FedEx vs UPS vs USPS: Shipping Rate & Reliability Comparison

Cody Cromwell
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UPS, or USPS? Or even FedEx?

FedEx, UPS, and USPS (United Parcel Service) are the three most popular and widely used services when it comes to transporting packages.

Businesses, online shoppers, and ordinary people in the U.S. often compare and contrast the systems.

So let’s see how FedEx, UPS, and USPS compare:

USPS is by far the most popular system for small packages, and is the only option for international shipping of packages, especially to the United Kingdom or Canada.

FedEx is popular for delivering to all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and to most countries abroad. They shine when it comes to larger shipments, both in size per box, but also straight up quantity of boxes. You can pretty seamlessly switch even to LTL services should you outgrow smaller quantities.

UPS is the most popular service for large packages and overnight deliveries. When something is time sensitive and you need it to arrive on time, UPS has the best track record.


All the popular services, and especially USPS, are geared to provide the lowest cost per package. However, they are also the least reliable systems in the industry, making them a less ideal choice for guaranteed deliveries.

The UPS and FedEx services are much more stable and therefore, preferred for businesses and their time critical shipments.

You’ve probably heard of FedEx, UPS, and of course the USPS. But how are they different? And what is meet-or-beat reliability guaranteed anyway?

Genuinely interested in knowing what to choose? Read on.

When to Use FedEx

With their volume based pricing they can be competitive for larger lightweight products. Also, even though their standard rates can often seem pretty steep they offer excellent volume discounts. So if you have the volume reach out to your account manager and negotiate hard. Additionally, if you ship booze, then your choices are down to FedEx vs UPS right away anyways. Their Sunday deliveries can also be relevant for some businesses.

When to Use UPS

In the world of shipping, FedEx, UPS and USPS (United States Postal Service) are all very popular carriers. Unlike FedEx, the USPS does not have seven days of daily service; while FedEx and UPS both allow for residential deliveries, they do not offer the same guaranteed meet-or-beat service as USPS does. Some rural areas are just not profitable enough for private companies. They rely on the USPS for those areas.

Not sure whether to use UPS or USPS for shipping? Here is a handy guide to help you decide between FedEx, USPS, and the domestic service of USPS.

Your first step should be to make sure you are comparing apples-to-apples. Read the entire section for a more detailed analysis, but the info below will give you the basic rundown for avoiding confusion and choosing the best shipping option for your item.

Shipping Options

FedEx offers both international and domestic delivery options. Their international ground and air services are known for their speed and reliability and can be used for shorter deliveries, as well as drop-offs at international airports. Their international ground service offers the competitive rates.

When to Use USPS

If you’ve got a small package, say of a few ounces or below, you can get it delivered by the United States Postal Service (USPS) at an unbeatable price. The cutoff is that the package needs to be under 1 lb. The United States Postal Service (USPS) and any private shipping companies that offer next day shipping will get your package there. However, if my life depended on it I'd trust UPS and FedEx a bit more. They have their own planes and are champions of logistics. They know how to get things where they said they'd go. All you have to do is include a phone number and a valid ZIP code when you ship a package with the USPS. Rates will be based on weight and delivery location.

The United States Postal Service (USPS) is also a great shipping service to use for international packages for a variety of reasons. Mostly, though because USPS has partnerships with most foreign postal services, thus guaranteeing seemless service. However, if it’s going to require any customs clearance or clearance by the attending post office, Fedex Express and UPS are the products to use.

If you are buying online from a website such as Amazon, a FedEx or UPS shipping speed will meet your needs. If your package is small, the post office is still a great shipping choice.

FedEx vs UPS vs USPS at a Glance

FedEx and UPS are servicers of freight while USPS is a servicer of mail.

FedEx was founded in 1971 and UPS was founded in 1907. USPS was founded in 1792. So there's a lot of history behind the postal service. It's reinvented itself many times.

The initials "UPS" stand for United Parcel Service.

The company name abbreviation for FedEx stands for Federal Express.

FedEx is composed of three major shipping companies, Federal Express Ground (FedEx Ground), FedEx Express (the overnight or air option) and FedEx Home Delivery (the parcel or local delivery option). For the most part, FedEx Ground is used by businesses, although it is occasionally used by consumers. One of the main advantages of using Ground is that you can obtain a lower price than the standard rates for three very important reasons. FedEx has expanded their fleet with their newest aircraft, the Boeing 747-8i. FedEx Express has the quickest international delivery in the world.

UPS is the largest courrrier in the world. FedEx has the larger fleet of planes, while UPS operates more ground vehicles.

