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The Cheapest Way to Ship Anything

The Cheapest Way to Ship
Oversized Packages

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.

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1. How Much Does it Cost to Ship Oversized Packages?

We've calculated shipping costs for three common shipping methods: USPS, parcel shipping, and consolidated freight.

i. USPS shipping costs

ii. Parcel shipping costs (eg. UPS or FedEx)

iii. Consolidated freight

2. Frequently Asked Questions

Get answers to the most frequently asked questions about shipping oversized packages.


Thanks to their bulk, oversized packages can be awkward to ship or move. To complicate matters further, there is no commonly accepted definition of what is considered an “oversized package”. Every carrier defines it differently:

  • USPS defines an oversize package as any package over 108” in combined length and girth, but not more than 130”. No matter how large your package, it cannot exceed 70 lbs.
  • UPS considers a package oversized when it is over 165” in combined length and girth, or if it weighs over 150 lbs.
  • FedEx defines an oversized package as any over 130” in combined length and girth, or over 90lbs.

To give you a rough idea of what this might look like, a wardrobe box measuring 20” L x 20” W x 34” H weighing 70 lbs would be considered an oversized package. A boxed chest measuring 40” L x 22” W x 32” H weighing 75 lbs would also be considered oversized. We’ll use these two examples to calculate estimated shipping costs throughout this guide.

Whether you’re moving to another state or you’re a business selling or transporting large or heavy items to customers across the country, if your package is considered oversized, there are a number of factors and special considerations to keep in mind when shipping:

  • Precise measurements: Always carefully measure the dimensions of your package, especially when it’s large. This will help you choose the right packing and shipping method and ensure you get an accurate quote without any unexpected surcharges. You should weigh your package as well—this is especially important for getting an accurate shipping quote.
  • Dimensional weight: Dimensional weight is a pricing technique used in freight transport. Your package will be priced based on an estimated weight that is calculated from the length, width, and height of a package. This means that the density of your package could impact your shipping costs, especially if you’re shipping a large yet light package. Every carrier prices dimensional weight differently, so look for something called a “dimensional weight factor” when estimating your shipping costs.
  • Residential delivery: Some carriers will add additional surcharges to deliver to a residential address. When you’re calculating shipping costs, look for “residential address” designations and always mention whether delivery will be to a residential address. Some areas are also considered “limited access”, meaning the location or area is hard for the carrier to reach or to unload. Additional charges will likely also be added if your pickup or delivery point is considered limited access.
  • Proper packaging: Because they need to be physically carried rather than moved by machine, oversized packages—especially heavy packages—can be more susceptible to damage. Properly packing everything inside your oversized box and ensuring the box is tightly sealed is the best way to protect your belongings or items against damage. Always use sturdy new boxes and high quality packing tape, and ensure the items inside are adequately padded.
  • Delays: Oversized packages can take longer to ship than regular parcels. To avoid any disruptions, make sure your package is properly labelled with the correct information.

For more information, including mistakes to avoid when shipping boxes, read our “How Do I Ship Large Boxes?” guide.

How much does it cost to ship oversized packages?

The cheapest way to ship oversized boxes depends on the exact size and weight of your cargo and the distance it will travel. For packages under 70 lbs, USPS is typically the cheapest option. For packages over 70 lbs or deliveries that are not time-sensitive, consolidated freight is one of the most cost-effective shipping methods.

Compare rates for shipping oversized packages using the most common shipping methods:

  • USPS
  • Parcel shipping (such as FedEx or UPS)
  • Consolidated freight

USPS

Oversized packages can only be shipped using USPS Retail Ground or Parcel Select services. In both cases, the cost of your shipment will be determined by the size and weight of each oversized package you need to ship.

NOTE: If your package weighs more than 70 lbs, it cannot be shipped by USPS.

USPS has three pricing options for oversized packages:

  1. Balloon price: Large but very light parcels that weigh under 20 lbs will be charged the same postage as a 20 lb package, called a “balloon price”. Balloon pricing only applies to cargo shipped using Retail Ground.
  2. Oversized price: Used on parcels that are greater than 108” in combined length and girth, up to 130” and not exceeding 70 lbs.
  3. Dimensional weight: Applies to all parcels larger than 1 cubic foot. Exact postage will be based on whichever is larger—the actual weight or dimensional weight of your package.
Weight (per box) Philadelphia → Miami Philadelphia → Los Angeles Chicago → Dallas Cleveland → San Diego
Wardrobe box
(20”L x 20”W x 34”H, approx 70 lbs)
$140 $203 $140 $203
Boxed chest
(40”L x 22”W x 32”H, approx 75 lbs)
 

Cannot be shipped by USPS—over maximum weight

Parcel shipping (UPS and FedEx)

Different parcel shippers have different definitions for what is considered an oversized package.

UPS defines a large package as one where the longest side exceeds 96”, or the package’s combined length and width exceeds 130”. A package is considered oversized when it meets one of three conditions:

  1. The combined length and girth is more than 165”
  2. The length alone is more than 108”
  3. The package weighs more than 150 lbs

Packages with a large size-to-weight ratio (that means large, light packages) will be priced using dimensional weight.

UPS also applies an “Over Maximum Limits” designation to packages that are sent through the small package delivery network, with no limits on the total weight of the shipment or total number of packages. However, there are limits for each individual package. Packages can be:

  • Up to 150 lbs
  • Up to 165” in combined length and girth
  • Up to 108” in length

UPS will also add Large Package surcharges. Large packages are subject to a minimum billable weight of 90 lbs, unless they’re shipped using UPS Ground with a Freight Pricing package.

