What Is Small Parcel FedEx?

April 28, 2023 Deyman Doolittle

Small parcels are the lifeblood of both domestic and international logistics. People use small parcel shipping to send all kinds of items — from clothing and toiletries to electronics and magazines.

To the naked eye, it is clear what a 'small' parcel is. However, shipping carriers don't look at size alone when determining if a package is small. In this post, we will look at how FedEx defines small parcels, ships them, and determines rates.

What Is Small Parcel FedEx?

FedEx defines a small parcel as a package that weighs 75 lbs or less. Packages over 75 pounds are considered heavy packages, and FedEx requires that the shipper place yellow and black safety heavyweight labels over the diagonal corners of the package.

Other than small parcel size limits, below are FedEx's overall package size and weight limits, not just for small packages.

  • · If you’re using FedEx Ground services, you can ship packages that weigh no more than 150 lbs (68 kg) in weight, no more than 108" (274 cm) in length, and no more than 165" (419 cm) in length plus girth.
  • · With FedEx Express Domestic services, you can ship packages up to 150lbs (68 kg) in weight, up to 119" (302cm) in length, and up to 165" (419 cm) in length and girth.

Check out FedEx General Packaging Guidelines for more info on measuring, weighing, and labeling your small package.

Other FedEx Package Classes: Standard vs. Oversized vs. Freight Shipping vs. Flat vs. Elongated

FedEx, like other small parcel carriers, has different package classifications depending on the size and weight of a package.

Starting with flat packages; a flat package is any package that satisfies the following criteria:

  • · The shortest dimension is less than or equal to 10 inches.
  • · The next shortest dimension is at least four times the length of the shortest dimension.
  • · The volume of the whole package is at least 400 cubic inches.

Next, we have elongated packages, which are any parcels that:

  • · Have the longest dimension being at least 24 inches long
  • · Have the other two dimensions (width and height) measuring 20 percent or less than the longest dimension.

Any package that is not considered a Flat or Elongated package is classified as a Standard package.

The dimensions of a package determine whether it is oversized or not. FedEx Domestic Ground and Express services apply an oversized charge when your package has a girth of over 130 inches.

For freight, FedEx classifies packages that meet or exceed at least one of the following criteria as freight:

  • · Weight heavier than 150 lbs.
  • · Dimensions with a combined length and girth of more than 165 inches


How long does small parcel shipping take?

Small parcel shipping can take anywhere from a few hours to days and even weeks, depending on the destination and shipping service. For example, a small parcel shipped via FedEx SameDay would arrive the same day, one shipped using FedEx Priority Overnight would arrive the next day, and one shipped using FedEx Express Saver would arrive within 3 days.

Does FedEx Charge by Size or Weight?

Yes, FedEx uses size and weight, among other factors like package type and distance, to determine shipping rates. Let’s look at how exactly FedEx uses size and weight to calculate shipping rates.

How FedEx Charges Shipping Using Size and Weight

The weight of a package is the primary factor that FedEx uses to come up with shipping rates. This is because an increase in the weight of a shipment causes an increase in the amount of energy (fuel) needed to transport it. Therefore the heavier your package is, the more FedEx will charge you.

Actual Weight vs. Dimensional Weight

The weight of a package, when measured on a scale, is called 'actual weight.' For most packages, you use actual weight to check rates on FedEx rate tables. However, sometimes the shape of a parcel may cause a carrier to use a different pricing-by-weight method known as dimensional weight.

Dimensional weight is a measure of how much space a package occupies in relation to its actual weight. DIM weight pricing is mostly used for large lightweight parcels. If a carrier charges such packages based on weight alone, they may make losses since they won't have accounted for the empty space in the boxes.

Benefits of Dimensional Weight

  • · DIM weight pricing may offer lower shipping costs for customers who pack their parcels efficiently without dead space.
  • · More efficient packing by customers also helps to reduce the waste of resources like boxes and cushioning material. Efficient packing is also eco-friendly since trucks will make fewer trips for the same amount of packages.
  • · Finally, DIM weight pricing helps carriers mitigate losses from shipping large lightweight packages.
How To Get Your Dimensional Weight

Follow the following steps to calculate your FedEx dimensional weight:

  1. Measure your package's dimensions — length, width, and height — in inches. Then round up each measurement to the nearest whole inch.
  2. Multiply the length by width by height. The result of the multiplication is the cubic size of your parcel.
  3. Dividing the cubic size by 139, then round up the result to the nearest whole pound. The result is your package's dimensional weight.

If you cannot calculate manually, use the FedEx dimensional weight calculator.

How ShipSigma Can Help

Why was I paying that much? You'll be asking yourself that question once you experience ShipSigma's guaranteed savings on shipping costs. Talk to us today, and let's save you some money.

Share This: