Fedex or UPS?

Which is the safer bet when shipping something heavy such as an amplifier? I have never shipped such a heavy item before. Thanks
There is no safe bet when shipping electronics; but would advise that you pack it as tight as you can get in your box (so it doesn't move when you shake the box). Then repeat this process (in case they drop it)! If you try to save on packing, you will probably pay for it in a damaged amp. I have used both with good luck, but usually go with FedEx ground due to preferance. Best, Charlie
I have had the most horible expierence in my life dealing with Fedex ground home delivery last week.It is not the world class Fedex express company that we all know.The CS reps are incompetent.Go with UPS.Never a problem.My last expierence with UPS was perfect.
UPS just delivered some 95 pound Soliloquy speakers for me. Left them out in the weather, no signature, stacked on their sides as opposed to upright, boxes tore all to heck and back. No wonder he didn't stick around!! They were fortunately not damaged but I can't use the boxes again (almost $100 for a new set that UPS WILL NOT pay for since the speakers weren't damaged). They do this all the time to me though I attempt to force everyone I deal with to ship FedEx Ground (some won't).

UPS SUCKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

DHL may be an alternative.
The only way I've seen things come thru safe is strapped to a pallet and shipped freight where they had to use a fork truck.
You do, but you can minimize the risk by making sure that the amp CANNOT shift in the inner box (2-3 layers of large bubble wrap is good) and then placed in a 2nd box with peanuts tight between 2 boxes. For a heavy, dense item like an amp, peanuts are useless in the first box, the item will shift around and work its way to the outside. Also, re-inforce the box vertically, by placing a right angle folded piece of corrugated in each corner, that extends snuggly, from top to bottom.
Wrap in 3 layers of bubble wrap and build a 3/4" plywood crate around it. Glue and screw it together. This is what i do. Never had a problem except Fedex/UPS charge $5 extra for shipping a wood crate.
I prefer UPS only because it's more convenient. The advice given so far on careful packing is right on. I found out the hard way when I shipped a 65 pound amp, without original packing, just how important solid packing is. The buyer returned the damaged amp and repairs weren't cheap.
Check out this link in the "Audiogon CES Auctions" regarding shipping:

"UPS will be the default shipper whenever possible. However, ground shipments are far too risky for high end equipment, so "2-day" or "3-day select" will be used depending on shipping distance. Generally speaking, East Coast shipments will go 3-Day, and most others will be 2-day. California and other neighbors of Nevada may receive regular UPS shipments."

So ground shipments are far too risky for high end equipment? Sounds like the voice of experience. However, the shipping price sky rockets for 2-3day shippments as compared to ground. Will the person(s) responsible for the above link please chime in.
UPS is the devil! I have had two really bad experiences with them, especially if you use their "UPS Store" to ship. They use this as a cover since they are an "independant business" and not UPS proper. They managed to bend the legs and mess up the finish on a Billy Bags rack I bought. From what I can tell they dropped it off a truck, ran it over, took a forklift to it, and then dropped it from a helicopter to my door, and I never saw a dime from them. FedEx ground home delivery is also a bit dicey with heavier stuff, the lighter stuff I have had no problems with. If you can send it to a business address as this tends to end up better for all, they do handle things better it seems that way. Best advice, insure for more than selling price, pack well, ensure they know the contents of the box, and hope for the best.
I've used UPS more than FEDEX because thay're generally more convenient. The will beat packages to death though, and have ruined an amp, and set of speakers that were shipped to me. I think FEDEX is probably similar, just haven't used them enough for them to do the same for (to) me.

The key is to pack it well. I always do the following:
1) wrap the unit with a plastic bag to keep dust/moisture out.
2) Pack it first in the Mfg packing and box. If I don't have it, I support it very well either using bubble wrap,folded cardboard, or solid styrofoam sheets, and pack it inside a sturdy box. Never use styro peanuts. Make sure it is supported on the corners, or some part that's solid, and that switches, knobs, connects are not carrying any load. Make sure it's packed tight inside the box, tape it up well.
3) Pack the first box inside another larger box. Support it with good cushioning. Preferably bubble wrap, or styrofoam sheets. If there's a large gap/space in the second box I may use peanuts, but I usually put the peanuts first inside plastic garbage bags and tie them up and pack the bags into the spaces. Peanuts alone will shift, especially with a heavy item like and amp.

If you pack the item well, it doesn't matter a lot who the shipper is. I pack my stuff assuming that it will be dropped 10 ft off a truck, kicked, and smashed by a forklift.
and NEVER Fed Ex Home, FedEx Home is a sub contracted company and NOT good, its odd to me the people they hire,, they must look for "winners"
The last guy took the time to leave a call tag, but not my EAD Theatervision P,, which is great,, except i was HOME at the time he was here! lol
Sure woulda been nice if he had knocked on the door.
I would like to personally thank him for making me put 2 full days to waste.
Who Trains these people? Delivering the same package twice makes for,, twice the work? odd.
How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?

