Postage Meters vs Traditional Stamps – Which One Should You Choose?

Postage meters

By Dan Barraclough | Updated: 6 November 2020

As of 2020, there are three common methods of postage payment methods used in the USA. These are:

  • Postage Stamps
  • Postage Meters
  • Online Postage

Each postage method offers its own benefits and drawbacks. In this article, we put postage meters and stamps against each other so you can decide on the right postage method for your business. To kick off, let's outline how the two postage methods stack up against each other.


Metered mail vs stamped mail

Metered Mail vs Stamped Mail

The difference between the two is that stamped mail is affixed with paper stamps, while metered mail goes through a postage meter that prints a stamp directly onto each piece of mail.

Sending metered mail is more reliable, as meters can calculate exact postage costs based on the weight of your item. Postage meters vs stamps is a hotly contested debate. But here, we settle that debate.

Cost-Effective? Reliable? Convenient?
Traditional stamps
Postage meters

Read on to find out why we’ve given postage meters three ticks…

Did You Know?

The USPS offers a 5¢ discount, per letter, for sending first class mail with a postage meter rather than with a traditional stamp.


Did You Know?

In 2019, the USPS handled 75.7 billion items of marketing mail.

Why Should I use a Postage Meter?

So, why did we give postage meters three ticks?

For starters, a postage meter enables you to print your own postage on most mail items from the comfort of your own office chair.

Not only do you cut the time spent dealing with mail, you also completely cut the cost of running your company car to the Post Office and back.

Postage systems can also calculate the exact postage costs. Handily, most have a weighing scale included, which removes the risk of over or under paying, making them far more reliable than traditional stamps.

Many machines can process over 100 letters each minute and, due to reduced rates for metered mail, the postage paid on each item works out slightly cheaper than it would be if a stamp was used.

Over the course of a year, this price difference could lead to fairly significant savings, although the exact value of these savings depends on your company’s volume of mail.

If you want a postage meter for stamping bulk mailings, then you also need to apply for a permit at an additional cost of around $200, valid for one year.


Why Should I use Stamps?

For the everyday person, the traditional stamp method works – it’s usually a quick and easy method for sending relatively small amounts of mail.

Now to address the first cross for stamps on the chart above: convenience.

The major drawback to using stamps is loss of time. Firstly, you have to physically travel to the Post Office to buy them. Secondly, once you’ve bought the stamps, you need to affix them onto each item of mail – a nightmare if you need to process lots of mail while juggling a busy business schedule.

Calculating postage costs for heavier items can also be difficult and time consuming. Given it’s a human task, you also risk miscalculating your costs which introduces us to the second cross on the above chart: reliability

The more items you post, the greater the risk of cost miscalculation, which makes it difficult for you to budget your postal outgoings. And it’s not just the risk of overpaying. Underpaying is just as costly for your business – especially when you consider the impact of an item not reaching its destination.

You can also read about how the prices vary when comparing postage meters to Stamps.com.

Considering a postage meter for your business? get free quotes

Next Steps

Using a postage meter can save your business time and money. It’s simple. While stamps are adequate for most personal postal errands, postage meters can’t be beaten for time, cost and reliability.

Keen to upgrade your existing postage meter, or lease a new one for the first time? We can help you out. Simply describe your mailing requirements and we’ll match your business with postage meter suppliers that best suit your needs.

They’ll then be in touch with free, non-obligation quotes for you to compare.

Dan Barraclough

Dan’s a writer for Expert Market, specialising in a range of cool topics. He loves web design and all things UX, but also the hardware stuff like postage metres and photocopiers.

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