How to Ship a Cell Phone with USPS

Learn how to ship a cell phone with the US Postal Service, and what sort of precautions you should always take
ship a cell phone

Can you imagine a world without smartphones? It’s hard to believe that just 15 years ago, they didn’t exist! Smartphones have changed everything since their inception, from how communicate to how we share information…and even how we shop. The smartphone is arguably the most important tool in the eCommerce landscape, enabling business owners to fulfill billions of shipments to customers around the world—but have you ever wondered what the rules are for shipping cell phones themselves?

First Class Package is the Cheapest Way to Send a Cell Phone

First thing’s first. Contrary to what certain people may tell you, USPS won’t prohibit you from shipping a cell phone, so go ahead and send those bad boys to your heart’s content!

When it’s time to ship, you’re going to want to lock in the best rates you possibly can. Bar none, the cheapest service for shipping a cell phone is USPS First Class Package Service. First Class Package is the cheapest shipping service that USPS offers for packages weighing under 15.99 ounces (or just under 1 lb), which is the weight category that nearly all cell phone shipments fall into.

Similar to Priority Mail, First Class Package shipments typically arrive at their destination within 1-4 business days, and all packages comes with a tracking number that you can follow along with on the USPS website.

A Quick Heads Up

First Class Package is one of the Postal Service’s most popular services, but there are a couple of caveats you should know about. Firstly, USPS doesn’t offer any free packaging for First Class Package, so you’ll be responsible for providing your own boxes or mailers. If you’re looking for some packaging options, the ULINE website has everything you’ll ever need and more!

Secondly, First Class Package doesn’t come with any built-in USPS insurance. Therefore, you’ll need to find another way to protect your shipment(s), which we’ll get to in a couple of minutes.

Save the Most Money on Your Packages with Shipping Software

Whether you’re an individual sending a single phone or a major retailer with thousands of orders, you should always use shipping software to buy labels at the deepest discounts possible. When you use shipping software, you won’t just give yourself the option to buy and print postage from home; you’ll also get access to a special level of savings that USPS calls Commercial Pricing. Typically, USPS only reserves these special discounts for huge shippers sending out tens of thousands of packages…but the best shipping software companies hook you up with these savings for free!

When you use shipping software to buy First Class Package labels, you can save up to 65% off what you’d pay to ship the same package at the Post Office, in some cases. Pretty sweet, right?

Cell Phones Contain Lithium Ion Batteries

One thing to keep in mind is that cell phones contain lithium ion batteries, and you need to affix the proper markings to your box in order to send them properly. Typically, lithium ion batteries require special shipping processes, and shippers can only send their packages via ground service. However, when it comes to cell phones, the lithium ion batteries are installed within the equipment they power, so USPS won’t restrict you to ground transportation.

When you ship with USPS, you can ship a phone with any air-based service, such as First Class Package. You just need to affix this special UN3481 label to the outside of your box, and you’ll be all set!

Make Sure to Properly Insure Your Shipment

Since First Class Package doesn’t come with any built-in USPS insurance, we always recommend that you purchase additional insurance to protect your package. This way, you’ll be able to file a claim if your package gets lost during transit, or if the cell phone arrives damaged or cracked.

The thing is, some insurance companies won’t insure your cell phone shipment unless you also pay for signature confirmation service on top of the cost of postage. This is important to remember, since you don’t want to pay extra for insurance and then have the company deny your claim for lack of signature confirmation! So, no matter which shipping software you use to buy labels, be sure to spring for signature confirmation and read the fine print of the insurance terms and conditions, if they’re available.


Looking for the right shipping software for you?

To get the deepest discounts on USPS First Class Package Service, check out our guide:

Choose the Best Shipping Software


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