What Is the Cheapest Way to Ship Heavy Packages?

May 12, 2023 Chase Flashman

What Is the Cheapest Way to Ship Heavy Packages?

Saving money is always a good idea when shipping anything, especially when it comes to sending large or bulky goods. Most parcel shipping carriers have weight and size limits that if surpassed, may cause you to pay extra fees and surcharges.

To help you avoid such situations, we have compared and contrasted large package shipping services offered by various carriers, so that you can pick the one that suits your needs and is the most cost-effective.

What Is the Cheapest Way to Ship Heavy Packages?

First things first - What is a heavy package?

Since shipping carriers have their own size and weight limits and package categories, we cannot give an exact weight where a package can be defined as a "heavy package."ined as a large package.

However, we can say a heavy package is a package that weighs more than the standard weight limit set by the carrier or shipping service, and shipping oversized packages will generally cost more. The weight limit for a heavy package can vary depending on the carrier or shipping service used, but it is generally considered to be any package that weighs over 70 pounds (31.75 kg).

Tips to Save On Shipping Costs When Shipping Heavy Packages

  1. Use flat-rate shipping boxes - With flat-rate shipping boxes are a cost-effective option for shipping heavy packages since you can fill as much as you can fit in the box for a flat rate, regardless of the weight.

  2. Pack your package efficiently - The weight of your package affects the shipping cost, so opt for lightweight packing materials and choose a box that is the right size for your item.

  3. Negotiate with carriers - If you regularly ship heavy packages, you may be able to negotiate discounted rates with carriers.

  4. Use a shipping broker/partner - Shipping brokers can help you find the cheapest shipping rates by negotiating with carriers on your behalf. They often have access to discounted rates that are not available to the general public.

What Is the Best Way to Ship a 100 LB Package?

If you want to ship a 100 lb package, the service you use depends on the carriers you’re using. For example, if you want to send a 100 lb package with the United States Postal Service, you won’t be allowed to since USPS services have a weight limit of 70 pounds.

As for UPS and FedEx, they have a weight limit of 150 pounds for standard-sized packages so you can ship a 100 lb package with them. The service you use will depend on:

  • -How fast you want the item to arrive - If the package is not urgent, opt for ground shipping options like UPS Ground or FedEx Ground. If the package is needed urgently, use express services like UPS Next Day Air or FedEx SameDay.
  • -Your budget - To save money, choose slower delivery options like ground shipping.
  • -The contents of your package - Not all 100lb packages are the same. A package containing 100 lb of clothes will be handled differently from a 100 lb package containing chemicals. Consult with your carrier if you’re shipping special or dangerous goods.

Which Carrier Is Cheapest for Heavy Packages

Generally, USPS is cheaper than FedEx and UPS. However, the postal service will only ship packages weighing up to 70 pounds. Therefore for large packages, you are left with UPS and FedEx as your options.

To determine which between FedEx and UPS is the cheapest for heavy packages, we will compare their respective costs to ship a 150-pound package, which is quite heavy.

Comparison: FedEx vs UPS Rates for Shipping a 150 LB Package

UPS Service

Cost Range for a 150 lb package

UPS Express Critical

Contact UPS for a quote

UPS Next Day Air Early


UPS Next Day Air


UPS Next Day Air Saver


UPS 2nd Day Air A.M.


UPS 2nd Day Air


UPS 3-Day Select


UPS Ground


Below are UPS flat-rate shipping rates for Large and Extra-Large boxes, which can fit 150 lbs.

UPS Simple Rate Box Size


UPS Ground

UPS 3-Day Select

UPS 2nd Day Air

UPS Next Day Air Saver






Extra Large





Let’s now look at FedEx rates for shipping a 150 lb package.

FedEx Service

Cost Range for a 150 lb package

FedEx First Overnight


FedEx Priority Overnight


FedEx Standard Overnight


FedEx 2Day A.M.


FedEx 2Day


FedEx Express Saver


FedEx Ground and FedEx Home Delivery



Comparing the rates above, we can see FedEx is more expensive than UPS in most cases. For example:

  • -UPS 2nd Day Air starts at $245.60 while FedEx 2Day starts at $258.00.
  • -UPS 3-Day Select starts at $184.65 while FedEx Express Saver starts at $244.50.

USPS Cost Calculator

Even though USPS doesn’t ship large packages over 70 lbs, you can calculate USPS postage prices for packages up to that size.

UPS Cost Calculator

UPS also has a price calculator where you can get a shipping price quote for your package by providing the destination, origin, weight, and dimensions of your package.

FedEx Cost Calculator

If you’re shipping your large package with FedEx, use their online shipping cost calculator to get a rate estimate.

What Is Considered an Oversized Package?

An oversized package is any package whose weight and size exceed the carrier’s maximum weight and size specifications.

USPS packages weighing over 70 pounds are considered oversized and will not be accepted for shipping.

For UPS's small package delivery network, a package that meets the following criteria is considered oversized:

  • -Weighs over 150 pounds.
  • -Is more than 157 inches in length and girth combined.
  • -Is more than 108 inches (274 cm) in length.
  • -Has a large size-to-weight ratio (Such packages may be subject to special pricing and dimensional weight calculations.)

UPS will charge you a large package surcharge if your package’s length plus girth [(2 x width) + (2 x height)] combined is more than 118 inches, but does not exceed the maximum UPS size of 157 inches.

In addition to the surcharge, the minimum billable weight for UPS large packages is 90 pounds. For example, if your package weighs 78 pounds, and UPS considers it a large package, you will still be charged the 90-pound rate.

However, the additional handling charge will not be applicable when a large package surcharge is applied.

FedEx's weight limit is 150 pounds. Additionally, all FedEx packages must not exceed 165 inches (419 cm) combined length and girth. Packages over these limits are oversized.

For large and lightweight FedEx Ground packages that are priced by dimensional weight, the following applies:

  • -A package weighing 150 lbs. (68 kg) or less and measuring greater than 96 inches (243 cm) in length or 130 inches (330 cm) in combined length and girth will be classified by FedEx Ground as an “Oversize” package.

Just like UPS, oversized FedEx packages are subject to a minimum billable weight of 90 pounds and a large package surcharge.

How ShipSigma Can Cut Your Costs

As a high-volume shipper, ShipSigma is your key to the lowest large package shipping rates.

Using our AI-powered process, we have analyzed and optimized shipping contracts of over 300 companies, resulting in an average cost savings of 25.2%.

Want to be next? Contact us today to optimize your shipping method find all possible shipping discounts.


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