There are plenty of big names to choose from when you’re shipping a package, with FedEx and UPS being two of the most recognizable.
But how do UPS and FedEx really stack up to one another- which service is faster, cheaper, and generally the better choice? If you’d like to find out, keep reading for more facts!
UPS Vs FedEx In 2023
UPS and FedEx offer similar services but have some key differences in 2023. UPS is cheaper, whereas FedEx offers more time-certain services, which means your package will arrive faster. Both companies meet their delivery timelines 97% of the time, making them equally reliable. UPS is better for larger/heavier packages, whereas FedEx is best for documents and overnight shipping.
If you’re trying to decide between FedEx and UPS for your next shipment, be sure to keep reading to get a deeper understanding of how these two shipping companies compare!
Is It Cheaper to Ship FedEx or UPS?
The first question for most people when comparing any two services tends to be pricey, and shipping is no different.
Shipping can be extremely expensive, but it can also present a unique set of challenges, so making sure you get the most bang for your buck is imperative.
Both UPS and FedEx determine shipping costs the same way: by looking at the weight of a package, how far the package needs to travel, and the timeline it needs to be delivered within.
To get an idea of how these two companies compare to one another in terms of price, we first need to start fleshing out these variables.
If we assume we’re going to be shipping a 10 kg, or 22 lb, package from New York City, NY to Los Angeles, California, we can start to see a price range for both companies take shape.
UPS Next Day Air Early and FedEx Overnight are the two fastest services from each respective company, promising delivery by 8 am the next business day for any package.
If you were to ship a 10 kg package from NYC to LA using either of these services, UPS would charge you approximately $257, whereas FedEx would charge $280.
Here are each of UPS and FedEx’s other comparable services, and how they compare to each other in terms of cost:
- UPS 2nd Day Air delivers in 2 business days by the end of the day and costs around $170
- FedEx 2 Day delivers in 2 business days by 10:30 am and costs about $196
- UPS 3 Day Select delivers in 3 business days by the end of the day and costs $105
- FedEx Express Saver delivers in 3 business days by 4:30 pm and costs $126
- UPS Ground delivers in 4 business days by the end of the day and costs $57
- FedEx Ground delivers in 5 business days by the end of the day and costs $56
As you can see, UPS tends to offer many of the same services as FedEx at a lower price, making it the most economic option.
All of this being said, however, it’s important to remember that all of the prices listed above are estimates, not standard pricing for all packages.
These prices were calculated using hypothetical variables for weight and distance, so the prices UPS or FedEx will charge for shipping your package will probably look different.
To get a more personalized, detailed assessment of how much FedEx or UPS would charge you for shipping your package, be sure to check out online price calculator tools.
Is It Faster to Ship FedEx or UPS?
Both FedEx and UPS offer day-definite delivery services.
Therefore, if you need your package to be delivered by a certain day, both companies have a service that can meet your needs.
So while neither company is necessarily all-around faster than the other, there are definitely some pros and cons for both companies in terms of delivery times.
While UPS may be the cheaper of the two companies, FedEx tends to offer more time-definite services.
Therefore, while both UPS and FedEx will guarantee that your package is delivered on a certain day, only FedEx guarantees a specific time window.
Keeping this in mind, typically FedEx will be the better choice for time-sensitive packages.
This can be illustrated by taking a closer look at the similar services UPS and FedEx offer.
Both FedEx and UPS offer two-day delivery, known as FedEx 2Day and UPS 2nd Day Air respectively.
While UPS’ prices tend to be lower, UPS only guarantees delivery by the end of the day, where FedEx guarantees delivery by 10:30 am.
The same is true for both companies’ three-day delivery services.
Both UPS 3 Day Select and FedEx Express Saver promise to deliver your package in three business days.
However, just like with the two-day delivery services, UPS only promises delivery by the end of the day, whereas FedEx promises delivery by a certain time, 4:30 pm in this case.
The only instance in which you can expect UPS to be faster than FedEx is when you’re going to be opting for ground transportation rather than air.
There’s a multitude of reasons you may need to ship via ground services, like if you’re shipping hazardous or particularly big/heavy goods, or if you’re just looking to save some extra money.
Whatever the reason, UPS Ground tends to deliver faster than FedEx Ground for shipments within the United States by about one full business day.
Is UPS or FedEx Better?
Asking which shipping company is better can be construed as a lot of different questions rolled into one.
In terms of reliability, both courier companies meet their shipping deadlines about 97% of the time.
This means that it’s pretty unlikely that your package will disappear or show up late no matter which company you’re shipping with.
If you’re a small business and want to know which company is the better choice, you’ll want to consider each company’s American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI).
The ACSI is an American standard that helps consumers and businesses alike compare customer satisfaction rates across industries in a quantifiable way.
If we’re looking to use the ACSI as a benchmark for whether UPS or FedEx is better, then UPS would be the winner.
In 2020, UPS scored 80 points on the ACSI due to its various integration solutions for small businesses and online shops that help simplify the quoting and booking process.
FedEx wasn’t far behind, with 76 points on the ACSI.
To help attract more small businesses, FedEx has begun offering a management & fulfillment platform, which can be integrated into most online stores.
Here’s a list of some package qualities/contents and which company would be the best choice:
- Large or heavy packages: UPS
- Time-sensitive shipments: FedEx
- Overnight delivery outside of the United States: FedEx
- Overnight delivery inside the United States: UPS
- Document delivery: FedEx
- High value/fragile item shipping: UPS
If you’re interested in reading more about a comparison of the pros and cons of shipping certain items with different courier services, check out this comprehensive article from ShipBob!
FedEx and UPS are both major names in the shipping industry and come with their fair shares of pros and cons. Of the two companies, UPS tends to offer lower shipping costs, but FedEx offers more time-definite services, which means your packages can be delivered faster.
UPS Ground is often faster than FedEx Ground by at least one business day. Both companies are highly reliable, meeting their delivery deadlines 97% of the time, but UPS has the higher American Customer Satisfaction Index score.