Priority Mail vs Priority Mail Express: Which Do You Need?

 

What if you had to mail something right away and didn't know how to ship it?

When you need something shipped fast, Priority Mail looks like a good option. Of course, Priority Mail Express is also attractive.

So, what's the difference between them and which should you choose? And is it worth using either service or focusing on something like Certified Mail?

Keep reading to discover the answer!

What Is Priority Mail?

Priority Mail is the name of the standard air-shipping service of the United States Post Office. Packages shipped using this service typically arrive within 1-3 business days.

While that is the standard, USPS is quick to point out that such a delivery window is not guaranteed. Therefore, it's possible for your package to take longer than 3 business days to arrive.

Depending on your needs and the package size, USPS provides several different Priority Mail options. This includes flat rate boxes and envelopes that let you ship anything that fits inside for a guaranteed rate.

What Is Priority Mail Express?

As we said before, the Priority Mail shipping window is not guaranteed. However, Priority Mail Express comes with an absolute guarantee.

So, while the standard window is the same (1-3 business days), you have the peace of mind of knowing that your item will arrive exactly when you need it to.

If you need something to arrive even faster, it is possible to upgrade your Priority Mail Express shipment. For an additional fee, you can upgrade the shipment to an overnight delivery that will arrive the next day by 10:30 am.

The name "Priority Mail Express" may be unfamiliar at first. This is because the service previously went by the name of Express Mail.

Why the Name Change?

USPS used the name "Express Mail" since the year 1977 before changing it to "Priority Mail Express." This leaves an obvious question: what's up with the name change?

According to USPS, the change came to clear up customer confusion. Many customers had difficulty understanding what the primary differences between Priority and Express were.

To be fair, having two different Priority Mails can also be confusing to customers. If it helps, just imagine "Express" as an upgraded version of the standard Priority Mail.

What Are the Benefits of Priority Mail?

If you're reading this article, you want to know which mailing service you should use. To help you make the decision, we've gathered a list of benefits that come from using Priority Mail.

First of all, this is the cheaper of the two services. So if you are trying to save money while sending your packages, Priority Mail will always keep more cash in your pocket.

Plus, while the shipping window is not guaranteed, the vast majority of Priority Mail options arrive on time. Using this service gives you an opportunity to save money while also receiving some of the fastest shipping in the world.

What Are the Benefits of Priority Mail Express?

We've already outlined some of the main benefits of Priority Mail Express. And the primary benefit is the guaranteed delivery window.

Most of the time, it's not the end of the world if a Priority Mail package is a day or two late. Other times, though, you may be shipping something that is time-sensitive. You may even be shipping something important as part of your job!

Priority Mail Express is the only way to guarantee something arrives on time. And the ability to upgrade to overnight shipping gives you a competitive price on getting something where it is going as fast as humanly possible.

If you are willing to pay extra, Priority Mail Express will also deliver 365 days a year. That means that holidays and weekends don't have to keep you from having something delivered on time.

What Are the Drawbacks of Priority Mail?

There are pros and cons to just about every service. And as much as we love Priority Mail, there are a few drawbacks you should be aware of.

First, as we mentioned, the delivery window is not a guarantee. Second, as with any USPS shipment, you are limited by their specific calendar.

Unexpected federal holidays can delay the arrival of your package. And weekends do not count towards the estimate, so a Friday shipment could very well arrive in the middle of the following week.

Finally, the weight of what you are shipping may ultimately impact its price. If you are shipping something that is over 70 pounds, you may have to pay more for your shipment.

What Are the Drawbacks of Priority Mail Express?

USPS sells Priority Mail Express as a kind of upgraded Priority Mail service. However, it still has some drawbacks of its own that you should know about before making a shipment.

As we mentioned before, the shipment guarantee of Priority Mail Express comes at a cost. You will have to pay a premium for a delivery guarantee that, in most circumstances, is actually overkill for your needs.

That also applies to the other bells and whistles of the service. The ability to have something delivered on a holiday is convenient, but it costs extra and may disrupt things like family celebrations.

Priority Mail vs Priority Mail Express: Which Is Better?

This brings us to the central question: which service is the best? The answer is that it depends on your particular needs.

For most people's everyday shipping needs, Priority Mail is the better choice. It offers fast shipping that almost always arrives on time, flat rate shipping is available through this service.

Priority Mail Express, meanwhile, is worth the extra cost if you are shipping anything under a strict timetable or if you require a delivery guarantee. And this service remains the only way to have something delivered on a holiday or even delivered overnight to a PO Box.

The Bottom Line

Now you know the truth about Priority Mail vs Priority Mail Express. But do you know how to make any kind of shipping easier than ever?

At Certified Mail Labels, we make it easy to address and print postage labels online. To see how we can save you time and money visit our site and get started today!