USPS 2021 Shipping Rate Changes: Flat Rate, Priority, First Class, w/Tables

By Rob Zaleski
Nov 16, 2020
2021 USPS Shipping Rate Changes

The shipping rates in this blog are the 2021 USPS shipping rates. For the current 2023 USPS rates, visit our USPS 2023 Shipping Rate Changes: Flat Rate, Priority, First Class, w/Tables blog!

The USPS 2021 shipping rate changes have been announced and go into effect January 24, 2021. You can find a full, in-depth breakdown in our E-commerce Seller’s Guide to 2021 Shipping Rate Changes, but here we will sum up what you need to know. Overall, rates increased for most products, weights, and zones. We’ll go over changes to the most popular USPS shipping services including Priority Mail, First-Class Package, Flat Rate, and Regional Rate. It does appear that the 2021 rate changes are pretty straightforward, which merchants can feel good about.

USPS 2021 Shipping Rate Changes Highlights:

  • Priority Mail rates increased for most packages by an average of 3.5 percent, which is pretty comparable to the increase in January 2020.
  • Priority Mail Express increased by an average of 1.2 percent. That is one percent lower than last year’s increase.
  • First Class Package Service, USPS’s method for packages under 15.999 oz, saw the greatest increase this year, vastly different than last year’s rate change. This service will see a 6.5 percent rate increase. New for 2021, a $100 fee will be assessed on parcels found in the mailstream that exceed the maximum mailable size limit (combined length and girth greater than 130 inches).
  • First Class International Package Service rates are increasing by an average of 2.79 percent. However, the structure has changed slightly. Moving into 2021, USPS is expanding from 9 pricing groups to 20.
  • Parcel Return Service will be increasing 4.9 percent. New for 2021, however, a $100 fee will be assessed on parcels found in the mailstream that exceed the maximum mailable size limit (combined length and girth greater than 130 inches).
  • There does not appear to be any structural changes or any changes to dimensional weight (get a full breakdown of dimensional weight here). New for 2021, however, a $100 fee will be assessed on parcels found in the mailstream that exceed the maximum mailable size limit (combined length and girth greater than 130 inches).

Please note: The rates below are based on USPS Commercial Rates, which are deeply discounted rates from retail rates. You can get these rates by using ShippingEasy for your e-commerce shipping. Also, the rates in the tables below reflect non-holiday USPS rates, and will not match the rates USPS implemented earlier this season. Find more information on those changes here.

Get a full breakdown of the rate changes across USPS, FedEx, and UPS, featuring charts, case studies, and more. Download our free guide and learn how you can save!

Note: As of October 19, 2022, ShippingEasy now offers the lowest USPSⓇ shipping rates in the industry, and the rates reflected in this blog are prior to this change and may not be accurate. For more information on these new rates, check out our blog!

USPS Flat Rate 2021 Rate Changes

USPS Priority Mail Flat Rate boxes and envelopes are very popular shipping services for many online sellers thanks to their simplicity, availability of free packaging, and competitive rates, regardless of package weight or destination. This year, Large Flat Rate boxes saw a full $1 increase.

USPS Priority Mail Flat Rate2020 Commercial Rates2021 Commercial RatesPrice Increase
Flat Rate Envelopes$7.15$7.40$0.25
Legal Flat Rate Envelope$7.45$7.70$0.25
Padded Flat Rate Envelope$7.75$8.00$0.25
Small Flat Rate Box$7.65$7.90$0.25
Medium Flat Rate Boxes$13.20$13.75$0.55
Large Flat Rate Boxes$18.30$19.30$1.00
Large Flat Rate Box

USPS Priority Mail 2021 Rate Changes

Priority Mail is the core parcel shipping service for USPS. It’s a versatile shipping service that is used to ship millions of packages each day.

Below we’ve put together an example of the cost of a 4 lb. package, comparing 2020 rates to the new 2021 rates going to various zones:

Priority Mail
Commercial Rates
Commercial Rates
Zones 1 & 2$7.94$8.10$0.16
Zone 3$8.45$8.58$0.13
Zone 4$9.07$9.21$0.14
Zone 5$10.33$10.43$0.10
Zone 6$14.16$14.80$0.64
Zone 7$16.06$16.78$0.72
Zone 8$18.14$18.96$0.82
Zone 9$28.50$35.63$7.13

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To quickly glance over 2021 Priority Mail rates, take a look at the below rate chart for 2021 Commercial Priority Mail shipments up to 10 pounds:

Priority Mail
1 & 2

USPS First-Class Package 2021 Rate Changes

First-Class Package service has been the most popular and cheapest USPS service to ship packages under 1 lb. Many small and medium-sized business rely on this cost-effective shipping method for small and light packages.

An important element to note is that the First-Class Package Service Commercial rates allow you to ship up to 15.999 oz packages. Retail rates only allow you to ship up to 13 oz packages with the service.

Interestingly, it seems lower weights in First-Class Package Service are seeing some of the greatest increases across this shipping method. For example, packages up to 4 oz going to Zone 4 are seeing shipping rates increase by 10.07%, whereas 13 – 15.999 oz are only increasing by 2.85%.

