One of the greatest intricacies of the United States Postal Service is figuring out how much postage you need for a smaller, lighter mailpiece. There is some overlap between First-Class letters and Flats and First-Class Package mail classes where weight is involved.
But say you want to mail a five-ounce parcel with stamps? How many stamps for a five-ounce parcel, you wonder? Luckily the Postal Service is straightforward about pricing. Here’s the answer you seek!
How Many Stamps For 5 Ounces In 2022?
The United States Postal Service’s First-Class individual Forever stamp price is $0.58; thus, four Forever stamps would cover the $1.96 in postage needed in 2022. However, that would exceed the required amount. A fully accurate amount of postage would involve three Forever stamps, one $0.20 additional ounce stamp, and a $0.02 stamp.
To learn how I arrived at this calculation, how much postage you would need for a five-ounce envelope, and even some other mail classes that could cover a five-ounce mailpiece, keep going!
How Do You Calculate How Many Stamps You Need?
When you are using stamps as postage (as opposed to printed shipping labels), you signify using First-Class mail.
That said, First-Class letters and Flats mail come with certain stipulations regarding how postage works.
For example, a First-Class letter mail must weigh less than an ounce and fit within the sizing parameters for one Forever stamp to meet the postage need. These sizing parameters are:
- Minimum: ⅗ inches high; 5 inches long; .007 inches wide
- Maximum: 6 ⅛ inches high; 11.5 inches long; 1/4-inch thick
Also, if the envelope meets the measurements but is heavier than an ounce, additional postage is needed.
- Up to two ounces requires $0.78 worth of postage
- Up to three ounces requires $0.98 worth of postage
- Up to 3.5 ounces requires $1.18 worth of postage
You can see that each additional ounce warrants another $0.20 worth of postage. In comparison, Flats’ sizing parameters are:
- Minimum: 6 ⅛ inches high; 11.5 inches long; 1/4-inch thick
- Maximum: 12 inches high; 15 inches long; 3/4-inch thick
Any bigger than that or heavier than 13 ounces, you have a package that is no longer eligible for First-Class shipping.
Now, for envelopes that qualify as Flats, the post office calculates like this:
- One ounce: $1.16
- Two ounces: $1.36
- Three ounces: $1.56
- Four ounces: $1.76
- Five ounces: $1.96
And so on, adding $0.20 per ounce until you hit the max weight of 13 ounces (the max price being $3.56).
Therefore, knowing the scale on which a letter and a Flat can be measured and priced, you can calculate postage on your own.
Further, a letter-sized envelope that weighs 3.2 ounces would require $1.18 in postage. But, with Forever stamps worth $0.58 in postage, you could “overpay” with three of those.
Or, if you have small postage on hand or don’t mind a trip to the post office, you can use two Forever stamps ($1.16 total) plus a $0.02 stamp.
How Much Does It Cost To Mail 5 Ounces?
If you have an item that weighs five ounces, whether it fits into a regular envelope, a large envelope, or even a small box, you have options for shipping it beyond First-Class.
Of course, if you want to go the First-Class route, the price is $1.96, and you can use Forever stamps (and overpay) or a combination of Forever and other stamps.
But what if you’re in a hurry? Important legal documents? Something you promised your cousin for their show-and-tell at school, and it’s in two days?
Well then, by all means, you can use other mail classes, like Priority Mail or Priority Mail Flat-Rate.
With that, Priority Mail for an item under one pound starts at $8.70 for local and Zones 1 and 2 and maxes out at $19.40 for Zone 9.
On the other hand, Priority Mail Flat Rate envelopes cost just $8.95, regardless of Zone.
Also, if your item qualifies as a Flat, that likely means it would fit in a Priority Mail Express Flat-Rate envelope.
Additionally, Priority Mail Express envelopes cost $26.95 to ship, regardless of Zone – with the benefit of next-day or two-day delivery guaranteed (or your money back).
Or, you might opt for USPS Retail Ground, which starts at just $8.50 and only maxes out at $10.25 for Zone 9 for packages less than one pound.
When an envelope is heavier than four ounces, it technically qualifies as a Flat, which costs $1.96 to mail via First-Class.
That requires four Forever stamps (which is overpaying), or three Forever stamps, a $0.20 extra-ounce stamp, and a $0.02 stamp for exact postage.