Anyone happen to know a PO shipping answer off the top of their head?

You know those USPS flat rate boxes? How light does the box generally need to be for it to be more expensive to ship it in the flat rate box than with an otherwise completely identical regular box? Is there somewhere I can check? I have no idea how heavy the thing I want to ship is. (The size in this case is a Medium 2, IIRC.)


Post Office. There’s a link to the left that let’s you calculate.

Damn, is there a general rule of thumb? As I said, I have no idea how heavy what I want to ship is, so I have nothing to plug into that calculator (which I didn’t see, so thanks for that).

They have a chart too, under priority mail, but it also depends on how far away you are shipping:

You have no idea at all? Is it one pound? Five? Twenty? It’d be difficult for anyone to know a general rule of thumb without having any idea where you are and where you’re shipping to.

Make a general guess and put the number in the calculator. See what the different shipping prices are. Go back and enter a different weight and calculate again. It’s pretty simple to determine where the ‘break-even’ point is for using the flat rate box.

70 pounds. If your package weighs more than that you can’t do flat rate shipping.

You ought to be able to guess just from lifting it whether it’s anywhere near that.

Leaper’s not asking how heavy can a flat rate package be, he’s asking at what weight does it become cheaper to ship via flat rate rather than via regular priority mail.

Usually, if it’s over 2 pounds the flat rate box is cheaper.

Nope, none at all. I am absolutely terrible at estimating weights and measurements of any kind. The best I’d do is be able to compare it to actual specific objects that I have on hand (like my iPad), and even then, I think my comparison may be dicey.

Given this, maybe even the rule of thumb wouldn’t help, because I have no conception at all of how much two pounds is. Maybe the flat rate box is best? It can’t be THAT much more expensive if it does happen to be less than two pounds, can it?

Thanks for the answers so far; more thoughts welcome, though!

It sounds like you need to get to a scale and weigh it. If you have the weight, the comparison is easy to do.

The size also matters, as there are three different flat rate boxes, with different rates atached. And the distance/zone you’re sending it. These are why a rule of thumb is difficult.

The distance and zone don’t matter. It’s a** flat rate** box.

Okay, well, my rule of thumb is that if I have to weigh it and do any kind of calculations whatsoever, the flat rate box is cheaper.

If it will fit in an envelope and can go media mail, that’s one thing.

Media mail can be cheaper, but the flat rate box is pretty darn cheap and you can just leave it at your mailbox or schedule a pickup.

Here’s an idea, do you have a scale for your weight? Stand on it with and then without this package. If there’s no discernable distance, it might be cheaper to send it some way other than flat rate.

But the distance and zone do matter in finding how much it would cost to ship regular vs. flat rate. That’s the comparison the OP was after.

You might want to reread the OP, Hilarity. You are answering a question that wasn’t asked.

It depends a lot on how far it’s going. If you’re shipping a two pound package from one end of the country to the other, flat rate would cost you a about a buck more than priority. If you’re shipping it to the other side of town, flat rate would cost twice as much as priority.

Like I said, if you plug the shipping and destination zip codes into the shipping calculator you can see how it works out for different weights.

Yeah, okay, got it.

I always use the flat rate box just because that way I don’t have to do math or read a scale. Also because the flat rate boxes are FREE and I don’t have to make a trip to the PO (which I would if I used media mail, but not if I used priority mail and knew how much it weighed & where it was going, etc.).

That’s fine, if that convenience is worth it to you.

Sure, but Leaper wasn’t asking about flat rate vs media mail. He asked about flat rate vs priority. With both methods you can use free postal supplied packages and don’t have to make a trip to the post office.

There are other boxes that you can get for free from the Post Office that are not Flat Rate.

If you print the labels yourself (i.e. not at the Post Office) you can often print labels that use the non-Flat Rate if it shows to be less than the Flat Rate. In my experience the Post Office just does not seem to care as long as Priority Mail postage of some sort is being paid.

I have found that while the small FR box is worthwhile for small items, the larger ones have to be fairly heavy to be worthwhile. If shipping across the country I’ve found the box needs to be at least 4-5 lbs. for the Mediums, and much higher for the larger sizes Flat Rate boxes.