First Class vs Priority Mail: Difference and Comparison

E-commerce merchants have the most excellent solution for couriers. It is the USPS- The United States Postal Service. They offer various options for both international and domestic shipping.

If you are an eCommerce business, you may want what suits you best. The USPS gives you options for tracking your package and various mail choices. First class and Priority mail are two of them. 

Key Takeaways

  1. First-Class Mail provides a more affordable option for sending lightweight packages, while Priority Mail caters to heavier packages with faster delivery.
  2. Priority Mail includes additional services, such as free package pickup, insurance, and tracking, which are not standard with First-Class Mail.
  3. Delivery times for First-Class Mail range from 1-3 days, whereas Priority Mail guarantees delivery within 1-3 days.

First Class vs Priority Mail

The difference between first class and priority mail is that first class mail is an affordable and effortless way to send lightweight packages. On the other hand, priority mail is quite expensive. First-class mail can take enough time to deliver the packages. But priority mail will carry even the heavy parcels faster. 

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First-class mail is one of USPS’s options for delivering packages such as envelopes and letters. These parcels are lightweight and will take a few days for them to reach.


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Anybody can afford this option, and it is also the easiest way. According to USPS, first-class mail is a top-tier shipment option. It has several size specifications. 

Priority mail is USPS’s other option for e-commerce businesses that want to send their package faster. They call it the priority shipping option.

It allows you to forward heavy parcels up to 70 lbs and is a better option when you have to send an international package. It is because it reduces shipping time. It is more expensive than other alternatives.  

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonFirst Class MailPriority Mail
DefinitionIt is the top-tier shipment option. It is the priority shipping option.
WeightHas specifications for different weights of parcels.Forwards parcels up to the size of 70 pounds.
PricingAffordable alternative.Expensive option.
InsuranceYou cannot get any insurance coverage for this type of mail. You can get insurance coverage.
Type of parcel Lightweight Both heavy and lightweight

What is First Class Mail?

First-class mail is one of the services that USPS provides, and it is among the least expensive options. It offers a flat price for postage when you have to send a parcel domestically.

It delivers the package in 2-4 business days and remains consistent even during peak times. 

This option is useful when you want to send a card, personal correspondence, or information. It allows you to send it on the specific date you want it to reach, and it is a reliable option.

Sometimes when someone changes its address and the mailpiece is left undeliverable, the USPS either returns it to the sender or delivers it to the correct address. 

You will have to pay extra if you need the tracking information because first-class mail does not give this facility. The amount you must pay for the mail depends on its weight.

It is when you are not choosing the flat rate option. You can upgrade your mail to either registered or certified mail

One can avail of the add-ons before dropping the mail in the mailbox. Each add-on has a separate fee along with it. Certified mail will give you proof of whether the mail is going to the correct address or not and provides you with details on the time of delivery. 

What is Priority Mail?

Priority mail is known as the priority shipping option in USPS. It is a quick way to send packages under 70 pounds of weight.

Your package will reach the address in 2-3 business days, and it is the same in priority mail flat rate shipping. It is the only service that guarantees its delivery time. 

You have overnight or 1-2 days delivery options available with priority mail. Due to these facilities, it is more expensive than other shipping alternatives.

If you purchase priority mail postage from the local post office branch, then you have to pay priority mail retail. 

But if you purchase postage from an online shipping service, USPS offers the priority mail commercial rate. The expensive option among the two is priority mail retail.

If they determine the shipping rate by weighing the mail, then it is known as metered mail. The bulky the package, the more you have to pay. 

You can send priority mail express packages on Sundays as well, but not regular priority mail. They include a free tracking option if your parcel has an official shipping label and barcode.

As long as you are not shipping at a flat rate, you can use your box to send the package. 

priority mail

Main Differences Between First Class and Priority Mail

  1. First-class mail is the top-tier shipment option, according to USPS. On the other hand, priority mail is the priority shipping option. 
  2. First-class mail is an effortless and affordable option for sending your parcel. But priority mail is the fastest and most expensive option to send mail. 
  3. First-class mail has specifications on the weights of different mail. On the other hand, priority mail delivers packages that weigh 70 pounds. 
  4. You cannot get insurance coverage for first-class mail if the package gets lost. But you can get one for priority mail. 
  5. First-class mail delivers parcels like letters and envelopes that have lightweight. On the other hand, priority mail sends heavy packages as well. 
Difference Between First Class and Priority Mail
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