Mailing electronics: how to safely and correctly post electronic devices

Posting electronics may be a rare occurrence for individuals, but in the event that you want to gift an old or new device to a loved one, require electronic repairs, or you’ve sold something online, you must understand how to ship these devices securely and safely.

In this article, we’ll explain the different types of electronic devices, how to properly package your device for minimal risk of damage, and how to label your parcel accurately to ensure that it is sent to the proper recipient.

How should I package my electronic devices for posting?

As with standard postage, everything depends on size and weight. According to the Royal Mail, using sturdy packaging type boxes and padded envelopes are the best ways to package your devices securely for transit.

Posting small electronic devices:

The maximum dimensions for a small parcel would be 45cm in length x 35cm in width x 16cm in depth and weigh a maximum of 2kg. The following steps will explain how to best pack items such as E-cigarettes (no more than two), mp3 players, eBooks, sat navs, mobile phones and other small devices.

  • Wrap the device with a minimum of 1cm of cushioning, e.g. bubble wrap.
  • Ensure the pins/plugs are covered in 1cm of cushioning separately to prevent damage to contents and outer packaging.
  • Remove all additional or loose parts and wrap each item individually.
  • Items must be securely placed in a sturdy, rigid outer container, e.g. corrugated fibreboard box and cushioned to avoid movement and packed to prevent accidental activation. (e.g. polystyrene chips or polyblocks).
  • Packaging must be of adequate size and securely sealed so items can’t fall out during transit.

Mailing medium electronic items:

The maximum dimensions for a medium parcel would be 61cm in length x 46cm in width x 46cm in depth and weigh a maximum of 20kg. The following steps will explain how to best pack items ranging in size from a camera, portable DVD players and gaming consoles.

  • Surround the device with a minimum of 5cm of cushioning, e.g. bubble wrap, polystyrene chips or polyblocks to protect from knocks or vibration.
  • It is advised that the original packaging be used. 
  • Ensure the pins/plugs are covered in 1cm of cushioning to prevent damage to contents and outer packaging.
  • Remove all additional or loose parts and wrap each item individually.
  • Items must be securely placed in a sturdy, rigid outer container, e.g. corrugated fibreboard box and cushioned to avoid movement and packed to prevent accidental activation.
  • Packaging must be of adequate size and securely sealed so items can’t fall out during transit.

If you wish to post an electronic device that is larger than the dimensions listed above, we recommend that you contact your local mail courier for further guidance.

Posting other electronic devices and accessories 

The following steps will explain how to best pack loose items, i.e. memory cards and USB memory sticks.

USB memory cards

  • Using two pieces of cardboard, place the memory card between them and tape them together.
  • Write your name and phone number on the cardboard.
  • Place it into a padded envelope, ensuring it is the correct size for the item.
  • Seal the envelope securely.

Computer disks, DVDs and CDs

  • Wrap cushioning material at least 2cm thick around each item.
  • Pack in a rigid, purpose-made container.
  • We recommend that you use screened envelopes for computer disks.

How do I correctly label my parcel?

When it comes to shipping your parcels, labelling your items with as much information as you can is, generally, the safest way to go. In addition to the recipient’s address, we recommend writing your full name and returning address, so the chance of your mail being lost is minimal. To further avoid that scenario, please consider the following when creating your label:

Is the address readable?

If the address label comes off, or if the address was impossible to read, the courier may not be able to deliver the mail. 

Is the address correct?

Sometimes a mistake is made and the wrong address is put on the mail. To prevent this, you can check addresses using an Address Finder tool or confirm with the recipient, checking the spelling and house number is correct.

Is there a return address on the outside?

If your parcel has not been delivered due to either an unreadable label, incorrect address, or another reason and there is no return address written on the outside of the item, the parcel will then be sent to a returns centre. When it gets there, it will be opened to see if there is a return address for the sender. If there is, it is then returned to the sender by the same service it was sent.

Are you sending to a business address?

Mail sent to a business often goes to a post room, in which case it is best to contact the recipient for them to check their company’s post room.

If you consider these questions, you can be sure that you’ve done everything to ensure that your parcel will be delivered correctly and promptly to its destination.

Insurance and cost when mailing electronics

Just like protecting your valuables with device insurance, post insurance is also available when mailing electronics. The amount you’re comfortable spending on your desired postage class is entirely at your discretion. However, if you are posting something that holds a bit more value, it would be in your best interest to opt for a postage class that would provide one or two of the following:

  • Online delivery confirmation - When posting parcels, they will be scanned and given a code upon reception, making it available to be tracked online via that code.
  • Guaranteed Delivery - Getting the parcel to the recipient by a certain time or your money back.
  • Signature on Delivery - The courier will ask for a signature from the recipient when your item is delivered.
  • Compensation cover - Each delivery package has its own number of features that you may be entitled to, including compensation cover, up to a certain amount depending on the chosen delivery class.
  • Optional: Delivery dates - these optional features concern delivery on next working day, Saturday deliveries, delivery by a particular time etc.

For a more detailed list of postal types and their features, please refer to the Royal Mail website.

Determining the types of electronics you can post - how are they different?

Electronic devices are categorised based on their components. It’s important to know what the contents of the device you’re going to post are, such as batteries. If you’re sending devices containing lithium batteries, you have a legal responsibility to declare it. This section will give you a bit more insight into categorising the possible types of electronic devices you may be wanting to post and guide you on what steps to take to ship your device safely and quickly.

Electronic devices connected to lithium batteries    

These are the devices where the battery is physically connected and cannot be easily removed. One example could be a gaming console, where the battery is an integral part of the device’s make up and will usually be provided with a power cable as the primary method to keep the device active. Here are some examples:

  • Smart mobile phones
  • Tablets (e.g. iPad) 
  • Laptops
  • MP3 devices (e.g. iPod)
  • Microwave
  • Computer
  • Portable DVD players

Electronic devices sent with lithium batteries    

These are the devices where the battery is not connected but are supplied separately. For example, children’s toys that are provided with the batteries included but disconnected. Equally, the device could have batteries preassembled that can be removed easily. These items are not allowed to be posted internationally. Here are some examples:

  • Power tools
  • Most digital cameras
  • Toys
  • Remote Controls
  • Cordless computer accessories

Of course, this doesn’t cover all devices that contain lithium batteries. If you’re wondering if a particular device you own contains lithium batteries, please check your instruction manual or the manufacturer’s website. Posting electronic devices with lithium batteries can be potentially dangerous and should be considered as its own category when posting electronics. Because of this, we’ve written a blog solely on posting these types of goods.

Posting a lithium battery or power bank?
Learn about packing instructions for UN3481

Mailing other electronic devices and accessories: 

It’s not always apparent if something is an electronic device, and we advise that you consult your instruction manual or the manufacturer’s website for accurate information. The following list details common devices or components that you may not consider an electronic device, but need careful consideration when you post them:

  • USB memory stick
  • Memory cards
  • Films
  • DVD’s 
  • CDs
  • Computer Disks

Find out more about posting electronics

To conclude, it’s possible to ship electronic devices safely and securely with minimal difficulty and maximum coverage. Take the time to protect your devices for transit and make sure the labelling is clear and correct. Additionally, it’s always good practice to include a return address and avoid the possible loss of your device.

If you are a UK Postbox customer and would like to find out more about posting electronic devices, or anything else relating to mail, talk to the experts at UK Postbox. Tens of thousands of customers worldwide trust us with their parcels. We’re always happy to help.

Sending a large quantity of items?
Contact Us

Video Play Icon
Allan Chester
March 17, 2020
Explainers