What Size and Weight Is Small Parcel

May 12, 2023 Deyman Doolittle

In layman’s language, when someone mentions a ‘small’ parcel, you can imagine how it would look. But when it comes to shipping, where precision is vital, you need to have a small parcel's exact size and weight definitions rather than a general idea.

So, what are the size and weight values that define a small parcel? That is the question we will answer in this article.

What Is Small Parcel Shipping?

Small parcel shipping is the transportation of small packages from an origin address to a destination address. These small packages usually weigh up to 70 lb (68 kg) and can vary greatly in shape and size.

From the definition above, a small parcel generally is a package that weighs 70 lb or less and whose dimensions do not exceed the carrier's standard package limits.

For example, UPS has a weight limit of 70 lb for small parcels. Packages that weigh more than that require a special heavy-package label.

Small parcel shipping is a delicate process that requires accuracy and transparency to ensure parcels arrive at their destinations on time, on budget, and in one piece. Below are the steps involved in shipping small parcels:

  1. Choosing a shipping carrier - Your choice of carrier and service level depends on your desired delivery time and budget.

  2. Pack your shipment - Once you have a suitable carrier, the next step is to purchase packaging like boxes and cushioning material, then securely pack your items.

  3. Weigh and measure your package - You need to know the size and weight of your parcel to calculate your shipping cost.

  4. Pay and post your package - The next step is to pay the standard shipping cost and any other charges for optional extra services like delivery confirmation or remote area surcharges. Once paid for, you can either drop off your package at your carrier’s outlet or arrange for it to be picked up.

  5. Track your package - Almost all carriers provide tracking services that help you get to know your package's location and status while in transit.

  6. Final delivery - After your package arrives and is processed at the last sorting hub, it is sent out for final delivery either to a commercial or residential address.

  7. (Optional) Return - If you bought something online that didn’t meet your expectations, you can return it to the shipper. Some merchants include return shipping labels in the original shipment, which makes it easy for the buyer to make returns. The good thing with premade return labels is you only pay for them if you use them.

What Size Is Considered a Parcel?

A parcel can be considered a package whose size and weight do not exceed the carrier’s standard package limits. For example, with UPS and FedEx, standard packages have a weight limit of 150 lb. Therefore, packages that weigh more than 150 lbs are considered freight shipments rather than parcels.

What Is the Size of a UPS Small Parcel?

A UPS small parcel is a package that weighs up to 70 lb and measures up to 165 inches in length and girth combined. To find your package's ‘length and girth,’ use the following formula:

Length + 2x Width + 2x Height

Remember, the longest side of your package is its length.

As mentioned previously, UPS requires a special heavy-package label to be attached to any UPS package weighing more than 31.5kg.

However, note that the size and weight restrictions above only pertain to individual packages. There are no limits to the total weight of your shipment or the total number of packages in your shipment.

Does UPS Charge by Weight or Size?

UPS calculates shipping costs based on your package’s weight, size, and destination. UPS measures your package’s actual weight and uses the dimensions to find its dimensional weight. Whichever of the two is greater is used to calculate your shipping cost.

UPS also uses shipping distance to calculate your small parcel shipping cost — the farther the destination, the higher the cost.  

For more details on UPS pricing, calculate your UPS rates and check out UPS box sizes and prices.

What Is Normal Letter Size?

Various letter papers are available on the market, with sizes depending on the format. The size of a standard Letter is 8.5 × 11 inches, a Legal letter is 8.5 × 14 inches, and a Tabloid measures 11 × 17 inches.

Letter (8.5 × 11 inches) is the standard for most business and scholarly paperwork. The Legal format is used to make legal pads, and the Tabloid format is used to make tabloids.

Standard North American Paper Sizes


Size in Inches

Size in Millimeters


8.5 × 11

216 × 279


8.5 × 14

216 × 356

Junior Legal

8 × 5

203 × 127

Tabloid (Ledger)

11 × 17

279 × 432


What Size Envelope Needs Extra Postage?

Whether or not an envelope requires extra postage depends on various factors, such as the envelope's weight, dimensions, and thickness, as well as the destination and class of mail being used. Generally, any envelope that exceeds the maximum size and weight limits for standard letter mail may require additional postage.

For example, the FedEx flat-rate envelope has a maximum volume of 250 cubic inches. FedEx may reject the shipment or charge you extra if your envelope exceeds that limit.

What Is the Difference Between LTL and Small Parcel?

Small parcel size and weight limits vary by carrier. However, small parcel shipping can generally be defined as transporting packages weighing up to 70 lb.

LTL, short for Less-Than-Truckload, is a freight transportation method that is used when a shipment is too big for small parcel delivery but not large enough to take up the full capacity of a truck. With this method, multiple shipments from multiple shippers are transported on the same truck, thereby reducing costs. LTL shipping is ideal for shipments that weigh between 150 and 15,000 lb.

When a shipper has a shipment that can fill a whole truck, another method is used, known as Full-Truckload (FTL) shipping.

How ShipSigma Can Help

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Ready to join 300+ happy customers and enjoy major savings on your shipping? Send us a message today.

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