DHL Vs. FedEx Vs. UPS [What Are the Differences? Which is Better?]

You are most likely familiar with DHL, FedEx, and UPS. They are three of the most popular delivery services not only in the United States but worldwide. But among DHL vs. FedEx vs. UPS, which is better?

DHL Express Worldwide is slightly faster internationally than UPS and FedEx; however, UPS and FedEx are faster with domestic shipments, i.e., shipments within the same country.

DHL is known for its satisfactory delivery service and cheap rates, especially in terms of international shipments. FedEx is known for its time-sensitive shipments and is, therefore, reliable in terms of quick delivery. At the same time, UPS is known best for its reliable tracking and efficient handling of heavy packages.

Read on to learn more about FedEx vs. DHL vs. UPS, so you can decide which is best to use.

DHL Vs. FedEx Vs. UPS


Among DHL vs FedEx vs UPS, all three may be considered winners. FedEx is known for its time-sensitive shipments and is, therefore, reliable in terms of quick delivery. DHL is known for its satisfactory delivery service and cheap rates, specifically in terms of international shipments. In contrast, UPS is known best for its reliable tracking and efficient handling of heavy packages.

If you are a retailer, you have probably experienced shipping challenges many times. When facing this kind of challenge, it is advisable to stick with these three best companies. They may have their own set of strengths and weaknesses, but they are nonetheless far better than other international logistics companies.

Let’s learn more about these three companies to confirm if they are indeed at par with each other:


DHL International GmbH, or simply DHL, is an internationally known express mail, package delivery, and courier service provider. It was founded in San Francisco, California, in 1969 but is now headquartered in Bonn, Germany. To date, DHL has been recognized as the largest logistics company worldwide.

It delivers more than a billion parcels worldwide each year. In fact, it is the only logistics company allowed to provide delivery service in sanctioned countries like North Korea.

DHL currently employs over 500,000 employees worldwide.

DHL Services

This logistics company offers a wide array of services. DHL always aims to ensure that they address all the shipping needs of their clients. 

For non-freight domestic shipping, DHL offers several service types. These include the following:

  1. SameDay Sprintline
  2. Express 9:00 Domestic
  3. DHL Express 10:30 Domestic
  4. Express 12:00 Domestic
  5. DHL-Express 18:00 Domestic
  6. Express Easy

As for DHL’s non-freight international offerings, there are several types as well. These include the following:

  1. DHL SameDay Jetline
  2. SameDay Sprintline
  3. DHL Express 9:00
  4. DHL Express 10:30
  5. Express 12:00
  6. DHL Express Worldwide
  7. DHL Express Envelope
  8. Express Easy
  9. DHL GlobalMail Business

DHL is recognized for its commitment to emission reduction. In fact, it bought the electric vehicle manufacturer StreetScooter in 2014 for its delivery operations. That way, their operations will minimize their carbon footprint.

In terms of rates, DHL increased its Express service rates for U.S. customers as of January 2021. While this is not good news for U.S. clients, the cost is still competitive. Also, its delivery service is still very satisfactory. Suffice it to say that DHL is still a great option for both international and domestic shipping.

If there is any downside, it is that there are still locations where DHL is not available. But there are only a few of these locations, and in case of delivery failures, DHL makes sure that they provide refunds.


FedEx Corp. is a multinational delivery service provider headquartered in Memphis, Tennessee. The term “FedEx” was derived from its original business name Federal Express between 1973 and 2000.

In terms of the number of planes on its fleet, FedEx is ahead of DHL and UPS, with a total of 670 planes.

FedEx pioneered the overnight delivery service and the tracking system. For years, it has been allowing its clients to track packages and to have real-time location updates. To date, FedEx has been providing its excellent delivery service in more than 200 countries.

In the U.S., FedEx has over 50,000 locations. They can pick up, drop off, and shipping parcels in all parts of the country.

FedEx has over 400,000 employees worldwide. It handles more than a million shipments each day.

FedEx Services

This logistics company offers several types of non-freight delivery services within the U.S. These include the following:

  1. FedEx SameDay
  2. FedExSameDay City
  3. FedEx First Overnight
  4. Priority Overnight
  5. FedEx Standard Overnight
  6. FedEx 2Day A.M.
  7. 2Day
  8. FedEx Express Saver
  9. FedEx Ground
  10. Home Delivery
  11. FedEx SmartPost

This company also offers several types of shipping services for non-freight international parcels. These include the following:

  1. FedEx International Next Flight
  2. International First
  3. FedEx International Priority
  4. International Economy
  5. FedEx International MailService
  6. FedEx International Priority DirectDistribution
  7. International Economy Direct Distribution
  8. FedEx International Ground

Like DHL, FedEx has also announced a rate increase in their delivery services as of January 2021. The average increase for FedEx Freight is 5.9%, while it is 4.9% for Express shipments.

FedEx offers a Money Back Guarantee if they fail to comply with their on-time express parcel delivery service. Clients are advised to coordinate with FedEx Customer Service to clarify the Conditions of Carriage and all other information on the Money Back Guarantee.

The FedEx Customer Service is available worldwide. The team has been designed to make it convenient for all customers to inquire about their deliveries.

FedEx has easy-to-use shipment paperwork. It offers free packaging, has an effective customs clearance system, and sophisticated tracking information. There is also proof of delivery on each of its invoices.

UPS (United Parcel Service)

 fedex vs dhl vs ups

The United Parcel Service, popularly known as UPS, is a multinational shipping & receiving service provider and a supply chain management company. It was founded in 1907 in Seattle, Washington. Now, it is headquartered in Sandy Springs, Georgia.

