USPS First Class vs. Priority Mail

First-class and priority mail services are both fast mail services supported by the USPS. However, certain advantages make the priority mail service better than the first-class mail service. Below, we have compared the two mail services based on different criteria to arrive at a particular conclusion

There are different mail types that USPS services operate in. The United States Postal services are highly popular with people as well as eCommerce merchants. The USPS partners with many eCommerce merchants to support them in order deliveries. Moreover, US customers also depend on USPS for package delivery to a great extent. USPS offers both domestic and international shipping. There are also different shipping options available with USPS.

Moreover, the two popular shipping options are first class mail and priority mail. Ecommerce merchants go for both options. For a new eCommerce merchant, the two types of mail can be confusing. There are advantages to the two different types of mail. However, the benefits are clear when there is a USPS First Class and Priority mail comparison. 

What is First Mail Class? 

The first-class mail sounds like fast and professional mail service, and to an extent, it is too—first-class mail ships lightweight packages, letters, thick envelopes. When compared with third-class mail, fourth-class mail, etc., it is better. It is also better than second-class mail. First-class mail is affordable and also has a small waiting window between shipping and delivery. 

Difference between USPS First Class Vs. Priority Mail

Priority mail is the priority shipping option that the USPS extends. USPS ships out the packages under priority mail on a priority basis. Therefore, many US shipping companies and eCommerce giants prefer the priority mail option. Priority mail ships heavier packages than the first-class mail service. Because you can send heavier packages quickly with priority mail, most businesses prefer priority mail. Priority mail transports containers on an urgent basis. Therefore, the priority mail decreases shipping time significantly. 

First-class and priority mail services are both fast mail services supported by the USPS. However, certain advantages make the priority mail service better than the first-class mail service. Below, we have compared the two mail services based on different criteria to arrive at a particular conclusion. Moreover, this conclusion can establish which mail service is better between the two. 

Related: How Late Does USPS Deliver? A Complete Guide

Priority Mail or First Class Mail Service


Speed is an essential criterion of consideration when it comes to the efficiency of shipment delivery. The USPS services are fast, but the speed of delivery differs over different segments. For example, the priority mail is shorter than the first class mail service. There are various delivery intervals for the shipping options. 

Moreover, this interval depends on domestic or international shipping. The average time that a first-class delivery takes to reach its destination is two to three days. The average time for a priority mail domestic delivery is between one to two days. Therefore, priority mail wins over first-class mail in terms of speed. 

Furthermore, the first-class mail service does not guarantee timely delivery when it comes to international shipping. According to the data collected, the first class mail service does not state the exact time it takes for an international shipment to reach its destination. 

On the other hand, priority mail delivers an international shipment within six to ten days. If the eCommerce merchant chooses the priority express mail service, the shipping time downsizes to three to five days. 

Therefore, the priority mail service offers a reduced shipping time on both domestic and international shipments. In comparison to this, first-class mail service gives uncertainty in answer for any international shipments. Thus, if you are an e-retail merchant that wants to operate globally, priority mail is the best option. 

Related: How Late Does USPS Deliver? A Complete Guide

Packaging dimensions and weight

Packaging dimensions are essential for any shipment, domestic or international. There is a clear advantage of packaging dimension and weight in priority mail. The restrictions of package weight and sizes in the first class mail service are resolved by priority mail. While first-class mail service carries small, lightweight packages, priority mail carries shipments under the threshold of 70 lbs. Priority mail is a feasible option for e-retailers.

This is because the package is mainly on the heavier side than lighter. Ordered packages mostly do not come in envelopes but boxes. These are just essential characteristics of the orders we place with eCommerce sellers. When the packaging dimensions are less restricted, the e-retail companies have more freedom to use shipping services for delivery. 

Related: How to Get Free Shipping Supplies from USPS, UPS, FedEx, and DHL


For all its advantages and lenient structure, priority mail lacks first-class mail service in terms of price. First-class mail is more affordable than the priority mail price bracket. Priority mail services charge the shipping rate based on the distance that is covered for a package. On the other hand, first-class mail services consider the weight and size of the box and the destination. 

However, the price difference between priority mail and first-class mail service is not that prominent. The difference, on average, is up to three US dollars. Given such a slight difference, it is feasible for eCommerce businesses to choose priority mail services for their shipments.

If the business is small and trying to make as many cuts as can be made on the prices, first-class mail services are your answer. On the other hand, if you are activating the international shipping section of your business, it is best to go with priority mail. 

There are some distinct advantages of every USPS mail service. It all depends on which benefits you need for your business. When you are sure of which mail service to opt for, you are all set for hassle-free shipping. 

Learn More: What Do the USPS Tracking Status Updates Mean?