FedEx considers a package to be oversized when the length is over 96” or the combined length and girth exceeds 130”. Oversized packages will be priced with a minimum billable weight of 90 lbs, and will be subject to a $90 surcharge for each oversized package. Additional surcharges will be applied during peak annual shipping times. For the 2019-2020 holiday season, this surcharge was $37.50 per package.

UPS

Packages Philadelphia →
Miami
Philadelphia →
Los Angeles
Chicago →
Dallas
Cleveland →
San Diego
Wardrobe box
(20”L x 20”W x 34”H, approx 70 lbs)
$206 (UPS 3-day select) $364 (UPS 3-day select)
$155 (UPS Ground)
$206 (UPS 3-day select)
$113 (UPS Ground)
$364 (UPS 3-day select)
$155 (UPS Ground)
Boxed chest
(40”L x 22”W x 32”H, approx 75 lbs
$500 (UPS 3-day select)
$313 (UPS Ground)
$832 (UPS 3-day select)
$369 (UPS Ground)
$500 (UPS 3-day select)
$313 (UPS Ground)
$832 (UPS 3-day select)
$369 (UPS Ground)

Fedex

Packages Philadelphia →
Miami
Philadelphia →
Los Angeles
Chicago →
Dallas
Cleveland →
San Diego
Wardrobe box
(20”L x 20”W x 34”H, approx 70 lbs)
$277 (FedEx Express Saver) $162 (FedEx Home Delivery) $277 (FedEx Express Saver) $162 (FedEx Home Delivery)
Boxed chest
(40”L x 22”W x 32”H, approx 75 lbs)
$723 (FedEx Express Saver) $430 (FedEx Home Delivery) $723 (FedEx Express Saver) $430 (FedEx Home Delivery)

Consolidated freight (TSI)

Consolidated freight shipping companies like TSI specialize in transporting oversized packages, and will have a built-in network of shipping partners who are experienced in moving large or difficult-to-ship cargo.

Boxed oversized packages are typically shipped using less-than-truckload (LTL) shipping services, which means your package will share space on the truck with other items heading in the same direction. Dimensional weight charges may apply, but typically you’ll only pay for the space your item takes up on the truck, which helps keep your shipping costs low.

NOTE: Furniture and oversized valuable or fragile items will be shipped using specialty White Glove services.

Learn more about White Glove shipping.

Freight shipping is ideal for packages with dimensions greater than 30” L x 30” W x 30” H or packages that weigh over 150 lbs. Because these shippers specialize in transporting cargo like oversized packages, there will typically be no surcharges for the size or weight of your package, though there may be an over-length fee for especially large packages exceeding 8 feet long. This makes freight shipping one of the most cost effective options for shipping oversized packages. 

Package Philadelphia →
Miami
Philadelphia →
Los Angeles
Chicago →
Dallas
Cleveland →
San Diego
Wardrobe box
(20” L x 20” W x 34” H, approx 70 lbs)
$395 $560 $355 $422
Wardrobe box (3 boxes) $482 $735 $415 $539
Boxed chest
(40” L x 22” W x 32” H, approx 75 lbs)
$395 $560 $353 $422

COVID-19 Precautions

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 precautions 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

How much does it cost to ship oversized packages?

The cost of shipping an oversized package will depend on the size and weight of the package, the shipping method you choose, how far it will travel, and how quickly you need it to arrive.

Here’s a rough idea of how much you can expect a wardrobe box or a boxed chest to cost using some of the most popular shipping methods:

Shipping Method Estimated Cost
USPS $140-2$00+ per box depending on weight, distance, and speed of travel
Parcel shipping (eg. FedEx) $113-$700+ per box depending on shipper, weight, distance, and speed of travel
Consolidated freight (eg. TSI) $353-$735 depending on distance travelled

What’s the best way to ship oversized packages?

The best way to ship oversized packages depends three main factors:

  1. How fast you need it delivered. For fast delivery, parcel shipping is your best bet, but it will be costly. If time is not a concern, freight shipping is the most economical shipping method.
  2. The size of your package. If your oversized package exceeds the size and weight limits of USPS, UPS, or FedEx, freight shipping is your best option.
  3. How many packages you’re shipping. For a single package, USPS or parcel shipping may be the most economical shipping option, even with the added fees. For multiple boxes, freight shipping is best.

What is the biggest box USPS will ship?

The biggest box USPS will ship is 130” in combined length and girth, with a maximum weight of 70 lbs.

How do I measure the girth of a box?

When it comes to calculating the girth of a box, use the following formula:

Girth = (Width x 2) + (Height x 2)

  1. Measure the width of your package, rounding to the nearest inch. Multiply this number by 2.
  2. Measure the height of your package, rounding to the nearest inch. Multiply this number by 2.
  3. Add these two numbers together.

To get the total measurement size of your package, add length to girth.

Is it better to ship a large box or two smaller boxes?

If you are able to break a single oversized package into two smaller boxes, this will likely be more economical than shipping one large box. However, if you are unable to break your shipment into smaller components, your best option is to work with a consolidated freight shipping partner or pay the oversized shipping fees charged by USPS and other parcel shippers.

What is the cheapest way to ship a heavy package?

The cheapest way to ship a heavy package is by less-than-truckload shipping. Freight shipping companies specialize in transporting heavy items, and your cargo will not be subject to a maximum weight limit or oversize package charges.


Shipping oversized packages?

Learn more about how TSI can help.

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