Can I Mail Keys? How to Send Keys in the Mail Safely and Cheaply

Mailing keys is something many people need to do at some point. Whether you need to send your house keys to a friend or mail car keys across the country, you may wonder about the best way to mail keys to ensure they arrive safely. Here’s what you need to know about mailing keys through the postal service or private couriers.

Is it Possible to Mail Keys in a Regular Envelope?

One of the most common questions about mailing keys is whether you can send keys in a regular envelope. The short answer is yes, you can mail keys in a standard envelope. However, there are some risks to watch out for.

Keys can tear through a regular envelope easily. If the envelope tears open during transit, the keys could fall out and get lost. Using a regular envelope also leaves the keys with no padding or protection. So if the envelope gets bent, crushed, or damaged, the keys inside are vulnerable to the same abuse.

Overall, while you can technically mail keys in a regular envelope, it’s generally not advisable due to the risks of damage, lost keys, and lack of security. It’s usually better to use a more protective mailing option for keys.

What’s the Safest Way to Mail Keys?

For safe transit through the mail, the best way to send keys is in a padded envelope or small box.

A padded envelope provides cushioning to protect the keys inside. Bubble mailers, bubble-lined envelopes, and soft padded envelopes are all good choices. Make sure the envelope is sturdy enough not to bend easily.

For added protection, you can wrap the keys in tissue paper or bubble wrap before putting them in the padded envelope. If mailing multiple keys, use tape or rubber bands to keep them bundled together and prevented from jangling around.

For very high-value keys, mailing them in a small box may be the most secure option. This prevents bent edges and provides more padding around the keys. Line the box with bubble wrap or packing peanuts to cushion the keys.

No matter what type of mailing packaging you use, make sure it is sturdy enough not to tear easily. Address the package clearly and include the recipient’s phone number. This allows the postal service to contact them if there are any issues.

How Much Does It Cost to Mail Keys?

The cost to mail keys depends on the shipping provider, service type, packaging used, weight, and delivery distance. On average, expect to pay $5 to $15 to mail keys within the contiguous US.

The US Postal Service offers several options for mailing keys:

  • First Class Mail: Starts around $3.80 for envelopes up to 3.5oz
  • First Class Package Service: Starts at $4.40 for packages up to 16oz
  • Priority Mail: Starts at around $8 for packages under 1lb
  • Priority Mail Express: Starts at $26.35 for overnight delivery

Private couriers like FedEx and UPS have similar tiers of services and prices. On average, expect to pay about $10 to $20 for 2-day shipping of a small package containing keys.

International shipping or express next-day delivery will cost more. The fastest option for sending keys long distance is usually Priority Express or FedEx Overnight service.

Always weigh your key mailing package and input the exact weight and destination into online calculators provided by USPS, FedEx, and UPS to get exact rates.

What’s the Cheapest Way to Mail Keys?

If you need to save money on mailing keys, the most budget-friendly options are:

  • Use USPS First Class Mail for letters under 3.5oz. This starts around $3.80.
  • Ship with First Class Package Service for packages under 16 ounces. Starts around $4.40.
  • Use Standard Post rather than Priority Mail for packages under 1lb.
  • Select the slowest delivery speed you can tolerate (like USPS Retail Ground).
  • Reuse a free padded envelope or small box if possible.
  • Compare rates between USPS and third-party logistics providers like DHL to find the best price.
  • Use USPS Regional Rate boxes for lower prices within your USPS zone.

You can also save money on Fedex and UPS shipments by using their One Rate pricing for envelopes and small packages under 2 lbs.

Should I Mail Keys in an Envelope or Small Box?

Keys can be mailed in either an envelope or a small box. Here are some factors to help decide the best option:

  • Envelopes are cheaper and more lightweight. A padded envelope provides basic protection for low-cost shipping.
  • Boxes are more secure and leave less chance of keys falling out if damaged. Use for high-value keys.
  • For multiple keys, a small box keeps them bundled together more securely.
  • If mailing fobs, key cards, or a single house key, a padded envelope is fine.
  • International mail or cross-country shipments benefit from the durability of a small box.
  • Hard plastic key fobs and key cards can go in either a padded envelope or box.

Evaluate the value and number of keys, destination address, and your budget. For everyday house keys, a padded envelope is convenient and affordable. For car keys, safe deposit box keys, and mail across state lines, opt for a sturdy box.

Can I Mail Keys Internationally?

You can mail keys internationally through USPS and private couriers. Expect international key shipping to start around $15-$20 and take 5-10 business days to most countries.

Use USPS Priority Mail International or FedEx International Priority for reliable delivery times and package tracking. Declare the full value of the keys and purchase extra insurance to protect against loss or damage.

Put an extra layer of padding around international key packages and seal them very securely to prevent the keys from falling out in transit across multiple carriers. Use clear addresses and customs forms. If mailing to an apartment overseas, include the recipient’s phone number.

How Should I Package Keys for Mailing?

Follow these tips to package keys safely for mailing:

  • Place keys inside a padded envelope or small box with bubble cushioning.
  • Wrap keys in tissue paper or plastic wrap first to prevent jangling and scratching inside the package.
  • For multiple keys, keep them bundled together with rubber bands or tape.
  • Include a note with the number of keys enclosed and instructions to contact you if there are any issues.
  • Seal the package securely with strong tape designed for shipping.
  • Address the package completely and legibly with permanent marker. Include recipient phone number.
  • Weigh package and calculate exact postage required based on weight and delivery speed.
  • Add insurance and tracking for high-value keys. Get signature confirmation if desired.
  • For international shipping, complete customs forms accurately and securely attach any required import/export documents.

Can I Insure Mailed Keys?

Most major shipping carriers allow you to purchase extra insurance for packages containing valuable items like keys. This protects against loss or damage during shipment.

USPS offers tracking and up to $5000 of insurance coverage with Priority Mail Express and Priority Mail. You can add more insurance for keys worth over $5000. Signature confirmation provides documentation of delivery.

UPS and FedEx also offer package insurance options. Make sure to insure keys for at least their replacement value in case they are lost by the carrier. Inform the recipient to inspect the package for damage before accepting delivery.

What’s the Best Carrier for Mailing Keys?

The three major shipping carriers in the US are USPS, UPS, and FedEx. All can safely mail keys, but USPS tends to have the lowest rates for small packages.

USPS benefits include affordable pricing, convenient flat-rate envelopes and boxes, and uniform rates to all US addresses. USPS Priority Mail gets most packages delivered within 2-3 days.

UPS Ground and FedEx Home are similarly priced to USPS for lightweight packages under 2 pounds. UPS and FedEx offer faster transit times, more shipping options, and more package insurance coverage.

For urgent or time-sensitive key shipping, FedEx and UPS have more next-flight-out and same-day delivery options. USPS Priority Express offers next-day delivery to most addresses as well.

Key Mailing Tips:

Here are some final tips for mailing keys successfully:

  • Use padded packaging – never a standard envelope.
  • Bundle together multiple keys securely.
  • Include delivery confirmation and tracking for peace of mind.
  • Insure valuable keys for at least their replacement cost.
  • Compare shipping rates – don’t overpay.
  • Use strong tape and reinforce seams on packaging.
  • Write addresses clearly and completely.
  • For international mail, complete customs forms fully.
  • Alert recipient to track package and inspect carefully upon arrival.

Mailing keys is convenient but does come with risks if not packaged thoughtfully. Following these tips will help ensure your keys arrive safely at their destination right on time. With preparation and proper postage, you can securely send keys through the mail.

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