While rectangular boxes are good for just about anything you need to ship, there are some items that simply don’t fit in these containers. For example, items like golf clubs, fishing poles, or posters need packaging that fits their unique shape.
That’s where mailing tubes come in. These cylindrical mailers are ultra-handy, but using them can be confusing if you’ve never done it before. That’s why we’ve put together this guide about USPS’ mailing tube regulations, so read on to learn more!
What Are the USPS Mailing Tube Regulations In 2023?
Mailing tubes can be sent through any of USPS’ shipping services, including Priority Mail Express, Priority Mail, and First-Class Package Service. Tubes can be used as long as the length is no more than 10 times the width of the tube. Pricing is based on weight and destination ZIP code. However, note that flat-rate pricing is not available.
Read the rest of this article to learn about how to ship a tube and how much it costs, along with other useful related information!
How Do I Ship a Tube Via USPS?
While they may look funky, USPS treats mailing tubes pretty much the same way it treats the rest of its rectangular packages.
In most cases, your tube will be sent via Priority Mail.
When you select this service, you can use your own packaging, or opt for USPS’ free Priority Mail tubes. Just be aware that they’re more triangular than round!
To buy postage online, use USPS’ Click-N-Ship service to create a shipping label for your tube.
You’ll need to fill in the return and delivery addresses, select a shipping date, enter your package’s weight and value, then choose which mailing class you’d like to use.
If you’re asked to provide dimensions, fill them in as you would for a rectangular package. Keep in mind that tubes can be used as long as their length is no more than 10 times their width.
If you’re using USPS-branded Priority Mail or Priority Mail Express tubes, make sure to select the corresponding service when creating your shipping label.
For example, if you’re using a Priority Mail Express tube, you need to buy Priority Mail Express postage.
Finally, it’s worth noting that you won’t have access to flat-rate or cubic pricing when mailing tubes.
Do Mailing Tubes Cost More to Ship?
USPS treats mailing tubes the same as rectangular boxes when it comes to pricing. In other words, containers aren’t priced differently because of their shape.
In some cases, it may even be cheaper to mail using a tube, rather than a box, as tubes are made for long or cylindrical items.
If you use a box, you’ll likely have to use one that’s bigger than you need in order to accommodate an item’s unique shape (a bigger box could mean more expensive shipping).
Therefore, a tube could end up being cheaper in the long run.
Is There a Certain USPS Mail Class for Mailing Tubes?
USPS allows customers to ship mailing tubes using any regular USPS mail class.
For example, if the tube weighs less than 13 ounces, you can take advantage of the affordable First-Class Package Service.
Tubes sent through this service are restricted to a maximum size of 22″ x 18″ x 15.″
This is noted, because while lightweight items like fishing rods or posters may meet the weight requirements, they may be too big to comply with the size requirements.
If your item(s) is larger or heavier than what’s allowed for First-Class packages, then send your tube via Priority Mail or Priority Mail Express.
How Much Does It Cost to Ship a Tube Via USPS?
Mailing tubes follow the same pricing structure as rectangular or square boxes. In other words, you’ll pay the same price to mail a tube as you would to mail a box.
Pricing for tubes sent via Priority Mail Express currently starts at $26.95 for a package weighing 0.5 lbs or less traveling locally, or to zone 1 or 2.
A 70-lb Priority Mail Express package (the heaviest allowed) traveling to zone 9 (the farthest zone) currently costs $688.20
Tubes sent through Priority Mail start at $8.70 for a 1-lb package traveling locally, or to zone 1 or 2. A 70-lb tube going to zone 9 costs $364.85.
While most tubes will likely be sent through USPS’ Priority Mail services, it’s possible to use the First-Class package service if your item weighs less than 13 ounces.
Pricing for a 1-ounce package going to zone 1 or 2 is currently set at $4.50, while a 13-ounce package going to zone 9 costs $7.65.
Does the Post Office Have Mailing Tubes?
USPS has both plain and decorative mailing tubes available for purchase at most post office locations.
In addition to these paid options, USPS offers free Priority Mail Express and Priority Mail tubes. They are available at post offices and online.
Are Priority Mail Tubes Flat Rate?
USPS does not offer flat rate pricing on Priority Mail tubes. Rather, these tubes are priced according to weight and destination ZIP code.
For most people, mailing a tube seems a bit daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. In fact, USPS treats mailing tubes the same way it treats boxes. Therefore, creating a label is the same process- the price doesn’t change, and you’ll use the same mailing services you would for any other package.