How Much Does a Postage Meter Cost?

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Postage meter rental rates typically start at around $20 per month for the most basic machines, increasing to more than $1,000 per month for dedicated mail processing stations. Even when using the best postage meters for small businesses, there are also the extra costs to think about, such as ink, paper, and maintenance.

This guide will explain everything you need to know about postage meter costs. We’ll also demonstrate the value of these machines by showing you how much your business could save in the long run by leasing them and benefitting from their postal charges discounts.

Which Companies Lease Postage Meters?

  1. Quadient
  2. FP Mailing Solutions
  3. Pitney Bowes
  4. Data-Pac Mailing Systems

Clicking the links above will enable you to compare personalized quotes via our quote-finding tool. Try it today to find the right postage meter company for your needs and budget. It’s free, takes two minutes to use, and will help you avoid overspending.

Alternatively, you can cut to the chase and find the most accurate postage meter cost for your business using our free quote-finding tool. Simply answer a few questions, and we’ll match you with the most suitable postage meter companies that’ll offer clear pricing information and tailored, obligation-free quotes.

How Much Does a Postage Meter Cost?

The cost of a postage meter averages between $20-$500 per month, with actual prices varying according to the supplier you pick, the model you opt to lease, and the amount of mail you send. Features like an integrated address book and thermal printing if included – will tend to raise the overall cost.

Postage Meter Rates

The retail rate for sending a First Class letter (1 oz.) is $0.66, while the postage meter rate is $0.63 – a saving of 4%. This is because First Class mail sent with a postage meter is eligible for lower United States Postal Service (USPS) rates.

Where Can I Lease a Postage Meter?

Currently, there are only four companies that are authorized to supply postage meters in the United States. These companies are: Pitney Bowes, FP Mailing Solutions, Quadient, and Data-Pac Mailing Systems.

Postage Meter Suppliers in the US

  • Pitney Bowes
  • FP Mailing Solutions
  • Quadient
  • Data-Pac Mailing Systems

Postage Meter Pricing Breakdown

What exactly are you paying for when you lease a postage meter? Postage meter costs fall into four main categories:

  1. Postage meter leasing costs
  2. Postage costs
  3. Mailing supplies costs
  4. Maintenance and repair costs

We’ll take a closer look at each cost type below.

1. Postage Meter Leasing Costs

Since it’s impossible to buy a postage meter, you’ll need to lease one. The best postage meter companies will lease you one of their machines for a monthly fee.

Fixed Fee vs Usage-based Leases

Some suppliers charge fixed fees, while others will bill you based on usage (the volume of mail you process). The type of lease you can get often depends on the particular type of postage meter you’re interested in. In fact, they’ll usually put together a custom quote that’s tied to the amount of mail you use it for.

Fixed fee leases are the most straightforward option when you want to place a hard cap on your monthly spend. A usage-based fee structure makes sense when you send varying volumes of mail each month and you want your bill to reflect this.

The Bottom Line

The cheapest postage meters in the market cost around $20 per month, but this cost can reach $1,200+ per month. This cost will ultimately depend on the supplier, model, and (in some cases) your usage.

Expert Tip

If you don’t send a lot of mail regularly, checking the best postage meters for small businesses in the market is a good place to start. Furthermore, when you’re comparing postage meter lease prices, research beyond the websites of postage meter companies themselves. Calling the providers is the best way to negotiate preferential pricing and find out about any special offers. Better yet, you can use our free quote comparison tool to be matched up with trusted providers, who’ll get in touch with you directly to provide custom quotes.

Get specific postage meter quotes for your business

2. Postage Costs

As we mentioned earlier, a first class stamp for a letter weighing 1oz costs 66¢ (the retail rate). If you used a postage meter to process the same letter, you’d pay just 63¢. That’s already a 4% reduction on your direct mail costs.

Presorted Mail Discounts

It gets better. An even cheaper set of commercial rates are available for businesses that send mail in bulk. To qualify for these rates, you’ll need to presort your mail before giving it to USPS for delivery.

Now, when it comes to presorted mail, there’s bad news, good news, and really good news.

The bad news is that to qualify for the lowest rates, you need to sort your mail quite carefully. Presorted First Class batches need to contain at least 500 pieces, and the minimum for advertising mail (known as USPS Marketing Mail) is only 200 pieces.

