers $100 worth of insurance on all packages up to 70 pounds. This can be increased to up to $200 worth of insurance by purchasing additional insurance for international shipping. First Class Mail does not offer insurance.

What can be sent via First Class and Priority Mail and what types of Priority Mail you can choose

You can ship almost anything through the United States Postal Service. The United States Postal Service has several shipping options to get your package from point A to point B.

First class mail

First Class Mail is an excellent choice for letters, postcards and other lightweight items up to 13 ounces (about 1 pound). First Class Mail is often used for personal mail, bills, greeting cards and packages that do not need to be delivered quickly. First Class Mail usually takes 2 to 5 days to reach the recipient.


You can use Priority Mail to ship items weighing more than 1 lb. but within the 70 lb. limit. The goods can vary from books, shoes and toys.

Everything you need to know about First Class and Priority Mail (2)

Priority email categories

Priority Mail pricing is based on weight and distance, with multiple pricing options. Priority mail services include:

Priority express mail:This is the fastest service available from USPS and includes tracking, insurance and delivery confirmation. Delivery times vary by destination, but most shipments will arrive within two days of the shipping date.

Fixed rate boxes for priority mail:The boxes are designed to fit specific products. They have pre-printed labels that allow customers to pay a flat rate regardless of how many items they ship in a box. Customers can also purchase larger boxes that hold more items at once, saving money on shipping costs.

Priority mail shipments:This service offers flat rates based on the weight, strap and shape/size of the package being shipped (up to 70 lbs). There are no additional fees for signature verification or insurance (optional). Parcels can be tracked via UPC or by visitingthis side.

Priority international shipments:An economical way to send light packages abroad by air. Packages can weigh up to 4 pounds and shipping is available to over 190 countries.

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Final thoughts

The choice is personal, but it pays to have an informed opinion. It depends on how quickly you need to get that item. Ultimately, if you're looking for speed and don't mind spending a little more, you'll probably want to choose Priority Mail. Faster delivery will compensate for the higher price. On the other hand, if price is important to you, first class mail will be your best choice.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):

Is it OK to send first class mail to a post office box or priority envelope?

No, you can only use a priority box or envelope to send priority mail

Does USPS Priority Mail really take 1-3 days to deliver?

Yes, but due to circumstances there may be unavoidable delays.

Is the USPS Priority Mail card accurate?

It is accurate and can be used to estimate delivery times.

Can the US Postal Service take more than 5 days?

Yes, it could. Due to unavoidable conditions such as bad weather.

USPS First-Class International vs. Priority Mail International - How does speed compare?

USPS First Class International can take up to four weeks for delivery and Priority Mail International can take 6 to 10 days. Priority Mail International would be the best option for international deliveries.

Is Priority Mail faster than First Class?

Yes, USPS Priority Mail is usually faster than First Class. However, some unforeseen circumstances may affect the delivery time of your package.

Which is better first class or priority mail?

It depends on your requirements. Basically, if you are looking for a cheap solution, First Class can be your choice. If you choose speed, priority mail is the best alternative. Other factors include package weight and whether you need insurance for your package.


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