When shopping for a new mailbox for your home, you may have no idea what you need. A mailbox is not something that you purchase or shop for frequently, so you may not be familiar with the options and choices. A lot of things have changed since you bought your last one! How do you know exactly what kind of mailbox you need?
- The first and most important thing to remember is that every mailbox in the United States needs to be approved by the United States Postal Service (USPS) in order to receive mail. If you buy an unapproved mailbox, you risk the USPS stopping all delivery service to your home or work. Trust me, it happened to me when a contractor installed unapproved mailboxes at my home. I went two months without receiving any mail or any packages! Having no mail delivered was a huge disruption in many aspects of my day-to-day life. Don’t let this happen to you, make sure you are purchasing products that have the USPS Postmaster General seal of approval.
- Second, do you have a home owner’s association (HOA) in your neighborhood or community? If so, you should check with them prior to making a mailbox purchase. Most HOAs, apartment complexes, and condo communities have strict regulations regarding the design and construction of all mailboxes in the community. If you do not check with them first, and adhere to their guidelines, you risk fines, or even having your property removed. Don’t invest in a new mailbox unless you are sure it is right!
- This one might seem obvious — if you have a wall-mount mailbox, only buy a wall-mount mailbox. If you have a curbside mailbox, only buy a curbside mailbox. Most postal areas are very specific in how the carrier is allowed to deliver. If you are in a community where the postal carrier delivers mail in a vehicle, you must continue to use a curbside mailbox. The carrier will not leave the vehicle to walk to your door to deliver the mail into a wall mount mailbox.
- If you require a curbside mailbox, take a close look at what you have there already. Is the post in bad shape, while the mailbox itself looks fine? Is the mailbox crushed, but the post appears pristine? With curbside mailboxes, you can buy each piece separately, which is very convenient for many reasons. If only one part of your mailbox needs replacing, you can buy just that piece. Mailbox packages are available that include the post and the box, for an entire new look. If you see a package and don’t like one part, you can buy each piece separately to get the exact style you want.
- If you need a wall mount mailbox, consider carefully what materials will and will not work for you. A gorgeous, hand-made wooden, unfinished mailbox should not be used in an area that is not protected by the elements, such as an open porch or an area with no overhang. If the mailbox will be exposed to the elements, you should look for materials that will not weather, rust, or stain. Check the product descriptions closely before you commit to a purchase. You want your new mailbox purchase to last years, not just one season.
- Is mail security an issue for you? If so, you should look at locking mailboxes. If you’re thinking a locking mailbox will be an ugly eyesore, you’re wrong! As identity theft through mail increases, manufacturers are making almost every style of mailbox with a locking option — from the very traditional to the sleek, ultra-modern mailboxes. If you need extra security, check out a product like The Mail Boss or dVault for the highest security you can find.
Buying a new residential mailbox does not have to be a confusing process if you have some guidance. Stick with these important considerations, and you are sure to find the perfect mailbox to suit your needs.