Computers, tablets and other electronic equipment are an essential aspect of modern daily life. If you need to ship computers or electronics, you may be considering the best courier services that will safeguard your electronics while still being cost-effective. As computers are delicate pieces of technology, it is essential to choose the right shipping method and pack your electronics with the utmost care to prevent potential damage.
The Pros and Cons of Parcel Shipping
Parcel shipping is when you use a courier service, such as the United States Postal Service (USPS), United Parcel Service (UPS) or FedEx, to ship an item. Shipping electronics USPS or through another carrier is a fairly inexpensive and dependable shipping method. While you can ship a computer through USPS and other carriers, you should consider the pros and cons of parcel shipping to determine if it is right for you.
Pros of Parcel Shipping
Parcel shipping is a reliable way to ship various items both nationwide and internationally. Parcel shipping may be ideal if you are looking to mail out standard electronic equipment. Those looking to send standard computers or a small number of electronics may find that parcel shipping is ideal for their needs. Some of the most popular benefits of parcel shipping include:
- Easy tracking
- Fast delivery
Cons of Parcel Shipping
While parcel shipping can be an excellent way to send electronic equipment, more delicate equipment or custom builds may experience more issues or damage because of the frequent changing of hands throughout the transit process. Parcel shipping also may not be ideal if you are looking to send many separate electronics. Some cons of parcel shipping to consider include:
- Additional opportunities for damage
- Insurance not covering damage
- Possible difficulty with proper packing
How Do You Pack Electronic Equipment for Shipping?
When packaging electronic equipment, adding plenty of cushioning and protection is key. One of the best ways to ship a computer is to utilize the original packaging, ensuring that the contents of the package are fully secure and stabilized to prevent any movement or damage during transit. You can pack a computer using various cushioning materials to protect against potential damage during shipment.
Some packaging requirements may vary, depending on if you plan to ship the equipment domestically or internationally. If you plan to ship a computer internationally, you can send the package through a customs clearance checkpoint. To ensure that your package reaches its destination, it is essential to follow all recommended guidelines when shipping electronic equipment, especially if the equipment has a battery. You can ship a computer safely by following these best practices:
- Use the original packaging: Computers are best shipped in their original box, which provides an excellent layer of protection. If you send a new computer, you can utilize the existing packaging and protection when mailing the computer. Using the original computer packaging can help save on packing materials and provide adequate protection for delicate electronic equipment. Even if you are shipping a computer that is not new but still in the original box, we generally recommend using the original packaging.
- Use a larger shipping box: For an additional layer of protection, you will want a slightly larger box than the original computer packaging. You can place the original packaging into the larger shipping box for safe traveling. Bubble wrap and packing peanuts can stabilize the computer box within the larger box during shipment.
- Add cushioning materials: There are numerous cushioning materials available for shipping electronics internationally or domestically. You can use bubble wrap, air pillows, styrofoam sheets, packing peanuts, foam blocks and more to secure fragile electronic equipment for shipment. When using cushioning materials, be sure to stabilize delicate equipment without causing equipment stress or too much pressure.
- Tape the seams: Taping the original box and the outer shipping box is essential when packing a computer for secure shipping You can apply tape along the box’s seams to prevent any possibility of the box jostling open during shipment.
Consider Which Company You Will Ship Through
There are numerous companies to consider when shipping electronic equipment, including FedEx, UPS, Army post offices (APOs) and fleet post offices (FPOs). FedEx and UPS provide some of the most cost-effective shipping options available. On the other hand, the U.S. Post Service offers free Saturday delivery and shipping to APOS, FPOs and post-office boxes.
Another benefit of shipping through FedEx and UPS is that both companies provide in-depth tracking services to monitor your shipment’s progress. FedEx and UPS also score highly on various customer satisfaction and customer service surveys. While FedEx and UPS offer cost-effective shipping methods, their delivery times, shipping options and service fees vary greatly. One provider may be more cost-effective for smaller parcels, with another company being a better option for larger parcels.
Other Shipping Methods
There are numerous alternative shipping methods to consider when shipping electronics. The shipping method you choose will vary depending on how many packages you may need to ship. In some cases, it may be more cost-effective to replace a computer or electronic equipment rather than relocate it. We generally recommend replacement if the shipping costs are higher than that of the replacement. In addition to parcel shipping, you may want to consider:
- Transporting yourself: If possible, you may want to consider transporting your computer or electronic equipment yourself. Transporting your electronic equipment is generally best for custom builds that may be difficult to package effectively. Many internal components of a computer may require special care and not be suited to traveling long distances. Transporting electronic equipment yourself can minimize the risk of damage.
- Rideshare/peer-to-peer shipping: These services are when you compensate someone traveling in the same direction that your equipment needs to travel. Peer-to-peer shipping has similar benefits to transporting electronics yourself, as it can minimize potential risks associated with parcel shipping.
- Consolidated freight: Consolidated freight shipping is when your equipment shares truck space with shipments from other people sending their equipment in the same direction. With consolidated freight, you only pay for the area that your equipment occupies on the truck.
What About Shipping Through Air?
You can ship electronics internationally through air shipping. While air shipping can be convenient, it is essential to protect your electronic equipment from overheating, which can be more likely with air shipping. To prevent overheating, be sure to power down your electronic equipment for transit.
Air travel increases heat and static electricity, posing a risk for potential damage to lithium-ion batteries inside laptops. You will need to check that your package meets all regulations for shipping a parcel with lithium-ion batteries and affix any required notices or labels to the outside of the box. As with any package, using an adequate amount of cushioning materials is essential.
OSHA, EPA and Hazardous Materials Shipping Training
Please not that this guide does NOT replace the training and certification you will need in order to ship your hazmat. If you will be shipping hazmat you will need to make sure that you are DOT trained and have the knowledge and training on how to navigate the regulations and the IATA or IMDG manuals.
At Hazmat School, we provide official DOT, RCRA, OSHA and Title 22 training certificates. We offer online hazardous materials, hazardous waste and safety training to meet all OSHA, EPA and DOT requirements. Our online courses include DOT/IATA/IMDG courses, HAZWOPER courses and EPA hazardous waste courses. We also offer first responder courses, OSHA safety training and courses in Spanish.
View our course list online today and choose the training right for you.