USPS Mailbox Standards
Mailbox standards in the US are specified and approved by the
Service (USPS). US mailboxes can be...
- Curbside -- this is the most common
- House-mounted, or
- A slot in the door
The last 2 types must be authorized by your local
All manufactured curbside mailboxes must be approved by the US
Postmaster General. If it is approved it will have "U.S. MAIL" (in
minimum of 0.5" high letters) and "Approved By The Postmaster
General" (in minimum of 0.18" high letters) on the mail delivery door,
or below the mail slot for locked boxes.
In fact, as a general rule any change to your
mailbox position should first be cleared with your local postmaster.
Custom Built Mailboxes
Given the restrictions it's amazing there are any interesting
in the US at all!
However, it is possible to make (or have someone make) a
custom mailbox for you. It should meet the same mailbox standards of
size, strength and quality as those for approved manufacturers (see the
standards information below). It will also need to be approved.
Your local postmaster has the authority to approve one-off
You may also decorate your mailbox and the post it's on, provided the decoration doesn't interfere with delivery or collection of mail.
Curbside Mailbox Specifications
Since February 8, 2001 (STD-7B), the USPS mailbox standards allow for
- Traditional -- the familiar domed rectangular shape. This type cannot have a lock
- Contemporary -- any design that isn't traditional, but that
meets the capacity specification, but isn't larger than the maximum
specification dimensions. This type cannot have a lock
- Locked -- mailboxes designed to secure delivered mail
Each of the designs may be for limited service (that is
there's no flag and therefore no collection service) or for full
service (both delivery and collection of mail).
The standard contains detailed specification diagrams (see
below for where to get the standard).
- A house number at least 1" high on the
right hand side of the box (that is, facing the direction the post
person will usually approach the mailbox from). If your box is in a
cluster the number should be on the front of the box
- If the mailbox is not on the street of the mailing addressing, include the street name as well
- You may also add your name, but you don't have to
Don't forget to contact your local post office before you install a new box!
Generally your box should be installed as follows...
- On the right hand side of the road where the postal worker can safely deliver mail without getting out of the delivery vehicle
- The inside floor of the mailbox, or the mailbox slot for
locked designs, should be 41-45" above the road
- The delivery face of the mailbox should be set back 6-8"
from the curb or road edge
- The front of the mailbox should be kept clear for easy access by the postal worker
To ensure your mail service continues uninterrupted also take
the following into account...
- The mounting post and arm is not regulated by the USPS.
However, no part of them should stick out past the front of the closed mailbox
- Only items delivered by the US Postal Service may be placed
in your US approved mailbox. However, you may attach a separate holder
for non-mail items such as newspapers. This container must not intefere
with mail delivery, should not stick out past the front of your
closed mailbox and can not have advertising on it
- A locking device may not be retrofited
- The mailbox and its post may not display any advertising
- You may decorate your mailbox and post as long as any art
or accessories do not interfere with the mail service or create a hazard
- It's up to you to maintain your mailbox and its installation
Where to Find the USPS Mailbox Standards
You'll find a brief summary here: USPS standards for residential
mailboxes. You'll find more detailed US mailbox specifications here.
you are a manufacturer of mailboxes for the US market you will need
your mailbox approved by the USPS -- to get a copy of the latest, full,
official USPS mailbox standard (STD-7B) write to
USPS Engineering, the address is on this page.