Portable speakers are a huge market in both the U.S. and overseas, with companies like Bose, JBL, Amazon, Apple, and others featuring a wide range of speakers in their lineups. The size of the market presents a huge opportunity for online retailers and drop-shippers to fulfill orders for portable speakers. However, since they contain lithium-ion batteries, shipping rechargeable speakers isn’t as straightforward of a process as putting them inside a box and buying a label. This guide is all about how to properly ship portable speakers, which services you’ll need to choose to make sure you’re in line with hazardous material guidelines, and how to save the most money doing it. Let’s get down to it!
Table of Contents
- Portable Speakers are Considered Hazardous With Lithium Ion Batteries
- Properly Packaging Portable Speakers for Shipment
- Use Ground-Based Services to Send Most Portable Speaker Shipments
- Buy Discounted Postage Through Online Shipping Software Options
Portable Speakers are Considered Hazardous With Lithium Ion Batteries
The main thing to keep in mind when shipping portable speakers is that they contain lithium-ion batteries that require recharging. Shipping carriers consider lithium-ion batteries as hazardous materials. Therefore, shippers must comply with regulations when sending products that contain lithium-ion batteries. Depending on the state of your portable speaker (like whether it’s new or used), you’ll need to choose certain services to ship it. Here’s what you need to know:
You Can Use Air-Based Services to Send Brand New Portable Speakers
If your speaker is brand new and contained in the unopened manufacturer’s packaging, you can use any shipping service to send it. This means you can use any common air-based services, such as USPS Priority Mail, UPS 3 Day Select, UPS 2nd Day Air, and UPS Next Day Air. That said, you’re also welcome to choose ground-based services like USPS Ground Advantage and UPS Ground. Ground-based services like these are always more affordable compared to their air-based counterparts.
When using an air-based service for a shipment containing lithium-ion batteries, you’ll need to affix the UN3481 Lithium Battery Handling Label to the outside of your box.
Used Portable Speaker Shipments Can Only Be Sent via Ground Service
On the other hand, if your manufacturer’s packaging is open and/or you’re sending a used portable speaker, you can only use ground-based services. For safety purposes, carriers and government regulations prohibit used products with lithium-ion batteries from being sent via air-based shipping services.
Properly Packaging Portable Speakers for Shipment
If your speaker is still in the manufacturer’s packaging, you won’t need to add too much protective packing material to your shipment. The most important thing here is to find the smallest cardboard box possible for your outer packaging. As a general rule of thumb, you should use a box that allows you to fit the speaker comfortably but leaves little room for it to move around if you shake it.
Speakers without the manufacturer’s packaging are a different story. Since exposed portable speakers run the risk of taking damage during transit, you should wrap them with packing material such as bubble wrap before you send them.
Here is a simple packing process to follow below:
- Start with the smallest box possible to fit your speaker (bonus points for using a brand-new corrugated cardboard box)
- Line the bottom of the box with cushioning material like packing peanuts, crinkle paper, or air pillows
- Wrap your speaker with at least two layers of thick bubble wrap, then place it inside the box
- Fill in any empty spaces in the box with more packing peanuts or crinkle paper
- Shake the box gently before you seal it with packing tape; if you feel the speaker moving around inside, then add more bubble wrap and/or material to fill the space and prevent movement
Pro Tip: The ULINE website has tons of cardboard box options of all sizes. You should be able to find the perfect-sized box for your speaker shipment, no matter how big or small it may be.
Use Ground-Based Services to Send Most Portable Speaker Shipments
Whether your portable speaker is new or used, we suggest using a ground-based shipment to send it. Simply put, choosing a ground-based service will be the best way to save the most money on these shipments. Your two most affordable options for ground-based service are USPS Ground Advantage and UPS Ground. USPS Ground Advantage and UPS Ground both provide essentially the same service, but there are a few key differences to note. We’ve laid those out below:
USPS Ground Advantage
- More affordable than UPS Ground
- Slower delivery, with estimated timeframes of 2-5 business days
- $100 of USPS insurance comes with each label
- Slightly more expensive than USPS Ground Advantage
- Faster delivery, with estimated timeframes of 1-5 business days
- $100 of UPS carrier liability comes with each label
Note: FedEx is the other major U.S. carrier, and they offer FedEx Ground as a similar ground-based service. However, FedEx Ground is more expensive than the services from both USPS and UPS.
Buy Discounted Postage Through Online Shipping Software Options
No matter whether you use USPS or UPS to ship a rechargeable speaker, don’t go to your local Post Office or UPS Store when it’s time to send it! Instead, use online shipping software to buy discounted postage that will end up putting the most amount of money back in your pocket.
Shipping software companies that sell USPS and UPS postage allow you to access special discounts that can save you up to 89% off what you’d pay to ship the same package at the Post Office or UPS Store, in some cases! For USPS, the name Commercial Pricing designates this “secret” level of discounts. UPS also partners with shipping software companies to offer customers pre-negotiated discounts that they typically reserve for huge commercial shippers who send more than 50,000 packages each year.
In addition to the huge savings, shipping software saves you time. Firstly, you can buy and print your labels from your home or office. Second, you can avoid the lines at the Post Office or UPS Store by scheduling package pickups through the same software platforms where you buy postage. When you schedule a pickup, USPS or UPS will send a local carrier to pick up your box (or envelope) and scan it into their network. With all of these perks, you never even have to step outside your front door to ship a package, if you don’t want to!
Looking for the right shipping software for you?
To access the deepest discounts on USPS & UPS labels, check out our guide: