FedEx vs UPS: Which Shipping Carrier is Better for Online Stores?

FedEx vs UPS: Which Shipping Carrier is Better for Online Stores?

FedEx and UPS are shipping giants who are among the key players in the shipping world. Finding the most suitable one among these two is indeed difficult. Deciding which among FedEx and UPS is an ideal choice for your online store needs to be analyzed by comparing their delivery speed, their promptness, their tracking services, etc. Hence let’s take a look at the features and services of both to get to know more about these shipping carriers.

FedEx Vs UPS

FedEx and UPS are flawless when it comes to shipping services. They have the best in class tracking systems and faster services than the local systems. Both offer express courier services that are reliable. So is FedEx better or UPS? Is FedEx cheaper or UPS? Who among them is better at providing service? Who among them is more reliable?

So here we take a look at these two competitors and find out how different they are. In order to find out the same, we are comparing the shipping rates for small packages in different scenarios such as:

  • cross-country domestic shipping between cities
  • cross-country domestic shipping between rural areas
  • International shipping
  • and shipping to nearby places

Let us check these parameters 

FedEx Domestic and International

Weight of the package : 3 lbs

Package Dimension: 13” x 12” x 2”  for a normal medium-sized FedEx box.

Fees do not include the tax and pick-up charges. For FedEx, regardless of shipping domestic or international, the volumetric weight for the 13” x 12” x 2” box is 3 lbs

UPS Domestic and International

In the case of UPS, they use different volumetric weight formulas when they are shipping domestically and internationally.

UPS Domestic :

The volumetric weight of the package: 2 lbs

Package Dimension :13” x 12” x 2” 

UPS International

Volumetric weight of the package : 3 lbs

Package Dimension :13” x 12” x 2” 

Conclusion: Hence, when you are planning to ship something that is weighing 2lbs domestically, UPS gives you a better rate as compared to FedEx.

FedEx vs UPS – Cross-country domestic shipping rates

If you are shipping between major cities like San Francisco to NewYork, here are some retail rates including the fuel surcharges. These are the charges and the estimated delivery date for the shipment using both FedEx and UPS services.

Rates for a 3 lbs package, with dimension 13″ x 12″ x 2″ from San Francisco to New York.

Shipping serviceServiceDelivery TimeCost (Retail) in USD
UPSNext Day Air Early1 Day$121.22
FedExFirst Overnight1 Day$120.27
UPSNext Day Air1 Day$89.64
FedExPriority Overnight1 Day$88.18
UPSNext Day Air Saver1 Day$81.61
FedExStandard Overnight1 Day$80.26
UPS2nd Day Air AM2 Days$45.25
FedEx2 Day 2 AM2 Days$44.51
UPS2nd Day Air2 Days$39.52
FedEx2 Day2 Days$38.86
UPS3 Day Select3 Days$32.03
FedExExpress Saver3 Days$31.52
UPSGround7 Days$15.41
FedExGround3 – 6 Working Days

Conclusion: As you see in the table, both services offer similar rates, as well as time-sensitive services. But if you see the table above, then FedEx’s rates are cheaper as compared to UPS when you are shipping a small package cross-country.

FedEx vs UPS– Cross-country domestic shipping rates when shipping between rural areas

Shipping in cities, you are likely to get the items shipped in a short period. But when you consider shipping to rural areas, these shipping carriers are gonna add some additional charges on the same. When it comes to last-mile delivery, the shipping costs may vary a little. Let’s see how the charges are while shipping small packages to rural areas, like for example, if you are shipping from California to Maine.

Rates for 3 lbs package with dimension 13″ x 12″ x 2″ 

Shipping carrierServiceDelivery TimeCost (Retail) in USD
UPSNext Day Air EarlyOne Day$123.90
FedExFirst Overnight
UPSNext Day Air2 Days$92.33
FedExPriority Overnight2 Days$90.87
UPS2nd Day Air3 Days$42.21
FedEx2 Day3 Days$41.56
UPS3 Day Select3-4 Days$34.71
FedExExpress Saver3-4 Days$34.21
UPSGround5-7 Working Days$16.91
FedExGround3 – 6 Working Days

As you can see in the table above, the rates don’t seem to be expensive. Most of the rates mentioned are inclusive of fuel surcharges and delivery to remote areas. But again, as you can see, to remote areas, the services are quite less. This is why both UPS and FedEX look out for USPS services to extend their reach to remote areas. Both these services make use of USPS for their major last-mile delivery. This way, it combines the speed of their services and the efficiency and reachability of USPS to keep their customers satisfied.

Conclusion: Hence, as per the table above, you can see that FedEx provides a cheaper rate as compared to UPS.

FedEx vs UPS Shipping Rates for Short Distances

Delivering to a shorter distance is much more crucial when it comes to shipping charges. Let’s take a look at the shipping rates, as per these shipping giants in the table below. Here we consider shipping rates to shorter distances like from Los Angeles to Las Vegas for a package weighing 3 lbs with dimensions 13″ x 12″ x 2″.

UPS/FedExServiceEstimated Delivery TimeCost in USD
UPSNext Day Air Early1-2 Days$80.59
FedExFirst Overnight1-2 Days$81.48
UPSNext Day Air1-2 Days$49.01
FedExPriority Overnight1-2 Days$48.93
UPSNext Day Air Saver1-2 Days$41.63
FedExStandard Overnight1-2 Days$41.53
UPS2nd Day Air AM1-3 Days
FedEx2 Day 2 AM1-3 Days$22.79
UPS2nd Day Air1-3 Days
FedEx2 Day1-3 Days$19.90
UPS3 Day Select2-4 Days
FedExExpress Saver2-4 Days$17.43
UPSGround5-7 Working Days$10.17
FedExGround3 – 6 Working Days


Conclusion: As you can see, the rates are quite close by, with not much difference when it comes to a short distance. But again, FedEx offers the cheaper service and they offer much more services as compared to UPS when you are sending smaller packages.

FedEx vs UPS– When Shipping Internationally

Let’s look through the charges when you are planning to ship a package weighing 3 lbs with dimensions 13″ x 12″ x 2″, from San Francisco to London with these shipping carriers.

Shipping ServiceServiceEstimated Delivery TimeCost (Retail) in USD
UPSWorldwide Express2-3 Days$180.72
FedExInternational First2-3 Days$181.80
UPSWorldwide Express Plus2-3 Days$138.62
FedExInternational Priority2-3 Days$133.15
UPSWorldwide Saver2-3 Days$135.37
UPSWorldwide Expedited4-6 Days$125.50
FedExInternational Economy4-6 Days$123.42


Conclusion: As you can see in the above table, FedEx has cheaper options when compared to UPS for international shipping too.

FedEx vs UPS: Which is better?

Both UPS and FedEx have numerous services that are flawless when it comes to tracking as well as delivering the items to any location, be it near or far. When it comes to reliability, services and promptness, both these services are up to the mark. However, you can see that FedEx offers the cheapest options as compared to UPS in all the above examples. However, you need to choose the services based on the number of service options you are offered when it comes to shipping to any location irrespective of whether it is local or international.

If you want to include the services simultaneously in your store and let the customer decide which one to choose, then the ideal way is to make use of the EasyPost shipping plugin. The ELEX EasyPost Shipping plugin lets you include both these shipping options while displaying the shipping rates in the cart and checkout pages. This way, depending on the weight and dimension of the package, you get to see the shipping rates, the estimated delivery dates, etc.

Don’t forget to check out the plugin product page for more details.

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