USPS First Class VS Priority Mail – Which Is Better for Your Business?

Do you ever wonder which is the better USPS service option for shipping? Well, they offer several most widely used courier services.

USPS has long been a popular shipping option among customers due to its low cost and convenience. Besides, it provides a broad range of services that can be highly beneficial to eCommerce businesses.

Many online retailers use USPS shipping service since it gives more features at a lower cost than private companies, such as FedEx and UPS.

However, understanding the difference between first-class and priority mail can be helpful when shipping packages, whether you are a novice or a seasoned eCommerce seller.

In this post, we will compare these two shipping options side-by-side, comparing factors such as cost, delivery speed, reliability, and customer service. In the end, you will get a clear picture of which one is better suited to your individual needs.

So let’s dive right in – read on to discover how these two mailing services stand up against each other!

What is First-Class Mail from the USPS?


The USPS First-Class Shipping service is a reliable way of getting your packages to their destination. This shipping option has been around for years, offering customers an easy and cost-effective way to get their items where they need to go.

But what exactly does the USPS first-class shipping offer? Let’s find out.

In simple words, it is the standard USPS delivery service for light items like letters, cards, lightweight packages, and big envelopes. It is a quick, dependable, and affordable shipping option.

Items with sizes larger than envelopes but weighing less than one pound are eligible for First-Class mail service.

It can take anywhere from 1 to 5 working days for your regular mail delivery. However, if you want to make small package delivery, expect 5 days of delivery time.

Besides, you can choose from three different First-Class services depending on your needs:

1) First-Class Mail
2) First-Class Package Service (for retail)
3) First-Class Package Service (for commercial)

Note that this type of shipping offers you the lowest rates available among all other carriers.

Of course, there are discounts for businesses too. E-commerce sellers who use First-Class mail to send bulk quantities may also take advantage of lower commercial rates.

You need to pay for each ounce of First-Class mail. Besides, there may be additional fees for non-machinable items.

First-Class Mail Benefits:

• It takes one to five working days to arrive.
• Less expensive.
• It provides accurate data for tracking.
• It is ideal for sending postcards and letters at a reasonable cost.
• It can also reach people whose addresses have changed.

USPS First Class Mail’s drawbacks:

• One cannot send parcels that weigh more than 15.99 ounces.
• Significantly constricting with many restrictions.
• It does not include signature services or insurance coverage.
• Sunday delivery is not possible with First Class mail.
• Each ounce of parcel costs more.
• It can cost more than the other options for sending parcels.

Retailers prefer to send small non-breakable items like t-shirts via First Class Mail. They don’t need to be tightly packed or secured by Priority Mail’s safety net because they are light and can withstand most climate conditions.

Now let’s find out what the second shipping option offers in the below section.

Priority Mail – What Is It?


It is the most popular mail service, offering its genuine services since 1968.

As the name suggests, it is the USPS’s fastest shipping option. It offers customers various delivery options, from next-day to three-day delivery.

It gives you a fixed rate for small items, like Amazon Prime’s two-day shipping. But, it can cost more than other options due to its faster speed.

There are several good reasons why it is the most favored choice:

• Domestic delivery takes one to three business days
• It has a free tracking option.
• Easy package weighing

In a word, this option is somewhat similar to other renowned shipping service providers.

USPS Priority Mail Benefits:

• It can take one to two business days to reach.
• This option features insurance coverage.
• Free pick-up and collection of parcels
• It provides accurate tracking data.
• This option assures overnight domestic delivery.
• The best option for sending packages that weigh more than 13 pounds
• Allows signature service.
• Envelopes and boxes required for shipping are free.
• It is superior in speed when compared to other mailing services.
• This shipping service offers to forward and return facilities.
• International delivery is guaranteed.
• It allows deliveries on the weekend too.
• It includes specialized treatment for delicate items.

USPS Priority Mail’s drawbacks:

• Expensive.
• The cost keeps changing.

Sellers usually prefer to ship items like shoes via Priority Mail. That’s because shipping such items makes the overall cost of Priority Mail well worth using.

But, this may not always be the case. You can go with something much less expensive if a product weighs less than 16 ounces. Well, the decision is ultimately yours!

Remember, many sellers choose this option as their preferred shipping method!

Its speed, reliability, affordability, and convenience make it the perfect choice for sellers looking for quick and affordable delivery services.

