Breaking Down the Cost of Shipping a Shirt with USPS

Last Updated on 26/08/2023 by UPS_ Admin

In 2023, with the surge in online fashion retail, understanding shipping costs becomes vital. This article delves deep into the intricacies of shipping a shirt through the United States Postal Service (USPS), offering insights on prices based on weight, comparison with other carriers, and tips to ensure cost-effectiveness.

USPS Flat Envelope

How Much Does It Cost To Ship a Shirt Through USPS ?

In 2023, fashion e-commerce, online boutiques, and individual sellers are on the rise. With such an upswing, there’s an inevitable question: How much does it cost to ship a shirt, particularly through the United States Postal Service (USPS)? Let’s break down the answer comprehensively.

Weight Matters

A typical t-shirt, depending on its fabric and make, weighs between 3 to 6 ounces. The weight is a fundamental factor that dictates the price.

USPS First-Class Mail Large Envelope

If you’re shipping just one shirt and aim for the most economical option, consider the USPS First-Class Mail Large Envelope. This costs a mere $2.16. Interestingly, you can cover this with four Forever stamps, a handy tip if you happen to have these stamps lying around.

USPS First-Class Package Service

As a step-up, you can opt for the USPS First-Class Package service, specifically designed for items under 13 ounces. Given the weight of our hypothetical t-shirt, prices vary from $3.59 to $6.28 depending on the distance (or the ‘zone’) it’s shipped to. If you’re looking for the best value, always remember to minimize the weight, and using poly mailers can help achieve this.

Comparing with Other Carriers

If you’re debating between carriers, it’s worth noting that for a single t-shirt, USPS generally has the edge. Shipping one t-shirt first class with USPS starts at about $5, whereas UPS and FedEx are around the $8 mark. However, for larger or bulkier orders, you might find better rates with UPS or FedEx.

USPS Ground Advantage

Another appealing choice is the USPS – Ground Advantage. This is especially favorable for domestic shipments of clothing, offering a blend of affordability and speed. You can ship packages weighing up to a substantial 70lbs and anticipate a delivery time of 2-5 business days.

Other Factors to Remember

Beyond weight, USPS also factors in package size. While weight thresholds largely dictate rates, the volume and dimensions play a role too. Small but heavy packages might benefit from cubic pricing discounts. Moreover, while USPS shines for single items, if you’re shipping in bulk, it’s always good to check the cost-effectiveness of other carriers too.

How Much Does a Shirt Weigh to Ship?

Typical T-Shirt Weights:

  • A regular t-shirt, whether bought from a store like Walmart or Target, generally weighs between three to six ounces.
  • Different materials and brands have different weights. For instance, cotton, spandex, polyester, and synthetic shirts can all have varied weights.
  • A medium Gildan Softstyle t-shirt weighs about 138 grams or 4.86 oz, while an XL American Apparel t-shirt (50/50) weighs around 156 grams or 5.5 oz.
  • Here are some weights for different brands and sizes:
    • American Apparel:
      • Small: 4.16oz
      • Large: 4.97oz
    • Gildan Softstyle (women):
      • Small: 3.81oz
      • Large: 4.51oz
    • Fruit of the Loom (budget t-shirts):
      • Small: 4.51oz
      • Large: 5.5oz
  • The Kalamazoo Spirit Shoppe suggests that most basic t-shirts fall between three to six ounces, though some exceptions like extra-large sizes or heavy knits might weigh even more.

Packaging Weight:

It’s also crucial to consider the packaging weight. If you’re using a poly mailer or soft envelope, you might need to add approximately two more ounces to the t-shirt’s weight. Thus, a shirt weighing 5 ounces, with packaging, could total around 6 ounces.

When it comes to shipping a t-shirt, especially for businesses, individuals, or online sellers, cost-effectiveness is often a primary concern. Here, we outline the various options provided by the United States Postal Service (USPS) to make it easy for you to find the most economical and efficient way to send a shirt.

What Is the Cheapest Way to Ship a Shirt through USPS?

1. Cheapest USPS Options for Lightweight T-Shirts:

First-Class Package Service:

  • Cost: Ranges from $3 to $6, depending on the shirt’s weight and the shipping zone.
  • Weight Limit: Suitable for packages up to 15.999 ounces.
  • Benefits: Offers tracking service.
  • Duration: Delivery within 1-3 business days in the U.S.

