The Cheapest Way To Ship A Heavy Item [With Comparison Chart]

When it comes to shipping heavy items, every dollar counts. In 2023, the average cost to ship a 100-pound package was $150, but prices can vary widely. To help you navigate these costs, we’ve created a detailed comparison chart of major carriers like UPS, FedEx, and DHL. Learn how to save on your next shipment and ensure your heavy items reach their destination without breaking the bank. Find the cheapest way to ship a heavy item right below!

What is the Cheapest Carrier To Ship A Heavy Item?

Shipping costs depend on several factors: the weight and size of the package, the distance it travels, the shipping speed, and any extra services like insurance or special handling. We will help you compare 4 major carriers—UPS, USPS, FedEx, and DHL—to find the most affordable way to ship heavy items.


UPS is known for reliability and many service options. For heavy items, UPS Ground is usually the cheapest option. It offers tracking and reliable delivery at a reasonable cost. For very heavy or large items, UPS Freight can be more cost-effective. UPS also has a Simple Rate program with flat-rate pricing for packages up to 50 lbs, making it a good option for heavy items of certain sizes.


USPS is often the best choice for smaller, lighter packages, but it can also be competitive for heavier items. USPS Priority Mail and Retail Ground offer reasonable rates for heavy packages. Priority Mail is especially good for items up to 70 lbs, offering flat-rate boxes that can save money. However, USPS might not be the best for very heavy or large items due to size limits and higher costs.

>>> Learn more: USPS vs UPS: Comparing Services, Costs and Speed


FedEx is another reliable carrier with various shipping services. FedEx Ground is great for shipping heavy items cheaply, with competitive rates and reliable delivery. For very heavy shipments, FedEx Freight offers options like LTL (less-than-truckload) and express freight services. FedEx also has a flat-rate option, FedEx One Rate, which is useful for heavy items that fit within their boxes.


DHL is best known for international shipping but also offers competitive domestic options. DHL Express is typically used for fast international shipping, but DHL eCommerce and DHL Parcel provide cost-effective solutions for heavy items within the country. While DHL might not always be the cheapest for domestic shipping, its international rates can be very competitive.

>>> Learn more: DHL vs UPS vs FedEx: Which Courier is Best For International Shipping?

Here is the comparison chart:

Feature UPS USPS FedEx


Best Service for Heavy Items UPS Ground / UPS Freight Priority Mail / Retail Ground FedEx Ground / FedEx Freight DHL eCommerce / DHL Parcel
Price Range $40 – $60 (Ground) ~$70 (Priority Mail for 50 lbs) $40 – $60 (Ground) $60 – $80 (Parcel)
Weight Limit Up to 150 lbs (Ground) Up to 70 lbs (Priority Mail) Up to 150 lbs (Ground) Up to 154 lbs (Parcel)
Delivery Speed 1-5 business days (Ground) 1-3 business days (Priority Mail) 1-5 business days (Ground) 2-8 business days (Parcel)
Tracking Detailed tracking available Tracking available Detailed tracking available Tracking available
Flat-Rate Options UPS Simple Rate (up to 50 lbs) Flat-Rate Boxes (up to 70 lbs) FedEx One Rate (various sizes) Limited availability
Additional Services Freight services for large items Limited to a flat rate for heavy items Freight services for large items International focus, reliable for cross-border shipping
Sustainability Green fleet, eco-friendly options Standard options, limited eco-friendly Green initiatives, electric vehicles Focus on international sustainability
Best For Domestic heavy shipments, freight Smaller heavy items, budget-conscious Domestic heavy shipments, freight International heavy shipments, parcels

Based on the comparison, the cheapest way to ship a large item depends on several factors. But we have the conclusion: 

  • Domestic shipments: UPS Ground and FedEx Ground are usually the cheapest options for large items. They both offer good rates and reliable service for heavy and oversized packages.
  • International shipments: DHL is often the cheapest choice for large and heavy items. Their international shipping rates are typically lower than UPS and FedEx for similar shipments.

To find the best shipping rates, use the shipping calculators provided by each carrier. Enter your shipment details to compare costs easily. Here are the links to their shipping calculators for your convenience:

What Needs to Consider While Shipping a Heavy Item?

