How Long Does Express Shipping Take?

How Long Does Express Shipping Take? When delivery time is of essence, express shipping is your best choice to ensure that your package arrives as soon as possible. There are many express shipping options for you to choose from, each with its own estimated delivery time. How long does express shipping take when you ship your packages via the USPS or UPS?

Most postal and courier companies offer two main types of delivery: standard delivery and express delivery. Standard delivery (also known as economy, budget, regular, basic, or ground delivery) is slower but more affordable, while express delivery, also referred to as expedited shipping, is faster but more expensive. But how much faster is express shipping than standard shipping and is their difference in speed worth the money?

Express Shipping via the USPS: Estimated Delivery Times

The United States Postal Service (USPS) offers two domestic and two international express delivery services:

  • Priority Mail: domestic delivery in 1–3 business days without a money-back guarantee. The expected delivery date depends on the origin and destination of the package, as well as drop-off time; it is printed on the receipt or provided at checkout.
  • Priority Mail Express: next-day or 2-day domestic delivery by 6 PM with a money-back guarantee (with rare exceptions).
  • Priority Mail Express International: international delivery to about 180 countries in 3–5 business days with a money-back guarantee to select destinations. Actual delivery time may vary depending on the origin and destination of the package, as well as customs delays.
  • Global Express Guaranteed: international delivery to about 180 countries in 1–3 business days (with next-day delivery to many locations in Canada) with a money-back guarantee. GXG is a hybrid service where the USPS picks up your package and FedEx provides international delivery.

Express Shipping via UPS: Estimated Delivery Times

As a courier company, UPS provides more express delivery options and offers greater flexibility with estimated delivery times than the USPS, which, of course, comes at a cost. Let’s take a closer look at these options.

Domestic express delivery via UPS:

  • UPS 3 Day Select: guaranteed delivery by the end of the 3rd business day.
  • UPS 2nd Day Air: guaranteed delivery by the end of the 2nd business day.
  • UPS 2nd Day Air A.M.: guaranteed delivery by noon of the 2nd business day to select destinations.
  • UPS Next Day Air Saver: guaranteed overnight delivery by 3 P.M. or 4:30 P.M. to select destinations.
  • UPS Next Day Air: guaranteed overnight delivery by 10:30 A.M. or noon to select destinations.
  • UPS SonicAir: same-day guaranteed delivery, typically in 4 to 6 hours.

Please keep in mind that “overnight delivery” means “delivery the next business day”, and that estimated delivery time is stated for commercial destinations; shipments to residential locations are typically delivered by the end of the business day.

International express delivery via UPS:

  • UPS Worldwide Expedited: guaranteed day-definite delivery in 3–5 days depending on the destination (3–4 days to Canada).
  • UPS Worldwide Express: guaranteed delivery in 1–2 days.
  • UPS Worldwide Express Plus: guaranteed delivery in 1–2 days by 8:30 AM to select destinations.
  • UPS Express Critical / USP SonicAir: guaranteed delivery within 24 hours, including customs clearance. Keep in mind that you need to contact UPS directly via e-mail or by phone to order an urgent shipment.

So, express shipping can take from several hours to 3 business days (domestic shipping within the United States) or from 24 hours to 5 business days (international shipping) depending on which shipping carrier and service you choose. Of course, urgent delivery is not cheap, so it we recommend that you compare all your options and find the right balance between the speed and cost of delivery.