It is popularly known for its logistics services, freight forwarding services, and courier express services. As of 2018, it has over 400,000 employees worldwide and offers services in more than 200 countries. It handled more than 5 billion shipments in 2018 or an average of over 20 million parcel shipments per day.

UPS Services

UPS offers both domestic and global shipments for non-freight shipping.

Within the U.S. alone, it offers several types of shipping services. These include the following:

  1. UPS Express Critical – Domestic
  2. Ground
  3. UPS Next Day Air Early
  4. Next Day Air
  5. Next Day Air Saver
  6. 2nd Day Air A.M.
  7. 2nd Day Air
  8. UPS 3 Day Select

For its international shipment services, the following types are available:

  1. UPS Express Critical – International
  2. UPS Worldwide Express Plus
  3. Worldwide Express Shipping
  4. UPS Worldwide Saver
  5. Next Day
  6. UPS Worldwide Expedited
  7. 2nd Day Air
  8. UPS Standard

This company has over a hundred thousand vehicles that form part of its delivery fleet. Over 10,000 of these vehicles use alternative fuels. UPS is known to operate the biggest fleet of alternatively powered vehicles worldwide.

Like DHL and FedEx, there has been an increase in the shipment rates of UPS since February 2021. The average increase it has implemented is 5.4%.

UPS is best known for its quality domestic shipment services.

DHL or FedEx

So, which is better, DHL or FedEx?

In terms of overnight express delivery, FedEx is said to be a better option. FedEx is efficient with its domestic delivery. However, its difference from DHL’s delivery service is only minimal.

As for shipping rates, both FedEx and DHL offer high rates for same-day shipments. But DHL’s rates are relatively cheaper for both domestic and international shipments compared to FedEx.

Both companies offer excellent member programs. With the FedEx Advantage Program, members enjoy flat discounted rates on different delivery options. As for the DHL Bonus Program, members enjoy coupons for free package deliveries.

When it comes to international support, both companies provide impressive international service support. DHL and FedEx even provide International Shipping Insurance. They are both a great choice in terms of cross-border shipping.


Between DHL and UPS, many customers say that DHL has better international shipment services. DHL is said to deliver faster than UPS.

However, when it comes to domestic shipment, UPS has a stronger presence compared to DHL. There is no question about the efficiency of DHL. It will always be known for its high-quality service delivery. It’s just that UPS is said to have a simpler process, and it also offers negotiable rates, among others.

FedEx vs UPS

So, which is better, FedEx or UPS?

FedEx specializes in international air express freight, while UPS specializes in domestic ground package delivery. Compared to UPS, FedEx has way more airplanes for shipments. At the same time, UPS has a larger fleet of ground vehicles. This also means that FedEx offers cheaper international shipping rates, while UPS offers cheaper domestic shipping rates.

Both companies offer several types of delivery services for their clients. All these services vary in terms of speed of delivery and cost of delivery. Both have a strong presence in the U.S. However, FedEx has more physical store locations, so it is more accessible to clients.

UPS has several types of Supply Chain and Freight services. These include freight distribution, customs brokerage, and supply chain management. So, if you scale into international eCommerce sales, UPS can be your potential partner.

As for the eCommerce shipments of FedEx have partnered with the U.S. Postal Service (USPS). In most cases, shipment transport is handled by FedEx via jet. Parcels are then forwarded to USPS for final delivery. This enables FedEx to minimize costs. At the same time, it helps them maintain or improve their delivery time for domestic deliveries.

UPS Vs. FedEx Vs. DHL Comparison Chart


Here is a chart of comparison between UPS, FedEx, and DHL:

Economical Shipping

So, it all depends on the type of delivery service you will get. But the bottom line is, all three couriers can offer great service. UPS has the UPS Ground service, FedEx has its FedEx Ground service, and DHL also has its DHL Ground service.

Fastest Shipping

UPS offers its UPS Express Critical service in the U.S., while FedEx offers its FedEx Same Day service. As for DHL, it has its DHL Same Day Jetline service.

Services Oriented

These three couriers cater to different types of industries. UPS can ship different items, including apparel, furniture, automotive and industrial goods, and beauty and health products. FedEx can ship wine, electronics, food and grocery, home and gardening products, jewelry, and sports goods. As for DHL, it can efficiently ship documents, apparel, gifts, and any fragile items.

Popular Services

Of all the shipment services offered by UPS, the most popular ones are the UPS Ground and the UPS Worldwide Express. As for FedEx, its most popular shipment services are FedEx International Priority and FedEx Ground. For DHL, its best services are DHL Parcel International Direct and DHL Express.

Best Service

UPS handles this well if you need to deliver large parcels, and they are known for it. But if your priority is fast delivery, FedEx can do this for you best. However, they do these things best domestically. While they are also capable of shipping parcels internationally, there are limitations to their capabilities.

DHL is the most reliable courier service provider for international shipments. In fact, between its international and domestic shipping services, DHL is better with international shipments.

Conclusion – DHL or FedEx or UPS – Which to Choose?

Among DHL vs FedEx vs UPS, all three may be considered winners. FedEx is famous for its time-sensitive shipments and is, therefore, reliable in terms of quick delivery. On the other hand, DHL is popular for its satisfactory delivery service and cheap rates, especially its international shipments. In contrast, UPS is popular best for its reliable tracking and efficient handling of heavy packages.

Meaning, when you need to ship items, your choice of courier depends on three factors:

  • Type of item to ship,
  • Urgency, and
  • Domestic or International shipment.

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