Shipping Label Size: A Comprehensive Guide

shipping label size

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Shipping labels are pivotal in the logistics chain, conveying crucial details for the accurate and efficient delivery of packages. These labels, a blend of text and barcodes, provide essential information such as the sender’s and recipient’s addresses, package contents, and tracking details. 

The size of a shipping label is not just a matter of fitting information; it plays a significant role in logistics and handling. A correctly sized shipping label ensures all necessary details are easily readable and scannable, facilitating smooth processing through various shipment stages.

In a world where timely and accurate delivery is paramount, understanding the nuances of shipping label sizes becomes vital. This article delves into the various aspects of shipping label sizes, including standard dimensions, carrier-specific requirements, and tips for selecting the appropriate size for different types of shipments.

For foundational insights into shipping labels, refer to our detailed What is a Shipping Label article.

Does Shipping Label Size Matter?

Four reasons why shipping label size matter

The size of a shipping label might seem like a minor detail, but it holds significant importance in the logistics and shipping industry. The dimensions of a label can impact several key aspects of the shipping process, from the ease of handling and scanning to compliance with carrier regulations.

  • Ease of Scanning and Handling: Shipping labels must be large enough to display all necessary information clearly, including barcodes and addresses. If a label is too small, it can lead to scanning difficulties, slowing the sorting and delivery process. Conversely, an oversized label might overlap or cover important packaging information or seals, leading to handling challenges.
  • Carrier Compliance: Different carriers have specific label sizes, formats, and placement requirements. Failure to comply with these specifications can result in packages being delayed, returned, or even refused. It’s crucial for shippers to adhere to these guidelines to ensure smooth transit and avoid additional costs or delays.
  • Visibility and Legibility: The label size directly affects the visibility and legibility of the printed information. Labels must be large enough to be easily read by humans and machines at various stages of the shipping process. This is particularly important for international shipments, where labels undergo multiple handling and scanning processes.
  • Optimal Use of Space: Choosing the right label size is essential for smaller packages to make the best use of limited space. The label should be proportionate to the package size, ensuring all necessary information is visible without overwhelming the package’s surface area.

Types of Shipping Label Sizes

Understanding the variety of shipping label sizes available is crucial for efficient and effective shipping. Here’s an expanded look at the common types of label sizes and their specific uses:

Common Label Sizes:

  • Compact Parcel Labels (4 × 4.25 inches): Ideal for small boxes containing items like electronics, makeup, jewellery, and pharmaceuticals. These are particularly useful for certain domestic services.
  • Standard Labels (4 × 6 inches): The most common and widely used shipping label size, accommodating the requirements of most North American, Asian, and European Union domestic carriers. This size is sufficient for carrier-required text, barcodes, and graphics and is suitable for medium-sized boxes and standard parcels.
  • Most Versatile Labels (4 × 8 inches): These provide extra space for internal routing, receiving barcodes, or additional information like logos or compliance barcodes for B2B shipments.
Common label sizes
Sizes of Oversized labels

Oversized Labels:

  • Large Formats (Letter, Legal, 6″ x 8″ or larger): Used for operations like case picks or Ship-from-Store (SFS), these can include outbound shipping labels, return service labels, and additional information like terms and conditions or marketing material. They are often designed with peel-off sections for easy application.

Small Labels:

  • Sizes like 2 x 4 inches: Suitable for smaller items or envelopes, providing enough space for essential shipping details on limited surfaces.
Size of Small labels

Custom Sizes:

Sometimes, custom-sized labels are necessary to fit specific packaging or meet unique shipping requirements. Custom labels can be tailored to any dimension, providing flexibility for unique shipping needs.

Integrated Labels:

These labels combine a shipping label and a packing slip or invoice in one sheet. They are particularly useful for e-commerce, where packing information and shipping labels are printed simultaneously, streamlining the packing process.

Specialised Labels:

Certain types of shipments may require specialised labels, such as hazardous material labels, temperature-sensitive labels, or labels with specific handling instructions. These labels often come in sizes that accommodate additional safety symbols and instructions.

If you’re dealing with shipments that include hazardous materials such as chemicals, it’s essential to be well-versed with the Globally Harmonized System (GHS) of classification and labelling. Our detailed guide on GHS labelling offers an in-depth look into this subject. 

International Standards

International Standards:

  • A4 Sheets (210 mm x 297 mm): The standard size outside of North America, slightly slimmer and taller than U.S. letter size. It is commonly used for international shipments.

Tabloid/Ledger Sizes:

  • 11 x 17 inches or larger: Suitable for wide-format printing and are commonly used for larger shipments, signs, or banners.


Each label size serves a specific purpose, from fitting small parcels to accommodating extensive information for large shipments or special requirements. Selecting the right label size ensures compliance with carrier standards and enhances the shipping process’s efficiency.

Are you familiar with the different types of shipping labels? Explore our informative guides to gain insights into some common label varieties.

Tabloid/ledger Sizes

What is the Standard Shipping Label Size?

When discussing shipping label sizes, it’s important to identify what is considered the ‘standard’ size. This standard size is widely recognised and used across various industries and shipping carriers due to its versatility and compatibility with most packages and shipping requirements.

The Standard Sizes

  • Dimensions: The most commonly accepted standard shipping label size is 4 inches by 6 inches (4″ x 6″). This size strikes a balance between providing enough space for essential information and fitting comfortably on a wide range of package sizes.

Why is 4" x 6" Standard?

  • Universal Compatibility: This size is large enough to include vital shipping details such as sender and recipient addresses, tracking barcodes, and other necessary information while still being small enough to fit on most parcel sizes without obscuring other package details.
  • Carrier Preference: Most shipping carriers, including major ones like USPS, UPS, FedEx, and DHL, prefer this size. It is optimised for their processing and sorting systems, ensuring efficient handling and scanning.
  • Ease of Printing: The 4″ x 6″ labels are easily printable using standard thermal label printers, common in shipping departments and mailrooms. This size is also compatible with most label software, making it a convenient choice for many businesses.
  • Versatility for Various Shipments: Whether for e-commerce, personal shipping, or industrial logistics, the 4″ x 6″ label is versatile enough to cover a wide range of shipping needs, from small boxes to larger parcels.


Now that you’re familiar with the standard size of shipping labels, you might be wondering about the following steps: How do you create and print labels effectively? 

Our comprehensive guides on ‘How to Make Shipping Labels‘ and ‘How to Print Shipping Labels‘ are designed to assist you. These resources offer step-by-step instructions and practical tips to simplify the process, ensuring that your shipping labels are both professional and compliant with shipping regulations.

Carrier-Specific Shipping Label Size Requirements

When preparing shipments, it’s crucial to consider the specific label size requirements of the shipping carrier you plan to use. Each major carrier has its own set of guidelines for label sizes, which can impact the processing and delivery of your shipments. Here’s an overview of the label size requirements for some of the leading carriers.

UPS Shipping Label Size Requirements

Eight USPS shipping label size requirements

Here’s a breakdown of the available shipping label options from UPS:

  • Standard Thermal Label Roll (4″ x 6″ or 4″ x 6¼” ): The most commonly used size for standard shipping labels. Ideal for the majority of packages, providing enough space for essential shipping information.
  • Thermal Label Roll (4″ x 8″ or 4″ x 8-¼” ): Designed for printing document labels. These sizes offer additional space for detailed information such as barcodes, label headers, or reference numbers.
  • Thermal 4″ x 8″ (Perforated) and 4″ x 8¼” (Perforated): Used for document labels, with the 4″ x 8¼” size specifically accommodating Warsaw text on the address label portion.
  • Thermal 4″ x 11″: Specifically for printing UPS World Ease labels, necessary for certain international shipments.
  • Laser 8½” x 11″ (Full Sheet Labels): Allows printing one label per sheet with an extended area for customisation, such as a shipment label header, a generic barcode, or reference numbers.
  • Laser 8½” x 11″ (2 Labels per Page): Provides two labels per sheet, ideal for simultaneous printing with space for additional customisation.
  • Laser 8½” x 11″ (4 Labels per Page): Enables printing of four labels on each sheet, suitable for high-volume shipping needs.
  • Laser A4 (210 mm x 297 mm): Similar to full sheet labels, this A4 size includes an extended area for customisation to add custom information, reference numbers or a generic barcode, making it suitable for international shipments requiring additional information.

