Get the best value from your postage

Reduce your UK postage costs

Following the recent changes to parcel price and services, we know it’s as important as ever to minimise your postage costs. Here are some tips to get the most out of your postage when sending parcels with Royal Mail or Parcelforce Worldwide at the Post Office:

Pack smart

Now the majority of prices for UK parcels depend on the size as well as weight, packing your items in the right way, can make all the difference to your postage costs.

  • When using 1st, 2nd Class or Royal Mail Signed For®, sending your item as a Small Parcel will be cheaper than sending it as a Medium Parcel.  So make sure soft, compactable items up to a maximum of 2kg are packed down as much as possible to fit into the Small Parcel size of:

Length 45cm
Width 35cm
Height 16cm

Don’t forget the item and its packaging needs to fall within these limits

  • Check the prices, weight and size limits at home using or pick up the Royal Mail ‘Our prices’ leaflet in branch, so you can package up your items at home to fit the size and weight limits for the most cost-effective service. If you’re sending an item using Royal Mail Special Delivery Guaranteed® by 9am or 1pm, you can save money on your packaging, as we provide free plastic envelopes in a range of sizes for customers using this service. Just ask at the counter.
  • Rolled or cylinder shaped items (tubes) which are longer than the Medium Parcel length (61cm) can be sent as a Medium parcel provided the length is no more than 90cm and the length plus twice the diameter is no more than 104cm.

Send multiple items to the same address as a consignment

  • If you’re sending more than one item to the same address using a Parcelforce Worldwide service, you can send up to 15 items as a consignment and receive a discount.

Don’t discount Guaranteed services as always being more expensive

  • Fully tracked, one day and two day services are not always the most expensive option. For items over 2kg being sent within the UK, Parcelforce Worldwide express48 is the cheapest option, even though it gives you inclusive compensation of up to £100, online end-to-end tracking and guaranteed delivery within two working days.

Do you sell on Ebay? Don’t forget to choose a service which fits with Ebay Seller/Buyer Protection guidelines

  • Royal Mail Signed For®, Royal Mail Special Delivery Guaranteed® by 9am and 1pm, and all the Parcelforce Worldwide express services are in line with Ebay Seller/Buyer Protection Guidelines for Ebay sales that total £150 or more. Don’t forget to check the compensation available when choosing your postage, so you’re covered for the item you’re sending in the event of loss, delay or damage.

Claim the VAT back

  • Many business customers can reclaim VAT. If your business is registered for VAT, and sells taxable goods or services, then as a general rule, you will be able to recover the VAT in the normal way on your VAT return. For professional advice, talk to your Finance department, accountant or tax advisor. You can also find more information on VAT at the HMRC website.
  • Remember to ask at the counter for a VAT receipt when sending your item, as you’ll need this to claim the VAT back.(if you are eligible to reclaim VAT)

Check the size and weight of your letter or parcel

The size, thickness and weight of the item you are sending will determine if it is a:

  • Letter
  • Large Letter
  • Small Parcel
  • Medium Parcel


Greeting cards, personal letters, postcards and C5 envelopes usually fall into the letter category.

Letter dimensions measuring up to:

  • Length: 24cm
  • Width: 16.5cm
  • Thickness: 0.5cm
  • Weight: 100g

Large Letters

The Large Letter format covers items like A4 documents, CDs and DVDs in their cases, some large greeting cards and most magazines.

Large Letter dimensions measuring up to: 

  • Length: 35.3cm
  • Width: 25cm
  • Thickness: 2.5cm
  • Weight: 750g

Small Parcel:

The Small Parcel format was increased on 20th October 2014. The new maximum dimensions are:

  • Length: 45cm
  • Width: 35cm
  • Height: 16cm
  • Weight: 2kg

Medium Parcel:

Medium Parcel dimensions measuring up to:

  • Length: 61cm
  • Width: 46cm
  • Thickness: 46cm
  • Weight: 20kg max

Rolls and Cylinders:

  • Length plus twice the diameter at a maximum of 104cm
  • Greatest dimension no more than 90cm
  • Up to and including 45cm in length, 16cm in diameter and 2kg in weight can be sent as a Small Parcel
Length plus (2 x Diameter): 1040mm max
Weight: 20kg max

Large Parcels:

If your item is over the maximum size or weight for the Medium Parcel format, you will need to send it via Parcelforce Worldwide (up to a maximum of 30kg).

