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Commercial Mailboxes vs Residential Mailboxes: What’s the Difference?

Since the 1850s, mailboxes have become a standard fixture of American life.

It became easier for people to use the mail service with the invention of postage stamps. A bit further during the 1870s, the Pony Express was founded and delivered mail to cities all across America. This caused a tidal shift in availability for businesses and regular people.

With the increasing use of mail, the size and shape of letters shifted to a standardized format. Not long after, different types of mailboxes burst onto the scene. People and businesses were able to choose between commercial mailboxes vs residential mailboxes.

These mailboxes offered the benefit of protecting paper mail from the elements and prying eyes. Because of this, it became the standard way of communication across long distances.

Telegraphs and wireless communication would follow, but the humble mail continued to flow.

For over a hundred years residential mailboxes have been affixed to walls against the house or placed out by the curb. The increasing population in apartment buildings led to the need for something different. The commercial mailbox was created to address these needs, with the ability to handle mail for many different tenants.

In this article, we’ll discuss commercial mailboxes vs residential mailboxes.

The Modern Age

Even in an era where email has come to dominate the public consciousness, mail remains vital.

The United States Postal Service delivers an eye-watering amount of mail every day. It even adds an incredible 4000 addresses every day to their network. This ever-increasing flow of mail continues to require the use of mailboxes both in commercial and residential areas.

The need for secure receptacles has never been higher.

Mailboxes don’t just provide a place where mail can be delivered, they also help in various ways. Locked mailboxes can protect a person from identity theft. Businesses use locked mailboxes to keep their information confidential.

In order to understand the difference between commercial mailboxes vs residential mailboxes, we have to take a look at what each actually is.

Commercial Mailboxes

Commercial mailboxes are often used in apartments. This is to accommodate the large numbers of mail that must be delivered to the same place. They are often made up of multiple mailbox compartments. In large American cities, parcel lockers are also a common fixture.

Commercial mailboxes are often built to be resistant to tampering.

Metal provides a good amount of physical security and is the preferred material. These features are necessary due to their function. Many more people will interact with a commercial mailbox than a residential one.

Residential Mailboxes

Residential mailboxes are the standard mailbox many homes have.

They are typically made up of a single compartment that is rarely locked. They can store a large amount of mail in a single space but there is no way to organize it. In this, they serve well for the needs of a single individual living at a location or a family.

While metal and plastic remain the two most common materials used in residential mailboxes, there are others. Wood, polymers, and stone are all used as well. They are more individualized and have less concern given over to safety and temper resistance.

Mailbox Regulations

The United States Postal Service regulates all mailboxes. There are specific requirements for each type of mailbox that are quite different.

For curbside mailboxes in the United States, they must be 6-8 inches from the curb. The door or slot of the mailbox must be 41 to 45 inches from the ground.

If you are using a wall-mounted mailbox, you need to speak with your local postmaster. People with physical impairments who have difficulty walking to the curb prefer these.

Commercial mailboxes are subject to a number of additional regulations. Their size, shape, and function are all regulated in order to make it easier for the mail to be delivered. The location of parcel boxes and locks also changes the regulations of them.

It is important with either choice that you purchase a mailbox that is approved for use by the USPS. Approval from the USPS ensures the mailbox meets all required regulations.

Mailboxes and All Their Varieties

Mailboxes come in a huge variety of shapes and sizes.

They are commonly personalized to the individual needs of a residence. They are also often personalized to the individual taste of a resident who will be using them.

Commercial mailboxes are also customizable with a varying number of slots or shapes. Selecting one that will work for you is important based upon the specific needs you will have for your mailbox.

Both types of mailboxes can come in a variety of colors, though most commercial mailboxes are produced in a brown or gray metal finish. While metal is the most common material used to make commercial mailboxes, residential mailboxes show much more variety.

From metal and plastic to wood and stone residential mailboxes can be made out of almost anything.

Commercial Mailboxes vs Residential Mailboxes

Residential mailboxes and commercial mailboxes have essentially the same function. They both serve to protect the mail and the mail recipient. They are fixtures that have become common across all aspects of society and remain critical to the flow of information across the country.

A lot has been made of the future of the postal service, with the validity of mail being constantly questioned.

The reality is that for the foreseeable future, nearly every American will continue to receive mail. Whether they get it in a residential or a commercial mailbox largely depends on where and how they live.

Choose What Works Best for Your Situation

The debate of commercial mailboxes vs residential mailboxes isn’t a question of one or the other. It is a question of what situation they are needed for.

If you own a building split into apartments you may want to consider using a commercial mailbox. It will give your tenants peace of mind as well as a secure way to receive their mail.

If you live alone or with your family in a home then a residential mailbox will serve your needs just fine.

Contact us today at National Mailboxes to have all your mailbox needs fulfilled.