Tips To Shipping A Heavy Item - The Cheapest Way To Ship A Heavy Item

​​Shipping heavy items can be a bit tricky, but with the right approach, you can do it efficiently and affordably. Here are 4 tips you can consider:

Weight and Size

Carriers calculate fees based on weight and size, the first thing to consider are these dimensions. 


  • Accurately measure and weigh: Use a reliable scale and measuring tape. Make sure to get the dimensions right to avoid extra charges.
  • Dimensional weight: Understand that carriers often use the higher actual weight or dimensional weight (size in relation to weight). This means a large but lightweight box could cost more than a smaller, heavier one.

Tip:  Use online tools from carriers like UPS and FedEx to calculate dimensional weight and compare costs.

Insuring and Securing Heavy Items

Worrying about shipping heavy items safely and affordably? Ensuring and securing your shipments is key to avoiding costly damages and losses. Insurance provides financial protection if items are lost or damaged during transit. Many carriers offer insurance, but third-party providers might offer better deals.

To secure your items, use sturdy packaging like double-walled boxes or wooden crates, and add padding materials like foam or bubble wrap. Palletizing shipments adds stability, and using straps or shrink wrap keeps everything secure. Proper labelling is also essential to ensure your items arrive safely.

Shipping Distance

Shipping Distance -The Cheapest Way To Ship A Heavy Item

Generally, the farther it goes, the more it costs. For domestic shipping, costs can vary based on the zones the package travels through. For international shipping, you’ll need to think about import regulations and customs fees and check them regularly. 


  • Use a shipping calculator: To estimate these costs based on distance and other factors.
  • Use zone maps: Carriers like USPS provide zone maps to help you understand how distance impacts cost.
  • Consolidate shipments: If you have multiple items, shipping them together can reduce costs.

Carrier Rules and Restrictions

Each carrier has its own rules for shipping heavy items. This includes weight limits, size restrictions, and packaging requirements. For example, UPS and FedEx can handle packages up to 150 lbs for ground shipping, while USPS has a lower limit. Check these rules before you ship to avoid any surprises. Carriers also have restrictions on certain items, like hazardous materials or fragile goods, which may need special handling.


  • Research carrier policies on weight limits, size restrictions, and packaging requirements.
  • Ensure accurate documentation and comply with carrier-specific forms.
  • Weigh and measure packages accurately to meet carrier guidelines.
  • Consult customer service for clarification on specific items or fees.

Type of Service

The type of service you choose will impact both cost and delivery time. Standard ground shipping is usually the cheapest but takes longer. Faster services like overnight or two-day shipping cost more. For very heavy or bulky items, freight services might be more cost-effective. Think about how quickly you need the item delivered and how much you’re willing to spend.


  • Evaluate delivery urgency and consider standard or expedited options accordingly.
  • Compare costs using online calculators and factor in additional fees.
  • Explore freight services for heavy or bulky items and obtain quotes.
  • Review service reliability and consider insurance options for valuable shipments.

How to Effectively Pack Heavy Items to Reduce Costs?

Shipping heavy items can be tricky and expensive, but with the right techniques, you can save money and ensure your items arrive safely. Here’s a simple guide to help you pack heavy items effectively.

Proper Packaging Techniques

Without the right materials and methods, your items can be damaged in transit, leading to higher costs and delays. Here are suggestions to ensure your items are securely protected:

  • Make your packaging strong: For heavy items, use tough packaging to avoid damage. Use boxes made of double or triple-walled cardboard for extra strength. For really heavy stuff, go for wooden crates or pallets. Make sure your boxes or crates are new and robust to prevent them from collapsing during shipping.
  • Add protection inside: Fill your box with bubble wrap, foam, or other padding materials to cushion your item. Avoid using paper as it may not provide enough protection. The aim is to keep your item steady and safe inside the box.
  • Balance the weight: Put the heaviest items at the bottom of the box and distribute the weight evenly. Use braces or dividers to keep items stable and stop them from moving around during shipping.
  • Secure package: Seal the box tightly with strong packing tape. Add extra tape to reinforce the bottom and sides of the box to make sure it stays closed during shipping.


Proper labelling helps prevent mishandling and damage, which can increase shipping costs and lead to delays. It also ensures that your package reaches its destination without issues. So use clear labels!

Labelling -The Cheapest Way To Ship A Heavy Item

Labelling your package with “Heavy” lets handlers know it’s heavy, reducing the risk of mishandling and injury. Putting labels on multiple sides of the box helps handlers see it easily.