UPS is one of the largest freight companies in the world, and indeed, the largest package delivery company in the world.

The initials "USPS" stand for United States Postal Service.

USPS is the biggest postal service provider in the USA.

The USPS is responsible for delivering 173 million mail pieces each day.

Less than half of the USPS's revenue comes from shipping packages.

The Postal Service provides plenty of services besides mail delivery, such as stamps, passports, PO boxes, money orders, providing access to the nations 9,000 post offices, and providing access to the postal benefit program.

How We Evaluated FedEx vs UPS vs USPS

When it’s time to ship something, you’ll most likely turn to the reliable shipping services of FedEx or UPS. But how do the services compare in terms of shipping rates and reliability? It’s an important question for businesses to answer, and the latest data on each of these services allows us to more easily make an accurate comparison.

We evaluated all three services using an objective metric: the percentage of packages that arrived undamaged and on time. The UPS consistently works with the lowest rate of damaged packages, so they provide the best package reliability of the three services. On the other hand, FedEx and UPS frequently charge higher rates for their services, but they provide the best rate of package deliveries. So in this case, we’re valuing a service based on what they provide, which is the shipping of packages.

All three services offered a nationwide package delivery service. When choosing between these shippers, the most important factors for business owners are how fast packages can be delivered and for how much. Weight and size are also factors that determine the cost of shipping, so if you need to ship anything large or heavy (and cannot afford to ship it with a private carrier), then it can be a deciding factor in choosing your preferred delivery service.

FedEx vs UPS vs USPS: Pricing & Features

The cost of shipping a package via a parcel service, whether it’s by air (FedEx, UPS, and DHL) or land (the U.S. Postal Service), is dependent on a number of factors, including the weight of the item shipped, the package’s dimensions, the shipping service used, and whether or not the shipping service offers an online container tracking service.

One of the biggest differences between FedEx, UPS, and USPS is in terms of market share and the overall overall customer service they offer. UPS, which originally started as a ground service with overnight delivery, has expanded its lineup of services. Their competitors now include a rapid delivery service (FedEx), a discounted single-day shipping service (UPS Overnight), and specialized services like international service to Europe (UPS International). Consequently, it’s very important that you use the correct shipping service for your particular product.

FedEx Pricing & Features

FedEx is a shipping giant that’s known for its reliable and speedy deliveries. It brings millions of packages everyday and boasts a network of over 2,000 facilities spanning across all 50 states. To securely deliver them, they use a variety of secure shipping solutions.

In terms of processing time, FedEx says you can expect your shipment to arrive within one to three business days. Of course, that will vary depending on where you are shipping from, how large your package is, and where it’s being delivered to. For instance, if you’re shipping to an international destination, it could take longer.

They also offer a variety of shipping options. If you’re shipping something valuable, you can choose FedEx Express, FedEx Ground, FedEx Freight, or FedEx Home Delivery.

With today’s heightened security concerns, FedEx has also adopted an added security layer. FPRS offers its customers insurance coverage against loss or damage from acts of terrorism, natural disasters, or other events that are not considered unusual by the international insurance industry. It also offers international transaction coverage for certain countries that have adopted the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

UPS Pricing & Features

USPS Pricing & Features

FedEx vs UPS vs USPS: Ease of Use

The Shipping Rate Comparison Chart helps you choose whether to use FedEx, UPS or USPS, all of which are popular postal services.

If you always find yourself wondering which shipping service to use, then the Shipping Rate Comparison Chart will help you decide based on which package is going to weigh more. The chart lets you compare the cost of two-day, three-day, and two-week shipping, making it easy to get the best deal.

Shipping Calculators: calculate Shipping Rates and Shipping Calculators

The shipping rate comparison chart can be used to calculate shipping costs using the USPS, FedEx, and UPS. Simply select your destination from the drop-down menu, enter the applicable weight, and you’ll get the full cost for overnight, two-day, three-day, or standard shipping. Shipping costs are based on weight, package dimensions, destination delivery ZIP code, and the number of packages.

It’s important that the shipper makes sure that the package can be received by your shipping carrier’s delivery scheduling system and that the package can be prepared for shipping at the destination. You’ll receive an email with your shipping cost details, and you can also print out your shipping quote for your records.

FedEx Ease of Use

FedEx provides one of the most efficient shipping options in the industry. It has made package tracking faster, more powerful and versatile. You can get fast delivery on your orders with FedEx. Their online system covers any shipping scenario you could think of, however, this also leads to some complexity in the system.

UPS Ease of Use

UPS provides rate, profit, and delivery information on its website. But UPS provides information.