What are the Differences Between These Two USPS Services?

Comparing USPS First Class and Priority Mail can be a daunting task. There are benefits to both services, making it difficult to know which service is best for you.

So, both these options certainly appear to be virtually indistinguishable. They are technically only an improvement on the regular second-class mail system.

The delivery speed, weight, size, and shape are essential factors that set them apart. These are typically the only things you can consider when deciding which service to select for your product.

Sellers can go for a priority mail option for many reasons. That’s because it gives priority to your packages, just like its name.

Thus, it is typically the preferred service for most eCommerce owners and individuals sending items in bulk.

First Class is the best option for those sending packages that weigh less than 3.5 ounces. That’s because it is significantly less expensive than Priority Mail.

1) Insurance Coverage

Priority Mail and First Class differ most in terms of insurance coverage. The former comes with an insurance policy, whereas the latter does not.

You, as the sender, are not protected if the mail carrier causes damage to your First Class package or it gets lost while in transit.

In short, you can request an insurance policy in First Class mail, but Priority mail doesn’t even require you to think about it. That’s because insurance is already included in this option.

Thus, you must evaluate the individual items you are shipping. Priority Mail’s coverage may help if your parcel is lightweight but relatively costly.

2) Maximum Dimensions

As previously stated, the size of your package is a significant consideration when selecting a United States Postal Service. Thus, we will explore how the parcel dimensions make a difference.

In the first-class option, your parcel can have a dimension of around 108 inches. Similarly, it allows 15.99 ounces when it comes to weight.

The priority service option can also have a similar dimension. But, the maximum parcel weight is a game changer, which is 70 pounds. That’s why many sellers prefer priority service over any other shipping option.

When sending heavier parcels, you can see that Priority Mail performs better.

3) Transit Time

We all know delivery times matter when shipping things across the country or the globe. It is even more critical when you have promised a quick delivery to your buyers.

When choosing between these two, make sure you compare their shipping duration carefully. Of course, the duration is almost the same in both options. But it can slightly change depending on the destination. So, this factor might confuse you.

International First-Class mail delivery timings vary greatly depending on where your item is going. Likewise, Priority Mail only assures that your package will reach the destination within six to ten business days.

When shipping internationally, you should remember that neither of these USPS services guarantees to deliver on an exact date.

You can’t always guarantee that your overseas buyer’s package will arrive by a particular day. It’s practically impossible!

4) Pricing

Given that there is no established pricing structure, this is a challenging factor in making a balanced comparison.

The cost varies greatly depending on the item’s weight, size, and destination, irrespective of your chosen service. Priority Mail will likely cost you approximately $3 more, which is a rough estimate.

You can estimate the price better when you use any of these services more often. A better price prediction is beneficial for those who run thriving eCommerce stores.

5) Tracking

Now, let’s talk about the tracking facility offered by these services. Well, both options provide normal updates on the status of packages and parcels till they safely arrive at the final destination.

The status information includes the date and time. Moreover, it also highlights the attempted deliveries when there are missed deliveries.

You don’t have to pay anything for both shipping options to use their tracking services.

When comparing both options, ensure you also consider the availability of the following points.

• A money-back guarantee
• Certified mail
• Signature services
• Weekend delivery
• Special handling for delicate packages
• The price of return receipts
• A mailing certificate

In summary, both services provide unique advantages depending on your needs and budget constraints.

If fast delivery times and safety are your two primary considerations, go for the priority option. This option takes care of both these factors.

However, if affordability is your primary concern, then a first-class might be just what you’re looking for now!

Also, when deciding which shipping option works best for you, consider all the above factors before making your final decision.

What Can Affect the Shipping Times of USPS?

In today’s world of online shopping and fast delivery, shipping delays can be a primary source of frustration. Moreover, the global economy has faced significant supply chain disruptions recently.

When a package leaves its source place to reach your customers’ doorsteps, there is simply no way to anticipate anything that can happen.

Of course, shipping times get impacted by natural disasters and adverse weather. Remember, your parcel goes through a few countries before reaching its last destination. Thus, it can also be impacted by political instability.

You must know why shipping delays occur and how to deal with them effectively. With this, you can make sure your packages reach their destination hassle-free.

Below disruptions can have a significant impact on both First-Class and Priority mail.

