How to Pack and Ship a Cell Phone (FedEx, UPS & USPS)

Whether you are shipping one cell phone or a few dozen cell phones, it’s crucial to ensure they are properly packaged and make it to their destination in one piece. While shipping a cell phone through the mail is generally an easy task, rules and regulations do differ somewhat based on the service you use.

Our shipping guide covers three of the most common shipping carriers — FedEx, UPS, and USPS — and what you’ll need to do in order to properly pack and ship a cell phone using these carriers.

Shipping Instructions

1. Choose a Box or Padded Envelope

To start, choose a sturdy box or padded envelope to ship with. When shipping one or two cell phones, a padded envelope is a great option. If shipping more than a couple cell phones, a rigid box should be used. 

If you do not have access to a box, USPS provides Flat Rate Priority Mail boxes free or charge. Furthermore, flat rate boxes are often the most affordable USPS shipping option. Free flat rate boxes can be ordered online or picked up at your local post office.

FedEx and UPS have speciality cell phone shipping boxes available for purchase. These boxes secure the cell phone in place without additional packaging material and provides an attractive presentation.

2. Safely Package Phones

For protecting the phone itself, bubble wrap is the best option. Two layers provide full coverage and an extra layer to act as a buffer if the bubbles start to pop. Wrap securely around the width of the phone and secure the sheets to themselves with tape.

Lastly, pack the box full with filler to help absorb energy and prevent jostling during transit. Packing peanuts is the obvious choice, though crumpled newspaper will also work.

3. Choose a Shipping Carrier

Once the cell phone is packaged and ready to ship, it’s time to choose a carrier. The most common carriers for shipping cell phones are FedEx, UPS and USPS.

Shipping Cell Phones With FedEx

FedEx is generally both the quickest and most expensive option for shipping a cell phone. They have a very accurate tracking system that gives a clear idea of the status of shipments and offers Saturday delivery as part of their standard shipping packages.

Shipping a cell phone with FedEx will generally start around $15 for ground and upwards of $50 for overnight shipping.

Shipping Cell Phones With UPS

UPS offers a great amount of reliability and security. Many online stores opt for UPS’s services due to their comprehensive tracking system and the reliability.

UPS Ground is a great choice if time is not an issue and your recipient doesn’t mind waiting a little longer. Shipping a single cell phone with UPS ground will generally start around $10 and take around 5 business days for delivery.

Shipping Cell Phones With USPS

USPS has the benefit of usually costing the least among these three options. Given that a cell phone is fairly light, the First Class Mail option is likely to be what you want to use, as it will only cost around $4 to send anything under 13 ounces in weight. 

Like other options, you can easily buy and print shipping labels online through the USPS website. As an added benefit, USPS provides free shipping supplies, allowing you to get a Small Flat Rate Priority Mail box which is perfectly sized for a cell phone and costs around $8 to ship.

However, USPS shipping times can be more inconsistent than UPS or FedEx. Minimum shipping time with their services tends to be around three days to a week for mail within the contiguous United States.

4. Affix a Surface Transportation Only Label.

Due to shipping regulations, you should include a surface transportation only label on the outside of the package.

5. Affix Postage and Ship Your Package

When choosing to buy and print postage at home through the computer, your biggest hurdle for a successful shipment will likely be finding the correct weight for your package. For most basic shipping tasks, a kitchen scale will more than suffice when it comes to delivering an accurate reading. 

When calculating the weight, remember to use the entire weight of the package, not just the items inside. It’s also a good idea to round up to the nearest ounce when shipping to avoid any issues.

If you don’t have access to a scale and are shipping with USPS, Priority Mail Flat Rate boxes are not required to be weighed: if it fits, it ships, for one flat rate. 

If you don’t have access to a scale and are shipping with FedEx or UPS, you can take your cell phone and package to your local shipping center for help weighing and packaging your device.

Shipping Tips

Batteries: Do not remove a phone’s battery before shipping. While this may seem like the smart move, it’s actually the opposite. As long as the battery is inside a phone, it will stay grounded. Unless there is a problem with your battery that would present danger while it’s inside (in which case, you may not want to ship the battery at all), keep your battery within the phone and the phone fully assembled before shipping to prevent a fire hazard and potential injuries. It should also go without saying that your phone should be turned off before shipping, as well.

iPhones: Before shipping your iPhone be sure to turn off Find My iPhone. By turning off Find My iPhone, it makes it easier for your iPhone to be erased, recycled or reused.  

Android: Before shipping your Android Smartphone be sure to remove your Google and Samsung Account. By removing your Google and Samsung account, it makes your cell phone easier to be erased, recycled or reused. 

Ask for Help: You can call, text or email Big Sky Recycling if you have questions about recycling, packing or shipping cell phones.

Small Donations Make a Big Impact!