First-Class Large Envelope:

  • Cost: Approximately $2.15 for a six-ounce shirt shipped coast-to-coast (Zone 8).
  • Tips: Using four Forever stamps (assuming a retail rate of 58 cents each) can cover the cost. However, exact postage can be purchased at the post office.
  • Ideal for: Those looking for the absolute cheapest USPS method.

USPS Ground Advantage:

  • Cost: Varies based on weight and distance.
  • Weight Limit: Suitable for packages weighing up to 70 lbs.
  • Duration: Expected delivery in 2-5 business days.
  • Suitable for: Those who are looking for a blend of affordability and speed.

2. Other Notable USPS Shipping Options:

Retail Ground:

  • Cost: $10.25 for a six-ounce shirt shipped to Zone 8.
  • Benefits: Comes with tracking, but is slower and costlier than First-Class Package Service.

Priority Mail 2-Day Flat Rate:

  • Cost: $9.45 for a small Flat Rate box or $8.85 for a Flat Rate envelope.
  • Benefits: Faster delivery than the above options, includes $50 insurance, and provides tracking. The packaging is freely available at post office locations or can be ordered online.
  • Suitable for: Quick deliveries.

Priority Mail Express or Priority Mail Express Flat Rate:

  • Cost: $40.90 for shipping in your own box to Zone 8. However, if using a Flat Rate envelope, the cost is reduced to $26.95.
  • Benefits: Provides next-day or two-day delivery.
  • Considerations: This is a pricier option, but it’s ideal for urgent shipments.

3. Final Considerations:

  • Size and Packaging: Use a poly mailer or soft envelope to save on weight.
  • Comparison with Other Carriers: For a single t-shirt, USPS tends to be the cheapest option. However, for larger or bulkier shipments, it might be worth comparing prices with carriers like UPS or FedEx.

Is It Cheaper to Ship Clothes with USPS Or UPS?


  • USPS consistently offers cheaper rates for smaller, lightweight packages, typically under one pound. For example, the USPS First-Class Large Envelope rate stands at just $2.16, while the USPS First-Class Package Service remains unbeatable for lightweight clothing shipments. On the other hand, UPS Ground, their most affordable service, starts at $13.18.
  • UPS tends to have better rates for larger or heavier packages due to fewer size and weight limitations compared to USPS. However, for expedited services like UPS Next-Day Air and 2nd Day, costs can skyrocket to $100.16 and $44.82 respectively.

Delivery Time:

  • USPS offers a range of delivery times from First-Class (1-3 days) to Priority Mail Express Flat Rate (1-2 days).
  • UPS Ground typically delivers in 1-5 days, with other options like Next-Day Air and 2nd Day available for expedited delivery.

Service Options:

  • USPS shines with its flat-rate shipping options, making it a cost-effective choice for those who can fit their shipments into USPS-provided packaging.
  • UPS Ground is often highlighted as the carrier’s most economical choice, but they also provide faster services at a higher price point.

Can You Ship a Shirt in a Flat Rate Envelope?

Absolutely, shirts can be shipped using USPS Flat Rate Envelopes. Here’s a breakdown:

1. Fit and Capacity:

  • A shirt, especially if it’s not bulky, will typically fit within a Flat Rate envelope without the need for extra tape or modifications. As many users have noted, the key is ensuring the envelope retains its original shape without any significant bulges.

2. Cost-Effectiveness:

  • Using a Flat Rate envelope is more economical than other shipping methods, with the Priority Mail 2-Day Flat Rate envelopes costing around $8.95. This price includes tracking and insurance, offering excellent value.

3. Durability of Contents:

  • Given that shirts aren’t fragile or breakable, the envelope provides sufficient protection without the need for additional padding or bubble wrap. This makes it a reliable choice for shipping clothing items.

4. USPS Stance:

  • The USPS allows items up to 70 pounds in Flat Rate Envelopes, as long as the envelope’s structure isn’t modified or expanded. This means as long as the envelope can be sealed normally and retains its original shape without bulging, you’re good to go. However, recent changes in their phrasing caution against overstuffing. While they once championed the phrase “if it fits, it ships,” the emphasis now is on maintaining the envelope’s or box’s shape.

5. Practical Tips:

  • Address the envelope first to ensure legibility.
  • A single t-shirt or small clothing item can be conveniently placed in a Flat Rate envelope. If shipping multiple items, ensure you’re not overstuffing.
  • While USPS First-Class Package Service is a solid choice for a single t-shirt due to its lightweight, the Flat Rate envelope offers a reliable alternative for slightly heavier or multiple shirts.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *