As rare as mailing a letter is these days, it still is important to know how to. One of the most important questions when mailing a letter through USPS or another carrier is how many stamps are required. How many stamps do I need to send a letter?
For a standard letter, you would need a Forever stamp or a First Class stamp. And for a standard-sized letter within the United States, one Forever stamp will be enough. The number of stamps you need usually depends on the size, weight, and class of the letter or package that you intend to mail.
Read on to learn more about how many stamps you need when sending a letter through USPS, per oz., for a small or large envelope. This article will also talk about the mailing procedures you have to follow. We’ll also tackle how much the process would cost you, among others.
How Many Stamps Do I Need for a Letter per Oz
Usually, the number of stamps needed depends on the size, weight, and class of the letter or package that you intend to mail. To mail a standard letter, you only need a Forever stamp or a First Class stamp. Put this stamp on the top-right corner of the envelope.
If you’re mailing a standard-sized letter within the United States, one Forever stamp will be enough. The standard envelope dimensions accepted by the postal services is 9” x 12”.
As required by the United States Postal Service, you only need one domestic Forever stamp costing $0.55 for standard mail weighing up to 1 oz. The number of stamps increases with each additional ounce. An alternative is by purchasing two domestic Forever stamps for an additional cost.
- For 2 oz. – There are two options to choose from. You may use a domestic Forever stamp and a 15-cent additional ounce stamp for $0.70. Or you may overpay by $0.40 with two domestic Forever stamps for $1.10.
- For 3 oz. – You can purchase a domestic Forever stamp and two 15-cent additional ounce stamps for $0.85. There’s also an option to overpay $0.25 using two domestic Forever stamps for $1.10.
- For 3.5 oz. – You need one domestic Forever, a 35-cent postcard stamp, and a 10-cent stamp for $1.00. Again, there’s also an option to overpay $0.10 using two domestic Forever stamps for $1.10.
See the below table to answer the questions, how many stamps do I need per oz:
How Many Stamps Do I Need for a Large Envelope?
How many stamps do I need for a large envelope? Also known as flats, large envelopes are for mailing photos and sheets of legal paper. For a 1-oz. legal size envelope (9 ½” x 15”), you will need two Forever stamps for a total cost of $1.10. There are also extra postage fees for each additional ounce.
For a Manila envelope weighing less than an ounce, you will need two Forever stamps. It has the same postage requirements as the 9” x 12” standard and 9 ½” x 15” legal envelopes.
How Many Stamps Do I Need for a Package?
We’ve answered the question: “how many stamps do I need to send a letter”; but what about a package? You can use one or more stamps for packages weighing less than 12 oz. (0.75 lbs.).
The exact number of stamps needed is calculated according to the package’s weight and dimensions. Also considered is its point of origin and destination.
Calculating the Weight and Cost of Your Mail Item
There are two methods you can choose to compute the cost of postage.
First is by pre-determining the size and weight of your letter or package. All you need to do is enter the information into an online postage price calculator. One can be found on the United States Postal Service website here: https://postcalc.usps.com/. This online calculator will enable you to compute the postage cost.
If you don’t know how much your mail item weighs, you can just bring it to your local post office. They can weigh and calculate the cost for you.
1st Method – Calculating Postage Cost with a Postage Calculator
1. Use a Forever Stamp for Standard-sized Mail Items
You only need a single Forever stamp for an item mailed in a commercial envelope with a length of 11.5″ (29 cm) by 5″ (13 cm) and a weight of 1 oz. (28 g) or less. Larger items would require extra postage, which can be added up by using a postage calculator.
Forever stamps are used for letters, cards, and paper items that weigh less than 1 oz (28 g). The cost of one Forever stamp is $0.55 as of 2020. If you’re sending a standard commercial envelope to somewhere outside of the United States, you will have to use a Global Forever stamp, which now costs $1.15 per piece.
2. Measure Envelopes and Packages Larger Than the Standard Size
Measure the length and width of an envelope using a ruler or measuring tape. For bulkier envelopes and packages, make sure to determine their thickness, including their length and width. The item’s overall size is important in calculating the cost of postage.
To be safe, be sure to take the exact measurements of your item. Depending on the instructions the postage calculator provides, you could always round the figures up or down. Large packages don’t usually have stamps as they go through post office shipping instead of mail.
3. Weigh the Envelope If It Includes Photos, Gifts, or Other Additional Items
To do this, you’ll need to use a sensitive scale to pick up the weight of your envelope in grams or ounces. An ordinary kitchen scale would work fine with envelopes and small parcels, while a digital scale is suitable for heavier packages.
When calculating the postage cost, most postage calculators would ask for the item’s weight to be rounded up. If you do not have a scale on hand, you can go to the post office, and they’ll weigh and ship the item for you.
