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How USPS Ground Advantage Works – Benefits & Prices

by EasyPost

Looking for an affordable, reliable way to ship parcels domestically? Look no further than USPS Ground Advantage. Read on to learn how this service works, how much it costs, and when to use it. 

What is USPS Ground Advantage™?

USPS Ground Advantage is a shipping service provided by the United States Postal Service (USPS). It’s one of the best options out there for businesses that need a budget-friendly shipping method for lightweight deliveries, with shipments generally taking between 2 and 5 days. In addition to being affordable, this service also comes with lots of great benefits, such as $100 of insurance, tracking, Saturday delivery, and free pickups.

As the name implies, USPS Ground Advantage shipments travel via ground transportation, so it’s mandated for shipping most hazardous materials (HAZMAT) that can’t be sent by air.

USPS Ground Advantage was first made available in July 2023, when First-Class Package Service®, Retail Ground®, and Parcel Select Ground® were merged into a single service. It covers all 50 states, U.S. territories, possessions, and Freely Associated States. 

Benefits of USPS Ground Advantage

USPS Ground Advantage comes with lots of built-in benefits, including $100 worth of insurance, free pickups, package tracking, and more. 

  • Insured up to $100. Both outbound and return packages include $100 worth of insurance, and you can purchase additional coverage for more valuable shipments.
  • Free package pickup. When you’re ready to ship your packages, USPS will come pick them up for no extra cost.
  • Package tracking. Package tracking is automatically included in the shipping price.
  • No Saturday shipping charges. While USPS Ground Advantage doesn’t deliver on Sunday, it delivers on Saturday for no extra cost.
  • Fast shipping. As mentioned above, shipments generally take between 2 and 5 business days.
  • HAZMAT shipping. Certain items and materials are too dangerous to be shipped via air. With USPS Ground Advantage, you can safely send these items. 
  • Cubic Pricing available. Because Cubic Pricing is based on package dimensions and shipping distance rather than weight, it's a great way to save money when shipping small, dense packages. 
  • Merchant Discount pricing. USPS Ground Advantage is even more affordable when you ship with EasyPost. We offer discounts lower than Retail and Commercial Pricing.

How does USPS Ground Advantage work?

When you ship with USPS Ground Advantage, you use your own packaging. Prices are based on package weight and distance or cubic volume; for more details, see the section “How much does ground shipping cost?” 

In this section, we’ll cover size requirements and restricted items.

Size requirements

Because USPS Ground Advantage is designed for parcel shipping, you’ll need to comply with weight and size restrictions. The maximum weight for packages is 70 pounds, and the maximum combined length and girth is 130 inches

As shown in these illustrations, Girth is the distance around the widest part of a package. If you have a standard square or rectangular package, you can calculate girth with this formula: 

Girth = length + (width x 2) + (height x 2)

Dimensional weight

If your packages are large and lightweight, you may be charged dimensional (DIM) weight rates instead of the normal rates. This is because large packages take up more space in carrier vehicles, thus costing more to transport (regardless of weight).

Packages larger than 1 cubic foot may be charged based on DIM weight. To see if DIM weight pricing will apply to your shipment, use this formula:

DIM weight = (length x width x height)* / 166

*Measured in inches

This will give you your package’s DIM weight in pounds. If the DIM weight is greater than the actual weight, you’ll pay the DIM weight price.

Oversized and nonstandard packages

While the maximum combined weight and girth for packages is 130 inches, anything over 108 is considered an oversized package and will cost more to ship—between $93.95 and $246.60, depending on how far the package is traveling. 

Packages that are nonstandard sizes also come with extra fees:

  • Over 22 and up to 30 inches long: add $4.00
  • Over 30 inches long: add $8.40
  • More than 2 cubic feet: add $18.00

Restricted items

Like other carriers, USPS has a list of items it prohibits entirely in shipments. Because these materials are flammable or chemically reactive, they can cause injuries or damage if they’re not handled properly. These banned items include ammunition, explosives, and liquid mercury.

Other items, such as alcohol, firearms, and lithium batteries, are restricted, meaning you can ship them as long as you follow packaging guidelines and use the right shipping service. Since potentially dangerous materials usually can’t be shipped by plane, USPS Ground Advantage is an excellent option for sending these items.

How much does shipping with USPS Ground Advantage cost?

USPS Ground Advantage is one of the most cost-effective ways to ship packages up to 70 pounds. Just keep in mind USPS has several nonstandard package fees for larger shipments.

Unlike flat-rate shipping prices, USPS Ground Advantage rates are based on weight (or cubic volume) and distance. USPS Ground Advantage is often a better value for lightweight goods at closer distances, while flat-rate works best for dense, long-distance shipments. 

In the tables below, we’ll break down the costs for lightweight and heavier packages.

If the Retail Pricing feels a little steep, don’t stress! You can save money by using a shipping API like EasyPost

EasyPost automatically integrates with USPS and other large, regional, and local carriers, allowing you to print shipping labels for any carrier you choose. And instead of paying Retail rates (what you’d pay if you walked into a post office), you get access to Merchant Discount Pricing. These rates are better than both Retail and Commercial Pricing that you’d find through USPS or other shipping providers.

Learn more about USPS Merchant Discount Pricing and get started for free.

Packages up to 15.999 ounces

For packages weighing up to 15.999 ounces, rates increase in 4-ounce tiers, and you’ll need to round up to the nearest tier. For example, if your package weighs 6.3 ounces, USPS will charge the 8-ounce rate.

The charts in this article show Retail costs for Zone 1, but prices vary across shipping zones.

Retail Cost (Zone 1)
Up to 4 oz
Up to 8 oz
Up to 12 oz
Up to 15.999 oz

Shipping small, dense packages? Cubic Pricing can help lower costs. Learn more here.

Packages over 15.999 ounces

For packages over 15.999 ounces, rates increase by the pound. Just like with the lightweight packages, you’ll round up—so if your package weighs 12.2 pounds, you’ll pay the 13-pound price. 

Prices are displayed in 10-pound increments for the sake of space; view a full pricing chart here or calculate the exact cost of your shipments using the USPS calculator.

Weight (pounds)
Retail Cost (Zone 1)

Save on USPS Ground Advantage Shipping with EasyPost

USPS Ground Advantage is one of the most cost-effective ways to ship, especially if you’re sending lightweight packages or packages containing hazardous materials. But you can save even more when you use shipping software.

With EasyPost, you’ll get access to special discounted rates on USPS Ground Advantage and other services from an extensive collection of carriers. 

Ready to see how it works? Sign up for free.