19 Different Types of Mailboxes

Check out the different types of mailboxes you can choose from that vary in style, material, and features to ensure your mails and parcels will be safely delivered to your mailbox.
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Colorful vintage mailboxes on the roadside.

Before there were smart mailboxes, text messaging, or just the regular mailbox, people used to head down to the post office to send or receive their mails. Then in 1863, the United States Postal Service started their free city delivery service. The postman would ring the bell, knock on front doors, or just leave the mail outside the door in cases when the homeowner’s not around.

Manufacturing companies saw an opportunity and began selling mailboxes in different styles while other homeowners resorted to creating their own mailboxes typically using old cans, food cartons, or crates. In 1903, the Post Office decided to address the unsuitability of some mailboxes by designing their own.

A postal engineer named Roy Joroleman designed the famous tunnel style USPS mailbox which was lightweight, made of metal, and easy to construct post box with a metal flag that can be lifted to signal there’s a mail delivered. It was also resistant to rain and snow.

Mailboxes have since evolved along with technology and the rise of e-commerce. Homeowners are no longer expecting mails as much as they’re expecting packages of ordered items being delivered to their doors.

Type

Wall Mount

Hand inserting a mail inside a wall mount mailbox.

Wall mount mailboxes are generally hung on the front of the building or home and are large enough to handle a selection of mail. Most of them lock, which will ensure that your private correspondence is not picked up by another person, but they generally do not have a location in them for outgoing mail. This is ideal if you are worried about being able to receive your mail easily, but you aren’t concerned about sending a lot of mail. Because they come in a number of sizes, styles, and colors, you can usually find one that will complement the appearance of your home.

Freestanding

Freestanding mailbox

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Freestanding mailboxes look very professional, but they do take up more room than traditional mailboxes. Instead of being mounted on a post or on the home, these mailboxes stand directly on the ground. They typically have an area that locks so that you can protect your incoming mail from prying eyes, and they have another space behind a door where you can place your outgoing mail.

When you opt for a freestanding mailbox, you will want to make sure that you carefully secure it to the ground so that there isn’t any concern over it being knocked over or moved. They can be fairly heavy, around 60 pounds, which means that they are difficult for some people to put up by themselves.

Post Mount

Post mount mailbox

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These mailboxes are generally used along the side of the road and located away from your apartment or your home. They make it very easy for the postal worker delivering your mail to drive up to your box and deliver mail without having to leave the vehicle. It’s important that if you are going to be mounting your mailbox on a post, you make sure that the post is correctly cemented into the soil so that you don’t have to worry about it falling over.

They generally are large enough to accept not only letters, but also some small parcels, and they will have a flag on the side that can be lifted when there is mail to be picked up. When choosing a post mounted mailbox, you will have to take into consideration how close the mailbox is to the road so that you don’t have to worry about someone accidentally clipping it when they drive by. Longer mailboxes will have to be placed farther back from the road so that there isn’t an accident.

Mail Slot

Vintage mail slot on stone brick wall.

 

Mail slots are holes in the door where the mail can be delivered. This is very beneficial to the person receiving the mail, as they do not have to go anywhere to pick up their delivery, but it does require the postal worker to get out of their car, come to the home, and make the delivery. When you have a mail slot in your door, then you will want to make sure to protect it with a quality cover. This will prevent the door from being damaged by the elements or from animals trying to find their way in.

The problem with this type of mailbox is that you do not have a location to put outgoing mail, which means that you have to go to the post office to drop off items you want to be shipped. Drafts can be a problem if you live in a very windy area, as the wind may blow through your slot, and some people have concerns about others looking into their homes when they have mail slots instead of a traditional mailbox.

Column Mount

Column mount mailbox

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These mailboxes are not the long rectangular shape that many people picture when they think of a mailbox. Rather, they are flatter, and when recess mounted in a column, they have a very slim profile. They still have ample room inside for mail that you receive, however, and they are available in a variety of styles and colors. One thing that you will want to consider when choosing a column mount mailbox is whether or not it will be able to stand up to the weather in your area. Look for a mailbox that is sealed against the weather so that you don’t have to worry about your mail getting damp.

