What Is the Difference Between USPS Retail Ground and Parcel Select?

What Is the Difference Between USPS Retail Ground and Parcel Select? Even though ground delivery is relatively slow, a lot of people choose it for non-urgent shipments because it is inexpensive and well suited for large parcels and hazardous materials that cannot be transported by air. The United States Postal Service offers two main ground shipping options: Retail Ground and Parcel Select. What is the difference between the two?

Before we get started on the differences between the two ground shipping methods offered by the USPS, let’s figure out what they have in common. Both USPS Retail Ground (formerly known as Standard Post) and Parcel Select (formerly known as Parcel Post) offer ground delivery within the United States, including PO boxes and military addresses, in 2 to 8 business days (depending on the destination). Both services include free tracking, as well as residential and Saturday delivery at no additional cost. Insurance is not included, but it can be purchased at an additional fee.

On the surface the two services seem identical, but there are significant differences between the two that you should be aware of. The main difference between USPS Retail Ground and Parcel Select is that USPS Retail Ground is for all shippers, wheres Parcel Select is designed for medium sized and large shippers. USPS Retail Ground is a ground shipping service for thick envelopes, packages, and tubes weighing up to 70 lbs that are not required to be shipped via First-Class Mail. It can be used to ship most items and merchandise within the United States.

Parcel Select, as we’ve already mentioned above, is targeted at large and medium sized shippers, including the United States Postal Service’s competitors like FedEx, UPS, and DHL that can use Parcel Select for the final leg of delivery in their affordable non-urgent services FedEx Ground Economy (formerly FedEx Smart Post), UPS SurePost, and DHL SmartMail, respectively. It focuses on large parcels and bulk shipments (more than 50 packages).

You can have a USPS Retail Ground parcel shipped at any retail Post Office location or purchase and print a shipping label online using the USPS website or any approved third-party vendor such as PostageMaker. Unlike USPS Retail Ground, Parcel Select is not available at Post Office locations. It can be purchased online from authorized USPS business partners or approved PC Postage providers.

Both ground services provided by the USPS are affordable, but Parcel Select is significantly cheaper than USPS Retail ground because Parcel Select is offered to medium sized and large shippers that already have access to Commercial Pricing rates. Commercial Pricing is a discount that the USPS offers for large shipping volumes; taking advantage of Commercial Pricing requires having a contractual agreement with the USPS.

It should be noted that both USPS Retail Ground and Parcel Select prices depend on the parcel size, weight, and shape. With large packages, postage may be based on the dimensional weight rather than the actual (gross) weight. Oversized rates may be applied to very large packages (for example, between 108 and 130 inches in combined length and girth for USPS Retail Ground).

We should also mention that USPS Retail Ground and Parcel Select are not the only ground services provided by the USPS. Media Mail and Library Mail shipments are also delivered via ground, but these shipping services can be used only for specific types of shipments. Media Mail is restricted to educational materials (books, audio and video recordings, sheet music, etc.), and Library Mail is designed for the exchange of library items between libraries, museums, educational institutions, nonprofit organizations, etc.