Media Mail is one of the most cost-effective shipping methods offered by USPS. With this service, you can send up to 70 pounds of books, DVDs, and printed music for a fraction of what you’d pay for Priority or First-Class Mail service.
It sounds like a pretty enticing offer, but there are some downsides to Media Mail. One major drawback is that shipping times can be slower than other USPS services. But how much slower? Keep reading to find out more about Media Mail.
How Fast Is USPS Media Mail In 2023?
Packages sent via USPS Media Mail typically arrive within 2 to 10 business days from the date of shipment. On average, delivery time is 4 business days. Unlike Priority Mail and First-Class Mail, Media Mail packages are distributed solely by truck. This means delivery times vary based on truck availability and shipping distance.
If you’re still wondering if Media Mail is right for your shipping needs, keep reading!
How Long Does USPS Media Mail Take To Deliver?
According to the USPS website, packages sent via media mail will arrive in 2 to 8 days.
However, third-party websites claim media mail delivery can take up to 10 days. On average, Media Mail packages take 4 days to arrive.
These delivery times can vary widely depending on the size of the package, how far it needs to travel and how popular a route is.
These factors matter because, unlike Priority and First-Class Mail, Media Mail is sent entirely by ground transportation.
Far-off destinations (especially those outside of the contiguous U.S.) may experience delays due to limited transportation availability.
Is USPS Media Mail Slow?
Answering this question is similar to asking, “How long is a piece of string?” It depends on who you ask.
Compared to other USPS services like Priority Mail Express, Priority Mail, and First-Class Mail, Media Mail is the slowest option.
Media Mail offers the cheapest rates, but those rates come at a cost—they’re not a priority for postal workers. In other words, “you get what you pay for!”
For example, Priority Mail Express guarantees next-day to 2-day delivery. Priority Mail ships in 1 to 3 business days. First-Class Mail takes between 1 and 5 business days. Media Mail, on the other hand, can take up to 10 business days to arrive.
So if time is of the essence and you’re worried about your package arriving on time, Media Mail might be too slow for your needs.
If you’re in no rush or have planned ahead, then Media Mail can be a great, cost-effective option.
Is Media Mail As Fast As Priority Mail?
On average, Priority Mail is delivered in 2 business days. Media Mail can arrive anywhere between 2 and 10 business days, with an average of 4 days.
So, in general, it’s fair to say that Media Mail is not as fast as Priority Mail. However, there is some anecdotal evidence to suggest that Media Mail can sometimes arrive before Priority Mail.
It’s not entirely clear why this happens, but it may be due to the delivery systems used.
Is USPS Media Mail Slower Than First-Class Mail?
In theory, yes, USPS Media Mail is slower than First-Class Mail.
USPS advertises 2- to 8-day delivery for Media Mail shipments. First-Class Mail can take between 1 and 5 business days, depending on what you’re shipping.
First-Class Mail (think letters, postcards and small envelopes) usually takes 1 to 5 business days, while small First-Class packages should arrive in 3 days or less.
However, just like the Priority Mail example above, it is possible that Media Mail arrives before First-Class Mail.
That’s because First-Class Mail is experiencing slower-than-normal delivery times due to budget cuts.
These slowdowns will likely impact most Americans, but those living in Western states and parts of Texas and Florida may see the worst of it.
Why Does Media Mail Take Longer Than Other Types Of Mail?
Media Mail takes longer than Priority and First-Class mail because it is distributed via trucks, rather than airplanes.
When you mail a Media Mail package, it is sent to a processing and distribution center.
After, it goes to a bulk mail facility in your state that could be anywhere from 300 to 600 miles away. Once there, it is processed to be mailed wherever it’s going by truck.
If you mail something that has a long way to travel, say from Florida to California, delivery can take up to 10 business days.
If, however, you’re mailing something to the next state over, say from Florida to Alabama, your package could arrive in a couple of days.
Is UPS Ground Faster Than USPS Media Mail?
In some cases, UPS Ground is faster than USPS Media Mail.
Packages sent through UPS Ground will typically arrive in 1 to 5 days, whereas Media Mail packages will take between 2 and 10 business days to arrive.
It’s difficult to say with certainty which is faster because there are many factors at play.
If you send a Media Mail package to the next state over, it could arrive before the UPS Ground package.
On the other hand, if your Media Mail package has to cross the country, you could be looking at up to 10 business days for delivery. In that case, UPS Ground is the faster option.
To know more about USPS services, you can also read our related posts on USPS parcel select, if you can ship lithium batteries through USPS, and if USPS updates tracking.
Media Mail is one of the cheapest shipping methods offered by USPS. It’s a great option for saving money when sending books, DVDs or printed music. That being said, the one major drawback is that USPS Media Mail can take longer than other shipping methods.
Sometimes your Media Mail package will arrive in a few business days, sometimes it will take 10 business days. As long as you’re aware of that and plan accordingly, sending your goods through this system can be a great option!