Calculating shipping costs and choosing the most economical shipping method can be confusing. Our Cheapest Way to Ship Anything guides make it easy to compare shipping costs and choose the right method for your cargo, whether you're shipping common items like boxes or difficult-to-transport goods like antiques or artwork.
We've calculated shipping costs for three common shipping methods: USPS, parcel shipping, and consolidated freight.
iii. Consolidated freight
Get answers to the most frequently asked questions about shipping a 40 lb box.
A 40 lb box can be packed with just about anything, from household goods, small pieces of art, and antiques to electronics or documents and files. Regardless of what is being shipped, there are many reasons why one might need to ship a 40 lb box:
- Individuals relocating long distance, either for work, college, or for any other reason. In this case, the individual likely has multiple boxes to ship.
- Individuals shipping goods and other household items to other individuals, such as family members or someone who purchased something online. In this case, the individual may only have a single box to ship.
- Retailers shipping heavier consumer goods or multiple items in a single box to customers across the country.
- Businesses shipping items to other locations in their business network, such as electronics, documents, or other small office fixtures and supplies.
Shipping a 40 lb box is relatively straightforward, but there are a number of special considerations to keep in mind when shipping a 40 lb box:
- Box size: If you’re shipping a 40 lb box using flat rate shipping services, the size of the box will be the primary factor used to determine shipping costs. If you’re shipping a 40 lb box using variable pricing offered by USPS and parcel carriers, a small 40 lb box should cost about the same as a large 40 lb box (unless it’s considered “oversized”).
- Number of items being shipped: You may have multiple items packed into one box that weighs a cumulative total of 40 lbs. If so, you will want to ensure each item is packed securely to avoid shifting and breakage in transit. The same packing considerations apply if you’re only shipping a single 40 lb item—in fact, single heavy items may even be more prone to shifting in transit than several lighter items.
- Packing materials: Heavier cargo is more likely to tear through seams, especially if your box has been used before or has sustained damage. To ship a 40 lb box, be sure to use a new, sturdy box. Assemble your box with high quality packing tape and use enough padding to avoid shifting and breakage in transit. For fragile items such as engine parts or antiques, you may even want to consider using specially made foam enclosures.
- Number of boxes being shipped: Shipping a single 40 lb box will call for a different shipping method than shipping several 40 lb boxes. 3 or fewer boxes are ideal for flat rate shipping through USPS or parcel carriers, but shipments of 15 or more boxes should ideally be palletized so they stay together in transit, in which case you’ll likely need less-than-truckload (LTL) shipping.
- Value: High value or delicate items such as artwork, antiques, electronics, or engine parts should always be insured in case they are damaged in transit. All shipping providers will offer basic liability coverage, but that likely won’t cover the full value of your item. Purchasing additional insurance for high value or delicate items is always recommended.
How much does it cost to ship a 40 lb box?
The cheapest way to ship a 40 lb box depends on how large the box is, how many boxes you’re shipping, and how fast you need them to arrive. Flat rate shipping is often the most cost effective option for a single 40 lb box or a small number of boxes while less-than-truckload shipping is typically the most cost effective option for shipping several 40 lb boxes.
Compare rates for shipping shoes using some of the most common methods:
- Parcel shipping (such as FedEx or UPS)
- Consolidated freight
A 40 lb box can be shipped using USPS Priority Mail flat rate shipping or variable pricing. The best service depends on how fast you need the box or boxes to arrive.
Flat rate shipping is typically cheaper because the cost of shipping depends solely on the size of the box being shipped. Box weight and distance of travel will not affect flat rate shipping costs, but the box must weigh under 70lbs and you must use USPS packaging to qualify.
|Box size||Flat rate price|
|Padded flat rate envelope
(12 ½” x 9 ½”)
(13 ⅝” x 11 ⅞” x 11” or 11” x 8 ½” x 5 ½”)
(23 11/16” x 11 ¾” x 12” or 12” x 12” x 5 ½”)
USPS services that use variable pricing, such as Priority Mail, Priority Mail Express, or USPS Retail Ground offer more delivery options, but will cost more to ship. For these services, the cost of shipping a 40 lb box depends on the weight of the package, as well as the speed and distance of travel.
|Box weight||Philadelphia → Miami||Philadelphia → Los Angeles||Chicago → Dallas||Cleveland → San Diego|
Parcel shipping (UPS or FedEx)
Parcel shipping services like UPS and FedEx provide flat rate and variable pricing options for 40 lb boxes. UPS and FedEx both offer flat rate shipping for boxes up to 50lbs, often at cheaper rates than variable pricing.
UPS flat rate shipping, called UPS Simple Rate, offers delivery as fast as second-day air transport. The cost to ship a 40 lb box depends only on the size of the box and speed of travel. Unlike other flat rate shipping providers, UPS allows you to use your own box.
FedEx flat rate shipping, called FedEx OneRate, offers delivery as fast as overnight with next-morning delivery. The cost of your shipment depends on the size of your package as well as the speed and distance of travel, and you must use FedEx packaging to qualify.
10 ⅞” x 1 ½” x 12 ⅜”
11 ½” x 2 ⅜” x 13 ¼”
12 ⅜” x 3” x 17 ½”
11 ⅞” x 10 ¾” x 11”
Variable pricing is also available from parcel carriers. In this case, your shipping costs will depend on the size and weight of the box (primarily its weight), as well as the speed and distance of travel. Additional charges may apply for residential deliveries.
|Extra Small||$9.25-$21.25||Not available|
Variable pricing is also available, with shipping costs depending on the size and weight of the boxes, as well as speed and distance of travel. Additional surcharges may apply for residential deliveries.
|Box weight||Philadelphia → Miami||Philadelphia → Los Angeles||Chicago → Dallas||Cleveland → San Diego|
*Shipping cost estimates are calculated using individuals providers’ online cost estimator tools. Details, exact prices, and shipping times are not guaranteed.
