What stresses does your package see when shipped FEDEX, UPS or USPS?

There was an interesting article by popular mechanics a couple years ago where the author tried to compare three major package shippers in terms of gentleness of handling.  He made a package with some sensors, and then sent it on cross country journies using FEDEX, UPS and USPS.  The package was equipped with a special sensor made by National Instruments.  This sensor was equipped to measure acceleration, temperature and orientation.  The test was to see which carrier was kindest to your package.  The package was shipped 3 distinct times for each carrier, so a total of 12 trips.

You can see the full article here:


Because the number of times shipped was small and other variable where not randomized, the statistical significance of the results is questionable, so I am not presenting the comparative data.  However I think it would be interesting to report the ranges of events seen.

The specific events recorded were:

Drops or Spikes:  How many times per trip did the package see a 6g force or greater (spike in acceleration).  This would be equivalent to a 2.5 foot drop.

Flips:  How many times per trip did the package flip over during the shipment

Temperature Range:  What was the average temperature range that a package saw during shipment?

Below is the summarized data:

Number of Flips:

  • High  12.5 flips per trip
  • Median:  8.25 flips per trip
  • Low : 4 flips per trip

Drops or Spikes:

  • High:   3.1 drops per trip
  • Median:  1.8 Drops per trip
  • Low:  .5 drops per trip

Temperature Change

  • High:  31.86 degrees F change
  • Median: 26.83 degrees F change
  • Low:  26.01 degrees F change

I think the data shows that your package is going to see a range of handling from very gentle to extremely rough.  If your product can’t handle the maximums seen in this study, then you will need specialized packaging or a special carrier.  Packnet can help you make the best choices for shipping and packaging.