How Ship Heavy and Fragile Items

Please consider the following when shipping heavy objects. Nearly 1 in 5 packages (in my experience) are being destroyed by poor shipping - sometimes even after I have tried to educate the shipper about how to ship heavy objects. So I created this web page. If you fail to properly pack heavy items, the items WILL be damaged or lost in transit.

What is a heavy item? Typically 20 lbs or heavier. But, it could be something as light as a 3 lbs AC power supply in a box of otherwise fragile items (the bull in a china shop).

The problem isn't the Post Office or UPS mishandle heavy packages. It's that shippers don't know how to pack them to survive normal handling practice by the USPS or UPS. In all cases where I received a damaged shipment, the Post Office or UPS would not honor shipping insurance because the shipper failed to meet even basic requirements for proper packing. UPS and FEDEX tend to do a much better job than the USPS. See my comments below regarding this, but it is possible to ship via the USPS safely.

How to package heavy objects

Examples of Destroyed Items I have Received.

Here are some examples damage caused by poor packing.

A note about shippers:

The US Post Office does not deal with heavy packages well. They often drop heavy packages. I think it's because they aren't in the habit of using hand trucks. In some 25 heavy (10 lbs to 30 lbs) boxes I received over the last 2 years from the USPS, 1 in 5 arrived damaged. Unfortunately, insurance didn't help. I have never been able to make a claim on the damage because in every case, it was the shipper's fault for improper packing.

I have never received a damaged box (even poorly packed) from UPS or FedEx. They lost a couple, but never destroyed one for me. I'm sure they destroy packages, and they certainly aren't perfect. But the difference is UPS and FedEx know how to handle and regularly deal with heavy boxes. The US Post Office does not.