Consolidated freight (TSI)
Consolidated freight providers typically focus on less-than-truckload (LTL) shipping, but some offer flat rate shipping services as well.
In general, this method of transport is ideal for shipments of multiple boxes packed with household goods or other lower-value, more durable items.
Depending on your freight partner, up to 15 boxes may be sent with flat rate shipping. TSI offers flat rate shipping for boxes up to 40 lbs. You simply tell us how many boxes you need (up to 15) and we’ll deliver the empty boxes to your door, then we’ll return to pick them up once you’ve packed them. Flat rate boxes can be shipped anywhere in the continental United States. Box weight and distance travelled will not impact your shipping costs.
If you have more than fifteen 40 lb boxes to ship, your cargo will need to be palletized and sent using LTL freight shipping. This means it’ll share space on the truck with other cargo travelling in the same direction. Your shipping costs will depend on the weight of what’s being shipped and the distance of travel—box size does not factor into your shipping costs until your box exceeds 8’ on one side. You also won’t pay per box—instead, you’ll pay for the combined total weight of all your boxes.
TSI TIP: Freight shippers will always price your shipment using a minimum billable weight. TSI’s minimum billable weight is 120lbs, which means that a single box weighing 40 lbs will be priced as if it weighs 120lbs.
|Number of boxes and box weight||Philadelphia → Miami||Philadelphia → Los Angeles||Chicago → Dallas||Cleveland → San Diego|
|3 boxes x 40 lbs per box
(120 lbs total)
|$462.89 ($154.29 per box)||$681.29 ($227.10 per box)||$436.48 (145.49 per box)||$486.42 (162.14 per box)|
NOTE: Box size does not factor into freight pricing.
TSI is carefully monitoring all of our shipments nationwide. We have seen minimal delays thus far, and are in constant contact with transportation industry leaders in order to be as proactive as possible. All members of the logistics chain are using the safety precautieons recommended by the C.D.C.:
- Clean your hands often (washing for 20 seconds or using hand sanitizer)
- Avoid touching your face
- Avoid close contact
- Stay home if sick
- Cover coughs and sneezes
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surface
NOTE: Shipping cost estimates are calculated using individuals providers’ online cost estimator tools. Details, exact prices, and shipping times are not guaranteed.
Need help shipping your boxes?
Take a look at our package shipping solutions page. Getting a price is easy, simple and straightforward. Shipping your 40 lb boxes is safer with TSI.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best way to ship boxes to another state?
The best way to ship boxes to another state depends on how much you have to ship and what you are shipping:
- For one or two boxes under 70 lbs, USPS or parcel shipping is often ideal.
- For three or more boxes, large boxes, or heavy boxes, flat rate freight shipping is best.
- For boxes containing fragile or valuable items, White Glove shipping is the safest method. Your shipping partner will create a personalized plan that is tailored to your cargo, and packing services will be provided.
How much does it cost to ship boxes across the country?
The cost of shipping boxes across the country depends on whether you choose flat rate or variable pricing. Depending on the shipping method and provider you choose, your final shipping costs will be based on a combination of the size and weight of the package, how far it will travel, and how quickly you need to arrive.
Here’s a rough idea how much you can expect it to cost to ship boxes across the country using some of the most popular shipping methods in 2020:
- Flat rate: $8.30-$21.10
- Variable pricing: Approximately $63.50-$282.15 per box depending on weight, distance, and speed of travel. Shipping costs may be lower for shorter distances or lighter boxes.
Parcel shipping (eg. UPS or FedEx)
- Flat rate: $9.25-$212.95 depending on size and speed of travel
- Variable pricing: $54.58-$402.05 per box for 3-day shipping, depending on weight and distance of travel. Shipping costs may be lower for shorter distances or lighter boxes, or higher for faster delivery
Consolidated freight (eg. TSI)
- Flat rate: Starting at $319.
- Variable pricing: $462.89-$681.29 for 3 boxes weighing 40 lbs each ($145-$227 per box) depending on weight and distance of travel. Shipping costs may be lower for shorter distances
What is the cheapest way to ship boxes across the country?
The cheapest way to ship multiple boxes across the country is consolidated freight.
If you are shipping a single box, USPS is the most cost effective option.
What can I ship in a box?
Boxes can be used to ship a variety of consumer goods and household items. Small boxes are ideal for heavier items like books, while large boxes are ideal for light, bulky items like lampshades, pillows, clothing, linens, and shoes. It is also safe to ship fragile items in boxes as long as they are properly packed and insured.
Food, liquids, and hazardous materials should never be packed in boxes.
Can I ship previously used boxes?
Yes, you can ship used boxes, but it is not always recommended. Used boxes may work well for less valuable or more durable items, but you should always use new boxes for heavy cargo, new or delicate belongings, or if you’re a retailer shipping items to a customer. If you’re opting for a used box, keep these tips in mind:
- Inspect the boxes carefully for signs of damage—all boxes should be strong, dry, and damage- or infestation-free.
- Remove or fully cover all old address labels to reduce the chance of your box ending up in the wrong place.
How do I pack boxes for shipping?
When packing boxes for shipping, you’ll generally follow these steps:
- Assemble the box. Tape all sides using the H method.
- Line the box with padding. Crumpled newspaper or magazines may work for household goods, but plain packing paper or large bubble wrap is often the best choice, especially for retailers.
- Wrap items individually before placing them in the box, especially if you are transporting fragile items.
- Load heavy items in first and pack lighter items on top. Add padding around each item as you pack.
- Seal and label the box.