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 50 lb box.
A 50 lb box can be packed with just about anything, from business items like electronics, documents, and files to household goods like books, decor, or even small antiques and artwork.
There are many reasons why someone might need to ship a 50 lb box, including:
- Individuals who are moving to another state or across the country, either for work, college or any other reason. In this case, the individual likely has multiple boxes to ship.
- Individuals who are shipping goods and household items to others, such as family members or someone who purchased something online. In this case, they may only have a single 50 lb box to ship.
- Retailers shipping heavy consumer goods or multiple items packed into a single box to customers across the country.
- Businesses shipping items such as electronics, documents, or other small office fixtures and supplies to other locations in their network.
Shipping a 50 lb box is fairly straightforward, but there are some special considerations to keep in mind:
- Box size: If you’re shipping a 50 lb box using flat rate shipping services, the size of the box will be the primary factor used to determine your shipping costs. If you’re shipping a 50 lb box using variable pricing services offered by USPS and parcel carriers, box size doesn’t factor as significantly—a small box weighing 50 lbs should cost about the same as a large box weighing 50 lbs (unless it’s considered “oversized”).
- Number of items being shipped: A 50 lb box may contain multiple items packed into a single box. If so, each item should be packed securely to avoid shifting and breakage in transit. The same packing care and attention should be given when shipping a single 50 lb item.
- Packing materials: Heavier cargo is more likely to tear through box seams, especially if you’re using a used box or one that has previously sustained damage. When shipping a 50 lb box, be sure to use a new, sturdy box. Assemble the 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 50 lb box will call for a different shipping method than shipping several 50 lb boxes. 3 or fewer boxes are ideal for flat rate shipping through USPS or parcel carriers. Shipments of 15 or more 50 lb boxes are often best transported on a pallet so they stay together in transit, in which case you’ll likely need less-than-truckload (LTL) shipping.
- Value: High value or delicate items like antiques, artwork, electronics, or engine parts should always be insured in case they are damaged in transit. All shipping providers will offer basic liability coverage, but it 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 50 lb box?
The cost of shipping a 50 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 cheapest way to ship a single 50 lb box or a small number of 50 lb boxes. For pallets of several 50 lb boxes, consolidated freight is often the best choice.
Compare rates for a shipping a 50 lb box using some of the most common methods:
- Parcel shipping (such as FedEx or UPS)
- Consolidated freight (such as TSI)
A 50 lb box can be shipped via USPS using either flat rate or variably priced services. The best option depends on how fast you need your package to arrive.
With delivery in 1-3 business days, USPS Priority Mail Flat rate shipping is typically the cheapest way to ship a 50 lb box. The cost of your shipment depends solely on the size of the box being shipped—box weight and distance of travel do not impact your shipping costs, as long as your cargo fits into a flat rate box and does not exceed 70 lbs.
|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”)
Variably priced services such as Priority Mail, Priority Mail Express, and USPS Retail Ground offer more delivery options, including faster delivery, but they will cost more. Shipping costs will depend 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 shippers like FedEx and UPS offer flat rate shipping for boxes up to 50 lbs. Flat rate shipping is cheaper, but variable rate shipping with faster delivery is also available for 50 lb boxes.
UPS flat rate shipping is called UPS Simple Rate. With delivery as fast as second-day air, the cost of your shipment depends on the size of the box and the speed of travel. Unlike other flat rate shippers, UPS allows you to use your own packaging.
FedEx flat rate shipping is called FedEx One Rate. Overnight or next-morning delivery are available, with shipping costs dependent on the size of the package as well as speed and distance of travel. 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”
With variable pricing, the cost of your shipment 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 also 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 shippers typically focus on less-than-truckload (LTL) shipping, but some offer flat rate shipping as well. TSI offers flat rate shipping, but boxes cannot exceed 40 lbs.
“Less-than-truckload shipping” means that your shipment will share space on the truck with other cargo heading in the same direction. Your shipping costs will depend on the weight of what’s being shipped, as well as distance of travel. Box size typically does not factor into your shipping costs unless your box exceeds 8’ on one side or special equipment is required for loading and unloading (such as a liftgate). You also don’t pay per box—instead, the cost of your shipment is based on the combined weight of all of your boxes.
LTL shipping or consolidated freight is generally ideal for shipments of more than fifteen 50 lb boxes that are palletized and contain a variety of lower-value, durable cargo, such as household goods, documents, or other items. White Glove services are recommended for delicate or higher value items, such as artwork and antiques.
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 50lbs 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 50 lbs per box
(150 lbs total)
|$435 ($145 per box)||$445 ($149 per box)||$356 ($119 per box)||$445 ($149 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.
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 what you are shipping and how many boxes you are transporting:
- 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 for faster delivery, depending on speed and distance of travel.
Consolidated freight (eg. TSI)
- Flat rate: Starting at $319.
- Variable pricing: $319-$1,155 depending on number and weight of boxes.
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 typically the cheapest way to ship a box across the country.
What can I ship in a box?
A variety of consumer goods and household items can be safely shipped in boxes.
Small boxes are ideal for heavier items like books. Large boxes are typically best for light, bulky items like lampshades, pillows, clothing, linens, and shoes.
You can also safely 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.
Cargo weighing 50 lbs should not be packed into a used box. Used boxes may work for less valuable or more durable items, but you should always use new boxes for new or delicate belongings, heavy cargo, or if you’re a retailer shipping items to a customer.
If you’re using 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 you’re packing boxes for shipping, 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.
What’s the cheapest way to ship a heavy package?
The cheapest way to ship a heavy package depends on the exact weight of the package. Less-than-truckload shipping is often the cheapest way to ship heavy items. This is because freight shipping companies specialize in transporting heavy packages and your cargo is less likely to be subjected to a maximum weight limit or oversize package charges.
Learn more about the cheapest way to ship heavy items.
What’s the best way to ship large items?
The best way to ship large items depends on the weight of the item.
- Anything under 70 lbs, less than 108” in length, and less than 165” in girth can typically be shipped via USPS.
- Packages between 70-150 lbs are often best shipped using courier services.
- Anything over 150 lbs or larger than the maximum size permitted by these carriers should be shipped by consolidated freight.
Learn more about the best way to ship large boxes.