USPS 3 Day Shipping (Cost, How Fast Is It Really, What If It’s Late + More)

Next-day shipping, 2-day shipping, 3-day shipping- the options USPS offers are seemingly endless. That can make choosing the right service for your needs pretty stressful.

Luckily for you, we’ve put together this comprehensive guide about USPS’ 3-day shipping service (also called Priority Mail). We’ll cover what it is, how long it takes, how much it costs, and more!

USPS 3 Day Shipping In 2024

USPS’ 3-day shipping, or Priority Mail, is USPS’ standard air-shipping service and offers delivery within 1 to 3 business days in 2024. Unlike Priority Mail Express, regular Priority Mail is not guaranteed and packages may arrive late as a result. Pricing starts at $9.45 for a small Flat Rate box.

To get even more answers about USPS’ 3-day shipping option, be sure to read on for useful facts and tips!

What Is USPS 3 Day Shipping?

Before getting into the details about how long 3 day shipping takes and how much it costs, it’s important to understand exactly what USPS 3 Day shipping is.

To be clear, there’s no specific USPS product called “3 Day Shipping.” Rather, you’re likely to view this service under the brand name “Priority Mail.”

Priority Mail is the name for USPS’ standard air-shipping service.

Large envelopes and packages sent through this service typically arrive within 1 to 3 business days (hence the name).

In addition to offering 1 to 3 day shipping, Priority Mail offers the following features:

  • Free package pickup at your home or office
  • Tracking
  • Up to $50 of insurance
  • Flat Rate, regional, and prepaid pricing

To be eligible for Priority Mail shipping, an item must weigh 70 lbs or less and have a maximum combined length and girth of 108”.

How Long Does USPS’ 3 Day Shipping Take?

How Long Does USPS’ 3 Day Shipping Take?

As the name suggests, 3-day shipping typically takes a maximum of 3 days to arrive. That being said, your package may only take 1 or 2 days to reach its destination.

Shipping time depends on where the package starts and where it’s going. Packages traveling farther and/or to rural areas will take closer to 3 days, whereas local deliveries may only take 1.

It’s also important to keep in mind that 3-day shipping may take longer.

Whether because of bad weather, staffing shortages, or transportation issues, USPS is not always able to deliver packages within the proposed time frame.

If you’re curious about shipping times, check out USPS’ interactive map feature to see how long it takes from where you’re shipping.

Is USPS 3 Day Guaranteed?

Unlike its express service (Priority Mail Express), USPS does not offer a guaranteed delivery window for Priority Mail packages.

That means you are not eligible for any kind of refund or compensation if your package arrives later than expected.

If your package arrives late, pretty much all you can do is be patient and wait for it to arrive.

How Much Does USPS 3 Day Shipping Cost?

Priority Mail can be priced using a Flat Rate or a Regional Rate structure.

A Flat Rate means the price stays the same regardless of how heavy the package is and how far it needs to travel.

Regional Rate means the price will change depending on how much the package weighs and how far it’s traveling.

In this model, heavier boxes traveling farther cost more than light boxes traveling locally.

In general, Regional Rates are better when shipping locally, whereas medium and large Flat Rate boxes are better when shipping farther.

Don’t worry too much about doing the math and trying to figure out the best deal. When purchasing postage, USPS will always give you the most cost-effective shipping option.

Now that you have a better understanding of the pricing structure, let’s take a closer look at the current rates.

Flat Rate:

  • Priority Mail envelopes – $8.85
  • Small box – $9.45
  • Medium box – $16.10
  • Large box – $21.10

Regional Rate:


Weight not over (lbs) Local. 1&2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
1 $8.70 $9.10 $9.45 $9.85 $10.15 $10.90 $11.60 $19.40
2 $9.25 $9.90 $10.70 $11.75 $12.65 $14.75 $16.10 $30.75
3 $9.90 $10.65 $11.75 $13.70 $15.40 $17.90 $21.20 $41.15

Head to USPS’ Postal Explorer pricing website to see a full breakdown of Priority Mail shipping costs.

What Are the Benefits of USPS 3 Day Shipping?

Compared to similar shipping options offered by competitors, USPS’ 3-day shipping is one of the least expensive options available.

What’s more, even though USPS doesn’t guarantee delivery for 3-day shipping, the on-time delivery rate is over 96%.

That means you can be fairly confident about receiving your package within the delivery window.

To learn more, you can also read our posts on the fastest USPS shipping method, USPS shipping restrictions, and does USPS ship to Australia.


While not a guaranteed service, USPS’ 3-day shipping is a solid option marrying affordability, fast delivery, and reliability. So, the next time you’ve got a package to send, you can feel confident choosing Priority Mail.

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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

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