Choosing Between UPS SurePost and UPS Ground: What You Need to Know

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UPS SurePost: Shipping Solution for Small Businesses and Online Retailers

UPS SurePost is a cost-effective shipping service that combines the reliability of UPS with the accessibility of the U.S. Postal Service, making it a favored option for small businesses and online retailers that need to manage shipping costs while ensuring timely delivery. This blog explores the details of UPS SurePost, how it works, its benefits, and why it might be the right choice for your shipping needs.

Understanding UPS SurePost

What is UPS SurePost?

UPS SurePost is a hybrid shipping service offered by UPS in partnership with the U.S. Postal Service. It is designed primarily for non-urgent, residential shipments of packages weighing less than 10 pounds, though it can accommodate packages up to 70 pounds. The service is a cost-effective alternative for businesses that want to maintain service quality without the high costs associated with standard UPS Ground delivery.

How Does UPS SurePost Work?

With UPS SurePost, packages are picked up and processed through UPS's ground network. Instead of being delivered directly to the customer's address by UPS, packages are transported to a local U.S. Postal Service (USPS) office for final delivery. This integration allows UPS to handle the long-haul transportation, leveraging their efficient ground shipping network, while USPS manages the residential delivery, which can include PO Boxes, APO, and FPO addresses.

Benefits of Using UPS SurePost

Cost Efficiency

One of the main advantages of UPS SurePost is its cost-effectiveness. By utilizing the extensive network of USPS for final delivery, UPS can offer lower rates compared to standard UPS Ground services. This makes SurePost an ideal solution for businesses looking to reduce shipping costs.

Extensive Coverage

UPS SurePost utilizes USPS for the final delivery, which means it can reach any U.S. address served by the Postal Service, including PO Boxes and military addresses. This extensive coverage ensures that businesses can serve a broader customer base.

Reliability and Tracking

Packages shipped via UPS SurePost are handled in the UPS network until the final handoff to USPS, offering the reliability and tracking capabilities of UPS. Customers can track their packages using UPS tracking systems until they are handed over to USPS, ensuring visibility throughout most of the delivery process.


UPS SurePost is integrated into most UPS shipping systems, which makes it easy for businesses to implement and manage alongside other UPS shipping services. It is particularly beneficial for businesses that already use UPS for their shipping needs but are looking for more cost-effective solutions for smaller, less urgent packages.

When to Use UPS SurePost

Ideal for Small, Non-urgent Packages

SurePost is best suited for small, non-urgent shipments that can benefit from lower shipping costs without a significant sacrifice in delivery speed. It is popular among e-commerce businesses that ship a high volume of small items such as apparel, accessories, and books.

Great Option for Residential Deliveries

Since UPS SurePost includes delivery to residential addresses and PO Boxes via USPS, it is an excellent option for businesses that primarily serve residential customers.

UPS SurePost® vs. UPS Ground®: Detailed Comparison

When choosing a shipping method for your business or personal needs, understanding the differences between services like UPS SurePost® and UPS Ground® can help you make an informed decision. Both services are valuable in different scenarios, depending on factors such as delivery speed, package size, and destination requirements. Here’s a breakdown of the differences between UPS SurePost® and UPS Ground®.

1. Delivery Time

  • UPS SurePost®: Typically offers delivery times of 2-7 days. This service is slightly slower because it involves a handoff from UPS to the U.S. Postal Service for final delivery.

  • UPS Ground®: Delivery generally occurs within 1-5 days across all 50 states, providing a faster option for shipments that don’t require the speed of air services.

2. Weekend Pickup and Delivery

  • UPS SurePost®: Supports weekend delivery, which includes both Saturday and Sunday. This can be particularly advantageous for e-commerce businesses looking to provide more flexible delivery options to customers.

  • UPS Ground®: Only provides Saturday delivery and does not offer Sunday delivery, which might restrict options for those needing weekend delivery.

3. Maximum Package Size

  • UPS SurePost®: Accepts packages up to 60 inches in length and 130 inches in length and girth combined. This service is suitable for smaller parcels, which is ideal for businesses shipping small to medium-sized items.

  • UPS Ground®: Allows larger packages, accepting items up to 108 inches in length and 165 inches in length and girth combined. This capacity is beneficial for shipping larger or bulkier items.