Parcel BoxParcel mailbox

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People who get a lot of packages will benefit from having a parcel box, as this provides a safe location for packages to be secured after they have been delivered. Without a parcel box, packages will generally sit on the front porch or stoop, which can be very dangerous and cause items to be stolen. These boxes are significantly larger than other types of mailboxes.

Some may have space in them for letters as well as parcels, while others are designed specifically to hold boxes. It’s important that you choose a parcel box that locks so that you don’t have to worry about anyone trying to steal items from it when you are not at home. These boxes make it very easy for a postal worker to deliver your packages without you having to be home to sign for them.

Apartment

Apartment mailbox

If you own an apartment building or have a number of businesses in your building, then you will want to make sure that you have an apartment mailbox available for them to use. Rather than having a line of mailboxes by the road, which can be unattractive and take up a lot of space, with an apartment mailbox, your renters will be able to access their mail in a central location.

This also speeds up the time that it takes the postal worker to make deliveries. These mailboxes have different slots that can all be labeled for the residences, and they open with keys. Because they lock, everyone receiving their mail in these boxes will be able to rest assured that their deliveries will be safe. While these mailboxes are generally fairly expensive, they are the best option if you need mailboxes for a large number of people.

Material

Plastic

Plastic mailbox

One of the main benefits that you will enjoy when you opt for a plastic mailbox at your home is that they will not ever rust. This means that no matter how long you have your mailbox or what kind of weather it is in, it will not look any different as time passes. Make sure that you opt for a high-quality plastic mailbox that has been designed to stand up to the harsh rays of the sun, as you do not want the color to fade.

High-quality plastic is less likely to crack or shatter when there are extreme changes in the weather, which is why opting for a higher quality plastic mailbox I generally a good idea. Additionally, consider one with double-wall construction, as this means that your mailbox will be much more durable and harder to break if it is accidentally clipped as someone drives down your road.

Metal

Metal mailbox

Metal is a great choice for a mailbox because you don’t ever have to worry about termites or other insects damaging the material, it won’t ever fade in the sun, and it is very durable. However, if your mailbox is damaged at all, then it is very likely that you will have to deal with rust, which will lower the beauty of your mailbox. The coating on your metal mailbox will begin to wear off over time, even if there isn’t any trauma to the box.

However, you never have to worry about your mail getting wet, as no amount of water will be able to seep through the metal, which means that these mailboxes are ideal for people who live in areas that see extreme weather and a lot of rain on a regular basis. If you want to be able to update your mailbox quickly, then a metal mailbox is a great choice, as you can paint it as your tastes change or leave it metal for a modern look.

Wood

Red wood mailbox

Wooden mailboxes look very rustic and are often ornately carved, which is a great way to express yourself by choosing a custom mailbox that represents you and your family. While there are some concerns with wooden mailboxes leaking or allowing your mail to become damp, most wooden mailboxes are properly sealed so that this doesn’t become an issue. Over time, you may want to seal your wooden mailbox or stain it to ensure that it looks the best that it can and doesn’t look old.

Feature

Locking

Mailbox with locking feature.

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Unfortunately, if you do not have a locking mailbox, then anyone can come by your box and remove your mail. This is a problem for anyone but is generally more common in larger cities or where there is a lot of foot traffic. If you want to make sure that your mailbox will be left alone and that your mail will not be taken, then you want to opt for a mailbox that is locking.

These often don’t look any different from other mailboxes, but in order to access the mail that has been delivered, you have to have a key. Postal workers can easily put the mail into the mailbox, but it will drop down into an area that is only accessible by the keyholder. This is a great way to enjoy peace of mind that nobody will be able to access and steal your mail.

Rear Access

Rear access mailbox

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Some homeowners want to be able to get their mail without having to go around to the front of the mailbox to do so. This is ideal especially if you live on a busy road and want to be able to get your mail without putting yourself in danger by coming too close to the road. Mailboxes that have rear access allow you to remove the mail that has been put inside by the postal worker without coming to the front of the mailbox.

