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What Is the Best Way To Ship Heavy Items?

Shipping heavy items presents unique challenges. Imagine trying to get USPS to deliver a microwave or washing machine. But you do have options when it comes to heavy packages and we’ve put together a list of the best way to ship heavy items with notes on top considerations and ways to make your budget go further.

How Does Shipping Heavy Items Work?

Shipping heavy items can cost you all your profits from the sale of the goods if you aren’t careful. The larger the package and the more it weighs, the less the shipping company can carry along with that package, which means they have to charge you more for their time and mileage.

That’s why heavy packages need extra care and consideration. You might be surprised to find out you do have several options for transporting heavy-weight packages and you can review the leading strengths of each of these shipping carriers to find the one that offers the right price and mix of services to meet your needs.

You might consider freight shipment instead of parcel, but it doesn’t hurt to price out each service to find out what works best for you. 

Top Carriers for Shipping Heavy Items

In your search for the best shipping options for heavy items, review these carriers to see if they might be right for your needs. The leading options include FedEx, UPS, and DHL.


FedEx is no stranger to handling a heavy shipment and offers many services that can meet your needs for larger, weightier packages.

  • Ground: this shipment option provides delivery in 1-7 days but you won’t get a guaranteed delivery date. Packages can be up to 150 pounds and as large as 108 inches or 165 inches when you combine the length and the package’s girth. 
  • Freight: you can ship via priority or economy when using FedEx freight shipping. The shipping services price will vary based on the size of the package and its delivery address. But if you frequently ship large packages, this can provide the best recurring rates.


If the maximum weight of 70 pounds for USPS isn’t enough for your goods, you can work with UPS for your shipments.

  • Ground: UPS allows you to ship items up to 150 pounds with a “heavy package” sticker indicating the package’s weight. But using the freight service, you can ship packages that weigh even more than that.
  • Freight: using freight shipping, you can transport even more than 150-pound packages. You’ll just need to meet the shipping company’s package requirements to use the service.


DHL is the best international shipping option for large and heavy packages. Here’s a look at its two shipping options that make it a leader in moving goods overseas.

  • Air freight: DHL schedules flights on major routes. This gives you the option to request a freight delivery to major delivery zones within a given time. It’s extremely fast for international shipping, but you might be beholden to the set schedule for when the carrier delivers to a certain area.
  • Ocean freight: this is another great option for large freight. You can ship using a full shipping container (FCL) or less-than-container (LCL) as well as temperature-controlled or standard environments. There are options for transporting liquids too.

Things To Consider With Shipping Heavy Items

If you’re wondering how to ship heavy items cheap, you’ll want to review these considerations, which will impact the cost of the delivery as well as determining which carrier can handle the package.

Dimensional Weight

As shipping grew in popularity thanks to e-commerce businesses, carriers faced a new challenge: extremely large but light packages. Carriers were losing money delivering goods that were light but fit in large boxes. That’s where the concept of dimensional weight comes into play.

Carriers use dimensional weight to determine pricing for larger items. They review the volumetric space a package requires and calculate what that package would weigh based on a minimum density number.

Get quotes from multiple shipping companies for large dimensional packages even if they are light. You might find that it costs more to ship these items than you’d originally anticipated.

Fragility of Items

Even once you’ve found the most affordable shipping option, read up on how the company handles fragile items. If you’re shipping fragile items, it might be worth it to pay more for the service or select a slower delivery timeframe to protect these packages and ensure they arrive in one piece. 

Origin and Destination of Package

The weight of the package is just one factor in shipping costs. Carriers use the package’s origination location and its destination to determine the total cost of the delivery. This comes down to shipping zones. If your origination or delivery locations are in a higher cost of shipping zone, the transportation will cost more.


Each carrier sets its own rules for package weight, dimensions, contents, etc. So while you might be able to ship one type of good using one carrier, a different product might require a different carrier to obtain the best price and shipping options. Major factors to consider when reviewing a carrier include:

  • Price
  • Weight limits
  • Dimension requirements
  • Parcel contents
  • Care for fragile packages
  • Delivery speed options

Type of Service

The options your carrier offers will impact what you can provide to your customers. Look for a carrier who can handle shipping heavy items with 2-day service, next-day service or overnight. That way, you can offer these options to your customers to keep them happy and meet their needs.

3 Quick Tips for Shipping Heavy Items

Before you begin shipping heavy items, read up on these 3 tips to help you get started.

Properly Package Items

If your package is fragile, make sure to plan for plenty of package padding, which might increase the package dimensions. Regardless of how fragile an item is, you’ll want to protect sharp edges to prevent punctures and protect items during transit. 

You don’t want the box to be so large that your items move around too much, but you also can’t cram the product inside. Make sure you’re packaging the item appropriately to protect it and ensure a good experience for your customer.

Choose a Carrier That Fits Your Needs

Don’t wait until you have a pending order to figure out how you’ll ship a heavy item. If you’re considering introducing a new product that you know will be more challenging to ship, start getting prices early once you know the weight and dimensions. This will prepare you for servicing customers’ needs and for pricing your shipping options accordingly or adding it to your product costs if you plan to offer free shipping. 

Get Insurance

With heavy item shipping, the last thing you need is to experience the loss of a package or damage to packages. However, in the event that you do, everything will work out when you have insurance. You can mitigate risks when purchasing insurance on these expensive packages and ensure that if you have to take a loss on a package, you’ll have the reimbursement to put a replacement product in the mail quickly. 

Shipping insurance is expensive, but when you consider what you get for that service, it’s well worth it to mitigate risk.

Transporting Heavy and Bulky Items

You can offer heavy and bulky items for customers to purchase. You’ll just need a plan for how to transport those goods before listing them for sale. There are many outstanding options when it comes to shipping heavy items. Pay attention to what your main competitors are charging and use their prices to set price points of your own. 


What Is the Cheapest Way To Ship Heavy Items?

Consolidated freight is the cheapest way to ship heavy items. However, pricing ground shipment options with FedEx and UPS can also be beneficial.

Is It Cheaper to Ship Heavy Items UPS or USPS?

Larger items tend to be less expensive to ship via UPS than via USPS. Additionally, the maximum weight for USPS is 70 pounds whereas it’s a maximum of 150 pounds for ground UPS deliveries.

How Much Does It Cost to Ship 100 Pounds?

You can expect to pay about $60 to ship something that weighs 100 pounds with FedEx and UPS.

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