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USPS Priority Mail: Regional Rates vs Flat Rate Packages

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Welcome to the USPS Priority Mail guide to domestic service and package rates series. Learn how to use this guide.

In this guide, we compare specific USPS Priority Mail services: Regional Rate boxes and Flat Rate packaging. Learn more about USPS Priority Mail.

Overview of service comparison:

With either Regional Rate boxes or Flat Rate boxes and envelopes, the USPS requires using specially marked boxes. Contents must fit comfortably and packing must be sealed without any bulging. Learn more about USPS domestic package dimensions.

If your products will fit into Flat Rate envelopes or Small boxes, USPS Flat Rate will always yield a lower rate than USPS Regional Rate boxes. This is across all weights (up to 70lbs) and zones. 

Yet, Regional Rate boxes are more closely sized to the Flat Rate Medium and Large boxes. When comparing like-sized packages, each service has distinct advantages. Flat Rate boxes (Medium and Large) are a better option when shipping further (higher zone). Regional Rate boxes (A and B) will offer the lower price for shipping between closer destinations (lower zone). Learn more about USPS zones

The key restriction of Regional Rate boxes is that their contents may not exceed 20 lbs, depending on box option. In contrast, Flat Rate services support contents up to 70 lbs (assuming your products will fit in the box).

Detailed service comparison:

The tables below provide a visual summary of when it's best to use a Regional Rate or Flat Rate package, based on weight and zone:

TIP: to simplify the data, we use a color and letter code to indicate the best packaging. Please keep in mind that services listed are only the best value when your products will fit into the defined package dimensions. Use the legend below to read the following charts.
Legend for comparison tables
Priority Mail Service Code Packaging
Flat Rate   S Small Box
All Envelopes
M Medium or Small Boxes
All Envelopes
L All Boxes or Envelopes
Regional Rate A Box A
B Box A or Box B

 

Regional Rate boxes versus all Flat Rate packaging:

Regional Rate Box A vs All Flat Rate Boxes/Envelopes

Prices by Zone: Commercial Plus
Weight
Zones 1 & 2
Local
Zone 3 Zone 4 Zone 5 Zone 6 Zone 7 Zone 8 Zone 9
Up to
15 lbs
S S S S S S S M
Take away:

If your contents fit in the Flat Rate Small box or envelopes, use these packaging options instead of Regional Rate.

 

Regional Rate Box B vs All Flat Rate Boxes/Envelopes

Prices by Zone: Commercial Plus
Weight
Zones 1 & 2
Local
Zone 3 Zone 4 Zone 5 Zone 6 Zone 7 Zone 8 Zone 9
Up to
20 lbs
S S S S M M L L
Take away:

If you are shipping items across the country, to Zone 6 or higher, Flat Rate Medium and Large boxes will be a better value than Regional Rate Box B.

When your parcels weigh over 20 lbs, use Flat Rate boxes.

 

Regional Rate boxes versus only Medium and Large Flat Rate boxes:

Regional Rate Box A vs Medium & Large Flat Rate Boxes

Prices by Zone: Commercial Plus
Weight
Zones 1 & 2
Local
Zone 3 Zone 4 Zone 5 Zone 6 Zone 7 Zone 8 Zone 9
Up to
15 lbs
A A A A A A A M
Take away:

When your products fit in either Regional Rate Box A or Flat Rate Medium box, you'll get the better rate with Regional Rate for most destinations. Learn how to assign USPS Regional Rate Boxes to shipments within specific zones.

If your parcels weigh over 15 lbs, use Flat Rate boxes.

 

 

Regional Rate Box B vs Medium & Large Flat Rate Boxes

Prices by Zone: Commercial Plus
Weight
Zones 1 & 2
Local
Zone 3 Zone 4 Zone 5 Zone 6 Zone 7 Zone 8 Zone 9
Up to
20 lbs
B B B B M M L L
Take away:

If you are shipping items across country, to Zone 6 or higher, Flat Rate Medium and Large boxes will be a better value than Regional Rate Box B. Learn how to assign USPS Regional Rate Boxes to shipments within specific zones.

When your parcels weigh over 20 lbs, use Flat Rate boxes.

 

 

Continue comparing services:

Consider the conclusions that you've drawn about your shipments and whether or not Regional Rate or Flat Rate are the better value. Then use this information to continuing comparing the best of the two with your other Priority Mail service options:

Regional Rate:

Is Regional Rate a good fit for your shipments? If so, take a look at these other rate comparison guides:

Flat Rate:

Is Flat Rate a good fit for your shipments? If so, take a look at these other rate comparison guides:

 

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Related articles: 

Best of Rules: Assign USPS Regional Rate Box to shipments with specific zones
What is Priority Mail Regional Rate shipping?
USPS Priority Mail: Guide to domestic service and package rates
Package Sizes and Dimensions: USPS Domestic
ShippingEasy's USPS Rate Tables

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