What Is Parcel Select Lightweight? (All You Need To Know)

If you have an e-commerce business and ship more than 50,000 packages per year, then there’s a USPS service you need to know about- Parcel Select Lightweight.

Using this service, you can cut your shipping costs in half on your lightweight packages (those less than 1 lb). To find out what this service is and how to take advantage of the money-saving options, check out the rest of this article!

What Is Parcel Select Lightweight In 2024?

Parcel Select Lightweight is an economical ground delivery service offered by USPS for bulk packages weighing less than 16 ounces (1 lb) each. This service offers per ounce rates, making it cheaper than pound parcel rates offered through Priority Mail, UPS or FedEx ground services. Delivery takes 2 to 9 business days in 2024.

If you’ve got more questions about Parcel Select Lightweight, then keep reading this article to learn more facts about this delivery service!

What Does Parcel Select Mean at USPS?

Before we get into the specifics of what USPS’ Parcel Select Lightweight service means, let’s take a step back and look at what the Parcel Select service is in general.

Parcel Select is an economical ground delivery service that USPS offers for packages entering the company’s delivery system in bulk, including packages that enter the system at destination facilities.

In general, this service is designed for, and generally used by, large and medium-sized parcel shippers (i.e. those shipping more than 50,000 packages per year).

However, this is not a requirement. This service tends to be cheaper than other USPS services, such as Priority Mail.

That’s because Parcel Select mailers are paying postage that reflects the work they contribute to the shipping process.

Rather than hand off packages to a letter carrier or drop them off at the post office, Parcel Select mailers presort parcels and/or drop ship pieces at a destination facility located closer to the delivery location.

This means transporting Parcel Select pieces to either a destination bulk mail center (DBMC), destination sectional center facility (DSCF), or a destination delivery unit (DDU) for business and residential delivery.

Simply put, Parcel Select mailers do a large part of USPS’ work for them and get a cheaper mailing rate as a result.

What Does Parcel Select Lightweight Mean at USPS?

Parcel Select Lightweight is one of several options offered as part of the Parcel Select service, a ground delivery service designed for lightweight parcels. Eligible parcels weigh between 3.5 ounces and 16 ounces (1 pound).

Packages sent through this service must be pre-sorted and may enter the mainstream at one of three locations:

  • Destination Network Distribution Center (DNDC)
  • Destination Sectional Center Facility (DSCF)
  • Destination Delivery Unit (DDU)

Price is determined by distance and weight of the mailpiece, so size doesn’t matter. Delivery for Parcel Select Lightweight packages takes 2 to 9 business days within the contiguous 48 states.

However, it may take longer for deliveries going to Alaska or Hawaii.

How Much Does Parcel Select Lightweight Cost?

How Much Does Parcel Select Lightweight Cost?

Without knowing the specifics of the packages you’re sending, it’s not possible to give a precise estimate of Parcel Select Lightweight shipping costs.

Prices depend on a few factors, such as the following:

  • Where you purchase the service from (it’s only available through third-party vendors like Stamps.com)
  • Overall weight of your packages (it will cost more the closer the weight is to the 1-lb limit)
  • How often you send packages (you’ll get better rates the more often you ship)

That being said, Parcel Select Lightweight is significantly cheaper than similar products offered by competitors like UPS and FedEx.

One major reason for this is that Parcel Select Lightweight offers per ounce rates, whereas other services price in pound increments.

As an example, 1-lb packages sent through USPS Priority Mail, UPS and FedEx start between $5 and $7, and go up depending on how far the package is traveling.

On the other hand, Parcel Select Lightweight packages range from $1.38 to $3.20, making them less than half as expensive as other comparable services.

What Size Is Parcel Select Lightweight?

Mail pieces being sent through the Parcel Select Lightweight service must weigh less than 16 ounces.

In terms of size, the combined length and girth cannot exceed 108 inches. It’s important to note that size doesn’t factor into the price, as rates are based solely on weight and distance to travel.

That being said, packages need to be large enough to accommodate postage or any other elements required for shipping.

What Is the Delivery Time for Parcel Select Lightweight?

Items sent through the Parcel Select Lightweight service will be delivered in 2 to 9 business days to addresses in the contiguous 48 states.

Parcel Select delivery times can be significantly longer (10 to 14 days) if your package is being delivered to or from Alaska, Hawaii or a U.S. territory.

Can I Buy Parcel Select Lightweight at the Post Office?

The Parcel Select Lightweight service cannot be purchased at the post office. Rather, it’s only available online via a PC postage vendor (like Stamps.com), or from another authorized USPS business partner.

When Should I Use Parcel Select Lightweight?

Parcel Select Lightweight is a great shipping option for medium to large companies, shipping 50,000 or more lightweight parcels (less than 1 pound) per year.

It’s an excellent alternative to shipping through USPS Priority Mail, UPS or FedEx, as it allows customers to pay based on per-ounce rates, rather than per-pound rates.

This pricing structure could result in savings up to 50% off of other comparable services. If lower shipping costs are more important than delivery times, then this is the service for you. 

To learn more, you can also see our posts on how long does USPS Parcel Select takes, if you can reroute a USPS package, and what happens when the USPS package is stolen.


Parcel Select Lightweight is a ground delivery service offered through USPS, and is often used by businesses who need to ship packages in bulk.

Rates vary depending on where the service is purchased from, the weight of the packages and how frequently businesses ship.

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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 QuerySprout.com.

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