You need to think like your competiting in a "physics egg drop contest." Ideally you'd want the equipment to be able to sustain up to a two story drop onto its corner. And be able to survive out in the rain for up to a day or two. Only then will you be ready for ground shipments.

I always give myself this quick "acid test" after I pack something. "now that it's packed, would I feel comfortable THROWING this package five feet in the air BOUNCING it off of the WALL?" If no, I repack it better or double-box it better.

I usually place the item is a plastic shopping bag or trashbag (to prevent rain damage). Then goes on a couple layers of bubble wrap (big 1 inch bubbles). I collect the stuff by the square yard whenever I can. Then I get some heavy packing foam which I tightly fit between the bubblewapped item and the first box. Then I always double box the item, separating the boxes with heavy foam or peanuts or newpaper should I run out of heavy foam. I tape both boxes well. I also address BOTH BOXES in case the outer double box gets annilated during transit (I had that happen once, and UPS still delivered it to the address I handwrote, thank god.

IF the item is really heavy (like an amp) or big (like speakers) I single box the item, then I crate it up on a pallet at work. Work will let me use one of their motor freight carriers for cost. USually ends up being about $90/insured for a 4x4 pallet and up to 175 pounds. I sold a pair of speakers that way once.

Life is too short to go cheap when shipping a monster amp or speakers. Either spend the extra $50 now, or spend the extra $50 on blood pressure medication and lose two weeks life expectacy when you see the box scuffed up at its destination. It's hard to swallow, but then I so anal with my gear, I just about have to be an insane packer, or drive the gear myself.
Well gee, let's see. I've had 2 sets of loudspeakers damaged by UPS and just lately, I was o receive another set of loudspeakers dec 21,,,, which I did. 1 out of 2 floorstanders that is. Instead of both coming to the Northeast, UPS decided that 1 should be delivered to an unknown soul in Savannah, Georgia. To UPS's credit, they were right there the next day for repickup on Dec 27. That's were the credit stops tho cuz instead of heading to the northeast, UPS figured the package should go to Colorado first. Scheduled delivery was to be Jan 7 until of course that date had come and gone in which case Jan 12 was picked for a new delivery date. I'm afraid I tend to lean toward Fed-Ex here,,, especially now that I know the real reason why UPS has brown trucks. ;o Regards, Robin
As stated earlier in the thread, good packing is the key. With am amp you should be able to throughly pack it in a paper box and then put a wooden crate around that. That's the safest way besides shipping via air. Packages that travel on the ground are loaded and unloaded much much more than an air package which is part of the reason that ground packages are more likely to be damages. Traveling over-road for hundreds of miles also increases the likely-hood of damage.
Its a crap shoot. FedEx over night has been the best for me. Had a 125 lb amp sent to me. FLS dlivered a skid of 250 lb speakers no problem. Contributing factors to damage are poor packing, how many times the item is handled before it arrives and unfortunately luck. It does cost more to ship next day, but it will cut down on man-handling. Alway check the rating of the boxes you ship in. If you ship a 100 lb item in a box rated at 75 lb it may not be covered if damaged.
Avoid the UPS store like the plaque, they are NOT UPS!!!!
REPEAT, THEY ARE NOT UPS. The insurance is a joke, they have destroyed two pieces. UPS says go to the UPS store as they are the shipper and they ain't US, or UPS.

Just beware, however, like Kinko's ground FedEx is better?

I love the notes about good packing!!
Since it is inevitable that some rough handling will occur on some shipments.....
Try to use BAX Global Or Menlo asking a favour to a business friend (they work with business only).
Good advise, so far, and I agree that proper packaging is the key. One suggestion I would make is NEVER, EVER trust you item to be packaged by anyone except yourself. The UPS store and FedEx Kinkos are not proficient in properly packaging electronics, especially heavy items like amps or speakers.

In addition to some of the other suggestion of wrapping in plastic bags and using foam sheets, I like to wrap items tightly in several layers of "cling wrap". This typical kitchen product clings tightly, won't shift (shifting can cause rub marks) and provides a nice first layer against cosmetic damage.

Also, even with factory packaging like moulded foam end caps, I place extra cut foam sheet inside of the open area of the factory packaging. You can buy excellent foam sheets from a building supply center like Home Depot or Lowes. Don't get the brittle white stuff, get the kind that is dense and has a backing layer on it. It is much easier to cut and does not break up like the white crap.

I also suggest building a complete surround of the product using these foam sheets. You can easily build an indestructable container if you properly cut the sheets so they fit tight and can't shift/move. The item inside will withstand the drop test if packaged properly.


(Tom In Cincinnati)
posted from above I couldn't agree more
Avoid the UPS store like the plaque, they are NOT
REPEAT, THEY ARE NOT UPS. The insurance is a
I work for one of the above mentioned companies. I won't say which one, and I don't think it matters. Pack well. Expect the package to be dropped and thrown about. Forget "fragile" or "this side up" messages. The goal of package handlers is speed and speed alone. This doesn't mean we live without scruples or morals; it's just the nature of the biz. I believe both companies work hard at delivering packages accurately and timely. However, heed the above advice and pack well.

