For many years, people have been unsure about how many stamps are needed for a standard letter. Use too few stamps, and the letter will arrive with a postal due payment required. Use too many stamps, and you waste money.
So, How Many Stamps Do I Need for a Letter?
This article will explain the rules for determining how many stamps you need for mailing a basic letter. We’ll outline the postage stamp math to take the confusion out of having the proper postage.
By the end, you’ll understand exactly how many stamps to use for a standard letter.
How Many Stamps Are Used for a 1 oz Letter?
According to USPS, only 1 Forever stamp ($0.66 value) can be used per 1 oz letter.
NOTE: Beginning July 9, 2023, Forever stamp prices will increase to $0.66
In addition to weight, your letter should be the correct size as prescribed by USPS to avoid additional postage.
For standard letters, you should follow these USPS guidelines:
● Should be rectangular
● Dimensions must be 3.5” x 5” x 0.007” (H x L x D)
● Maximum dimensions must be 6.5” x 11.5” x 0.25” (H x L x D)
● Thickness should be uniform without edges and corners
● Letters should be flexible, bendable and foldable
● The exterior should be made of paper
If your letter does not meet these guidelines, your letter will go through a manual sorting process rather than a machine sorting process. Therefore, USPS will charge you a non-machinable surcharge of $0.40 for this fee.
You can pay for this with non-craftable stamps, which sell for $0.90.
How Many Stamps Do I Need for a 1.5 oz Letter?
For letters weighing 1 ounce or less, you must use 1 Domestic Forever stamp to pay for postage.
But what to do when your letter weighs more than 1 ounce?
According to USPS, even if your letter weighs slightly more than 1 ounce (for example, about 1.3 ounces), you must pay the additional postage for the full extra ounce.
So this means the postage cost for a 2 oz letter is the same as for a 1.3 oz letter!
Currently, the fee is $0.24 for each additional ounce. So, for a 1.6 oz letter, you’re actually paying for a 2 oz letter.
You need to pay postage worth 0.66+0.24=0.9 USD. You can try the following combinations to cover these costs:
● 1 Domestic Forever Stamp and 1 Extra Ounce Stamp
● 1 Domestic Forever stamp and three 10-cent stamps
● Set of 3 with 1 Domestic Forever, 2 Dimes, and 3 Nicks
How Many Stamps Do I Need for a 2 oz Letter?
If your letter weighs exactly 2 ounces, starting on July 9th, you will have to pay $0.66+0.24=$0.90 in postage for the first ounce and the additional 1 ounce.
As we explained in the previous section, you can use different combinations of stamps to pay for these fees.
The first combination explained above (1 Domestic Forever Stamp and 1 Extra Ounce Stamp) is the simplest and most commonly used of all combinations.
Note, however, that even if your letter is slightly heavier than 2 ounces (say, about 2.1 ounces), you will still be charged an extra postage fee for the extra ounce.
That means you need to pay postage for 3 oz.
Therefore, you may want to keep your weight around the round number (which is the most economical way to do it), squeeze in as much as you can, and take out what you don’t need.
This way, your letter weighs exactly 2 oz. You can avoid paying an extra ounce of postage for the marginal increase in letter weight.
How Many Stamps Do I Need for a 3 oz Letter?
Under current rules, starting July 9, USPS requires you to pay $0.66+0.48=$1.14 for letters weighing between 2.1 and 3 ounces.
You can try these combinations to pay for those postage costs.
● 1 Domestic Forever Stamp and 2 Extra Ounce Stamps.
● Three Domestic Forever stamps, 1-ounce bonus stamps, and several 10-cent stamps
How many stamps are used for a 3.5 oz letter?
According to the USPS, starting July 9, the postage cost for a 3.5-ounce letter will be $0.66+0.24+0.24+0.24=$1.38.
You can pay these fees using a combination of:
● 1 Domestic Forever stamp and 3 extra ounce stamps.
How Many Stamps Are Needed for A Large Envelope (Flat Envelope)?
In all of the examples above, you are following the postage rules for USPS Standard Mail letters. However, these rules only apply to letters weighing up to 3.5 ounces and letters that meet USPS size requirements.
Regular mail should meet the weight and dimensions mentioned by USPS. They cannot weigh more than 3.5 oz. This is because USPS has created a separate category for heavy letters, which have very different postage costs than regular mail.
When a letter exceeds these dimensions, it is considered a “large” envelope:
● Height 6.125 inches (15.5 cm)
● 11.5 inches (29.2 cm) wide
● 0.25″ (0.63 cm) thick
Large letters should not exceed the following maximum dimensions:
● Height 12 inches (30.48cm)
● Measures 15 inches (38.1 cm) long
● 0.75″ (1.9 cm) thick
For sending letters weighing more than 3.5 ounces, you must refer to the USPS Postage Rules for Large Envelopes/Flat Envelopes.
