What are Regional Rate Boxes? How Do I Use Them?

Updated 01/19/2016
Regional C Box Desk

USPS, as an incentive to use its Priority Mail services, offers free Priority Mail branded boxes. There are three kinds of Priority boxes with different associated pricing schemes:

  • Regular - priced by weight and distance (Measured by “Zone” with Zone 1 being local, Zone 8 all the way across the country, and Zone 9 which may be somewhere very distant like a US territory)
  • Flat - same price no matter the weight or distance
  • Regional - priced by distance and as if a fixed weight
  • You can also provide your own, “brown” boxes to ship Priority mail, but only at the regular Priority rate. In order to get Flat or Regional rates, you must use the branded boxes provided by USPS for the specific special rate.

Regional Rate Pricing - priced at a fixed weight, variable by distance

  • Price varies by distance - closer is cheaper
  • However, always priced as if a fixed weight even if the actual weight is more (or less!)

There are two different Regional box rates: A & B

  • Regional A boxes allow you to ship a 1 - 15 lb package at the price of a 2 lb package.
  • Remember: USPS always rounds weights up to the next pound.
    14.9lbs = 15 lbs, 15.0 lbs = 15 lbs, but 15.1 lbs is 16 lbs.
  • This means using a Regular rate box or your own “brown” box at the Regular rate to ship a 1 lb package would be cheaper than using a Regional A box, a 2 lb package would be the same cost, and a 3 - 15lb package would ship cheaper Regional A rate. If your package is over 15 lbs, you can’t use a Regional A box.

Package weight

Regional Rate A

Regular Priority Rate

1 lb

X

Cheaper

2 lb

Same

Same

3-15 lb

Cheaper

X

>15lb

Can’t use

Can use

  • Regional B boxes allow you to ship a 1-20 lb package at the price of a 4 lb one
  • Again, this means Regular rate is cheaper for 1-3 lb packages, the same price for 4 lb packages, and more expensive for 5-20 lb packages. Packages over 20 lbs can’t be shipped in a Regional B box.

Package weight

Regional Rate B

Regular Priority Rate

1-3 lb

X

Cheaper

4 lb

Same

Same

5-20 lb

Cheaper

X

> 20 lb

Can’t use

Can use

  • Regional C boxes. There used to be a third regional rate box, Regional C, but it was discontinued by the USPS in January 2016.

Multiple Regional Box Sizes

To make things slightly more interesting, there are actually two different sizes of both A and B boxes.
Top Load Style
Regional Box A1
Side Load Style
Regional Box A2
  • Regional A boxes come in two sizes, A1 and A2
  • A1 is a top-loading box, 10" x 7" x 4-3/4"
  • A2 is a side-loading box, 10-15/16" x 2-3/8" x 12-13/16"
  • Both sizes ship at the same rate, and have the same weight limit of 15 lbs
  • Regional B boxes also come in two sizes, B1 and B2
  • B1 is a top-loading box, 12" x 10-1/4" x 5"
  • B2 is a side-loading box, 14-3/8" x 2-7/8" x 15-7/8"
  • Again, both sizes ship at the same rate, with the 20lb upper weight limit

How to get Regional Boxes

You have to order Regional boxes directly from USPS.com. The boxes, including shipping, are free.

Links to the boxes on USPS.com:

How to use Regional Boxes with eBay

  • When you list on eBay, the regional boxes aren’t options for calculated shipping, but you can just choose calculated Priority and enter 2, or 4 lbs. as the weight for box A, or B, respectively. (Note that if you also offer international shipping outside of the GSP, you cannot use this method because the calculated international shipping will be incorrect. Unfortunately, there is no good solution to this issue.)
  • You can print the postage for Box A and B from eBay labels, USPS.com, or from a shipping label service like FitShipper.com.
  • Paypal shipping doesn't support regional rate postage.
  • eBay Top Rated Sellers get Commercial Plus discounted rates through eBay labels.
    • However, Regional rate boxes are not further discounted under Commercial Plus pricing.
    • So, the discount on Commercial Plus Regular and Flat Rate pricing cause the "rules" for when Regional Rate is the cheaper option to stop working.
    • Example: for a 7 lb package going to Zone 3, Regular rate is cheaper than Regional B, but to Zones 1, 2, 4 and 5 Regional B is cheaper. (And, if you want to get really into it, a Medium Flat Rate Box to Zones 6-9 is cheaper than Regional B).

This is too complicated. Is there an easier way to figure out when I should use a Regional Rate box?

Yes! FitShipper will figure out the cheapest way to ship your item. It knows about Regional vs Flat vs Regular rate, Top Rated Seller discounts, and even compares Fedex and UPS prices. Punch in your item dimensions and some zip codes, and FitShipper will crunch all the numbers for you.

(It's still good to have a basic understanding of how the different options work, but we don't think you should need to be a walking shipping encyclopedia to sell stuff online.)