FYI: Those homemade plywood boxes are interesting and seem quite sturdy.
I have always used fedex, always more smoother than the rivals, UPS tends to have higher rates anyhow.
UPS would be my suggestion just make sure you pack it well.

I have had 2 units broken by Fed Ex Ground. None thankfully by UPS.

I am sure others have had the exact opposite.

Packing is KEY..


Great posts,
My views:

1 - Always double-box (use strong and new boxes).

2 - Use large bubbled-bubble wrap (never peanuts).

3 - Use bubble wrap around the item ( 3 layers of 1"
bubble wrap) and then bubble wrap the inner box (3
layers of bubble wrap again) and place the first box
in the 2nd box.

4 - put item in plastic bag before going into the 1st box.

5 - Use Fed Ex 3rd day Air (not ground).

6 - Have box shipped to a business address (not residence).

7 - Always insure the shipment.

8 - Tape all outer corners of both boxes plus tops and
bottoms with Duct tape or other.

9 - For very heavy items, use all above and then crate.

10 – Address the inner and outer box along with return address.

11 – Make sure that Fed Ex has both your and the recipient’s phone numbers.

12 – Put clear plastic tape over the addresses so they can not come off (if paper label)
or get scratched off if written on the box (better to make your own paper label
using “Word” and large font letters and printing on regular white paper stock).
Fed Ex Air is much safer than Fed Ex ground (same is true for UPS). I would never ship a piece of electronic equipment via their GROUND services with either Fed Ex or UPS. The handling on air is much lighter and safer.
I have been disappointed in both Fed Ex and UPS with their ground shipping. So far, so good with Fed Ex 3 Day Air.
I ordered wiring/teflon from exactly 45 miles away. It was promised to be here today. It was apparently on the truck at 3am this morning. I phoned UPS at 7:30pm and was assured that it would be here. I just tracked it at 9pm, and saw that the driver put a comment on the file that "no one was available for a signature." I've been sitting five feet from the front door most of the day, and certainly for the past couple of hours. No, they did not leave an attempted delivery slip. Why? Because the driver never came by. And needless to say, I didn't get the package. Oh, and the customer service center is now closed. Ugghhhh!
Boa, I wonder, are you in California? The same things has happened to me on more than one occasion using UPS. It has gotten to where I will not buy from a seller who will only ship UPS. Now, I do think that much of the one carrier vs. another debate depends on where you are located. When I lived in the Midwest, UPS was golden. Never a problem. Here in the Bay Area, California, they absolutely SUCK and FedEx is FAR superior (air or ground). As it turns out, and for things that are too heavy or large, I have the most success using USPS. Insured is they key, though, I think that is the only way to be reasonably assured they will take relatively good care.
4yanx, as a matter of fact, I am in Sacramento. I purchased some stuff from Michael Percy Audio, which is in Nevada City. I can drive there in under 45 minutes. 2 days later, I still don't have the package. Thanks for the info.
The driver finally showed up at 12:30pm today (I was promised no later than 11:30am), and he left the package at the front door. He apparently no longer needed a signature, as he didn't even knock on the door. When I walked out the front door to ask him why he no longer needed a signature, he yelled, "Don't need one," jumped in the truck, and drove off. It's kind of funny, actually, because I see that now 15 minutes later, he's returned to make a delivery right across the street. Yes, UPS sucks!
Boa, here's one of many horror stories I've had with them locally. I bought a cartridge, and the day it was delivered, I see the guy pull up front and see him headed up the drive. Just so my dogs don't go WILD, I head for the door. As I reach for the knob, I hear "thunk" against the door. Opening the door, the small box is cartwheeling across the stoop and the driver is standing 15-20 down the drive. I say to him, "Is this how you deliver your packages?" He says, "Yeah, if they're light and small", as he hops in his truck and spilts. Oh, I reported him. LUCKILY there was no damage that I could detect....
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Fedex sounds better than UPS anyway,were all into audio, try it for yourself, say it out lowd, and listen to yourself, say "Fedex" then say "UPS" ups is like a low, beefy vocal, and fedex is like your fedup with something.

If you have trouble listening to yourself, have your wife say it instead, but that may be no good as well, as we dont tend to listen to them also.

You must admit, we have too mutch time on our hands, expecially me, for posting sutch nonscence.
I'm knocking on wood with my fingers crossed, but my wife and I have received probably 75-100 packages over the years, some pretty fragile, and have never had a hitch.
I happen to live in a remote, hilly area in WV: the roads are horrendous and unpassable most of the winter. Things are somewhat better in the summer but not by much. In addition, to get to where I live, one has to cross an old rickety bridge that should've been torn down long ago and rebuilt. UPS has been wonderful delivering stuff here. Fedex is never on schedule, and typically 1-2 days late, and the delivery truck driver always looks like he's p--d because he has to come here. My vote definitely goes to UPS.
WOW!, this thread lives on eh! I dont even remember which I ended up going with. Hah!