USPS Priority Mail FAQs

Wednesday, Jul 27th 2022

What Is USPS Priority Mail?

Priority Mail is one of the most popular services from the USPS®. It delivers your packages in 1, 2, or 3 business days—including Saturdays! Send your items in regular packaging or use USPS® Priority Mail flat rate boxes. These boxes can be ordered online or picked up at the Post Office™.

Priority Mail flat rate boxes allow you to pay one flat rate regardless of how much your item weighs. This is a valuable cost-savings option when you are sending heavy items. For more on flat rate boxes and how much they cost, check out our blog on flat rate boxes blog post.

How Long Does Priority Mail Take?

Priority Mail takes 1, 2, or 3 days depending on your location and the shipping destination. For example, it takes two days to ship a package from New York City, New York, to San Francisco, California. However, it takes three days to ship from the same destination to Cheyenne, Wyoming.

If your package is time-sensitive, check whether Priority Mail takes 1, 2, or 3 days to reach its destination. The Post Office™ or our built-in NeoShip software can tell you the estimated arrival date when you enter your location and destination, or you can refer to the USPS zone map.

If you need guaranteed delivery by a certain day, ship with Priority Mail Express. Priority Mail Express offers guaranteed overnight service for most zip codes.  

Does Priority Mail Have Tracking?

Priority Mail has free USPS® tracking that you can get at the Post Office™ or right at your desk using NeoShip shipping software! If you need more visibility to your packages or a written record of their arrival, you can add on Certified Mail®, Signature Confirmation™, or Return Receipt for an additional charge.

How Much Does Priority Mail Cost?

The retail cost of USPS® Priority Mail ranges from $7-$200 and it is determined by the weight of the package and the distance it is traveling. For example, a 1 lb. package going to Zone 1 can cost as low as $7.35. However, a 70 lb package that is going to Zone 9 can cost as much as $230 dollars. But don’t panic, the USPS has a great option for heavy items and shippers who are sending items long distances—flat rate boxes!

With flat rate boxes, no weighing or calculating is needed. You are charged one flat rate to send an item, and it isn’t based on weight or distance. So those heavy items that would cost $230 dollars can cost as little as $7.90 using a small flat rate box!

For a full list of priority mail costs, see the chart below:

Row Priority Mail Flat Max Weight Dimensions Retail Price NeoShip Price
1 Flat Rate Envelope Up to 70 lbs. 12 1/2" x 9 1/2" $7.35 $6.95
2 Legal Flat Rate Envelope Up to 70 lbs. 15" x 9 1/2" $7.65 $7.25
3 Padded Flat Rate Envelope Up to 70 lbs. 12 1/2" x 9 1/2" $8.00 $7.55
4 Small Flat Rate Box Up to 70 lbs. 8 11/16" x 5 7/16" x 1 3/4" $7.90 $7.50
5 Medium Flat Rate Box Up to 70 lbs. 11 1/4" x 8 3/4" x 6" $14.35 $12.80
6 Large Flat Rate Box Up to 70 lbs. 12 1/4" x 12 1/4" x 6" $19.95 $17.60
7 APO/FPO/DPO Large Flat Rate Box Up to 70 lbs. 12 1/4" x 12 1/4" x 6" $18.45 $16.10

Priority Mail also has special commercial rates that can save businesses up to 40% on shipping costs. Businesses can access Priority Mail commercial rates by using low-cost shipping software like NeoShip. To see how much you can save on flat rate shipping prices visit our flat rate shipping resources page.

Row Priority Mail Express Flat Rate Retail Prices NeoShip Prices
1 Flat Rate Envelope $25.50 $22.68
2 Legal Flat Rate Envelope $25.50 $22.80
3 Padded Flat Rate Envelopestd> $26.20 $23.18

Does Priority Mail include insurance?

Priority Mail shipments include insurance up to $50 at no extra charge. If you are shipping something more valuable and you’d like additional insurance you can purchase it at the Post Office.

Priority Mail vs. Priority Mail Express

Priority Mail Express is the USPS’s fastest service, and it comes with some perks: guaranteed overnight delivery. Guaranteed overnight delivery is available 365 days a year, and includes free USPS tracking and delivery signature record.

  Priority Mail Priority Mail Express
Delivery Timeline 1, 2, or 3 days—depending on origin and destination zip codes Overnight—to most zip codes
Guaranteed On-Time Delivery No Yes
Tracking Included Yes Yes, plus delivery signature record upon request
Prices $7.35 - $230.10 $25.50 - $581.15
Flat Rate Shipping Options Yes, starting at $7.35 Yes, starting at $25.50
Insurance Yes, includes up to $50 Yes, includes up to $100
International Available Yes Yes

Shipping with Priority Mail and Priority Mail Express is a low-cost alternative to other major carriers. For a full list of the USPS services and rates download our 2020 Postal Rate Guide.