As I found myself packing up my life to get ready for a cross-country move (New York City or bust, baby!), I found myself looking at the TV mounted on the wall, and wondering what I should do. I can’t exactly take it on the plane with me, so the only options are to either give it away, or ship it to my new address. I’d be willing to bet that almost every single one of us has looked at our beloved flat screens at some point in our lives and asked that very same question: “Do I ditch it, or ship it?” In case you’re like me and chose the latter option, this guide is all about how to ship a TV, and how to do it for the cheapest rates out there.
UPS is the Cheapest Carrier for Shipping a TV
Let’s face it: compared to most packages, TV’s are an odd shape. They’re quite wide, relatively thin (nowadays, at least), and tend to weigh a fair amount. Since TV’s are on the bigger and bulkier side, you’ll need to go with a carrier that specializes in large shipments if you don’t want to spend an arm and a leg…and that carrier is UPS.
Since they specialize in transporting larger items, UPS offers the best rates for shipping bulky packages like boxes containing TV’s. If you’re wondering why that is, just think about those iconic brown trucks! They’re massive. Since UPS trucks have the largest interiors, they don’t need to charge premiums for packages that take up too much space inside of them…and that makes UPS the go-to carrier for sending larger, heavier shipments like televisions.
For context, USPS is always best for shipping small, lightweight packages, while FedEx specializes in business-to-business deliveries, as well as niche shipments like packages containing frozen food.
You’ll Get Even Cheaper UPS Rates with the Right Shipping Software
Even though UPS offers the cheapest rates for TV’s from the get-go, you shouldn’t go running off to the nearest UPS store just yet. You’ll be able to save even more money when you use online shipping software to buy discounted postage. In case you’ve never heard of it, shipping software allows you to purchase postage from the major carriers and print it right from the comfort of your own home.
It’s not just the convenience that makes shipping software great, though. It’s the savings. In some cases, shipping software will allow you to save up to 62% off what you’d pay to ship the same box at the UPS store. Those discounts go a long way…especially when you’re moving!
Pro Tip: Keep in mind that some shipping software companies only offer USPS rates, so you may be confused if you create an account for one and don’t see UPS as an option. We’ve got you covered, though—Stamps.com and ShipStation are two great options where you’ll find both UPS and USPS rates.
Package Your Shipment Properly to Avoid Damage
At the end of the day, shipping a TV properly comes down to packaging it properly. Before you place it inside of a box, you’ll want to wrap the TV with enough protective material to protect the screen from cracking. Our suggestion is to cover both the front and the back of the TV with cardboard sheets, or flattened boxes that haven’t been put together yet. You can find these at almost any Home Depot, and they only cost a couple of bucks each.
Once you’ve covered your TV with cardboard sheets, run some packaging tape around the entire thing and make sure it’s snug. Plastic wrap is a great material you can use to secure everything together even more, as well as to protect parts of the TV other than the screen. Then, when you’ve wrapped your TV the way you need it, you can place it gently inside of a cardboard box.
Finally, you’ll want to fill the space inside that box with as much packing material as possible. Some types of packing material that work great to fill up space are packing peanuts and air pillows. The more snug you can pack your TV inside, the better off you’ll be.
Pro Tip: Strong outer packaging is critical! You’ll need a special box, and you won’t find it by walking into your local Home Depot or Target. If you’d like to order a box specifically built for shipping TV’s, the ULINE website has a ton of different size options.
Positioning is Everything
If you can help it, make sure the TV always stays upright! When your TV is in transit, it’s inevitable that the the screen will experience a lot of movement and vibrations. If you pack it sturdy and upright, then it’s less likely to take damage throughout the journey. Also, it never hurts to write “Keep Upright” in big, bold lettering on either side of the package to let any workers know how to properly handle it. Arrows pointing up help, too!
You Might Not Be Able to Purchase Insurance
When shipping fragile, expensive items, we always suggest protecting your package with shipping insurance in the event that it takes any damage during transit. However, there are some items that most shipping insurance companies won’t cover…and televisions are one of them.
You likely won’t be able to purchase insurance for your TV shipment, and that’s another reason why packaging it properly is so important. So, wrap your TV up as best as you can, fill that box up with as many packing peanuts and air pillows as you can fit inside, and hope for the best! It’s all in the shipping gods’ hands at that point.
Oh, one last thing: don’t forget to put the remote in your box before you ship it! No matter how nice it is, a fancy TV does you no good if you can’t turn it on.