Types of Mailboxes: Which is Best for You?

shutterstock_224220988 Types of Mailboxes: Which is Best for You?
When most people start shopping for a mailbox, they are surprised to learn how many types and styles there actually are. After all, if everyone in the neighborhood you have lived in your entire life all have one similar style, you really can’t be expected to know there is such a diverse selection.

Contrary to what you might think, your mailbox does not have to conform to one universal size and shape as all of your neighbors. There is nothing wrong with showcasing a little of your personality in your mailbox or using it to create a nice focal point for your home or property.

The most important thing to keep in mind is that your postmaster needs to approve the mailbox location. This includes the distance from the road where it is placed and the height that it stands. If you plan on building your own show-stopping fireplace, you should run your plans by your regular postmaster first.


There are many different styles and materials to choose from, but only you can determine which one is best for you. It should complement your home, but also accommodate your needs. For example, if you travel a lot and are generally gone for several days at a time, you don’t want a tiny mailbox that your mail-person will be cramming items into so things start falling out.

  • Wall-mounted – There are both vertical and horizontal wall-mounted mailboxes, and they are only practical if your mail-person actually walks their route for delivery. If you live in a neighborhood that is delivered at curbside from a truck, there is not a very good chance that you will get your mail specially carried to the door.
  • Curbside – These are the most common mailboxes today that most people are familiar with. You can paint them, add decorations to them or do whatever you want as long as you don’t hinder their operation. Your postmaster will not want to fight with the door to get it opened and closed.
  • Mail Slots – Like curbside mailboxes, there are also regulations for mail slots that need to be followed. This includes placement on the door, opening size, hinges and hood guidelines.

Choosing the Right Material

Keep in mind that your mailbox will be exposed to the elements 24/7. Rain, snow, ice, wind, bird droppings, dirt, bugs, tree sap, etc., are all going to play their role in diminishing the appearance of it so think long and hard about that white mailbox with yellow polka dots, unless you intend on washing it off a lot to keep it looking its best. Common materials include:

  • Galvanized Steel – While this may cost a little more than some other varieties, they are heavy duty and rust-resistant.
  • Aluminum – This lightweight material is not as rugged as galvanized steel, but it has the same great rust-resistant quality.
  • Cedar – Although cedar adds a gorgeous natural appeal to your property, it will need to be sealed regularly.
  • Brass – These are seen primarily used for wall-mounted varieties, but they do require upkeep.
  • Plastic – This is the most common style because they are cheap, don’t rust and you can paint them as you please. When you get tired of the fun picture you painted on it, just paint over it or buy a new one and start again.

If you are moving to a new neighborhood that you are not familiar with, the first thing you will want to do is find out if your mail is delivered curbside or to the door. If you can’t make up your mind at the store, try taking a picture of a few with your phone, and then look at them while standing in front of your house.

  • I have always loved having my own mailbox that is way I was disappointing when I moved to a location that only provided communal mailboxes. This was awful to get use to and just out of the way. Having to walk down to the corner or wherever and find my number and pull my mail out of the small slot just brought me down. I remember getting home from school and running out and being the first to the mailbox to see if I got anything. This a great post and helps out a lot and I am going to bookmark this so when I finally do get my own mailbox I will pick the perfect one. Thanks!

  • Don’t forget to mail in change of address forms before moving. Also notify banks, cell phone providers, internet providers, magazines, as well as personal contacts of your new address.

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