Shipping Gadgets Using FedEx, UPS, or USPS? Which One is "Rougher"?

It is the holiday buying season which means that mobile gadget fans are either having gadgets shipped to them or shipping gadgets to someone. Most shipping services do a reasonably good job of getting packages delivered during this incredibly busy shipping period. The question is: How much abuse do these packages take during the shipping process? Popular Mechanics tried to get this information by teaming with National Instruments to ship packages containing self-powered data loggers from New York to Santa Monica via FedEx, UPS, and USPS. The looked for acceleration spikes over 6-g’s (rough treatment) as well as counted package flips (number of position changes).

Which Shipping Company is Kindest to Your Packages?

USPS led the way with the most flips (12.5). FedEx and UPS were at 7 and 4, respectively. However, USPS had the fewest acceleration spikes over 6-g’s (0.5) compared to FedEx’s 3.1 and UPS’ 2. Temperature ranges for all delivery firms were in the 50(ish) to 80 degree (F) range. The differences are a bit surprising since it turns out that USPS uses FedEx for Express Mail air shipment.

One of Popular Mechanics’ surprising findings is that packages labeled “Fragile” or “This Side Up” received rougher treatment than packages that were not so labeled.