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What Are the Different Types of Collection Mailboxes?

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Standard collection boxes are those blue mailboxes on legs that are most often found in front of your local post office. They are commonly used by the public to drop off mail and smaller packages (under a half inch in thickness) especially after or before hours.

Other types of collection mailboxes exist. Snorkel collection box receptacles are found on curbsides and designed to accept mail from vehicles. They may also be called courtesy boxes.

Mail chutes consist of a glass tube on each floor of a building, and are typically found in taller buildings.

Lobby drops are simply a mail slot or chute to receive mail and can be found in some post offices or in another building. These will bear the USPS seal.

Priority Mail Express Collection Mailboxes are typically white and bear a gray Collection Times sticker. They are strictly for Priority Mail Express items if they are prepared properly. Package Drop Units are a newer type of collection mailbox meant for commercial use, and they accept prepaid packages only.

Does the USPS Still Use Collection Mailboxes?

Collection mailboxes are still in use today in all their forms, but the blue collection mailboxes that stand alone may be less common than in the past, especially in some neighborhoods, apartment complexes, and on some commercial properties. This is because some mailboxes weren’t used enough by customers to justify the maintenance cost.

What Is the Difference Between a Cluster and a Collection Mailbox?

A cluster mailbox refers to those mailboxes purchased, installed and maintained by the owner of a private or public property that is not the USPS.

These mailboxes include all those that have multiple customer compartments contained in a single cabinet. Cluster mailboxes usually have slots for outgoing mail, the same way collection mailboxes do, and sometimes contain package drops as well. However, these are typically part of a larger setup. Cluster mailboxes can be used for USPS delivery and pickup, or for private use, and do not bear the USPS seal.

Collection mailboxes will always bear the USPS seal and are the property of the postal service, even when placed on a public property. They do not have compartments for mail delivery to customers.