USPS First Class Package Service: What You Need to Know

Everything you need to know about USPS First Class Package Service
USPS First Class Package Service
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USPS First Class Package Service is one of the US Postal Service’s most popular shipping services, perfect for sending out lightweight items in a quick timeframe. Here’s everything you need to know about it.

USPS First Class Package Service: The Breakdown

  • Delivery occurs between 1-3 business days anywhere in the United States
  • Free door-to-door tracking included
  • Maximum weight allowed is 15.999 ounces (just under 1 pound)
  • Maximum dimensions allowed are 22 inches long, 18 inches wide, and 15 inches thick (22x18x15″)
  • USPS First Class Package doesn’t come with built-in insurance (therefore, we recommend that you purchase additional shipping insurance when using this service)
  • There are no USPS branded boxes for First Class Package
    • You’ll need to use your own packaging for this mail class. There are free USPS boxes for other mail classes, such as Priority Mail and Priority Mail Express.

The 2020 First Class Package Pricing Table (Commercial Pricing)

The following table is a complete pricing chart for First Class Package as of 2020. The table reflects USPS Commercial Pricing rates, the deepest level of discounts that you can only get with online shipping software solutions. One other thing to remember is that the Post Office will charge you for Priority Mail service if your package is over 14 oz. On the other hand, shipping software still lets you ship First Class Package for packages between 14 and 16 oz. As a result, the Retail Rate for First Class Package—what you’ll pay at the Post Office—can be up to 146% more expensive!

Weight
Up to, not over
0-150 miles
L, 1 & 2
150-300 miles
Zone 3
300-600 miles
Zone 4
600-1000 miles
Zone 5
1000-1400 miles
Zone 6
1400-1800 miles
Zone 7
1800+ miles
Zone 8
All US Territories
Zone 9
1 to 4 oz$2.74$2.76$2.78$2.84$2.93$3.05$3.18$3.18
5 to 8 oz$3.21$3.23$3.25$3.31$3.39$3.52$3.67$3.67
9 to 12 oz$3.93$3.97$4.00$4.08$4.18$4.32$4.46$4.46
13 to 15.99 oz$5.04$5.08$5.12$5.27$5.40$5.54$5.70$5.70

Maximum Weight at the Post Office is Different from Shipping Software

If you’ve stood in line at the Post Office and looked around at some of the signs, you may have noticed a discrepancy with the maximum weight allowed for First Class Package. Under Retail Rates (what you pay at the Post Office), the maximum weight for First Class Package is 13 ounces. Only when you use shipping software to buy postage online will the maximum weight increase to 15.999 ounces.

For many shipments over 13 ounces but under 1 pound, this threshold of 3 ounces or so can be the difference between shipping at First Class Package rates, or paying much more for Priority Mail. In some cases, getting to ship First Class package could save you a few dollars…and if you’re sending out a lot of packages, savings of a few dollars really adds up in the long run. That’s the biggest reason why you should always use shipping software to buy postage online, instead of paying Retail Rates at the Post Office!


Looking for the right shipping software for you?

To get the cheapest First Class Package Service rates, check out our guide:

Choose the Best Shipping Software

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31 Comments

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  1. Lee

    If I ship USPS First Class Package: and my envelope is outside ( smaller than ) minimum requirements – will i be charged with a penalty ? i want tracking but my envelopes are not as big as the specs show for the minimum.

    Reply  
    • Rockwell Sands

      Hi Lee – USPS technically doesn’t have a minimum size! But, if your envelope is thin and lightweight enough, they may force you to use First-Class Mail with a regular postage stamp instead of First Class Package service. In this case, you can add tracking by purchasing Certified Mail service. This guide goes into more detail on how to do that. Hope this helps!

      Reply  
      • Lori

        When I worked at the post office we did actually have a template that included minimum size. If an envelope I not big enough to be machine sorted , it can jam the machine, not get picked up by the “rollers”, get stuck behind other mail…. Making it hard to get to its destination so it’s considered non machinable. A window clerk might reject it entirely, a sorting clerk would pull it out of the regular mail stream and charge postage due for the special handling it requires, and it might actually get destroyed unintentionally in the mechanisms of the machines . .

        Reply  
    • Taffie

      Can I send a phone to usa from Australia. How much will it cost please.

      Thank you stay safe and bless

      Reply  
  2. M.A. Kazlauskas

    Can I mail a package, 2 1/2 by 3 1/2 inches, 6 ounces using my rural size mail box to be picked up by the mailman?

    Reply  
    • Rockwell Sands

      Hi M.A. – sure, that shouldn’t be a problem! You may still want to schedule a pickup on the USPS website so your letter carrier knows you have a package to be picked up. Here’s more info on that: How Do I Schedule a USPS Pickup?

