The Cheapest Shipping Options for USPS, UPS, and FedEx

By Baillee Perkins
Dec 6, 2021

It can be extremely time-consuming and frustrating to try to find which carrier has the best rates for your shipment. That’s where we come in! We’ve created some guidelines to help you figure out not only which carrier but which service best fits your needs to put that time and money back into your small business. Before we get ahead of ourselves and get into which shipping options are best for your packages, we have to answer a very important question: What is used to determine your shipping options anyway? 

Shipping Criteria 

To compare your cheapest shipping options, it’s important to know the answers to a few questions you’ll see when determining the best service available such as: 

  • What is the weight of the shipment?
    • Is it more or less than 1lb?
  • What is the type of package? 
    • Are you using a flat envelope or box with volume?
  • What are your shipping rates?
    •  Do you have access to any discounts?

When choosing the most cost-effective service, don’t be afraid to compare and contrast all of your options. Some carriers even offer free packaging, which can help you save money on supplies. Knowing the different weight and measurement requirements associated with services can help you avoid any adjustments or additional costs being given to your shipments.

Learn more about where to find free shipping supplies with our Shipping 101 blog!

Now that you have more insight into some of the factors used when deciding which services your packages are eligible for, let’s dive into some of the most commonly used services from USPS, UPS, and FedEx! 


While USPS has several different services, the big three we’re looking at today are First-Class Mail, First-Class Package Service, and Priority Mail. These three options are beneficial for several different reasons, so we’ve included some of the most important features of each, including whether or not tracking is provided. 

First-Class Mail

First-Class Mail is mostly used for letters that weigh under 1oz, and the cheapest USPS option for postage is a USPS First-Class Postage Stamp, which is the $.58 postage stamp you may have used before when mailing cards and letters. First-Class Mail can also be used for large envelopes that weigh under 13oz, and it’s great for letters, documents, and thin-flat items. The only downside of First-Class Mail is that tracking isn’t provided with cards and letters or with the First-Class Mail large envelopes, meaning you won’t be able to provide your customers with any tracking information on their order.

First-Class Package Service

The First-Class Package service is reserved for packages that weigh less than a pound, and if you use USPS One Balance from ShippingEasy, which gives you Commercial rates, this is the cheapest shipping option that includes tracking. With USPS One Balance, you also receive an almost extra 3oz because, without those Commercial rates, the First-Class Package service requires a package be under 13oz. Here are the 2021 commercial rates for those First-Class Packages:

USPS Commerical Rates are available to all ShippingEasy customers and can be calculated by the weight and zone.

Priority Mail

For packages that weigh over a pound, the cheapest option will most likely be USPS Priority Mail. Flat Rate packaging is a great option for shipments up to 70 pounds because regardless of the destination, the price is the same. These also come with up to $50 of insurance, which is especially handy when it comes to gifts, orders for your customers, or more expensive items. 

Regional Rate is a great option for those heavier shipments, and it’s especially great for those shipments only going a short distance. You’ll definitely see the biggest savings if you are sending these to distances, or zones, that are closer to you. Sending shipments within zones 1-4 (shipments being delivered with 50-600 miles of you) will see the biggest savings. Here’s a breakdown of those zones from our blog on USPS Zones: 

The zone of a shipment is decided by the distance between the sender and recipient's addresses.

If you are shipping to U.S. territories such as American Samoa, Guam, or Puerto Rico, be sure to check the Zone 9 rates and restrictions for your destination address.

For more information on the services offered by USPS, visit the USPS website

Read more on shipping to specialty addresses with Shipping to PO Boxes in our blog!


UPS SurePost 

UPS SurePost is the most cost-effective service from UPS for those packages that weigh less than 10 lbs, but delivery will be relatively slow. You also do have to have a contract with UPS to utilize this service, so we recommend reaching out to your UPS representative directly for further information. 

UPS One Balance from ShippingEasy

If you use ShippingEasy, you can qualify for a UPS One Balance account, which means you’re eligible for up to 76% off UPS shipping costs. UPS One Balance accounts can be used for the following services: 

ShippingEasy's UPS One Balance is available for these domestic services listed.

ShippingEasy's UPS One Balance is compatible with these international services listed.


FedEx Ground Economy (formerly FedEx SmartPost)

FedEx Ground Economy is an efficient and cost-effective way that FedEx provides for shipping lightweight packages to nearly the entirety of the United States territories. Keep in mind that delivery will be relatively slow, and you will need to have a contract with FedEx to use this service. 

The good news is we do support FedEx as a carrier integration, and you are able to connect your FedEx account to your ShippingEasy account. This allows you to use not only your FedEx account but gives you access to whatever rates are associated with your FedEx account. This way, you can still save on shipping costs, and keep your carrier accounts organized in one place. 

Figuring out which carrier and/or service is the cheapest for your shipments can be overwhelming. With so many services available, it can be challenging to research all of your available options. By breaking down some of the more popular services such as USPS First-Class and Priority Mail, UPS SurePost and One Balance, and FedEx Ground Economy, we’re here to take some of the stress away from shipping. We understand running a small business can be hard, especially with the increase of online shopping, so we’re here to make ShippingEasy! 

Get USPS Commercial and UPS One Balance rates with a ShippingEasy 30-day free trial!
The following two tabs change content below.

Baillee Perkins

Baillee Perkins is a writer of shipping by day and pop culture by night, so her Google search history is an actual nightmare.

Latest posts by Baillee Perkins (see all)