How Many Stamps Are Needed for a 4 oz Letter?
NOTE: Beginning July 9, 2023: The base postage rate for flat/large envelopes will increase from $1.26 to $1.35, but the price per additional ounce will also remain the same at 24 cents per additional ounce.
Starting July 9, the charge for a 4 oz envelope will be $1.35+0.24+0.24+0.24=$2.07. You can pay in different combinations such as:
● 3 Domestic Forever stamps, one 10-cent and one 2-cent stamp.
● One Domestic Forever stamp and another 3 oz.
● A few Domestic Forever stamps, a few extra ounce stamps, and a few Dime stamps
How Many Stamps Are Used for a 5 oz Letter?
According to the USPS, a 5-ounce letter costs $2.31 in postage. As we explained above, you can use the methods below to pay for these fees.
● 3 domestic Forever stamps, plus several stamps worth 33 cents.
How Many Stamps Do I Need for a 6 oz Letter?
According to USPS, postage is currently $2.55 for a 6-ounce letter. You can pay these fees using a combination of:
● 4 Domestic Forever stamps, valued at $2.46 (0.66 cents each), one $0.1 stamp
How Many Stamps Are Used for a 7 oz Letter?
According to USPS, postage for a 7-ounce letter is currently $2.79. You can pay these fees in the following ways:
● 4 domestic Forever stamps and 2 extra ounce stamps.
How Many Stamps Are Used for a 8 oz Letter?
According to USPS, postage is currently $3.03 for an 8-ounce letter. You can pay these fees in the following ways:
● 5 domestic permanent stamps
How Many Stamps Do I Need for a 9 oz Letter?
According to USPS, postage for a 9-ounce letter is currently $3.27. You can pay these fees using a combination of:
● 5 domestic permanent stamps (0.665=3.3) ● 4 Domestic Forever stamps (0.664=2.64), plus several additional half-cent ounce stamps.
How Many Stamps Are Needed for a 10 oz Letter?
According to USPS, postage for a 10-ounce letter is currently $3.51. You can pay these fees using a combination of:
● 5 Domestic Forever stamps ($3.30 value), one $0.50 stamp and one $0.01 stamp
● 6 Domestic Forever stamps, worth $3.96 (however, you will pay an extra $0.45 for postage when you use this bundle)
How Many Stamps Do I Need for a 11 oz Letter?
According to USPS, postage for an 11-ounce letter is currently $3.75. You can pay these fees using a combination of:
● 6 Domestic Forever stamps, a $3.96 value.
● 5 Domestic Forever stamps ($3.30 value), plus several 10-cent stamps.
How Many Stamps Do I Need for a 12 oz Letter?
According to the USPS, postage for a 12-ounce letter is currently $3.99. You can pay these fees using a combination of:
● 6 $3.96 Domestic Forever stamps and 1 3-cent stamp.
● You can overpay with 7 Domestic Forever stamps.
How Many Stamps Are Used for a 13 oz Letter?
According to USPS, postage for a 13-ounce letter is currently $4.23. You can pay these fees in the following ways:
● 7 Domestic Forever stamps, worth $4.62 (however, you will pay an extra $0.39 for postage when you use this bundle)
FAQ: How Many Stamps Do I Need for a Letter?
Q: How many stamps do I need for a standard letter within the US?
A: A standard letter within the US that is 1 oz or less needs 1 first-class postage stamp.
Q: If my letter weighs more than 1 oz, how do I calculate the stamps needed?
A: For each additional ounce over 1 oz, add 1 additional first-class stamp. So a 2 oz letter needs 2 stamps.
Q: How do I know if my letter needs extra postage?
A: You can weigh your letter on a small digital scale to see if it exceeds 1 oz. Going over 1 oz requires more stamps.
Q: Is it okay if I put extra stamps on just to be safe?
A: It’s okay to add an extra stamp to be cautious, but not required if the letter is 1 oz or under. The extra postage will just subsidize overall USPS costs.
Q: What happens if I put too few stamps on a letter?
A: If a letter has insufficient postage, the recipient will receive it postage due, meaning they need to pay the remaining amount.
In conclusion, knowing how many stamps a letter requires is critical to making sure your mail gets to its destination.
Stamp quantities will change as stamp prices increase on July 9, 2023.
It is important to consider the weight of the letter to determine the proper number of stamps required.
Postage rates vary from 1 ounce to 13 ounces, so it’s important to stay informed about the current rates set by the Postal Service.
By accurately estimating the weight of your letter and consulting the postage rate chart, you can ensure the correct amount of stamps are applied and avoid any delivery delays or underpaid postage. Remember, adhering to the latest postage regulations will ensure smooth and efficient mail delivery.