4. Specify the Mail Class of Your Item
The three standard classes of mail are Ground, Priority, and First Class. When trying to decide which mail class is best suited to your needs, you must consider your item’s weight. Moreover, you have to consider how fast you want it to arrive at its destination.
- Ground Mail – Also known as Standard Shipping, usually arrives within 2 to 8 business days. It is the most useful mail class for sending large amounts of mail simultaneously, handling large packages, and saving money on non-urgent items.
- Priority Mail – It guarantees delivery in 1 to 3 days. To save money on sending large items, you can either mail them in a flat rate envelope or a box. This option offers you a fixed rate, no matter if your item weighs up to 70 lbs. (30 kg).
- First Class Mail – Its delivery is also within 1 to 3 days. However, items must not weigh any more than 13 oz (370 g). Additional postage is required for heavier items.
5. Enter Your Item’s Information into an Online Postage Price Calculator
Aside from the size, weight, and class of your package or envelope, the postage price calculator also asks for other details. These details include the destination and its postal code, your postal code, and shipment’s time and date.
Once you have submitted the information, the mailing cost will be displayed. You can use such details to work out the number of stamps that you will need.
If you are a resident of the United States, you can use the US Postal Service online postage price calculator (USPS). You can find it here: How many stamps do I need USPS. Enter your item’s information as accurately as possible. It will help you assess if you’re paying for the correct postage.
6. Divide the Postage Cost by the Cost of the Forever Stamp
The resulting quotient will be the number of stamps that you’ll need. For instance, if your postage price amounts to $2.32, divide that by 0.50. You’ll get 4.64, which you’ll then round up to get a total of five stamps.
Always remember to round up the quotient to make sure that you have sufficient postage since it’s impossible to use only a fraction of a stamp. As an alternative, you may also buy special stamps used to supplement the difference of additional postage. Extra postage stamps are available in smaller values for 1, 2, 3, 5, and 10 cents.
7. Apply Your Stamps
Peel off the backing from the stamps and stick them onto your envelope or package. As much as possible, place them on the upper right-hand corner or on any area where the mail handler can easily see them.
Arrange multiple stamps in one or two rows to ensure that they won’t overlap. If you’re having difficulty in properly applying your stamps, take your items to the post office and ask one of the clerks for assistance.
8. Items Requiring More Than One Stamp Should Be Taken to the Post Office
These items include overstuffed envelopes, oversized packages, and any item that weighs over 13 oz. (370 g). Since you can’t mail them via residential mailbox, you need to ship them through the post office. Upon arriving there, hand over your item to one of the on-duty postal employees for processing.
The clerks can also help you calculate the postage cost and sell you the number of stamps you require. In certain areas, the postal service will be allowed to print out a shipping label and arrange a scheduled pickup to your home if you’d rather not go to the post office in person.
2nd Method – Calculating Postage Cost at the Post Office
1. Take Your Sealed Item to the Post Office
Make sure to close the flap of the envelope or package securely. You should also neatly write the address on your item. Avoid putting in excessive information like old shipping labels or irrelevant writing that may confuse postal employees.
Take the time to stuff, seal, and address your item before you bring it to the post office. If you’ve run out of supplies or mail accessories, such as envelopes, stamps, and mailers, they are available for purchase at the post office.
2. Have Your Mail Item Weighed
Tell a post office employee that you need to find out your item’s weight to calculate the correct postage cost. They will weigh your item on a scale and give you the postage price right there and then.
The postal clerk may also require additional bits of information, such as your postal code, the item’s destination, and whether you want it to be sent as Priority or First Class mail. Priority mail is usually faster, but First Class is not as expensive. Bear in mind, though, that only items weighing 13 oz. (370 g) or less can be mailed in First Class.
3. Apply the Requisite Number of Stamps on Your Mail Item
Once the stamps are affixed to your package or envelope, hand it off to the mail clerk. While you’re there at the post office, and if you opt to pay for the postage, the postal clerk will have a mailing label printed out and stuck on your item to indicate its shipping cost.
It would be less expensive to use stamps that you’ve brought along with you than paying for postage separately. If you’re not certain how to convert the postage cost of your item to the equivalent number of stamps, or if you just don’t want to know, the on-duty postal employee will be willing to be of assistance.
Conclusion – How Many Stamps Do I Need to Send a Letter? USPS
To summarize, you would need a Forever stamp or a First Class stamp to mail a standard letter. If you’re mailing a standard-sized letter within the United States, one Forever stamp will be enough. The number of stamps you need usually depends on the size, weight, and class of the letter or package that you intend to mail.
There’s really no one and only answer to the question, “How many stamps do I need to send a letter?” A standard letter only needs one, but you would need more depending on the size and weight of the mail item.
Another factor is cost. You can use as many stamps as needed as long as it adds up to no less than $0.55. But no matter how many stamps you need, you can always count on your local post office to supply all of your mailing needs. Despite the convenience and expedience of online communication, the old-fashioned postal service has hardly outlived its usefulness.