What is the Typical Mailing Letter Size?
Having a good understanding of the US Postal Service (USPS) specs on mail sizes will help you determine which size is right for your mailing. There are many options and choosing the proper size will determine whether you get your mailing to the post office on time. Using the wrong size will cost you money and could cause delays in shipping your items. The USPS defines mail sizes based on the type of piece. The specifications are labeled, so they are easy to understand. The USPS also has a price list page.
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The standard letter size is 8.5 inches by 11 inches. This size is ideal for long-form sales letters, newsletters, and notices. It is also perfect for nonprofit organizations that need to convey a lot of information. It is also a good choice for notices since it allows for double-sided printing. The USPS recommends using light colors for legibility. The letter may be folded or mailed in an envelope.
The standard postcard size is 6″ by 9″. These postcards are mailed at a lower postage rate than regular mail. These postcards are mailed at the Presorted First Class rate. They do not qualify for the Marketing Mail price break. However, they do qualify for special direct mail postage rates. If you are mailing postcards to customers, you may want to take advantage of the USPS Marketing Mail service. If you are mailing postcards to customers in other countries, you will also need to pay for extra postage.
The USPS defines parcels as mailpieces with contents that cannot bend or deform. The USPS also defines these mailpieces as “nonmachinable” pieces, which means you will need to pay a nonmachinable surcharge. The maximum thickness of parcels is 1/4″. However, the thickness may vary by up to a quarter of an inch. This allows the parcel to go through postal sorting equipment. If it is more than 1/4 inch thick, it will be returned to the originator for re-enveloping.
The USPS also defines flats as mail pieces that are too large to be postcards. Flats are rectangular or square. Flats are also called newsletters. Flats are not machinable. They are usually more than 1/4 inch thick. However, the Post Office defines a flat as 10 1/2 inches for Every Door Direct Mail.
The USPS also defines postcards as mail pieces that are more than 5 inches long and more than 3 inches wide. The minimum dimensions of a postcard are 0.007 inches thick and a maximum of 4 inches high. A postcard may be rectangular or square. Postcards may also have finished corners up to a 1/8-inch radius. A postcard may be mailed as a letter or as a package. The Postalytics website provides a full specification for portrait postcards.
The USPS also defines a card as a mail piece that is 5″ long and a minimum of 0.016 inches thick. A card may also be folded or mailed in an envelope. Card mailpieces are not machinable, so you will need to pay the nonmachinable surcharge.