UPS Ground vs. USPS Ground Advantage: 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 advantage
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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 and USPS Ground Advantage are Both the Cheapest Service from Each Carrier

UPS Ground and USPS Ground Advantage are the two cheapest shipping services that UPS and USPS offer, respectively. 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. However, in our experience, the prices are fairly comparable…and if you use online shipping software to purchase discounted postage, UPS and USPS will often lower the prices of their ground services to compete with each other.

UPS Ground Has a Slightly Faster Delivery Speed

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

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

That said, these advertised delivery timeframes are estimates and not guarantees. We’ve found that UPS Ground shipments will often arrive earlier than the standard delivery timeframes (depending on how far your shipment needs to travel). If your shipment is local or just another state over, it’s not uncommon for UPS Ground shipments to arrive as soon as the day after you ship them! USPS Ground Advantage, on the other hand, isn’t as quick…although the estimated delivery timeframe of 2-5 business days is still accurate and much quicker than the Postal Service’s old ground service, Retail/Parcel Select Ground (prior to July 2023).

UPS Ground and USPS Ground Advantage Both Come with Built-In Insurance

Shippers should note that both UPS Ground and USPS Ground Advantage come with built-in shipping insurance from their respective carriers. When you buy a UPS Ground label, you automatically receive up to $100 in built-in carrier liability that you can claim in the event of a lost or damaged shipment. Similarly, all USPS Ground Advantage labels come with $100 of USPS insurance. You can always purchase extra insurance on top of the cost of your postage, of course, but if your package is valued at or below $100 (including postage), then both UPS Ground and USPS Ground Advantage protect you for the full value of your shipment.

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

The Winner

In our opinion, UPS Ground wins out over USPS Ground Advantage…but not by much. Since they are both priced comparably and are the cheapest services that each carrier offers, the reason we prefer UPS Ground is due to its speed.

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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8 Comments

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  1. P w edmonson

    I prefer USPS because ups has lost 15 of my packages.seems my street isn’t in their system even though the truck passes by my house at least 2 times a week.have gone to their office twice and were promised each time that they would correct it but it never happened.

    Reply  
  2. Jon

    Did you know that a large portion of UPS Ground Saver packages are tendered to US Postal Service for delivery? The $100 built in insurance for Ground Saver eliminates UPS liability to the shipper once a package is tendered to USPS for delivery. When the savings are only pennies, it would take more than 2,000 shipments to recover costs on just one such claim.

    Reply  
  3. Susan

    In MANY cases, USPS Priority is a much faster alternative than UPS Ground. The cost difference is often minimal.

    Reply  
  4. Marcia Lacayo

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

    Reply  
  5. Celia Solloway

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

    Reply  
    • 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!

      Reply  
  6. Julie

    What the heck is usps ground?

    Reply  
    • 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!

      Reply  

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