UPS Ground vs. USPS Ground: Which is Better?

A quick comparison of the ground services that UPS and the US Postal Service both offer, and which carrier is the better choice for these kinds of shipments
UPS Ground vs. USPS Ground
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Have you ever wondered which carrier provides the better ground service, UPS or USPS? This guide lays out a quick comparison of USPS and UPS Ground services, and which carrier ultimately comes out on top for these types of shipments. Let’s hit the ground running! See what we did there?

Table of Contents

What is a Ground Shipment?

We’ll start this battle off with some basics: a ground shipment simply refers to a parcel that reaches its final destination via ground transportation only. This means that it will never travel by air. Since these packages stay on the ground the entire time, they often cost less money to ship than they would via air-based services. However, they also end up taking longer for delivery, depending on how far away you’re sending your package.

Believe it or not, boats also count as ground transportation!

When You Need to Ship Ground

Depending on the kind of item you’re sending, you may have no choice but to use ground service sometimes. Ground service is typically used for sending shipments containing hazardous materials. This is because most carriers won’t allow certain materials aboard airplanes, such as flammable liquids or aerosols.

Of course, you can always choose ground service for any type of shipment whenever you’re buying postage online, or in-person at any Post Office or UPS location, as well. At the end of the day, it’s up to you!

UPS Ground is Often Cheaper and Faster than USPS Ground

When stacking up the two carriers’ services, the two most important factors to consider are cost and delivery speed. While the cost to ship depends on factors such as how big your box is, how much it weighs, and how far it needs to travel, UPS Ground is typically the cheaper alternative in most cases.

In terms of speed, UPS also boasts faster delivery, as you can see from the featured timeframes we’ve laid out below.

  • UPS Ground: 1-5 business days
  • USPS Ground: 2-8 business days

UPS Ground Also Comes with Built-In Insurance, While USPS Ground Does Not

One other thing that sets apart UPS Ground service from USPS is the built-in shipping insurance it comes with. When you buy a UPS Ground label, you automatically receive up to $100 in built-in insurance that you can claim in the event of a lost or damaged shipment. USPS, on the other hand, does not include any insurance for its ground service. You can always purchase extra insurance on top of the cost of your postage, but the only built-in insurance that USPS provides is for Priority Mail and Priority Mail Express shipments.

Learn more about how UPS insures packages based on declared value.

The Clear Winner

In our opinion, UPS Ground clearly wins out over USPS. It is not only typically the faster ground service, but in most cases, it’s also cheaper! Not to mention, it also comes with $100 of insurance, while USPS ground leaves you unprotected unless you spend some extra cash to add coverage.

Hopefully the next time you need to send a package via ground transportation, you’ll know exactly what to look out for and where to go!

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Post a Comment
  1. Marcia Lacayo

    Can you send me a phone number to contact UPS Ground for shipping

  2. Celia Solloway

    Does UPS Ground have a mechanism for the recipient to sign for the package that it has been received?

    • Rockwell Sands

      UPS will ask your recipient for a signature only if you purchase Signature Confirmation service, which you can do when you buy your label. UPS labels don’t come with signature confirmation service automatically. This includes Ground, Next Day Air, 2nd Day Air and others. Hope this helps!

  3. Julie

    What the heck is usps ground?

    • Rockwell Sands

      Hi Julie – the ground service that USPS offers is called “Retail Ground” at the Post Office. It’s their slowest service, and it’s for packages that only travel via ground transportation. It’s often much cheaper than Priority Mail, but way slower, and doesn’t come with insurance. Hope this helps!


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