Postage ChoiceProsCons
Stamps
  • No commitment
  • Less Equipment needed
  • Gas
  • Time
  • Waiting in line at post office
  • Need new stamps with rate change 
  • No commercial discounts
Online Postage
  • Expense tracking available
  • No contract required
  • Print both address and postage (Although at different times)
  • Ability to print shipping labels
  • add company logo or message to stamps and labels
  • ​automatic rate change updates
  • requires dedicated label printer
  • must purchase proprietary labels
  • need digital scale
  • must print postage in sheets
  • easy to misplace preprinted stamps sheets
  • 10-step process to log in and print postage
  • printing on envelopes or label sheets can be a frustrating experience with some printers
  • Fees for extra users
  • Credit card required
  • Difficult to cancel
Postage Meters
  • Expense tracking available
  • automatic rate change updates
  • print postage in seconds
  • Free credit for postage advances 
  • weigh, calculate and print postage on same device
  • Not server dependant
  • Lease or rental contract required
  • Does not print addresses
  • Not WiFi enabled
  • ​Must use online service to print shipping labels


Why should I choose a postage Meter or Online Postage over stamps?

Questions and Answers

​​There are a few things you should consider to help choose what you need for your mailing needs. 


Mailing System Type
LowMid
High
Typical Monthly Postage Useless than $500$500-$5000More than $5000
Equipment Speed15-45 Letters/ Min50-180 Letters/ Min70-310 Letters/Min
FeedingHand FeedHand or Auto feedAuto feed
SealingMany ModelsIncludedIncluded
Meter Tapes for Oversized ItemsStrip Tape Sheets Strip Tape DispenserStrip Tape or Roll Tape Dispenser
Weighing (External Scale)2-10 lbs2-49 lbs2-149 lbs
Weighing (Internal Scale)N/AOptionalOptional
Postal AccountingSummary Info OnlySummary or Transaction levelSummary or transaction level
Additional Printing CapabilitySimple Meter Ads and EndorsementsSimple Meter Ads and EndorsementsOptional: Customized Return Address and Graphics Printing. 
Space requirements(LxWxH)Less than 29"x18"x13"30"x15"x12" to 80"x25"x24"

58"x23"x33" to

104"x23"x33"

Typical Supply Cost Ink and Tape (Per Impression)

Ink: $.01-.06

Tape: $.05-.13

Ink: $.003-.03

Tape: $.04-.08

Ink: $.003-.005

Tape: $.01-.04

Typical Monthly Lease Price$20-125$125-500More than $500


Why should I use a postage meter instead?

Are those the only differences?

What is a postage Meter, and what does it do?


No, those aren't the only differences. In fact, there are more. 


Postage ChoicePostage MetersOnline PostageStamps
Available24/724/7Post office hours
Equipment NeededPostage meter with integrated scaleComputer, Printer, Digital ScaleStockpile of stamps in different denominations, digital scale, rate charts
SuppliesInk cartridges, labelsInk cartridges, labelsGas for Transportation to Post Office, Staff Time
Discounts on USPS RatesYesYesNo
Postal Fund ManagementCredit Extension availableCredit card requiredCash/ credit at the post office
Postal ExpenseTrackingYes, Postal expense app available


Yes

Individual paper receipts from USPS
Free TrialsYesYesN/A
USPS Extra Services Available (eSignature confirmation, return receipt...)Yes, with discounts included on meters with internet connectivityYes, with discountsYes, discounted online only
USPS rate changesAutomatic downloadAutomaticYou need to know about the changes


There are a few different qualifications for parcels. A parcel must be at least three inches by six inches, by 1/4 inches. However, that doesn't apply to standard parcel, and Parcel select. A parcel cannot be over 108 inches in length and girth, which is the measurement at the thickest part of the package, and a weight limit of seventy pounds. However, if the parcel is machinable, it is only twenty-five pounds. With Standard parcel and Parcel select, the 108 inch limit is raised to 130 inches, with oversized pricing, with a weight of six ounces to twenty-five pounds, except for Parcel select and Parcel return service, with the exception of books or other printed matter, which cannot exceed 25 pounds. If a parcel is large, but under twenty pounds, it will be charged the twenty pound parcel price. If a parcel is over 108 inches, but under 130 inches, they will be charged the oversized price. 

Alright, but what is a parcel, and what's it's qualifications?

Intelligent mail Package Barcode (IMPB) labels are essentially just a way to give the USPS critical information, offers the ability to track parcels from start to final delivery, and includes from nine to eleven scans throughout the process. The USPS uses the data from the labels to expedite delivery, and to reduce costs. With an IMPB label, you will have complete freedom to see where your packages are, as well as free insurance ($50 on Priority Mail, $100 on Priority Mail Express). You will also qualify for Commercial Base pricing (CBP), which offers even more savings. The IMPB labels also offer some of what major competitors do, without being charged the full retail price. The IMPB labels are only able to be used for parcels and flats, so meters are not completely gone yet. In addition, IMpb labels do not extend outside of the US.

What are these IMpb labels I've been hearing about?

More Questions? Send them to us!

What else is there in addition to meters?

In addition to Postage Meters, there are folder/Inserters. These fold papers, and stuff envelopes quickly, easily, and productively. There are Tabbing Systems, which can be used for mail that doesn't use an envelope. Also, Mail Machines and systems can help organize outgoing communications. They are categorized into three main categories: Output Management Solutions, Shipping Solutions, and Mail Preparation and address hygiene. Also, there are address printers, eliminating the need for preprinted envelopes. 

How should I choose which Meter I need?

​Postage meters have the pros you can see above, as well as some more. Postage Meters are more convenient than trips to the post office, and offer what the rate is, eliminating the need for charts and memorizing. Not to mention, time is saved, due to no trips, or waiting in line. Without stamps, the time that would have otherwise been spent on applying stamps to a stack of envelopes could be used for something more useful. A meter can run through a stack of letters much faster than applying them by hand. The supply will always be there, in comparison to stamps, which could run out if someone forgot to check. With a scale to accurately weigh and assign postage, you only need that which is printed on the envelope, and no more. As you don't need more than one stamp, you can save money, an average of 15% over retail prices. Also, there is a 1¢ discount on every first class letter. Without stamps, worrying about missing or damaged stamps, ones that were paid for, is no longer needed. Meters are able to count how much is spent on postage, helping with accounting, easing and speeding the budgeting. With metered tapes, packages, tubes, and and large, flat envelopes are able to be professionally apply the exact postage needed, as opposed to covering the package in stamps. Envelopes can make an impression on customers, and if your envelope is clean, without multiple stamps that might be crooked, than they could be slightly impressed by how nice your envelope is, perhaps reflecting back on the company. And, with the ability to print logos, your envelopes can become a way to advertise. Envelope marketing is a good idea, after all. 

A Postage Meter is a machine that applies official USPS postage to mailable items. This could include envelopes, labels for packaging, or postcards. It is a safe way to purchase, store and monitor postage, as it requires a pin to use. The postage comes from the USPS, imprinting the amount of postage, functioning as stamp, a cancellation and dated postmark. The Imprint, or indicia, has a barcode, to prevent "counterfeit" mail.