When measuring and weighing your parcel, it’s important to include not only the item being shipped, but all packaging, filler, labels, and correspondence that will be in the package. You need the complete weight and measure of the shipment as it’s going out the door to your recipient.
Weighing Your Parcel
If you ship frequently, it’s worth considering a postal scale for the enhanced accuracy of measurement and flexibility in weighing both small and large parcels.
If you don’t have a postal scale available, here are some tips:
- For small items (typically 5 lbs or under), use a food scale.
- For larger items, use a body scale (if needed, weigh yourself without the package, then weigh yourself holding the package, then calculate the difference) or a luggage scale.
USPS rounds package weight UP to the nearest ounce (First Class) or pound (all other methods). So a package weighing 4 lbs, 3 oz. would count as 5 lbs to USPS. For example, a 6.2 oz flat parcel going by First Class would be charged at the 7 oz rate.
Box or Pouch
Start by measuring the length, width, and height of your package, if it’s a box or soft pouch. Round DOWN to the nearest ¼” on each measurement.
For large packages, with one or more measurements approaching 18”, you’ll also want to measure the girth. Girth is the measurement when you wrap your tape measure around the box on the longest side.
Flat Pack or Envelope
Measure the length and width of the envelope. If it’s more than ¼” in thickness, you should treat it as though it were a box or pouch for measurement.
Square, oversized, or unusually shaped envelopes being sent via First Class carry additional charges.