When you are packing your items make sure that you:

  • choose a container that is strong enough for the contents
  • use a padded envelope for items with sharp edges or odd shapes
  • pack fragile items so they won’t touch each other or the side of the container
  • fill out your container with cushioning material like bubble wrap or polystyrene chips (available from most Post Office® branches)
  • put a contact name, address, and telephone number inside the container

When you have finished packing your items:

  • seal all edges and openings of the container securely with nylon or vinyl tape 
  • flatten out any staples or metal fastenings and cover them with tape
  • attach a FRAGILE sticker if your item is breakable
  • write a return address on the container

Packaging advice: A to Z

Item Preparation Packaging
Alcoholic drinks (must have an alcohol content of less than 70%) Wrap in polythene and seal with tape. Surround with an absorbent material like sawdust or newspaper. Fibreboard or polystyrene. Leak proof container.
Balloons - containing non-flammable gas only. Ensure adequate cushioning material. Rigid outer container which must be clearly marked “non-flammable gas”.
Batteries - except lead acid batteries. Only send batteries in their retail packaging. Surround with cushioning material and place in a suitable outer container.
Books The binding and corners of books can get damaged and should be sent with sufficient packaging material to ensure no damage is incurred. Small books: padded envelope. Larger books: corrugated fibreboard book pack, giving 2.5cm clearance at each end.
Cameras and projectors Detach any lens or additional pieces and if possible use original retail packaging Surround in a minimum of 50mm/5cm of cushion material and place in a rigid container.
Cash or Money Do not write or indicate in any way that cash or coins are enclosed within the package. Cash should not be visible through the envelope. Coins should not be sent in an envelope. Package them securely in a rigid container.
Computer discs, audio and video cassettes, CDs and DVDs Wrap cushioning material at least 2cm thick around each item. A rigid, purpose made container. We recommend that you use screened envelopes for computer discs.
Diagnostic specimens The total volume/mass of the sample shall not exceed 50ml/50g. Diagnostic specimens can only be sent in the UK. Packaging must comply with certain specifications to ensure that what we carry is safe for employees, that's why we created Safebox™.
Drugs for medical or scientific purposes - must only be sent by medical practitioners in an emergency. Pack in a strong inner container Clearly mark the sender's name and address on the outer wrapping.
Electronic items - small items eg mobile phones, iPods, MP3, ebooks, sat nav etc. Surround with a minimum of 1cm of cushioning eg, bubble wrap. Ensure plugs pins are covered in 1 cm of cushioning to prevent damage to contents and outer packaging. Wrap each item individually. Electronic items may be sent in their original packaging providing battery is removed or not charged. Items should be placed in a rigid container or secure outer packaging and cushioned to avoid movement. Packaging must be of adequate size and securely sealed so items can not fall out during transit.
Electronic items - medium to large items, eg iPads, portable DVD players, laptops, flatscreen TV’s, printers, blue ray players etc. Surround with a minimum of 5cm of cushioning eg, bubble wrap, polystyrene chips or polyblocks to protect from knocks and vibration. Remove all additional or loose parts and wrap each item individually, including plugs. Electronic items may be sent in their original packaging providing battery is removed or not charged. Items must be securely placed in a strong, rigid outer container eg corrugated fibreboard box and cushioned to avoid movement. Packaging must be of adequate size and securely sealed so items can not fall out during transit.
Films Seal in polythene with address details clearly visible. Pack loosely in a padded envelope and seal securely.
Fish, fruit, meat and other perishables Items must clearly be marked PERISHABLE. Must be sent 1st Class as a minimum requirement, we recommend using the Special Delivery service.
Flowers Pack in layers separated by tissue paper. Use waterproof wrapping if the package includes damp moss or phials of water. Strong corrugated board box or purpose made polystyrene pack. Must be sent 1st Class as a minimum requirement.
Fragile items i.e. Glass, china, resin, etc.. Wrap extremities separately, e.g. limbs of figurines, ears, etc. Surround in a minimum of 50mm of cushion material. Strong rigid container.
Keys Attach a label with a contact name and telephone number. Wrap in cardboard. Should be sent in a padded envelope.
Leaflets and brochures   Up to 1cm thick: padded bag, heavy-duty cardboard envelope or polythene shrink-wrap. Up to 5cm thick: corrugated paper, thick paper or polythene shrink-wrap.
Liquids and creams Wrap in polythene and seal with tape. Surround with an absorbent material like sawdust or newspaper.  Fibreboard or polystyrene. Leakproof container.
Living creatures - such as insects used to feed exotic pets. Please contact us for more information.  
Magazines and newspapers   Up to 1cm thick: padded bag, heavy-duty cardboard envelope or polythene shrink-wrap. Up to 5cm thick: corrugated paper, thick paper or polythene shrink-wrap.
Magnets - such as audio/video magnetic tape or the magnets in loudspeakers. Wrap cushioning material at least 2cm thick around each item. Mark the sender's name and address clearly on the outer wrapping. Should be sent individually as can damage other items they travel with, i.e. discs, tapes, etc.
Maps, plans and drawings   Rigid cardboard or plastic tube. The max. length is 90cm.
Perfume - non-flammable or alcohol content less than 70%. Wrap in polythene and seal with tape. Surround with an absorbent material like sawdust or newspaper. Fibreboard or polystyrene. Leak proof container.
Powders and fine grains - such as tea or coffee. Place inside a strong container such as strong polythene bag and seal securely with tape. Please inside a second container and seal again. The double-wrapped item should be placed in a rigid corrugated box.
Prints, frames and mounted canvas Wrap cushioning material at least 5cm thick around each item. Place between thick board or polystyrene giving 2.5cm clearance at each end. If glass is in the frame there needs to be a surround of a minimum of 10cm of cushion material and placed in a rigid container", similar to the line used for glass and china.
Prints, unframed Wrap in tissue paper. Place in a heavy duty cardboard envelope or if possible roll and send in a rigid tube, seal and clearly mark package PHOTOGRAPHS - DO NOT BEND.
Records - vinyl discs. Place between thick card and surround with cushioning material at least 2.5cm longer than the item. Wrap in strong paper, seal with tape and clearly mark package RECORDS - DO NOT BEND.
Scissors, knives and other sharp items Wrap in tissue paper. Wrap heavy cardboard around all sharp points and edges.
Water based paints Volume should not exceed 150ml. Surround with cushioning material and place in a rigid container.