2021 USPS
First Class Pkg
(weight not over)
1 & 2
1 oz$3.01$3.03$3.06$3.12$3.22$3.35$3.49$3.49
2 oz$3.01$3.03$3.06$3.12$3.22$3.35$3.49$3.49
3 oz$3.01$3.03$3.06$3.12$3.22$3.35$3.49$3.49
4 oz$3.01$3.03$3.06$3.12$3.22$3.35$3.49$3.49
5 oz$3.46$3.49$3.51$3.57$3.58$3.69$3.85$3.85
6 oz$3.46$3.49$3.51$3.57$3.58$3.69$3.85$3.85
7 oz$3.46$3.49$3.51$3.57$3.58$3.69$3.85$3.85
8 oz$3.46$3.49$3.51$3.57$3.58$3.69$3.85$3.85
9 oz$4.04$4.09$4.12$4.20$4.38$4.53$4.68$4.68
10 oz$4.04$4.09$4.12$4.20$4.38$4.53$4.68$4.68
11 oz$4.04$4.09$4.12$4.20$4.38$4.53$4.68$4.68
12 oz$4.04$4.09$4.12$4.20$4.38$4.53$4.68$4.68
13 oz$5.19$5.23$5.27$5.42$5.66$5.81$5.98$5.98
14 oz$5.19$5.23$5.27$5.42$5.66$5.81$5.98$5.98
15 oz$5.19$5.23$5.27$5.42$5.66$5.81$5.98$5.98
15.999 oz$5.19$5.23$5.27$5.42$5.66$5.81$5.98$5.98

USPS Media Mail 2021 Rate Changes (August, 2021)

USPS Media Mail is a low-cost option for shipping physical media such as books, DVDs/Blu-rays, vinyl records, CDs, and magazines and other bound materials that are at least 8 bound pages. They take longer to reach their final destination and the USPS is allowed to examine the packaging to verify approved content. Media Mail is seeing a roughly 10% increase in prices from January of 2020. The service allows parcels up to 70 lbs with a cost of $46.66.

(not over lbs.)
Commercial Rate
Commercial Rate
Learn more about Media Mail in our blog!

Regional Rate Shipping 2020 Rate Changes

Regional Rate service is a less-used but useful shipping service. This method lets you ship using preset boxes you can order online, and the rate is cheaper when shipping short distances. Both Regional Rate Box A and B rates increased across all zones. Regional Rate shipments are mainly designed to be shipped to Zones 1-4, and that is certainly reflected in the Zone 9 increases below.

USPS Regional Rate
Box A
2020 Rates2021 RatesPrice Increase
Zones 1& 2$7.68$7.83$0.15
Zone 3$7.92$8.04$0.12
Zone 4$8.21$8.34$0.13
Zone 5$8.92$9.01$0.09
Zone 6$10.42$10.89$0.47
Zone 7$11.13$11.63$0.50
Zone 8$12.10$12.64$0.54
Zone 9$18.69$23.37$4.68
USPS Regional Rate
Box B
2020 Rates2021 RatesPrice Increase
Zones 1& 2$8.07$8.23$0.16
Zone 3$8.51$8.64$0.13
Zone 4$9.42$9.56$0.14
Zone 5$11.53$12.36$0.83
Zone 6$16.72$17.50$0.78
Zone 7$19.21$20.10$0.89
Zone 8$21.89$22.90$1.01
Zone 9$34.38$42.98$8.60

Parcel Select Ground 2021 Changes

Parcel Select is also a less-often used USPS shipping method. It’s slower and doesn’t offer the included tracking and insurance that comes with USPS Priority Mail. There are instances where it is cheaper, but many small and medium-sized business are willing to spend the extra cents to have those options available. That being said, Parcel Select Ground can be a way to shave shipping costs and improve margins. The rates for Parcel Select Ground will see an average 1.2 percent increase, while prices for Parcel Select Lightweight will increase by 20.0 percent.

Here we’ve used an example of a 5 lb package to illustrate the increases for 2021. As you can see, Parcel Select Ground is the only method where we’re seeing an actual decrease in some instances.

2021 USPS
Parcel Select
Commercial Rates
Commercial Rates
Zones 1 & 2$7.94$7.95$0.01
Zone 3$8.40$8.38-$0.02
Zone 4$9.29$9.28-$0.01
Zone 5$10.44$11.35$0.91
Zone 6$15.89$15.97$0.08
Zones 7$18.16$18.19$0.03
Zone 8$20.66$20.56-$0.10
Zone 9$20.66$20.56-$0.10
Are you overspending? Find out with our postage savings calculator!


While the USPS 2021 shipping rate changes will affect just about every e-commerce shipper, the increased rates still often beat UPS and FedEx services for most package sizes and destinations. Commercial Rates, as seen above, will be available from shipping platforms like ShippingEasy to give sellers substantial discounts off retail rates for packages.

Now that you’ve learned how much it costs to ship, learn to ship better. Check some shipping best practices by clicking below!

Ship Smarter

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Rob Zaleski

Head of Brand at ShippingEasy
I'm a digital content and social media nerd with a passion for telling stories, helping connect people, and finding joy in the details.

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