Buying Guide

Which Type of Mailbox Is Right for You?


There are several ways to improve your home’s curb appeal instantly, and installing a new mailbox is an easy first step to enhance the façade. Mailboxes come in so many styles, sizes, shapes, and materials, finding the right one can be a challenge. Whether you’re replacing an old one or choosing a new model for your new home, explore our helpful guide to find out which mailbox is right for you.


Mailbox Sizes, Styles & Types

Think about how many people will collect mail at your residence, and what type of parcels you expect, to choose the best mailbox size for your needs. 

  • Small-capacity mailbox: Up to 399 cubic inches. A small mailbox is ideal for one or two residents who receive mail, catalogs, and magazines.
  • Medium-capacity mailbox: 400–999 cubic inches. A common size for post-mount mailboxes, a medium-capacity unit works well for a family of three or four who routinely receive a regular pile of mail and a small package or two.
  • Large-capacity mailbox: 1000–1750 cubic inches. Opt for a large mailbox for a home with multiple residents who receive mail, magazines, and medium-sized packages.
  • Extra-large mailbox capacity: 1751-plus cubic inches. Choose an extra-large mailbox for multiple residents or a multi-family home that receives plenty of mail and packages on a regular basis. 


The type or style of mailbox you choose will depend largely on where you want to place it. The most common mailbox types are wall-mount, post-mount, freestanding, and slot-style. First, find out where your mail carrier delivers. Some drive up and deliver curbside while other carriers walk up to the door or porch. Once you know where to install the mailbox, you can settle on the type and style you prefer.

Best Mailboxes Styles for Walk-Up Mail Delivery

Wall-mount mailbox
Mounted right beside your front door, a wall mailbox is ideal if your carrier does walk-up delivery. Wall-mounted mailboxes come in a range of sizes to accommodate letters, magazines, and even a small parcel. And many wall-mount mailboxes include a lock for added security.

Upside: You can collect the mail without leaving the porch.
Downside: Even the expanded models are too small to fit medium to large packages. 

Mail chute
Also called a mail slot, this thin, streamlined unit mounts into the front door or a wall near the entryway. The mail is delivered directly into the house through the slot. Install a tray under the mail chute to keep items from scattering across the floor.

Upside: A chute is the most secure and private option for mail delivery.
The chute is too small for package delivery.


    Consider These Mailboxes Types for Curbside Delivery

    Post-mount mailbox
    A post-mount mailbox is the most common type found in a residential or rural area. These units mount atop a pole or a mailbox post at the end of the driveway or at the curb for easy mail delivery and collection. Most post-mount mailboxes come with a small flag attached to the side to alert the mail carrier to outgoing items.

    Upside: Post-mount mailboxes are typically larger than a wall-mount unit so they’ll accommodate bundles of mail and packages.
    Downside: You’ll need to leave your house to retrieve, or even just check, your mail.

    Parcel box
    Also called a freestanding mailbox, this extra-large unit stands outside of the home, typically mounted at the curbside. Most parcel boxes can be bolted into the ground or onto a cement slab to hold them steady and reduce the risk of theft. 

    Upside: A parcel box can hold plenty of packages and mail, perfect for those who travel often.
    Downside: The extra-large size can potentially draw the attention of thieves.


    Mailbox Colors & Materials

    Mailboxes come in a variety of colors. While the most popular mailbox color is black, bold shades of red and green can elevate the aesthetic of a home’s exterior. A white mailbox imparts a coastal feel, and a metallic finish in bronze, copper, or silver looks at once classic and elegant. Most metallic mailboxes come in polished, satin, or antiqued finishes; choose the look that complements your home's outdoor décor. 

    The most common mailbox materials are steel, aluminum, brass, and plastic. Consider the differences between the materials before you choose a new mailbox. 

    • Aluminum: Lightweight aluminum naturally resists rusting but must be treated for water resistance. Look for an aluminum mailbox with a powder-coated finish for optimal protection from the elements.
    • Steel: A sturdy mailbox made of steel is rust- and weather-resistant. Treat durable steel with a protective coating to make it water-resistant.
    • Brass: An elegant brass mailbox is ideal for a formal home. The downside is the constant polishing required to maintain its shiny patina. But if you’re willing to do it, brass makes a stately complement to an upscale home exterior.
    • Plastic: Strong and durable, a plastic mailbox is a low-maintenance option available in an assortment of colors. Steer clear of plastic in a high-heat climate, where it can warp.


    Important Mailbox Features

    While some mailboxes are uncomplicated and straightforward, others come with features that may be important to you. Choose the mailbox with the features you prefer depending on your location and situation. 

    • Locks: A mailbox with a locking mechanism secures your letters and packages with an extra layer of protection. Look for a USPS-approved mailbox that meets postmaster requirements.
    • Address numbers and names. Place your house number and surname on the mailbox to ensure the mail gets delivered to the correct residence. Position address numbers and letters on the box where the mail carrier can easily see them.
    • Rear access compartment. Consider a rear access option for a post-mount or freestanding mailbox placed at the curbside. A rear access door makes it easy to grab mailbox contents without stepping down from the curb or into the street.
    • Newspaper holder. If you receive newspapers or magazines, this extra compartment attached to the mailbox frees up more of the interior space for letters and packages.

     Now that you know how to find the right mailbox, discover how to make your home more appealing using products and accessories from Mayne.