The good news is that any good mid-level postage meter can presort everything for you. The really good news is that presorting can save you an average of 40 cents per mail when it’s sent via First Class mail.

Rate Protection Guarantees

Some postage meter companies may even offer rate protection guarantees. This means that your supplier will freeze metered postage rates at their current level when you sign the lease. So, if you sign a 36-month lease when the rate is 63¢ for a 1oz letter, any USPS postage rate hikes during your contract won’t affect you.

USPS Business Fees

However, you should be aware of several fees that apply if you want to take advantage of commercial rates. For every class of mail you wish to send in bulk from a particular post office, you will need to pay an annual fee of $265. So you should choose one post office and stick to it for the year.

You need a permit to use a postage meter for commercial mailing, and there is no application fee for this.

The Bottom Line

USPS postage rates vary according to (1) package dimensions, (2) weight, (3) distance sent, and (4) shipping speed. Below is a table of all the factors you’d need to qualify for First Class mail:

Type of mail
PostcardsLettersFlats (large envelopes)Parcels
Min3-1/2in x 5in x 0.0007in3-1/2in x 5in x 0.0007in6-1/8in x 11-1/2in x 1/4in3in x 6in x 1/4in
Max4-1/4in x 6in x 0.016in6-1/8in x 11-1/2in x 1/4in12in x 15in x 3/4in22in x 18in x 15in
Weight limit
Distance limit
Anywhere in the USAnywhere in the USAnywhere in the USAnywhere in the US
1-5 business days1-5 business days1-5 business days1-5 business days

To send letters that exceed the size, weight, or speed criteria, you’ll need a different service. Other USPS mail classes include:

  • Priority Mail Express (delivery next day or two days)
  • Priority Mail (delivery in one to three business days)
  • First Class Package (delivery in two to five days)
  • Media Mail (for discs, audio, video, delivery in two to eight business days)
  • Package Services/USPS Retail Ground (for less urgent or oversized packages, delivery in two to five days — this USPS calculator allows you to find out the exact postage price)

If you’re considering leasing a postage meter, all you need to know at this point is that these services are great for sending large, heavy, and/or urgent packages. Using a postage meter to weigh and stamp your mail saves you having to take it to the post office. Plus, once you’ve prepared it, USPS can collect it straight from your office or warehouse. It doesn’t get much easier than this.

Expert Tip

Read our guides on USPS Priority Mail and Flat Rate Priority Mail pricing to find out how to save money with these services.

3. Mailing Supplies Costs

Postage meter supplies are another important cost to consider when you’re shopping for quotes. While some suppliers include complimentary ink refills or stationery as standard, others won’t offer any extras. If a supplier’s website doesn’t say whether or not these extras are included in your rental fee, make sure you clarify this over the phone before signing up.

The Bottom Line

Here are some typical postage meter stationery costs:

  • Black ink cartridge refill x 1: $110-$214
  • Red ink cartridge refill x1 : $65-$210
  • Postage tape sheets (self-adhesive labels) x 150: $45-$160
  • Envelope sealing solution x 1 gallon: $50
  • Machine cleaning supplies: $40

Be aware that ink cartridge costs will vary considerably by brand, model, size, yield rate, and whether they’re bought in multipacks or individually. You should only buy inks that are compatible with your specific postage meter.

Expert Tip

It’s nearly always cheaper to order postage meter supplies through an office supply store. Save money by finding a postage meter supplier whose deals exclude supplies like labels and ink.

4. Maintenance and Repair Costs

Last but not least, upkeep. When you lease a postage meter, the equipment still belongs to your supplier. In theory, this means they’re responsible for all routine maintenance and repair work.

In practice, it will depend on the specific terms of your lease. All the more reason to do your research and thrash things out fully with suppliers before committing to anything.

Hardware Maintenance and Repair

The main thing you want to know is if your supplier will send repair technicians to you, or if you’ll have to send faulty units back to them for repairs. Also query what kind of hardware damage the warranty covers, as well as the kind of insurance the supplier offers.

Software Support

Pitney Bowes, FP, Quadient and Data-Pac all offer mailing automation software. On paper, they claim to make your mailroom even more efficient. However, you should still do your due diligence to find out if this is really the case. For example, find out how how long will the supplier will continue to release free bug fixes and software updates and how easy the software is to use. If it does have a steep learning curve or a confusing design, it could do more harm than good.

