The United States Postal Service (USPS) offers free packaging supplies for priority mail and priority mail express shipping. This includes free boxes, envelopes, tubes, and packaging tape. USPS provides these supplies to make it convenient for customers to ship packages through their service.
What types of free boxes does USPS offer?
USPS offers a variety of free box sizes for priority mail and priority mail express shipping. The most commonly used free boxes from USPS include:
- Priority mail flat rate boxes – These come in three sizes – small, medium, and large. The boxes have a flat rate for shipping no matter the weight or destination in the US.
- Priority mail regional rate boxes – These boxes have zone-based pricing and come in two sizes – A and B.
- Priority mail cubic boxes – These boxes also utilize zone-based pricing and come in a standard cubic shape in multiple sizes.
- Priority mail tape and tubes – USPS offers different width tubes and tape for shipping posters, artwork, and other cylindrical items.
- Priority mail envelopes – Free tyvek and cardboard envelopes are available in various sizes.
The exact dimensions and weight limits for each type of free priority mail box can be found on the USPS Postal Explorer website. The boxes are pre-labeled with priority mail postage and just need a delivery address before dropping off at a post office or collection box.
Where can you get free USPS priority mail boxes?
There are a few ways to get free shipping boxes and envelopes from USPS for priority mail:
- Visit any post office location – All post offices stock the basic priority mail products like flat rate boxes, regional rate boxes, and priority envelopes. Simply go to the retail counter and ask for the specific box type and size needed.
- Order online for free delivery – On the USPS website, customers can order common priority mail supplies for free. The boxes will be delivered within 1-2 days by the postal carrier.
- Utilize USPS Click-N-Ship – This online shipping service allows you to order and pay for postage. It also provides the option to order free priority mail products.
- Request a pickup from carrier – If a regular USPS carrier delivers to your location, you can leave a request in your mailbox to leave priority mail products the next day.
The easiest way to get priority mail boxes and envelopes is to order them online from usps.com and have them conveniently delivered to your door for free. Just be sure to order them a few days before you need them.
What are the different priority mail flat rate boxes?
USPS offers three types of priority mail flat rate boxes. These include:
- Small flat rate box – Dimensions are 8-5/8″ x 5-3/8″ x 1-5/8″. Weight limit is 70 pounds.
- Medium flat rate box – Dimensions are 11″ x 8-1/2″ x 5-1/2″. Weight limit is 20 pounds.
- Large flat rate box – Dimensions are 12″ x 12″ x 5-1/2″. Weight limit is 20 pounds.
The advantage of the flat rate boxes is that the price to ship them is the same regardless of destination. The flat rate shipping costs are:
- Small flat rate box – $9.45
- Medium flat rate box – $16.10
- Large flat rate box – $22.95
As long as the box is not overstuffed and seals close, any items can be shipped using the priority mail flat rate pricing. Flat rate boxes cannot exceed their stated weight limits to qualify for the flat rate price.
What are the features of priority mail regional rate boxes?
Priority mail regional rate boxes are free boxes offered by USPS for shipping packages within specified zones or regions. They have the following features:
- Come in two sizes – Box A and Box B
- Offer zone-based pricing, which is cheaper than regular priority mail for regional destinations
- Box A dimensions are 10-1/4″ x 7″ x 5″ with a 15 pound weight limit
- Box B dimensions are 13-5/8″ x 11-3/8″ x 3″ with a 20 pound weight limit
- Can only be used for shipping to zones 1-4 (regional, 0-600 miles)
The advantage of regional rate boxes is they provide discounted shipping rates compared to regular priority mail for packages going shorter distances. This makes them ideal for regional ecommerce shipping or organizations with most customers located regionally.
What are some tips for using USPS free boxes?
Here are some helpful tips on using free priority mail boxes from USPS:
- Pack items tightly – Avoid empty space so items don’t shift during transit.
- Use appropriate size box – Pick a box where items fit snugly, but not overly large.
- Reinforce weak spots – Use extra tape on box seams or corners if needed.
- Seal securely – Use USPS priority mail tape and make sure all flaps and seams are sealed.
- Address clearly – Use printed labels or neat handwriting for addresses.