FedEx Shipping Label Size Requirements

List of four FedEx shipping label size requirements

Here’s a summary of the label sizes available at FedEx:

  • Standard Size (4 x 6 inches): This is the default and most commonly used label size for FedEx shipments. It’s ideal for a wide range of package sizes and provides sufficient space for essential shipping details.
  • Full Sheet (8.5 x 11 inches): Suitable for larger packages or when more detailed information is required on the label. This size can accommodate additional instructions, branding, or marketing messages.
  • Intermediate Sizes:
    • 4 x 8 inches: A slightly larger option than the standard size, offering extra space for additional shipping details or instructions.
    • 4 x 9 inches: Similar to the 4 x 8 size, this option provides more room for information, which can be useful for special handling instructions or international shipping details.
    • 7 x 4.75 inches: A unique size that offers a different aspect ratio, suitable for specific packaging types where a standard label might not fit optimally.
  • Half Sheet Options:
    • 8.5 x 11 Bottom Half Label: This option utilises the bottom half of a standard letter-sized sheet, allowing for additional customisation or information in the top half.
    • 8.5 x 11 Top Half Label: Similar to the bottom half label, but utilises the top half of the sheet, providing flexibility depending on packaging and printing preferences.

DHL Shipping Label Size Requirements

Label width and length requirements of DHL shipping label

Below are the requirements set by DHL for shipping label sizing. 

  • Label Width:
    • Required Range: Between 95 mm and 110 mm (approximately 3.74 inches to 4.33 inches).
    • Compatible Labels: This range is suitable for A6 labels (in portrait orientation) and labels that are 4 inches wide.
  • Label Length:
    • Preferred Length: Between 148 mm (A6 length) and 162.4 mm (approximately 5.83 inches to 6.39 inches).
    • Flexibility: DHL does not define a maximum label length; thus, it can be increased if required. However, DHL does provide a general guideline that states that label length should not exceed 250 mm (about 9.84 inches).
  • Divided Labels (Exceptional Cases):
    • Splitting Labels: In certain situations, the label can be divided into two smaller labels. In this case, the shipping label should not contain the License Plate barcode but must display this unique piece identifier in a human-readable form, with a minimum font size of 8 points.

USPS Shipping Label Size Requirements

Standard and alternative label sizes requirements of USPS shipping label

Here’s an overview of the USPS shipping label size requirements:

  • Standard Label Size (4 x 6 inches):
    • The 4 x 6 inches label is the recommended layout for USPS parcel labels. This size allows for a comprehensive display of all necessary information, including payment and branding, addressing, barcode segments, and user-specific elements.
  • Alternative Label Sizes:
    • 4 x 4 inches (4 inches wide and 4 inches high): Suitable for smaller parcels, this label size accommodates less information than the standard 4 x 6 label but is an effective option for compact packages.
    • 6 x 3 inches (6 inches wide and 3 inches high): This format is particularly useful for unusually shaped mailpieces, such as mailing tubes. Its dimensions are tailored to fit non-standard shapes while providing essential shipping information.

Australia Post Shipping Label Size Requirements

List of seven size requirements of Australian post shipping label

Here’s a summary of the label sizes supported by Australia Post:

  • A4 Label Options:
    • Single Label: Standard A4 size (210 mm x 297 mm or approximately 8.27 inches x 11.69 inches) with one label per page. Suitable for larger packages where a single, detailed label is required.
    • Three Labels per Page: This option divides an A4 sheet into three sections, each containing a label. Ideal for printing multiple labels simultaneously for efficient processing.
    • Four Labels per Page: Similar to the three-label format, this layout is designed for printing four smaller labels on a single A4 sheet. It’s efficient for high-volume shipping needs.
    • Multi-Label: Prints four CN22 labels or two CN23 labels per page, depending on the label type generated by the shipment. This format is specifically tailored for international parcels, ensuring compliance with customs requirements.
  • A5 Label:
    • Standard A5 size (148 mm x 210 mm or approximately 5.83 inches x 8.27 inches). A versatile option for medium-sized packages, offering a balance between space for information and label size.
  • A6 Label (1 label per page):
    • Standard A6 size (105 mm x 148 mm or approximately 4.13 inches x 5.83 inches). Suitable for small packages, it provides a compact yet informative label format.


