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

Whether you need to ship a single cell phone or a larger quantity, it is essential to package them securely to ensure safe arrival at their destination. While shipping cell phones through the mail is typically straightforward, it’s important to be aware of the specific rules and regulations associated with different shipping carriers.

Our shipping guide focuses on three major shipping carriers: FedEx, UPS, and USPS. This guide will provide you with the necessary information on how to properly pack and ship cell phones using these carriers.

Shipping Instructions

1. Choose a Box or Padded Envelope

When preparing to ship cell phones, it’s crucial to select an appropriate packaging option to ensure their safe transportation. Consider the following guidelines:

a) For shipping one or two cell phones, a padded envelope is a suitable choice. Padded envelopes provide a layer of cushioning and protection for the devices. Make sure the envelope is sturdy enough to withstand the rigors of the shipping process.

b) When shipping more than a couple of cell phones, it is recommended to use a rigid box. A sturdy box provides better protection against potential impacts during transit. Ensure the box is of appropriate size to accommodate the cell phones securely without excessive movement.

If you don’t have access to a suitable box, USPS offers a range of boxes and shipping supplies that can be conveniently ordered online or obtained from your local post office.

Both FedEx and UPS provide specialty cell phone shipping boxes that are specifically designed to secure cell phones in place without the need for additional packaging material. These specialized boxes not only offer enhanced protection but also present a professional and attractive appearance for the shipped items.

2. Safely Package Phones

When packaging cell phones for shipping, it’s crucial to prioritize their protection to minimize the risk of damage. Follow these steps to safely package cell phones:

a) Start by wrapping each phone individually in bubble wrap. Bubble wrap provides excellent cushioning and protection against impacts. Wrap the bubble wrap securely around the width of the phone, and use tape to secure the sheets to themselves, ensuring a snug and protective fit.

b) Next, ensure the shipping box is properly filled to minimize movement and absorb any energy during transit. Packing peanuts are an ideal choice for filling the box, as they provide effective cushioning. Alternatively, crumpled newspaper can be used as a substitute if packing peanuts are not available. Fill the box to its capacity, ensuring that the cell phones are tightly surrounded by the packing material and cannot shift or jostle during transportation.

By following these packaging guidelines, you can significantly reduce the risk of damage to the cell phones during shipping.

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 known for its fast delivery times, but it is also typically the most expensive option for shipping a cell phone. However, the higher cost is justified by the quick and reliable service they provide.

If speed is a priority and cost is less of a concern, FedEx offers excellent options for shipping cell phones. Their accurate tracking system provides real-time updates on shipment status, ensuring transparency throughout the delivery process. Additionally, FedEx includes Saturday delivery as part of their standard shipping packages, offering added convenience to both senders and recipients.

When using FedEx, the cost of shipping a cell phone will vary depending on the chosen service. FedEx Ground is a reliable and cost-effective option, with prices starting around $15. On the other hand, if you require overnight shipping for urgent deliveries, expect the cost to be upwards of $50.

By utilizing FedEx’s efficient services, you can rely on their quick delivery times, accurate tracking, and convenient options to ship cell phones securely and promptly.

Shipping Cell Phones With UPS

UPS provides excellent reliability and security, making it a preferred choice for many online stores. Their comprehensive tracking system and overall reliability make them a trusted option for shipping cell phones.

For cell phone shipments where time is not a significant factor and the recipient is comfortable with a slightly longer delivery period, UPS Ground is an ideal choice. Shipping a single cell phone with UPS Ground typically starts at around $10 and takes approximately 5 business days for delivery.

By opting for UPS, you can benefit from their reliable services and comprehensive tracking system to ensure the safe and timely delivery of your cell phone.

Shipping Cell Phones With USPS

USPS is a cost-effective option for shipping cell phones, especially considering their relatively light weight. The recommended service to use is USPS Ground Advantage, starting at only $4.75.

Important Update: As of July 9th, 2023, USPS has classified cell phones as hazardous material (HAZMAT). To comply with the new guidelines, when printing a shipping label from, you must answer “YES” when prompted with the question: “Are you shipping dangerous goods or hazardous materials?” Additionally, you will be asked to select a category of hazmat material. For used cell phones, select “Class 9 – lithium battery – returns package – used electronic devices containing or packaged with lithium batteries.”

Due to these updated USPS guidelines, it is essential to ship cell phones using USPS Ground Advantage service and not the Priority Mail service or in Priority Mail boxes.

Please keep in mind that shipping times with USPS can be more inconsistent compared to UPS or FedEx. The minimum shipping time for USPS services within the United States tends to range from two days to a week.

4. Affix a Surface Transportation Only Label.

To comply with shipping regulations, it is advisable to affix a surface transportation only label on the exterior of the package. This label helps ensure that the package is handled appropriately during transit.

In case you don’t have access to a printer, many carriers offer the option to obtain a free copy of this label. Reach out to the carrier’s customer service or visit their local branch to inquire about obtaining a surface transportation only label. They will be able to assist you in providing the necessary label.

Remember to place the label prominently on the package where it can be easily seen and read by the carrier personnel handling the shipment.

5. Purchase Postage and Ship Your Package

If you choose to purchase and print postage at home using a computer, the most critical aspect will be accurately determining the weight of your package. For most standard shipping needs, a kitchen scale is sufficient to provide an accurate weight reading. Ensure you weigh the entire package, including the cell phone(s) and packaging materials. It is advisable to round up to the nearest ounce to avoid any potential issues during shipping.

In case you don’t have access to a scale, you can visit your local shipping center or post office for assistance. They can help weigh your cell phone(s) accurately, ensuring the correct postage is applied.

Once you have determined the weight and affixed the correct postage, ensure that all necessary shipping labels, including the carrier-specific labels, are securely attached to the package. Double-check that the recipient’s address and your return address are clearly visible and accurate.

When shipping through USPS, you can schedule a pickup if you have pre-printed postage labels. Alternatively, drop off your package at your nearest USPS, FedEx, or UPS drop-off location, depending on the carrier you are using.

Remember to ensure accurate weight measurement, appropriate postage, and secure attachment of all required labels to facilitate a smooth and successful shipment.

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. It’s very important to ensure that battery terminals are not exposed. Cell phones are designed to keep batteries grounded when attached, so don’t disconnect or remove batteries. Furthermore, do not ship loose or damaged batteries (for example, a battery that is punctured, leaking or too hot to touch). Go to or call 877-723-1297 to find a local battery drop off location.

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.

Updated: July 9th, 2023

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