- Add return address – Be sure your return address is on the package.
- Weigh package – Confirm it is within the weight limit for the box type.
- Add postage – The boxes are pre-labeled but need correct postage.
Following these tips will help ensure your free USPS priority mail boxes ship securely to their destinations without damage.
Can you reuse USPS priority mail boxes?
Technically, USPS does not recommend reusing old priority mail boxes. The boxes are intended to be single use packaging. However, there are some cases where reusing priority mail boxes may be acceptable:
- If the box is still sturdy with no damage, it can potentially be reused.
- Turning a box inside out to use the clean interior side again may be OK.
- Using a priority mail box for your own storage or moving is fine.
- Removing old labels and markings makes reuse more discrete.
It is best to not reuse a priority mail box if it has significant wear and tear. Also, do not reuse boxes for international shipping. When reusing any box, be sure to remove or completely cover up old labels, markings, and tracking numbers.
Does USPS sell boxes and packing supplies?
In addition to free packaging supplies, USPS does sell a variety of boxes, envelopes, and packing materials including:
- Priority mail boxes and envelopes
- Express mail envelopes
- Flat rate envelopes and boxes
- Regional rate boxes
- Sturdy mailing boxes
- Cardboard boxes
- Tube containers
- Bubble wrap and packaging peanuts
- Cushioned shipping pouches
- Tape and dispensers
- Label stickers and printers
These mailing supplies can be purchased at Post Office locations or online at the USPS store. Prices are very reasonable compared to general retail stores. USPS boxes and envelopes come with priority mail rate labels already affixed on them.
Buying boxes, bubble wrap, and other supplies directly from USPS can help save money compared to shopping at big box retailers. Take advantage of the USPS Blue supplies program to get discounted rates on bulk quantity purchases.
Does USPS offer pick up of packages?
Yes, USPS offers package pickup services to collect mail and packages from homes and businesses. There are two main options for USPS package pickup:
- Regular daily pickup – If you receive regular mail delivery at your address, you can leave outgoing packages for your postal carrier to pick up when they deliver your mail. Just leave packages in your mailbox or where your mail is typically collected.
- Package pickup request – You can schedule a USPS pickup for priority mail packages on usps.com. Pickups can be scheduled for same day or future dates. There is no additional fee for this service.
To use USPS package pickup:
- Package items securely and attach postage/labels.
- Go online or call to schedule a pickup time.
- Leave package in your mailbox or designated area.
- A postal carrier will collect the package during regular mail delivery.
Package pickup works for priority mail, first class packages, and other prepaid USPS items. It provides a convenient way to ship out orders without having to drop off at the post office.
What are the different USPS priority mail shipping speeds?
USPS offers several priority mail options with different delivery speeds:
- Priority mail express – Overnight to 2-day delivery guaranteed. Fastest priority service.
- Priority mail – 1-3 day delivery time for most domestic destinations.
- Priority mail regional rate – 1-3 day delivery within localized regions.
- First-class package service – 2-5 day delivery based on zone. Lightest packages.
- Parcel select ground – 2-8 day delivery times based on distance.
- Media mail – 2-8 day delivery for books/media. Slowest service.
Priority mail express offers expedited delivery in 1-2 days guaranteed for urgent packages. Standard priority mail takes a bit longer at 2-3 days, but still provides quick shipping times.
First class package and Parcel Select Ground services balance speed and affordability for lighter packages. Media Mail offers very economical rates for shipping books, media, and documents.
In summary, USPS provides a variety of free packaging supplies like boxes, envelopes, and tubes for priority mail and priority mail express. These free boxes can be obtained from local post offices, through online ordering, or via carriers. USPS also sells retail packaging supplies on their website and at Post Office locations.
Priority mail flat rate boxes, regional rate boxes, and cubic boxes are common free boxes used for USPS ground shipping. Each box type has a purpose, from flat rate to zone-based rates. Following packing tips like taping seams securely and addressing clearly will help ensure free USPS boxes arrive at their destination safely.
Free package pickup options also make it convenient to hand off packages to USPS without trips to the post office. With various priority mail services from express to media mail, USPS offers an affordable shipping solution for all types of packages and delivery timeframes.