Include handling instructions like “Fragile” or “This Side Up” for fragile items or those that need special care during transit. These labels ensure your package is treated gently and stays in the right position.

Also, make sure your shipping and return addresses are easy to read and securely attached. Use waterproof labels or cover them with clear tape to protect them from damage while in transit. This ensures your package gets to the right place safely.

Splitting Shipments

Sometimes, splitting a shipment into multiple packages can save money and make handling easier. Large, heavy boxes can be more expensive and harder to manage. 

When packing for shipping, don’t overload your boxes. Instead, split items into smaller boxes for easier handling and sometimes lower costs. Opt for the smallest box that fits your item to avoid extra charges. For multiple heavy boxes, use pallets to simplify handling and reduce damage risk during transit.

How Can You Save Money on Shipping Heavy Items?

Finally, to find the cheapest way to ship a heavy item, you must know how to save your money. It’s simple, you only need to focus on these 2 tips:

Choose the right carriers

Choose the right carriers - The Cheapest Way To Ship A Heavy Item

Picking the right carrier is key to saving money. UPS and FedEx are great for shipping heavy items within the country. They offer good rates and reliable services. USPS is best for smaller heavy items, and DHL is often cheaper for international shipments. Use online tools from each carrier to compare rates and find the best deal for your need

Negotiate Rates

If you ship often, talk to carriers about getting a discount. Many offer lower rates for businesses that ship regularly or in large quantities. 

First, gather data on how much you ship each month or year. Then, contact carriers like UPS, FedEx, and DHL to discuss your shipping needs and ask about bulk shipping discounts. Use quotes from different carriers to negotiate better rates. This can lead to lower costs and long-term savings.

Use Flat-Rate Shipping

Flat-rate shipping can save you money, especially if your items fit within the carrier’s standard box sizes. UPS Simple Rate, FedEx One Rate, and USPS Flat-Rate Boxes are good options. These services offer predictable costs and can be cheaper than paying by weight. Check the carrier’s website for size and weight limits for flat-rate options.

Shipping Discounts and Deals

To save money on shipping heavy items, looking for shipping discounts and deals from carriers is a common way that many store owners are using. Many carriers offer lower rates for bulk shipping, especially if you have a business account. Use shipping software that partners with carriers to get discounted rates, and always check for seasonal promotions or special offers. 

Here is how: Research different carriers on Google to compare rates and find the best deals. For very heavy items, consider using freight services, which often have better rates than standard parcel shipping.


How much does it cost to ship a 50 pound package?

Shipping a 50-pound package cost between $24.73 and $316.11 with UPS Ground. Here’s an overview of the costs for different carriers:

  • UPS Ground: Shipping a 50-pound package with UPS Ground typically costs between $24.73 and $316.11, depending on the distance and additional services chosen.
  • FedEx Ground: The cost is similar to UPS, ranging broadly depending on the shipping distance and specific service options.
  • USPS Priority Mail: Generally not ideal for very heavy items due to weight limits and higher costs compared to other carriers for such weights.

How much does it cost to ship a 100 pound package?

Shipping a 100-pound package costs around $100 to $500 with UPS Ground. Here are the estimated costs:

  • UPS Ground: The cost can range from around $100 to $500, depending on the distance and any extra services required.
  • FedEx Ground: Similar to UPS, costs vary based on distance and service type, but typically fall within the same price range.
  • DHL: Often competitive for international shipments, though costs can vary widely based on specific shipment details.

Is FedEx or UPS cheaper for heavy packages?

When it comes to heavy packages, the cheaper option between FedEx and UPS can vary based on specific circumstances, such as distance and type of service required. Generally speaking:

  • FedEx: Often slightly cheaper for express services, particularly over shorter distances.
  • UPS: Typically more economical for ground services and freight, especially when using negotiated rates or discounts.


Ultimately, the cheapest way to ship a heavy item varies by carrier and shipping needs. UPS and FedEx are excellent for domestic shipments, with various cost-effective services. DHL provides competitive rates for international deliveries. Don’t forget to use our comparison chart and additional cost-saving strategies can help you find the best option. One more thing, try our tool – Track Order Now! This amazing tool allows you to track orders from thousands of carriers worldwide in no time. Also, it helps you reduce the cost of returning items and ensures you always know where your large orders are, making communication with customers a breeze! Give it a try!