Using a customs broker for shipments that travel between one country’s Customs Territory and another country’s Customs Territory is common.

USPS Ease of Use

USPS has a reputation for being reliable and easy to use. It is one of the most consistent shipping companies out there, and it boasts the largest volume of retail packages shipped. Whether you’re mailing a fragile package or a light book, USPS will get it to its destination within their expected time frame.

However, USPS comes at a discount ompared to other options, and that’s because the volume of packages shipping via USPS exponentially increases over the course of the year and the government subsidies. UPS and FedEx use much more efficient and competitive shipping methods and are able to churn out more packages than USPS due to their vast infrastructures.

An issue with USPS is that they don’t provide tracking for all their shipments. This can cause issues if you need to know where your package is at a certain time – like if you’re expecting a package at the end of a business day.

If you are planning to send a medium or heavy item in the US, USPS is not the most cost effective option per se. You should check the competition as well.

FedEx vs UPS vs USPS: Customer Reviews

UPS and FedEx are American companies which provide a range of package and courier services worldwide. The oldest company in the US to enter the market is USPS (United States Postal Service) which provides mail services, as well.

The comparison points between these three delivery service providers are as follows:

UPS vs. USPS Shipping Speeds

The delivery process of UPS is pretty simple. If you are a business or even if you are a regular consumer depending on your choices you can change the delivery option and choose your preferred package delivery service. The service of UPS is the fastest service provider in the market. The delivery time is quite quick.

However, the package might get lost. But that's why there's insurance for packages. But the services aren't free. At least for more expensive items. The pricing is pretty competitive in the market. It has the option of Express Delivery which speeds up the process with less additional costs. Overall, it is a good option.

FedEx Customer Reviews

  • FedEx has a reputation for service and reliability that attracts customers who expect privacy to be provided and delivery expectation to be met.
  • FedEx takes the initiative of addressing the customer’s concern post-delivery by way of emails and phone calls followed by a follow-up visit.
  • Delivery personnel are very pleasant and courteous.

UPS Customer Reviews

  • UPS promises complete service and delivery.
  • UPS delivers well within the pre-set dates.
  • UPS can make sure to collect a signature on parcels which reduces the chances of fraud or forgery.
  • UPS delivery personnel are courteous with a sense of humor.

If you’re shipping a product internationally, there are several options of carriers you can ship your package through. There are truckload & air options, as well as the more popular and efficient parcel carriers like FedEx, UPS, USPS, and DHL. While each carrier has its own advantages over the rest, not all carriers in the same category are created equal, and for that, you’ll have to research each carrier to get the best value.

The customer review for international shipments favor UPS though.

USPS Customer Reviews

  • USPS has a reputation for reliability and punctuality.
  • The shipping time is quite a bit more than any other option.
  • USPS keeps a tab of where the parcel has been since it was first delivered just like FedEx. If the parcel is to be delivered to someone else by a courier.
  • USPS is in many cases the cheapest option of the three.
  • USPS provides the best quality possible throughout the full shipping process.

The US Postal Service (USPS) offers roughly the same protection for packages sent via delivery methods FedEx and UPS, but shipping via USPS typically offers the lowest prices. That doesn’t mean that all USPS shipments are less expensive, though.

What begins as one of the fastest shipping methods available can often fall behind when weighed against the other two. Special circumstances can factor in, though.

Mail sent via USPS is often the slowest method. Unless it is delivered, it is lost, and that means it is partially at the mercy of the postal workers for that day.

USPS is still the cheapest option when it comes to shipping a package, especially when that package is small and light. It can still be faster to ship via UPS or FedEx, too. USPS rates are that of the cheapest, whether you send one item or one thousand.

Bottom Line

Both FedEx and United Parcel Service (UPS) have become household names over the decades, due to their efficient and reliable services. It is expected that FedEx is more expensive than UPS, but who wins in the long run?

In real world scenarios, there are many similarities between the two shipping companies, but their delivery services cannot be ignored.

In order to receive the best deal, one should compare shipping rates of a variety of companies, verify the experience, track control, and find the company with the best services. It offers no harm to compare. Each company shines in their own use cases.

FedEx and UPS Delivery Services vs USPS

The United States Postal Service (USPS) is the largest nationwide mail carrier, available in all 50 states. FedEx and United Parcel Service (UPS) have widened their panache due to their reliability and speed. While they are facing competition they each have earned the trust of the millions of users. They are the carriers of Amazon, eBay, Bank of America, JC Penney, Shoprunner, and Macy's. FedEx and UPS offer a great yet competitively priced shipping services.