How to Ship a PC with USPS

USPS doesn't restrict PC shipments, but you'll save much more money on postage costs by using shipping software instead of going to the Post Office
can I ship a PC with USPS?
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Even though they are quite delicate and expensive items, you can ship a PC with USPS without running into issues. As long as the packaging with your PC inside it falls within the maximum size and weight limits for USPS, the Postal Service will accept it. This article covers the ins and outs of shipping a PC with USPS, including what the most affordable service is, how to insure your shipment, and how to save the most money on your labels (hint: you don’t want to go to the Post Office to buy postage!).

Table of Contents

PCs Typically Don’t Contain Any Hazardous Material

Before you do anything, we suggest checking to see whether your PC contains any hazardous materials…just in case it does (hey, you never know). Hazardous materials require you to follow certain procedures, such as affixing a specific label to your packaging and never shipping via air-based services like Priority Mail. That said, in our experience, PCs typically don’t have any hazardous materials inside of them.

Unlike laptop computers, which are powered by lithium-ion batteries, PCs are powered via a power cord that plugs into an outlet…and items with power cords aren’t considered hazardous.

Lithium-ion batteries are one of the most regulated hazardous materials within the shipping industry. Learn more about how to package and ship lithium-ion batteries so you stay compliant with carriers’ requirements.

USPS Ground Advantage is the Cheapest Service for Shipping a PC

Of all the USPS services available, USPS Ground Advantage will be the cheapest option for shipping a PC. Ground Advantage is the slowest service USPS offers, but also the most affordable. As its name suggests, all Ground Advantage shipments travel strictly via ground-based transportation. The typical delivery timeframes are between 2-5 business days.

Since PCs don’t require expedited delivery (unless that’s something your recipient specifically wants), it makes sense to opt for the slowest and most affordable service. Considering how bulky and heavy boxes containing PCs can get, paying for an air-based service like Priority Mail or Priority Mail Express will be much more expensive than Ground Advantage.

The Maximum Size & Weight Limits for Ground Advantage

For Ground Advantage service, the maximum weight per package is 70 pounds (like all USPS shipping services).

While there are no set “maximum dimensions” for this service, USPS states that the maximum Length + Girth for Ground Advantage shipments is 130 inches.

You can calculate Girth using the following formula: Girth = (Width + Height) x 2. You typically use the two smallest dimensions for “Width” and “Height” in the Girth formula.

For instance, let’s say your PC shipment has dimensions of 35 x 30 x 12″ (Length, Width, and Height). Girth would be calculated as (30+12) x 2 = 84. Then, you add Lenth + Girth together (35+84) to get 119 inches, which is less than the 130-inch maximum for this service.

Properly Packaging Your PC to Prevent Any Damage

Packaging a PC is where it gets tricky. If you are able to ship your PC within the manufacturer’s packaging, and then place that packaging inside of a larger corrugated cardboard box, that’s the best way to go. In general, you don’t want to advertise that you’re sending a valuable item by leaving its packaging exposed as an “advertisement” to anyone who may swipe it on its journey to your recipient.

Using the manufacturer’s packaging is also a good idea because it often comes with custom-made inserts and moldings that perfectly hold the PC in place and protect it from damage. If you have the PC inside of the manufacturer’s packaging, all you need to do is make sure you get a strong cardboard box that’s big enough to fit the manufacturer’s box inside of, but not so big that it moves around. You can find large boxes of all sizes on the ULINE website.

What if I Don’t Have the Manufacturer’s Packaging?

If you don’t have the manufacturer’s packaging, you’ll want to wrap and tape your exposed PC with several layers of heavy-duty bubble wrap—the thicker, the better! Next, it’s a good idea to wrap the bubble-wrapped PC with several layers of packing foam sheets for good measure, then stick that whole thing inside your cardboard box that serves as your outer packaging. Don’t be shy about the amount of bubble wrap or foam sheets you use; for a delicate item like a PC, you can never have too much packing material!

Lastly, fill any empty space inside your box with plenty of void-filling packing products. Some examples of this are packing peanuts, air pillows, and/or polystyrene sheets that you cut to size.

Testing Whether You’ve Packed Your PC Properly

As a general rule of thumb, when you’re sending something as fragile as a PC, you should use enough packing material and a strong corrugated cardboard box so that your PC can survive a fall if you drop your box from your height. Of course, this is a risky way to test whether you’ve packed your PC sufficiently…and we wouldn’t recommend doing the “drop test” with a super expensive computer if you’re not 1000% sure it will survive the fall!

Another alternative test is to pick up the box and shake it. If you feel your PC moving around at all, you need to add some more layers of protective material to keep it snug.

How to Insure Your PC Shipment for its Full Value

When you ship with USPS Ground Advantage, you automatically get $100 of built-in USPS insurance coverage that you can claim if anything happens to your box during transit. However, most PCs cost much more than $100. On account of that, you’ll want to purchase extra shipping insurance to protect your shipment’s full value.

When you purchase shipping insurance, you can declare a value of up to $5000 per shipment (with most third-party insurance companies). Insurance companies typically require you to purchase Signature Confirmation service if you’re sending a laptop to qualify for insurance coverage, but they don’t impose the same restrictions on PCs.

Pro Tip: If you need to file an insurance claim for your PC shipment, you will need to provide proof of value for the amount you’re attempting to claim. Either an invoice, order form, or transaction receipt should do the trick.

Save Money by Shipping a PC with Online Shipping Software

When you’re sending a PC in a big box, there’s no way to get around the fact that your shipping costs will be high. In fact, if you’re an online seller, they may be too high for you to make a reasonable margin on your orders!

Since the cost of shipping a PC at the Post Office can be astronomical, you should never go there to buy postage. If you do, you’ll end up paying full price. Instead, lock in major discounts with shipping software providers that sell USPS labels online.

Shipping software providers provide their customers with the deepest discounts on USPS labels (and services from other carriers) that are typically only reserved for huge shippers sending thousands of boxes per year. In some cases, these discounts can save you up to 89% off what you’d pay to ship the same box at the Post Office! For sending bulkier boxes like PC shipments, capturing these shipping discounts can be the key difference maker in the success of your online business.

Read more about why buying postage through online shipping software is the best way to save money on any package you send with USPS.

Looking for the right shipping software for you?

To access specially discounted USPS Ground Advantage labels, see our guide:

Choose the Best Shipping Software

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