FedEx, United Parcel Service and the U.S. Postal Service are the three largest carriers that ship items by ground within the U.S. When you need to ship something inexpensively and are not concerned if it takes a week to arrive, sending your items by ground provides the most cost-effective means to do so. The time it takes for an item to reach its destination depends entirely upon the distance the item travels and the ground shipping option chosen.

FedEx Ground

FedEx usually delivers ground packages within three to five business days inside the 48 contiguous United States. FedEx does acknowledge that ground shipping times vary depending upon the distance traveled. In addition, FedEx also offers ground-shipping rates to Alaska and Hawaii within three to seven business days, though items shipped to Hawaii obviously go by sea or by air. FedEx does not deliver to post office boxes and APO addresses. Rates depend on the desired speed, the weight and the distance the item travels to its final location.

United Parcel Service

UPS offers multiple ground shipping options that offer delivery within three to seven days. When shipping packages to Hawaii – as with other carriers – UPS offers ground rates, but the items are shipped as freight aboard ships or planes. Packages to Hawaii and Alaska obviously take longer, and UPS does not deliver to post office boxes and APO addresses. United Parcel Service bases its rates on the specific ground shipping option, such as a three-day option or longer, the weight and shipping distance.

U.S. Postal Service

The USPS offers multiple ground services including Parcel Post, Parcel Select, Media Mail and Library Mail, as well as a service for bound printed matter. The Postal Service projects delivery of Parcel Post, Library and Media Mail packages within two to eight days. Media Mail, Library Mail – for libraries and educational institutions – and bound printed matter services are only available for packages carrying media material, such as:

  • books
  • newspapers
  • magazines
  • CDs
  • DVDs
  • other media

The bound printed matter designation typically refers to a service for bulk advertising and promotional materials.

Freight Shipping

The most inexpensive shipping method of all – freight – allows people to ship items all over the world. These items may go via plane, train, motor vehicle or ship – but can take up to a week or more to arrive at the destination, depending on one of the many rate options available. You can choose from a variety of national or international companies that can provide freight quotes by weight and packaging information.