4. Maximum Package Weight

  • UPS SurePost®: Has a maximum weight limit of 70 lbs per package, which covers most common shipping needs for small businesses and personal shipments.

  • UPS Ground®: Can handle heavier packages up to 150 lbs, making it suitable for shipping heavier goods that may not qualify for SurePost®.

5. Liability Coverage

  • UPS SurePost®: Offers liability coverage up to $100, which is standard across most basic shipping services.

  • UPS Ground®: Also provides standard liability coverage up to $100, but there is an option to declare a higher value for additional charges, offering more protection for valuable shipments.

6. Delivery to P.O. Boxes

  • Both UPS SurePost® and UPS Ground®:

    Do not typically deliver directly to P.O. boxes, with SurePost® packages handed to USPS for final delivery potentially reaching P.O. boxes indirectly through the Postal Service.

7. Weekend Delivery Specifics for UPS SurePost®

  • Does UPS SurePost® deliver on weekends?

    Yes, UPS SurePost® does offer weekend delivery, which includes both Saturdays and Sundays. This feature makes SurePost® an excellent option for businesses that require weekend delivery options to ensure customers do not have to wait over the weekend for their packages.

UPS SurePost® and UPS Ground® Comparison

When considering UPS SurePost® versus UPS Ground® for your shipping needs, several additional factors should be taken into account, including tracking capabilities, types of packages suitable for shipment, package limits, liability coverage, speed comparison, and a detailed look at UPS Ground® shipping.

Tracking with UPS SurePost®

  • How does UPS SurePost® package tracking work?

    • UPS SurePost® packages are tracked through the UPS tracking system up until they are handed off to the USPS for final delivery. Customers can use the same UPS tracking number to follow their package's journey from pickup to transfer. Once the package is with USPS, the tracking updates will continue under the same tracking number on the USPS tracking system, ensuring seamless monitoring throughout the delivery process.

Types of Packages and Package Limits

  • What kind of packages can be sent through UPS SurePost®?

    • UPS SurePost® is ideal for non-urgent, small to medium-sized packages, typically used for e-commerce shipping of consumer goods like clothing, accessories, and other retail items that are less sensitive to delivery time requirements.

  • What is the maximum weight and size of a UPS SurePost® package?

    • The maximum weight for a UPS SurePost® package is 70 lbs. The maximum length for a single package is 60 inches, with a combined length and girth maximum of 130 inches. These dimensions make SurePost® suitable for a wide range of e-commerce and personal shipping needs but not for oversized items.

Liability Coverage and Shipping Speed

  • Do UPS SurePost® deliveries include liability coverage or guarantees?

    • UPS SurePost® includes liability coverage up to $100 per package, which is standard for most basic shipping options. There are no guaranteed delivery times with SurePost®, which differs from some of the more premium UPS services that offer guaranteed expedited deliveries.

  • Is UPS SurePost® slower than UPS Ground®?

    • Yes, UPS SurePost® generally takes longer than UPS Ground®. The delivery window for SurePost® is typically 2-7 days, whereas UPS Ground® deliveries range from 1-5 days. The additional time with SurePost® is due to the handoff process to USPS, which adds an extra step in the delivery chain.

Understanding UPS Ground® Shipping

  • What is UPS Ground® shipping?

    • UPS Ground® is a reliable and economical service for shipping within the United States, which guarantees day-definite delivery based on the distance to the destination. It is faster than UPS SurePost® and suitable for heavier and larger packages. UPS Ground® provides detailed tracking and more substantial liability coverage options, making it a preferred choice for valuable items and business shipments that require robust delivery guarantees.


Choosing between UPS SurePost® and UPS Ground® depends largely on your specific shipping needs. For smaller, less urgent packages where cost savings are a priority, SurePost® is an excellent choice. However, for faster delivery, larger or heavier packages, and more valuable contents, UPS Ground® might be the better option. Understanding these nuances will help you optimize your shipping strategies and better serve your customers’ needs.

UPS SurePost is a practical shipping solution that offers the cost savings of USPS delivery with the reliability and tracking of UPS. It is especially beneficial for small businesses and online retailers that need an economical way to manage a high volume of small, less time-sensitive shipments across the United States. By leveraging the strengths of both UPS and USPS, SurePost provides a versatile, efficient, and cost-effective service that can help businesses expand their reach while keeping shipping costs down.

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