Can You Ship Lithium Batteries USPS? (Full Guide)

Sending things via USPS is usually a breeze, but sometimes it’s hard to know what you can and can’t send through the mail. That’s definitely true when it comes to shipping lithium batteries.

Whether you’ve got a laptop that needs to be sent in for repairs or want to mail a new pair of Bluetooth headphones to your grandkids, we have the answer! Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about shipping lithium batteries with USPS.

Can You Ship Lithium Batteries USPS In 2022?

Shipping lithium batteries to domestic and international addresses is possible with USPS. Mailing electronic devices containing lithium batteries like smartphones, Bluetooth headsets, tablets, and laptops require nothing more than a sturdy box with plenty of padding. If mailing batteries alone, USPS requires a DOT-approved lithium battery label on the package.

There are some additional things to keep in mind when mailing lithium batteries through USPS, so read on to make sure your package arrives safely.

How Do I Ship Lithium Batteries With USPS?

In most cases, you’re able to mail packages containing lithium batteries domestically or internationally from your local post office.

You’re allowed to ship packages containing lithium batteries installed in electronic devices to both domestic and international destinations.

Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico are considered domestic addresses, while Army (APO), Fleet (FPO) and Diplomatic Post Office (DPO) locations are considered international addresses.

Some examples of permitted electronic devices include:

  • Cameras
  • Smartphones
  • Bluetooth headsets
  • Laptop computers
  • Tablets
  • Shavers
  • Video cameras

How Should I Package Lithium Batteries When Shipping With USPS?

Electronic devices and lithium batteries must be protected against:

  • Short circuits
  • Accidental activation of the lithium powered device
  • Overheating
  • Catching fire
  • Movement within the outer packaging

The easiest way to make sure your package meets these requirements is by keeping products in their original packaging.

If that’s not possible, cover battery terminals with tape or place them in separate bags to prevent short circuits.

To prevent accidental activation, overheating or fires, cover switches on electronic devices with a piece of tape.

Individual lithium batteries and electronic items containing lithium batteries should be securely packed to prevent movement or accidental activation.

You can use any packaging you wish, however, the outer packaging must be rigid, strong, and sealed. The inside of the packaging should be cushioned with bubble wrap or packing foam to prevent accidental bumps and movement.

If you’re only sending batteries, your package must have a DOT-approved lithium battery sticker on the address side of the box.

What Types Of Lithium Batteries Can I Ship With USPS?

What Types Of Lithium Batteries Can I Ship With USPS?

USPS allows shipment of six types of lithium batteries. These include:

  • Rechargeable lithium-ion cells or batteries
  • Lithium metal cells or batteries (also referred to as primary or non rechargeable lithium cells or batteries)
  • Lithium-ion (rechargeable) batteries contained in equipment
  • Lithium-ion (rechargeable) batteries packed with equipment
  • Lithium metal (or lithium alloy) batteries contained in equipment
  • Lithium metal (or lithium alloy) batteries packed with equipment

The USPS defines equipment as a “device or apparatus for which the lithium cells or batteries will provide electrical power for its operation.”

Are There Any Kinds Of Lithium Batteries I Can’t Ship With USPS?

You cannot ship damaged or recalled versions of the batteries listed above.

More simply, if the batteries you want to mail require a Class 9 hazard label, you can’t mail them with USPS.

Can I Ship Lithium Batteries Internationally With USPS?

Lithium batteries can only be shipped internationally if they are installed in the equipment they operate.

In other words, you can mail electronic devices, but you cannot send batteries by themselves.

International packaging requirements require solid, rigid packaging to protect against crushing or exposure.

However, shipments in padded or poly mailers are only allowed with button cell batteries under a specific set of circumstances.

Additionally, no markings or documentation are allowed on international mail containing products with lithium batteries inside. 

How Many Lithium Batteries Can I Mail With USPS?

While USPS allows customers to mail lithium batteries, there are some restrictions to keep in mind. Note that these restrictions apply to domestic shipments only.

Check out the table below for more information.

 

 Battery Type

Maximum Quantity Allowed
Lithium Metal or Lithium Alloy Batteries

Small, non-rechargeable, consumer-type batteries

Contained in (properly installed in equipment) 8 cells or 2 batteries

11lbs.

Packed with equipment, but not installed in the equipment 8 cells or 2 batteries

11lbs.

Without the equipment they operate (individual batteries in originally sealed packaging) 5 lbs.
Lithium-ion or Lithium Polymer Batteries

Small, rechargeable, consumer-type batteries

Contained in (properly installed in equipment) 8 cells or 2 batteries
Packed with equipment, but not installed in the equipment 8 cells or 2 batteries
Without the equipment they operate (individual batteries in originally sealed packaging) 5 lbs.
Damaged/Recalled Batteries Prohibited, unless approved by a manager.

To find out more about USPS, you can also see our posts on whether or not USPS forwards IRS, if USPS scans packages, and also if USPS updates tracking.

Conclusion

Shipping lithium batteries is possible with USPS. Mailing devices that have lithium batteries like laptop computers, smartphones, and Bluetooth headphones is a relatively straightforward process for both domestic and international destinations.

That being said, it’s always important to double-check that the type of battery you’re mailing is permitted, as well as that it falls below the maximum quantity USPS allows.

Finally, be sure your devices or batteries are packed carefully using rigid outer packing and internal padding to make sure they arrive safely.

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Marques Thomas

Marques Thomas graduated with a MBA in 2011. Since then, Marques has worked in the retail and consumer service industry as a manager, advisor, and marketer. Marques is also the head writer and founder of QuerySprout.com.

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