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What’s the cost to ship a product sample?

What’s a reasonable cost to ship a product sample from Asia? There are many courier companies out there in the market, so how do you choose one that’s best for you?

5 couriers for international shipping

There are five main couriers that are used most in China for international deliveries:

  • Express Mail Services (EMS) • UPS
  • FedEx • DHL
  • TNT Express

Comparing service between couriers

The cost of the delivery normally depends on the weight and dimensions of the packaged items. If you have no urgent requirements in terms of the date to be delivered, using EMS will likely be the cheapest option here. But different couriers offer different options for shipping—some more costly than others—depending on your target date for receiving a product sample.

Despite being a lower-cost option, EMS is the least reliable among couriers in terms of on-time delivery and tracking accuracy. But as one of the largest couriers in China, EMS is able to have your package sent back to China at no extra charge if there are any custom clearance issues and your package has to be returned.

When it comes to arranging a delivery, FedEx, UPS and DHL are a cut above EMS and TNT Express, with more user-friendly websites that make it easy to calculate shipping rates without needing to phone a representative.

Comparing price between couriers

The majority of product samples are shipped by air mail. And although air mail can be up to 15 times more expensive than shipping by sea, it’s a much faster and more common shipping method for samples. Shipping parcels by air that weigh less than 10 kg is generally fast and reasonably priced for the U.S. and Europe.


There are a few factors that affect the shipping cost for product samples, such as origin, destination, number of parcels, weight and dimensions. You’ll probably want to choose the courier that offers you a combination of the most reliable shipping and the lowest price. While sending a parcel by EMS may be less costly than by FedEx, the latter is more established and generally has a better reputation.

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