USPS Priority Mail vs. First Class Mail (2022 Guide)

USPS priority mail versus first class mail, which is better? The United States Postal Service (USPS) is an independent federal agency responsible for providing postal service in the United States. It is one of the few government agencies explicitly authorized by the Constitution. The USPS has over 617,000 employees and operates more than 200,000 vehicles, making it the second-largest civilian employer in the United States after Walmart.

In 2015, the USPS handled approximately 155 billion pieces of mail. This volume of mail represents a decrease of about 21% from its peak volume in 2006. However, despite this decline in mail volume, the USPS still remains an important part of American life and commerce.

The USPS offers a variety of services beyond simply delivering mail. These include shipping packages, selling postage stamps, and providing other mailing and shipping supplies. The USPS also offers a variety of financial services, such as money orders and international money transfers.

usps priority mail vs first class

USPS Priority Mail vs. First Class

When it comes to shipping packages, the United States Postal Service (USPS) offers two main options: Priority Mail and First Class Mail. Both services have their own advantages and disadvantages, so it's important to choose the right one for your needs.

The biggest difference between the two services is the size of packages that can be sent. Priority Mail will accept any package that weighs less than 70 pounds, while First Class Mail has more restrictions and depends on the weight, size, and destination of the package. Additionally, Priority Mail is generally faster than First Class Mail.

Another key difference is that only Priority Mail offers insurance for lost or damaged packages. Both services offer tracking numbers, but if something goes wrong with a First Class Mail shipment, you may not be able to get compensation for your losses.

Finally, it's important to note that First Class Mail is generally more affordable than Priority Mail. If cost is a major concern for you, First Class Mail may be the better option. However, if speed and reliability are your top priorities, Priority Mail may be worth the extra expense.

Difference Between USPS Priority Mail And USPS First Class Mail

When it comes to shipping packages, the United States Postal Service offers two different options: Priority Mail and First Class Mail. Both services have their own benefits and drawbacks, so it's important to choose the right one for your needs. Here's a quick overview of the key differences between the two services.

USPS Priority Mail was created with eCommerce businesses in mind. It offers faster delivery times and fewer size restrictions than First Class Mail. However, it also comes with a higher price tag. First Class Mail is a better option for smaller packages or for items that don't need to arrive as quickly. It's also worth noting that First Class Mail has been around for much longer than Priority Mail, so it's generally more reliable. Ultimately, the best choice depends on your specific needs.

usps priority mail vs first class mail

USPS Priority Mail Or USPS First Class Mail: Faster

When it comes to shipping, speed is often of the utmost importance. If you need your package to arrive quickly, you may be wondering whether USPS Priority Mail or First Class Mail is the better option. Unfortunately, there is no easy answer, as delivery times vary depending on the destination.

However, in general, Priority Mail is faster than First Class Mail. Priority Mail typically delivers within 1-3 days, while First Class Mail usually takes 2-7 days. Keep in mind, however, that neither service guarantees delivery within a certain number of days. Ultimately, the best way to ensure that your package arrives quickly is to ship it via Priority Mail.

USPS Priority Mail or USPS First Class Mail: Which is More Expensive?

The cost of shipping a package via USPS can vary depending on the type of mail service used. In general, First Class mail is less expensive than Priority Mail. This is because the fees for Priority Mail are based on the distance the package travels, while the cost of First Class mail depends on the shipment’s dimensions, weight, and destination.

The average difference in cost between Priority Mail and First Class mail is $3, with First Class typically being the cheaper option. However, it is important to compare prices for both types of service before shipping a package, as there may be times when Priority Mail is less expensive than First Class.

When should I use priority Mail vs First Class Mail?

The first place to start when making the decision of First Class Mail vs Priority Mail is with the weight and size of your package. First Class Mail letters and flats cannot exceed 13 ounces.

If your piece exceeds this weight limit, it will automatically qualify for Priority Mail shipping. In addition, any packages that are larger than 12x12x6” will also have to be sent via Priority Mail. It’s important to note that there are some exceptions to this rule for thin items such as a rolled document or poster. These exceptions allow for these items to still be shipped First Class as long as they don’t exceed the cubic inch size limit and don’t weigh more than 3.5 ounces.

First Class mail is only a viable option if cost is the most important factor and your package meets the size and weight requirements. If you are shipping a larger or heavier package, you will need to use Priority Mail Express which offers even faster shipping times but is more expensive. Ultimately, the best shipping option for you will depend on your specific needs.

First Class Mail Packages

  • Letters

  • Padded Envelopes

  • Gift Cards

  • T-shirts

  • Marketing Information

  • Lightweight Jewelry

  • Brochures

Priority Mail Packages

  • Shoes

  • Books

  • Toys

  • Anything less than 70 lbs but greater than 1 lb in weight

How to send USPS Priority Mail and First Class Mail?

If you have a package to send using USPS, you may be wondering if you should use Priority Mail or First Class Mail. The answer to this question depends on a few factors, including the weight and size of your package and how quickly you need it to arrive. In general, Priority Mail is a faster and more expensive option, while First Class Mail is a slower and more affordable option.

To make the decision easier, USPS offers prelabeled boxes and envelopes for both shipping options. Simply choose the box or envelope labeled with the shipping option you prefer, pack your items inside, and take it to your local post office. If you don't want to make a trip to the post office, you can also schedule a pickup online or by calling USPS. Once your package is on its way, you can track its progress using the tracking number included on your receipt.

Different features of USPS Priority Mail and First Class Mail

When it comes to choosing a shipping method, many people are unsure of the differences between USPS Priority Mail and First Class Mail. Both shipping options offer tracking as a built-in feature, but Priority Mail also includes package insurance up to $100 for domestic shipments and $200 for international shipments.

In addition, First Class package deliveries include delivery signatures, money-back guarantees, and other add-ons to ensure safe delivery at additional costs. When choosing between the two shipping methods, it is important to consider the value of the items being shipped and the level of protection that is needed. For high-value items or items that require extra protection, Priority Mail may be the better option.


Overall, First Class Mail and Priority Mail are both great choices when it comes to shipping a package. However, there are some key differences that you should be aware of before making your decision. If cost is your main concern, then First Class Mail is probably the way to go.

However, if speed and size are more important to you, then you should opt for Priority Mail. Ultimately, the best choice for you will depend on your specific needs and preferences.

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author: patrick algrim
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Patrick Algrim is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW), NCDA Certified Career Counselor (CCC), and general career expert. Patrick has completed the NACE Coaching Certification Program (CCP). And has been published as a career expert on Forbes, Glassdoor, American Express, Reader's Digest, LiveCareer, Zety, Yahoo,, SparkHire,,, FairyGodBoss,, St. Edwards University, NC State University,, Thrive Global,, Work It Daily, Workology, Career Guide, MyPerfectResume, College Career Life, The HR Digest, WorkWise, Career Cast, Elite Staffing, Women in HR, All About Careers, Upstart HR, The Street, Monster, The Ladders, Introvert Whisperer, and many more. Find him on LinkedIn.

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