1) Holidays

As you know, orders typically rise significantly during the holidays or festivals. As a result, it raises the volume of shipments, which can be too much for shipping companies to handle.

It can affect more, especially if they don’t have a proper delivery network system.

2) Unusual Events and External Factors

There are times when delays in shipping or at ports may be entirely beyond your control. It consists of external factors, including weather, wars, fire, and unusual events.

Sadly, such incidences can impact international shipping severely.

3) Problems with Customs

When shipping goods internationally, a variety of shipping documents must be presented.

You or your shipping partner might misplace particular documents or fill them out incorrectly. Additionally, the authorities may examine your parcels and report them for additional inspections.

4) Damage or Lost Parcels

Another thing to note is that your parcels may get damaged or lost during transport.

5) A Lack of Transparency Regarding the Necessary Steps

Each shipping procedure needs to follow a set of steps to ensure its timely arrival. So, a lack of clarity might cause delays.

When Should You Use Priority and First Class Mail?


Now that you know a lot about First Class and Priority Mail, it should be easier for you to choose. However, we will go into more detail to make your shipping experience as effortless as possible.

The item you are sending should be your first consideration. Check the following questions:

• Is my item costly? How valuable is it?
• Should I pay extra for super-fast international shipping?
• Where will my product go?
• Is my parcel hefty? If so, what is its weight?
• When do I want my package to be delivered to the buyer?
• What will happen if my package goes damaged or lost in transit? Am I going to lose a lot of money? Is it a good idea to purchase insurance just to be safe?
• How big is my product? How much longer and wider is it all together?

When you have the answers to these questions, you will quickly know which mail service to buy.

1) Choose First-Class shipping

Overall, if you’re looking for a reliable form of shipping that won’t break your budget, USPS first-class is an excellent choice. With its low cost and fast delivery time, this mail service can benefit both personal and business users alike.

The first-class service option is ideal. Choose it when sending items that are not heavy and weigh less than a pound. Moreover, this option is excellent if you don’t need parcels there in three days.

2) Choose Priority Mail shipping

The priority option should be your first choice if you send small parcels more often. Go for it if you’re shipping something weighty. It is a service for those who need parcels there in three days or less. In short, this shipping option is an excellent choice for many e-commerce businesses.


Well, it depends on the shipping duration offered by both services. The delivery times for both services look almost the same. Besides, it relies on at what location you want to send the parcels. Both domestic and international delivery times differ.

So, you cannot term any of these services to be faster or slower one. Instead, you can compare them and see which one gives the most benefits. It can be overall cost, weight limit, free packaging, etc.

It depends on what you need in terms of shipping. Of course, First Class might be a good option for you if you want to save money.

The priority option seems superior and far more better if speed is of the essence for you. The weight of the package and whether you need insurance to protect it are two additional considerations.

No; otherwise, the Priority Mail box will be returned for extra postage.

Many times, the map is exceptionally accurate. It can be used to estimate the lead time for delivery. Of course, one can face complexities in rare situations, let’s say, when something unanticipated happens. It can be anything from labor strikes to bad weather.

Remember, no one can give an assurance of prompt and on-time delivery. All shipping options come with a specific delivery timeframe, but these times are just placeholders. They give you a rough idea of when the parcel will reach.

Of course, all shipping services try to stick to these timeframes. But any unforeseen event can force the delay.

So, the first-class option can take more time. It might happen because of possibilities that cannot be changed, like bad weather.

Remember, both services are safe as long as no unexpected incidences occur. However, you can count Priority mail as the safest option over first-class.

That’s because Priority mail protects you through its insurance coverage. Thus, you can claim compensation for lost or damaged parcels.

Final Thoughts

So, both these options are great for getting your packages to the chosen destination.

If a seller has an e-commerce business with frequent orders, the priority option is usually the most cost-effective method.

Even though it’s your decision, knowing your options is essential. It all depends on how quickly you need that item shipped. So, it is probably the best option if you want speed and are willing to spend a little more.

However, for those looking for a reliable delivery service with an economical price tag, USPS First class is definitely the way to go!

Not only will you save money on postage costs, but you also get the bonus of having tracking numbers included in your shipment at no extra cost. Thus, you know exactly when your item will reach its destination.

So whether you’re looking for affordable or speedy delivery services, it’s clear that both USPS First Class and Priority Mail have something to offer – leaving customers confused for choice!

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