The Bottom Line

Generally speaking, postage meter suppliers cover the costs of repairing or replacing faulty units. Mailing automation software from the ‘big three’ suppliers (Pitney Bowes, FP, and Quadient) is generally well-supported.

Request obligation-free quotes on postage meters now
Expert Tip

Don’t hesitate to ask postage meter companies how they handle service and repairs.

postage meter rates
Postage meters can save you money and streamline your mailing process if your business depends heavily on sending letters and packages

How Much Time Do Postage Meters Save?

To answer this question, we compared how long it takes to add postage to mail by hand vs using a postage meter.

Using data from the National Small Business Poll, we estimated how much time an average small business that sends 600 pieces of mail each month would save with the help of a postage meter:

ActionAverage Time Taken by HandAverage Time Taken by Postage Meter
Make a round trip to the post office to buy stamps**30 minutesTopping up your postage balance online takes seconds
Weigh 600 pieces of mail one by one and write down the required amount of postage200 minutes5 minutes to load a semi or fully-automated postage meter tray with mail – it will do the rest
Apply the appropriate number of stamps to every piece of mail200 minutesZero staff time required, and your postage meter will complete the job in under half an hour
TOTAL7.2 hours5 minutes

**This assumes a round trip distance of five miles, an average driving speed of 30MPH, and 20 minutes spent inside the post office.

The Bottom Line

Going by this conservative estimate, the average small business is looking at a minimum of one full day wasted on postage each month. That’s an entire day that your direct marketing team could spend on acquiring new customers.

How Do I Choose Between Suppliers?

We’ve already looked at how fee structures vary from one supplier to the next. If you want to get the best deal, comparison shopping is a must. Using our free price quote gathering tool is the best way to find the supplier offers most suited to your needs and budget.

In particular, look out for dealer incentives that can help you control costs.

Many suppliers offer free trials of their postage meters, allowing you to make an informed decision. These typically last between 30 and 90 days, depending on how good you are at negotiating. Free trials are a great way to ‘try before you buy,’ but don’t forget to cancel before the end of the trial period if you want to avoid paying unwanted fees.

A rushed decision could lock your business into an expensive and unnecessary contract. Err on the side of caution, since it’s usually easier – not to mention cheaper – to upgrade later than to rent too many machines from the start.

Best Value Postage Meters

To help you choose the best postage meter provider for your business, we looked into the companies authorized to lease them in the US and picked the best for small and large businesses.

Best for Small Businesses  FP PostBase auto

The FP PostBase auto is an excellent solution for ambitious enterprises with modest mailing needs.

Speed: 95 letters per minute
Best for: Mid-sized businesses needing speed, but not to the tune of tens of thousands of letters per hour

Overall Rating :

Best for Large Businesses  Quadient IS-6000

The IS-6000 is a complete mailroom automation solution that packs an award-winning punch.

Speed: 300 letters per minute
Best for: Large companies sending high volumes of mail

Overall Rating :

Next Steps

To recap, here are the main benefits of renting or leasing a postage meter:

  • Postage costs are 4% cheaper for First Class, or an average of 40 cents per piece for presorted mail under Commercial Rates
  • Save up to a day of time each month
  • Insulation from postage costs rises with rate protection guarantees
  • More visibility over postage costs with easy online tracking
  • No more ‘guesstimating’ weights – you pay the right amount every time
  • Secure mailroom software reduces fraud and abuse

On balance, the potential savings heavily outweigh every postage meter cost.

Written by:
Sabrina Dougall
Sabrina is a business journalist whose career began in news reporting. She has a master's in Investigative Journalism from City University London, and her work has appeared in The Times, The Daily Express, Money Saving Expert, Camden New Journal, Global Trade Review, and Computer Business Review. She specializes in writing about SEO (search engine optimization). Having run her own small business, Sabrina knows first-hand how critical digital marketing is to building a client base and local reputation.
Reviewed by:
Julia Watts author headshot photo
Specialising in business software, Julia writes jargon-busting guides about VoIP, fleet management, dash cams, fuel cards, and more. Having spent almost a decade writing for entrepreneurs and reviewing business solutions, she loves helping exciting ventures – big or small – to flourish.