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USPS First Class vs Priority Mail When To Use Each

There’s a long battleship between USPS first class vs priority mail, and many sellers wanted to know which type of shipping they should choose. Although both are one of the top shipping services of the United States Postal Service (USPS), finding which one is the best is quite tricky. Therefore, after using both the services, we have come up with a guide that could clearly explain the difference so that you can choose the one that is suitable for your business. Before we compare both services, let’s take a short review:

What is First Class Mail?

First Class Mail is a shipping method used by businesses and organizations to ensure their orders are delivered quickly and with minimal damage. Using First Class Mail, the sender can avoid delays in receiving their ordered items. Additionally, First Class Mail is a more expensive option than Priority Mail, so it can be worth considering if an order requires a higher level of care or priority.
If we define USPS first class mail service in simple words, it’s a service that is used to send small packages of standard size (13 oz) like envelopes, letters, postcards, gift cards, padded envelopes, brochures, and lightweight t-shirts. 

What is Priority Mail?

Priority mail is an express shipping service that allows customers to have their packages delivered faster and at a lower cost. Priority mail shipments are often sent to specific geographic areas, such as the Midwest or the West Coast. Some of the benefits of using this shipping service include: receiving your package earlier, reducing the time it takes for your order to be delivered, and saving money on postage charges. Priority mail also offers some added benefits, including tracking information so you can be sure your package is delivered safely and correctly.

The name implies “priority,” which means it is a high-speed service, but we will discuss that later. USPS propriety mail service is used to send heavy or large parcels that weigh less than 70 lbs. like shoes, books, toys, etc.

Now, moving to the comparison:

USPS Priority Mail vs First Class Cost

So, while comparing USPS first class vs priority mail, the first most important factor is the price. Although first-class mail is considered the most economical option for sending lightweight parcels, it is the top-tier shipment service compared to other services like second-, third-, and fourth-class mail; that’s why it is named “first-class mail.” On the other hand, priority mail is best for sending heavy parcels; therefore, it’s obvious that the priority mail cost will be higher than first class mail. However, the priority mail is pricing but still lower than UPS and FedEx. 

Whether you are using first-class mail or priority mail, the price depends on the shape and weight of the parcel. 

USPS First Class Mail:

  • From $0.60 at the Post Office
  • From $0.455 for Commercial pricing

USPS Priority Mail:

  • From $8.70 at the post office. 
  • From $7.37 for the commercial base
  • From $7.37 for commercial plus

You can also calculate the shipping service price through a retail calculator. There is also one thing that the prices may change from time to time. Therefore, the best practice is to go through the price list before shipping services.

How To Choose Between Shipping With USPS First Class Service And USPS Priority Mail

The United States Postal Service (USPS) offers its shipping services in various categories. Two of the most popular modes of shipping through the USPS are First-Class shipping and Priority Mail Shipping. Both of these shipping modes share similarities, such as guaranteed shipping within 3 business days, although Priority Mail packages are usually known to arrive within 2 days. The main difference between them is the limitation they impose on the weight of each package that is to be shipped. Priority Mail will transport anything mailable under the weight of 32 Kilograms (70 lbs.), whereas the First-Class Mail caps you at a bare 13 ounces (0.81 lbs.).

Choosing between them comes down to what items you want to be shipping. If you are planning to send any mailable merchandise that does not exceed 70 lbs. than Priority Mail is the preferred option, whereas the First-Class Mail is designed to serve people who want to send lightweight items such as letters, postcards, invoices, statements, bills or other paper-made products under 13 ounces of weight.

Is Priority Mail Faster Than First Class Mail?

Although both Priority Mail and First-Class packages are guaranteed to arrive within 3 days, Priority Mail orders usually arrive within 2 days or even overnight in some instances. This does give an edge to the Priority Mail orders over the First-Class Mail.

Is First Class Mail Considered Priority Mail?

First Class Mail and Priority Mail are two different shipping modes offered by the USPS. Both of them differ from each other due to the normal shipping times and weight limitations on the shipping items. They’re two distinct modes of shipping items that are not the same, and should not be confused with each other.

USPS First Class vs Priority Shipping Time

After the price, the second important thing that any seller or a shipper will consider before shipping its parcel is the time it will take. The parcels that will ship via USPS first class will take 1 to 5 days to be delivered. Whereas priority mail shipping time is 1 to 3 business days.

USPS First Class vs Priority Insurance 

No one wants to lose their parcel in a shipping process. That’s why insurance is really important. When choosing a shipping service, make sure that the service you are choosing comes with insurance. Insurance acts as a safety barrier for your product because there’s always a high chance that your product might get lost.

Now, if you choose a first-class mail service, you will get insurance up to $5,000 but only on merchandise, whereas on priority mail, you will get $100 on every product. 

USPS First Class vs Priority International 

Both USPS first-class and priority mail offer international shipping to 180 countries, but as we discussed above, there will be a difference in the delivery time. 

USPS First Class vs Priority Weight, Size, and Dimension

Before choosing USPS first class vs priority shipping service, you must the size and weight of your product. The USPS first-class only allows items with a maximum weight of 13 oz and length of 8 inches. On the other side, priority mail allows items up to 15.994 oz, but it allows the items that are 11-1/2 inches long or 6-1/8 inches high, or ¼ inch thick.

USPS First Class vs Priority Tracking 

Tracking info is important because it helps the seller keep the track record of the parcel. Moreover, tracking minimizes the risk of your loss. 

Now, if your first-class mail does not provide any tracking info, the receiver and the sender will never know where their product is, and therefore it might be possible that their product will get lost. On the other hand, priority mail offers tracking updates until the package arrives at its destination. 


Q1. How long does priority mail take to ship the item?

Ans. Priority mail usually takes 1 to 3 business days to ship the item. 

Q2. How long does USPS first class take to ship the item?

Ans. First-class mail takes 1 to 5 business days to ship the item. 

Q3. Can I use a priority mail box for first class?

Ans. USPS priority mail is very strict about its rules; therefore, you cannot use priority mail boxes for first-class media mail or any mail services. 

Q4. What is the difference between first class mail and priority mail?

Ans. Priority mail is usually faster than first-class mail because it delivers the items within 1 to 3 business days compared to first-class, which delivers within 1 to 5 business days. You can send lightweight items through first-class, but the maximum weight is 13 oz. You can send heavy items weighing up to 70 lbs through priority mail. 

Q5. Is first-class mail and priority mail is same?

Ans. No, they are not the same. There is a difference in cost, shipping time, size, and insurance policy. 


First-class mail and propriety mail differ in terms of price, delivery time, dimension, insurance policy, and much more. Other than the basic difference, priority mail also has a signature confirmation feature that first-class doesn’t have. 

Although, from the above comparison, you can see that priority mail is above first-class mail in all ways but is more pricey than first-class mail. Therefore, if you have lightweight items like letters, shirts, or jewelry, that’s better to choose first-class mail, but if you want some quick service, you should go for propriety mail. You might have heard the best is not cheap, and the cheap is not always. 

Let us know which shipping service you think is best.

Note: If you have any questions about Amazon selling, including topics like the fulfillment process, business strategies, choosing the best management and analytics applications for your E-Commerce business, FBA vs FBM, or any other related subjects, feel free to ask on Amazon Seller Forum. Our team of E-Commerce experts is ready to help you find the solutions you require.

February 22, 2024

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