      Reply  
  3. roselyn simionato

    Could I paint usps priority boxes and use those in first class, I know it’s a silly question but i have so many of them and it would save me money instead of buying new boxes

    Reply  
    • Ryan

      No, just wrap the Priority mail boxes in a paper grocery bag. I’ve done it many times and it works great. Just cut the bag along the seems, wrap the box with the grocery label against the box & the blank (inside of the bag) side facing out, then tape. Remember, that First Class mail has to be 15.99 ounces or less (total weight).

      Reply  
      • Joanne

        You know you can get in trouble if they know that it is one of there boxes and you are not shipping priority. Not sure if they ckeck on this but they do have a right to.

        Reply  
    • Trey

      You do realize that by using the Priority Boxes for other than their intended purposes you are committing mail fraud which is a Federal offense? Not that some people care but why subvert the system to save a few pennies and take a chance on a huge penalty?

      Reply  
      • Lori

        Some post offices will charge the postage due to the recipient when it is obvious you’ve used a priority mail box and disguised it. It may be refused and returned to you postage due. You end up losing out , no delivery and you wasted the money.

        Reply  
      • Ryan

        get a life!! Jesus breaking the law? Seriously people.like you don’t know what breaking the law really is so shut your mouth punk!!

        Reply  
        • Joanne

          He is right. You can get in trouble for doing that

          Reply  
        • John D.

          Was that really necessary? You get THAT triggered over someone pointing out a basic fact?

          Reply  
  4. I’m trying to find a site to enter a tracking #

    I’m trying to find a site tine enter a tracking number well then can you answer my question?

    Reply  
  5. I’m trying to find a site to enter a tracking #

    I’m trying to find a site tine enter a tracking number

    Reply  
  6. Michael Cummins

    Where is the best place to get boxes for shipping first class?

    Reply  
    • pABLO QUIN

      I pick them up at the liquor store, boxes are generally well made and sturdy. Stay away from grocery produce boxes, or any boxes used for transporting live animals.

      Reply  
  7. Elden

    Hi everyone, random question.
    If a received a bubble envelope package and i paid for the item to be shipped usps parcel ground, would usps stamp it as first class at the post office? Trying to see if I have been overcharged by a seller on shipping cost

    Reply  
    • Rockwell Sands

      Elden – That’s a bit tough to answer, since only you’ve been in contact with the seller. Generally speaking, Parcel Select Ground is a tad more expensive than First Class Package Service, though if you’re under 1 pound, it won’t be by much. I would suggest contacting your seller and asking for some more clarification here. Good luck!

      Reply  
  8. Abbie

    What would happen if you used a priority shipping box from USPS to ship first class mail? Would this create problems? Is this permitted even? Thanks!

    Reply  
    • Rockwell Sands

      Hi Abbie – This would indeed cause problems. If you use a Priority Mail box, USPS will require you to pay for the proper corresponding Priority Mail postage. If they don’t charge you upfront for it, they’ll definitely charge you for the extra cost once the package is in their network.

      Reply  
  9. Dale

    Are these packages able to be forwarded (since they are first-class mail)?

    Reply  
    • Rockwell Sands

      Hi Dale – any and all USPS packages can be forwarded like mail, as long as you (or your recipient) has given USPS a valid forwarding address.

      Reply  
  10. CJ Clemmons

    I mailed 2 different packages not weighing over 20 ounces total.The postal clerk said” we do t have first class mailing. OnlyPriority! I spent almost $20.00.What happened to First Class mailing @ USPS?

    Reply  
  11. David

    What recourse does the receiver have if the package delivery time exceeds three business days for First Class Service.

    Reply  
    • Rockwell Sands

      David – No recourse unfortunately! First Class Package doesn’t offer any money back guarantees for late delivery. The only money back guaranteed service USPS offers is Priority Mail Express…and this can get super expensive. Wish I had better news!

      Reply  
  12. Derek

    Thanks, I learned that First Class can even be large packages.

    I’m wondering how do these prices change based on the size of the package?

    e.g. an 8x5x4″ vs. a 22x18x15″?

    Thanks,

    Derek

    Reply  
    • Rockwell Sands

      Hey Derek, good question! With Commercial Pricing rates, the price of First Class Package is only based on how much the package weighs, and how far it needs to travel. As long as the box or envelope fits within the maximum dimensions, it won’t affect the price. That said, the maximum dimensions for First Class Package are exactly what you listed: 22x18x15″. In this case, the price of 8x5x4″ box weighing 6 ounces going from LA to NY would be exactly the same for a 22x18z15″ box weighing 6 ounces going from LA to NY. Hope that makes sense!

      Reply  
    • Linda L Riley

      how much would it cost to mail a box size 12x6x4 that weighs 4 lbs with in the United States. Cheapest price

      Reply  
      • Rockwell Sands

        Hi Linda, the best way see how much this package will cost to ship is to get an instant rate quote with this USPS rate calculator. You’ll find the cheapest possible prices at that link!

        Reply  

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