How to send a package outside the European Union

If contents of your package are worth £270 or less:

  • complete and sign a CN22 Customs label
  • attach the label to the front of the item, as near to the top left hand corner as you can get without covering the address

If you are sending an item worth more than £270 you must attach a CN23 Customs label in a plastic wallet (SP126)

In both cases you will need to:

  • certify that the package does not contain any dangerous articles prohibited by postal regulations
  • write the name and address of the person who signed the CN22 Customs label on the front of the package

PostPak is a high quality range of packaging products developed by Post Office.

PostPak packaging has been designed with strength and endurance in mind. With simple instructions for easy assembly and robust protective card it’s the perfect way to safely send your parcels. The range offers various sizes of Bubble Envelopes and Mailing Boxes to suit your needs along with packing accessories to pack and wrap your parcel for extra security. Furthermore, PostPak’s FSC accreditation* means all materials are sourced responsibly whilst still maintaining high quality standards.

*Forest Stewardship Council (PostPak Red only)

Key features

  • Available in a wide range of sizes
  • Easy to follow assembly instructions are printed inside the box
  • High quality protective card for safe delivery
  • Space on the front of the packaging for postage labels
  • FSC accredited

What is available?

Bubble Envelopes

External Dimensions

Size 00

Mobile phones

Size 0

One CD

Size 1


Size 3

A4 Documents

Size 4


Size 5


Size 7

A4 Lever Arch Files

W 115mm

H 195mm

W 140mm

H 195mm

W 170mm

H 245mm

W 220mm

H 320mm

W 240mm

H 320mm

W 260mm

H 345mm

W 340mm

H 445mm

Mailing Boxes

A (Small Box Cube)

B (Small Box 1)

C (Small Box 2)

D (Medium Box)

E (Airmail Box)

F (Large Box)

W 160mm

H 160mm

D 160mm

W 318mm

H 224mm

D 80mm

W 450mm

H 350mm

D 80mm

W 368mm

H 260mm

D 160mm

W 483mm

H 259mm

D 155mm

W 473mm

H 368mm

D 195mm

Packing Accessories

There's a whole range of PostPak items available to wrap and protect your items from Bubble Wrap and Packing Paper to a complete Parcel Wrapping Kit.

Pack it right

    Inland Services International Services
    1st Class, 2nd Class & Royal Mail Signed For Royal Mail Special Delivery Guaranteed by 9am Royal Mail Special Delivery Guaranteed by 1pm Parcelforce Worldwide express 9, 10, AM, 24, 48 Royal Mail Airsure, International Signed For, Airmail & Surface Mail Parcelforce Worldwide globalexpress, globalpriority, globalvalue & globaleconomy
Boxes & tubes Dimensions Weight Limit: Small parcel 2kg Medium parcel 20kg Weight Limit: 2kg Weight Limit: 20kg Weight Limit: 30kg Weight Limit: 2kg (printed papers allowable up to and including 5kg) Weight Limit: 30kg
Posting Tube (Small) W335mm, D55mm, H55mm
  • (Small Parcel)
Posting Tube (Large) W655mm, D55mm, H55mm
  • (Medium Parcel)
A (Small Box Cube) W160mm, D160mm, H160mm
  • (Small Parcel)
B (Small Box 1) W318mm, D224mm, H80mm
  • (Small Parcel)
C (Small Box 2) W450mm, D350mm, H80mm
  • (Small Parcel)
D (Medium Box) W368mm, D260mm, H160mm
  • (Medium Parcel)
E (Airmail Box) W483mm, D259mm, H155mm
  • (Medium Parcel)
F (Large Box) W473mm, D368mm, H195mm
  • (Medium Parcel)

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For more information on posting and packaging, call:

0345 611 2970

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8.30am-2pm, Sat

Closed Sun and bank holidays