Transit van making rapid parcel delivery

Which is best for speed: post or courier?

So, you have a parcel to send. You need the shipping speed to be sufficient, so it arrives at its destination as quickly as possible. But what is the quickest way to get your parcel to its destination?

Courier porting parcels on trolley for faster shipping speed

Sending a parcel by Royal Mail within the UK

Standard shipping speed

Standard Royal Mail First Class delivery aims to deliver by the next working day, including Saturdays, for items that weigh up to 20kg. This becomes 2–3 working days for Second Class delivery.

Unlike couriers, Royal Mail do not usually deliver on Sundays and public holidays. They also do not guarantee delivery times.  

Royal mail service options

A number of premium delivery services are also available:

Special Delivery Guaranteed

For small items up to 2kg, Royal Mail Special Delivery Guaranteed promises to get to the destination by 9am. For those parcels up to 20kg, the cut-off is 1pm.

Tracking service

This is available for items up to 20kg, as part of which they aim to deliver within 24 hours. A 48-hour tracked service is also available.

‘Signed for’ service

First class ‘signed for’ aims to deliver next day. Second class aims for 3-day delivery times (for items up to 20kg).

Same-day delivery

This is an option offered under the Parcel Force brand. 

In cities and urban areas, they usually aim to deliver by 3pm. In most rural areas, the target deadline is by 4pm for standard deliveries.

Royal Mail van on a standard shipping speed delivery route

Royal Mail international deliveries

Compared to courier services, Royal Mail’s international delivery times are less competitive.

For destinations in Europe, Royal Mail aims to deliver within 3-5 working days. Worldwide destinations have a much larger window of 6-7 working days. Again, these times are not guaranteed.

Courier shipping speed within the UK

Most couriers will have a number of delivery options for domestic parcel deliveries. Delivery targets will generally range from 1-2 working days. Some courier companies will also deliver on a Sunday.

At Impact Express, we also provide an overnight domestic service which guarantees delivery by the end of the next working day.

International courier shipping speed

Whilst international delivery times are always subject to customs clearance, they will generally be much faster than Royal Mail.

Impact Express offers next day-delivery to the U.S. and Europe. We also offer next morning delivery for parts of central Europe.

For destinations further afield, such as Asia or Australia, Impact Express offers 2-day delivery.

DHL van making an express shipping speed delivery in New York City

Other considerations when seeking a rapid shipping speed

Cost will be important, particularly if:

  • You are sending a parcel or parcels weighing more than 2kg, or
  • You are sending a lot of items.

You will probably find that a courier is a more cost-effective option in these scenarios.

Security and assuredness that the item will arrive safely are also important factors. All parcels shipped through Impact Express are fully tracked, and customers can check the progress of a delivery online at any time.

Although some Royal Mail services are guaranteed, you will not normally be able to track your parcel.

Courier delivery is efficient and competitive

While it often depends on the service you choose and how much you are willing to pay, a courier service will often provide quicker international delivery times than Royal Mail.

For domestic UK deliveries, you will probably find (depending on your parcel) that a courier can deliver it faster and at a better price.

At Impact Express, we take pride in being able to offer fast, efficient, and reliable shipping services at competitive prices. For more information on the range of courier services available, get in touch with the team. Alternatively, visit our online quote page to get a an honest and accurate estimate.


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