the big three

I’ve had multiple requests for some kind of comparison chart showing the price differences between UPS, FedEx and USPS, and after multiple attempts, I realized that this will never come to fruition. Factors that affect shipping rates for some couriers are constantly changing because they are dependent upon fuel prices to establish base rates, creating a chart would be nearly counterproductive. I’d just have to re-do everything again the next week.

What I can do, however, is give my educated, yet unsolicited opinion regarding the “Big Three”. 

Speed Comparisons


Delivery speed ranges from 1 day to up to 7 days, but most of that is not guaranteed.

Sunday delivery is available to some areas at additional cost.

(That’s not a typo… Sunday)


Delivery speed ranges from 1 business day to 5, but can sometimes take additional time for deliveries to parts of Alaska and Hawaii.

Saturday delivery is available to some locations for additional cost.


FedEx has legendary speed ranging from 1-3 days for Express and 1-6 for Ground. As with most couriers, limited service areas are a challenge, but they seem to deliver more quickly to rural, residential and out of the way areas

Saturday delivery is available to some locations for additional cost.

Tracking Comparisons


Detailed tracking is provided for Certified, Registered, Insured and Priority Express mailings, and is available for some other classes, although it is not very detailed.


Tracking for UPS is reliable and detailed and is provided at no additional cost. If a signature is requested or required on the shipment, an electronic picture of the signature will be available within 12 (business) hours of the package having been signed for.


FedEx tracking is assigned to each outgoing parcel at no additional cost and is very detailed and efficient, offering an electronic copy of signature confirmation when requested by the sender; usually available within 12 (business) hours of delivery.

Declared Value Limits


Available for up to $5000; anything higher in value should be sent via Registered Mail, but I’d suggest just picking a different courier. All Priority shipments are automatically covered for $50, and all Priority Express shipments are automatically covered for $100 at no additional cost.


All packages shipped via UPS are automatically covered for $100 at no additional cost and can be covered up to $50,000 per package for additional cost.


All packages shipped FedEx or FedEx Ground are automatically covered for $100 at no additional cost and can be covered up to $50,000 per package for additional cost.

Variety of Services


Standard Post™


First Class Mail®

Priority Mail®

Priority Mail Express®


Media Mail®

Signature Confirmation™

Certified Mail®

…the list goes on.


UPS Ground

UPS 3 Day Select®

UPS 2nd Day Air®

UPS 2nd Day Air AM®

UPS Next Day Air Saver®

UPS Next Day Air®

UPS Next Day Air Early AM®


FedEx Ground®

FedEx Express Saver®

FedEx 2Day®

FedEx 2Day AM®

FedEx Standard Overnight®

FedEx Priority Overnight®

FedEx First Overnight®

Best Value Service


The forever stamp

Currently at 49¢, when the price of postage goes increases again, so does the value of the stamp. It is literally the only piece of paper that is guaranteed to increase in value over time.

Well, if you mail things that is. 


UPS Ground

Rates are steadily low and most Ground shipments being sent in state arrive the next day regardless of weight. Sometimes rural residences take a little longer but that’s to be expected.


FedEx One RateSM

FedEx has recently implemented a flat rate service similar to USPS, where price is based off of size and delivery date. The value for this service is noticed when sending heavy parcels long distances

(*note: similar to USPS, this rate has packaging that must be used to take advantage of the prices).

What is the one thing that makes them stand out?


USPS Flat Rate Services

They offer a varied selection of boxes, with a “if it fits it ships” motto, meaning you can jam it full and no matter what the weight (up to 70 pounds) it will ship for a flat rate.

Available for Priority and Priority Express services.

Click here to learn more about Flat Rate Services!


UPS’s safe, efficient driving

(and their brown trucks)

UPS works to improve our environment by choosing routes and methods that reduce CO2 emissions and reduces the use of gas, and they still get things delivered on time!

Have you ever seen UPS navigate those gigantic brown boxes in downtown Portland?? Seriously, these guys are tough… you see one, be sure to thank him for he job he does, because they are really amazing and they do it all without air conditioning or even a radio for music in their truck.

Seriously, this company is phenomenal.

Check out more information about UPS’s environment conscious movements and training here!


FedEx Next Day Air® Services

In my opinion, they have the fastest service and the best prices for the three overnight options

FedEx Standard Overnight® – delivered by the end of the day

FedEx Priority Overnight® – delivered between 10:00am and noon

FedEx First Overnight® – delivered by 8am-10am depending on location

To learn more about FedEx pricing, click here!

FedEx Purplusps_logo ups-logo Capture