All UPS shipping options (reviewed and compared)

This post goes over all UPS shipping options for domestic deliveries, their features, and what differentiates each from the other. We take it a step further by answering some FAQs about UPS shipping.

Whether it’s shipping merchandise to online buyers, delivering a parcel to a friend across town, or any other reason you may want to use the services of a shipping company, UPS offers you a variety of delivery options in their service catalog. Without overthinking, you can easily find a shipping solution that works for you. The company’s options allow you to decide the shipping speed (how fast you want the package delivered) and a price that’s best for you. 

Which of the UPS shipping options is best for you?

When choosing a delivery option for your shipment, there are two major determining factors.

  • Your budget
  • How quickly do you want the package to get to the receiver?

At the end of the day, it’s a matter of whether you fancy a more economical option that lets the company carry out your delivery over a few days, or you’d rather have it delivered ASAP at an advanced fee.

Here’s a list of all UPS shipping options for deliveries within the US without further ado.

Shipping optionDelivery time
UPS Ground1-5 days
UPS 3 Day select2-3 days
UPS 2nd Day Air2 days
UPS Next Day AirNext day 10:30 am – 12 pm
UPS Next Day Air EarlyNext day 8:00 am – 9:30 am
UPS Next Day Air SaverNext day 3 pm – 11 pm
UPS Express CriticalNext day including Sundays

UPS® Ground

Ups® ground is perfect for deliveries that are not urgent. It’s the most cost-effective shipping option in the UPS catalog. With Ups ground, You’re guaranteed delivery within five business days.

Most times, shipments don’t necessarily take up to five days. For instance, a delivery from San Francisco to Reno via UPS® Ground may take just one day since Reno is just four hours away from San Francisco. Notwithstanding, the service guarantees arrival in 1-5 days for any delivery within the United States.

Every UPS® ground shipment is insured for up to $100 by the company (at no extra cost on your part), letting you enjoy peace of mind on your shipment. This is a bonus point that distinguishes UPS from other courier services. However, you’ll need to purchase extra insurance if the package is valued at more than $100.

UPS 2nd day Air®

UPS 2nd Day Air® Guarantees delivery to the 48 contiguous states in the US and Puerto Rico on the second business day.

The earliest delivery time for this option is 10:30 am on the second business day. However, it’s only available for shipments to commercial addresses (business and offices).

You also have the luxury of Saturday delivery to some metropolitan regions (ex. New York). This means that if you’re sending a parcel to New York, and your package was picked up on Thursday, you could expect it to arrive on Saturday.

UPS 3 Day Select®

While UPS® ground is the most cost-effective shipping option, UPS 3 Day Select® is ideal for shippers who still want their parcel delivered quickly without breaking the bank. 

The service offers guaranteed delivery to 48 contiguous states by the end of three business days, including a door-to-door delivery with in-house clearance and a recall policy that allows you to call back your shipment before it arrives.

Delivery is usually by the end of the third business from when your package is picked up but can be sooner if the distance is short. However, UPS doesn’t do this often for 3 Day select as it does with packages sent with UPS® ground.

UPS Next Day Air®

Want your package delivered ASAP? 

UPS Next Day Air service allows you to ship packages overnight. The company offers three different delivery speeds for this.

  • UPS Next Day Air® Saver
  • UPS Next Day Air®
  • UPS Next Day Air® Early

UPS Next Day Air® Saver

The Next Day Air Saver is the cheapest overnight delivery option and guarantees delivery by 3 pm or 4:30 pm of the next business day if you’re shipping to a business or office address and until the end of the day for residential addresses. Keep in mind that “End of Day” can be as late as 11 pm. Next Day Air Saver is good If you want your package delivered urgently but still want to slash costs.

Next Day Air®

Next Day Air (with no other word added) is a “middle of the day” overnight delivery. When you opt for this service, your package arrives at the delivery address between 10:30 am and 12 pm of the next business day. This service is available for almost any location within the US.

Next Day Air® Early

Next Day Air® Early is UPS’s fastest overnight delivery service that guarantees your package arrives early in the morning of the next business day. For most major cities in the US, Next Day Air® Early deliveries arrive no later than 8:00 am, while shipments may take up to 9:30 am for others. However, this service is not available for some destinations. And if it’s not available for your delivery address, you can use any of the other two.

UPS Saturday delivery services

You can have your package delivered on Saturdays with any of the UPS shipping options mentioned so far. However, this is a value-added feature that comes with an extra cost ($16), and you have to request it when you’re booking your shipment specifically. Also, note that it operates only in major metropolitan cities.

UPS Express Critical®: Sunday delivery service

Under normal circumstances, UPS doesn’t carry out shipments on Sundays. However, for urgent deliveries within the US or Puerto Rico, you can get UPS to run on Sundays via UPS Express Critical® (at an extra cost).

FAQs about UPS shipping options

Still, got questions? 

Let’s go over some frequently asked questions on UPS delivery options and our answers for them.

How can I save money on UPS Next Day Air® shipments?

You can save money from UPS shipments by purchasing discounted UPS labels from online shipping software companies. UPS offers special discounts through their UPS Digital Access Program, a partnership program with shipping software companies. 

In some cases, when you purchase your shipping labels from a UPS-affiliated shipping software company, discounts from the UPS Digital Access Program can help you save more than 30% off what you’d normally pay for the same package at a local UPS store.

Which UPS shipping option is best?

There’s no simple answer here. It’s going to depend on how fast you want your package delivered. If it’s an urgent delivery, any UPS Next Day Air® delivery type can make it happen. Still, if you’re not in any rush to get it to the receiver, you’re better off cutting costs shipping with UPS ® Ground, 2nd Day Air®, or 3 Day Select®.

How much does UPS charge for delivery?

UPS does not charge a fixed price. You shouldn’t expect to pay the same amount as the next guy in line. Just like other courier services, you’ll be charged depending on:

  • How far your shipment needs to travel
  • The size — in terms of width and girth.
  • The weight 

The bottom line

At this point, we hope we’ve been able to help you decide on a shipment option that works for you. With the different UPS shipping options, everyone will find the right shipping solution that works for them, considering a mix of their preferred delivery speed and budget. UPS is a leading brand in the shipping industry, so whichever option you choose, you can be sure of a top-notch delivery from the company.