This makes removing your mail fast and easy and ensures that you are not in danger of being hit by a car when getting your mail. Families who have children who love to collect the mail can often benefit from this type of mailbox, as it is not as dangerous for the child to go alone and get the mail.

Post Included

Mailbox with post included

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Putting up a new mailbox at your residence doesn’t have to be frustrating, although many people fear how they are going to install the post for their box. Whether you are tired of your old mailbox, have always had a box at the post office, or just built a new home and need a mailbox, buying one that comes with an included post will make installation significantly easier.

You don’t have to worry about choosing or building the right size post for your mailbox when you opt for one that comes with a post. Since you will have everything that you need to install your box, you will be able to complete the work quickly and without a lot of hassle.

Outgoing Mail Slot

Mailbox with outgoing mail slot.

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While most mailboxes can be used for both incoming and outgoing mail, if you have a locking box, then you will want to consider one that has an outgoing mail slot so that you can mail letters from your home without having to go to the post office. These mailboxes will have a specific location in them that the postal worker can easily access without a key, which allows them to remove your outgoing mail and take it with them. While many people are concerned that this slot means that their incoming mail will be compromised, that isn’t true.

The incoming mail will still fall down into the locked portion of the mailbox, while the outgoing mail will be in an open area that is not secured. Outdoing mail slots are often located above the locked area of the mailbox and generally are not very large. This means that you can mail a few letters, but if you have a lot of outgoing mail, then you may need to take it to the post office.

Newspaper Holder

Mailbox with newspaper holder.

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If you still get the newspaper, then you will want to make sure that you choose a mailbox that has a slot for delivery. This will ensure that your paper is not left out in the rain, dropped on the dirt, or taking up any space in your mailbox. When you opt for a mailbox that has a newspaper holder than you will not have to worry about searching for your paper when you go to get it, as it will be clearly visible and accessible without any problems or hunting on your part.

There are a few different varieties of newspaper holders that you can choose from. Some are hooks that will hold the paper underneath the mailbox, while others have a separate compartment for the newspaper. No matter which you choose, you won’t have to worry about your newspaper being lost or damaged.

Novelty

Snoopy mailbox

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If you enjoy a certain hobby, such as a certain animal, or are a big fan of a sports team, then you may want to express yourself through your mailbox. Novelty mailboxes are available in a number of colors and styles. If you are unable to find one that you want in a store, then you can generally hire a person to make you a novelty mailbox, whether you want a skunk, bear, boat, or old car as the design.

It is important, when you choose a novelty mailbox, that you make sure to get one that will be large enough for the amount of mail that you expect to receive. Some novelty mailboxes will have a different shape, which means that there may not be a large cavity on the inside for your mail, making it difficult for the postal worker to easily put your mail inside. These mailboxes function the same way that traditional mailboxes do, but they are a fun and different way to get your mail.

Anti-Pry

Anti-Pry Mailbox

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Depending on where you live and how safe you want your mail to be, you may want to opt for a mailbox that offers even more security than one that is locking. Anti-pry mailboxes are designed specifically so that they are impossible to open, even with the help of a crowbar. If you regularly get checks or expensive items in the mail, or if you go on vacation and don’t want to hassle with stopping your mail, then you will want to consider a mailbox that has this feature. This will give you peace of mind that nobody will be able to pry open your mailbox and take out your mail.

Inter-locking Latches

Mailbox with interlocking latches.

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It is very frustrating to leave mail in your mailbox overnight or during the day, only to have it damp and wet due to bad weather. When you opt for a mailbox that has inter-locking latches, then you won’t have to worry about whether or not your doors will close completely and securely and if they will stay shut. This feature is ideal because it prevents your doors from popping back open after the mailbox has been closed and ensures that your mail will stay dry, no matter the weather.

Recessed Door

Mailbox on the home's front door.

Not only do recessed doors on your mailbox look really nice, but they also help to prevent rain from getting inside your mailbox. When you choose a mailbox with a recessed door, your mail will still be dry, even if the door hasn’t been shut all of the ways. This is ideal if you have noticed that your postal worker tends to leave the door cracked when making deliveries. Instead of coming home to wet mail, you can rely on the recessed door to keep your mail dry and safe.








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