Australia Post has established specific rules and regulations for international shipping. If you frequently utilise Australia Post’s services for international shipments, our comprehensive ‘Australia Post International Shipping Guide’ is a valuable resource that can provide you with essential information and insights to navigate the international shipping process effectively.

New Zealand Post Shipping Label Size Requirements

Recommended and alternative label sizes requirements of New Zealand post shipping label

Below are the requirements set by NZPost for shipping label sizing. 

  • Standard Label Size:
    • The standard label size recommended by New Zealand Post is 100 mm wide x 174 mm high (approximately 3.94 inches x 6.85 inches). This size is optimised for clear visibility and sufficient space for necessary shipping information, making it ideal for a wide range of parcels.
  • Alternative Label Sizes:
    • A4 Size: A standard A4 sheet (210 mm x 297 mm or approximately 8.27 inches x 11.69 inches) is also accepted. This size is suitable for larger packages or when multiple labels need to be printed on a single sheet.
    • A5 Size: The A5 size (148 mm x 210 mm or approximately 5.83 inches x 8.27 inches) is another alternative. It’s a versatile option for medium-sized packages, offering enough space for essential information without being too large. 

E-commerce-Specific Shipping Label Size Requirements

In the realm of e-commerce, shipping label sizes must be chosen considering the platform’s specific requirements and the nature of the products being shipped. Different e-commerce platforms may have their own preferred label sizes to streamline their logistics and handling processes. Here’s an overview of label size requirements for some popular e-commerce platforms:

eBay Shipping Label Requirements

eBay generally accommodates the shipping industry standard label size of 4″ x 6″, which is versatile and widely accepted by most shipping carriers. This standardisation ensures that sellers can use labels compatible with a range of packages and shipping requirements. 

However, it’s important to note that eBay does not have specific label size requirements. Instead, the platform suggests that sellers adhere to the label size guidelines of the shipping services they choose, such as UPS, FedEx, and USPS. 

Etsy Shipping Label Requirements

Etsy, catering to various independent sellers and craftspeople, generally adheres to the standard shipping label size of 4″ x 6″. This size is particularly preferred by USPS, one of the primary carriers that Etsy sellers utilise for their shipping needs. 

Etsy’s shipping label system is also designed to be flexible, accommodating different-sized packages. This includes the ability to adjust to sizes such as 6 x 3 and 4 x 4 inches, providing Etsy sellers with the necessary options to fit their unique shipping needs.

Amazon Shipping Label Requirements

Here’s what Amazon sellers need to know about label sizing.

  • Recommended Label Size:
    • Amazon recommends using a label with dimensions of 4″ x 6″ (101.6 mm x 152.4 mm). This size is optimal for most packages and is easily readable by Amazon’s sorting and processing systems.
  • Alternative Label Sizes:
    • Larger Labels: Amazon allows the use of larger label sizes, up to 6″ x 8″ (152.4 mm x 203.2 mm), for packages that require more space for labelling.
    • A4 Labels: In addition to these specified sizes, Amazon also accepts labels printed on standard A4 paper size (210 mm x 297 mm or approximately 8.27 inches x 11.69 inches). This option offers flexibility for sellers who may need to include additional information or instructions on their labels.

Factors Influencing Shipping Label Size

Five factors influencing shipping label size

When selecting the appropriate shipping label size, several factors come into play. These factors are crucial in determining not just the legibility and compliance of the label but also its suitability for the package and the efficiency of the shipping process. Here are the key factors to consider:

Package Dimensions

The size and shape of the package are primary factors in determining the appropriate shipping label size. 

Larger packages might require bigger labels to ensure that the label is visible and readable from a distance. The label should be proportionate to the package, providing enough space for all necessary information without overwhelming the package’s aesthetics. 

Additionally, the surface area of the package plays a crucial role. The label must fit entirely on one flat surface without wrapping around edges or corners, which can affect the label’s visibility and scannability during shipping.

Carrier Requirements

Each shipping carrier has specific label size, format, and placement guidelines. These requirements are essential to follow for the smooth processing and delivery of the package. For instance, carriers like USPS, FedEx, and UPS have their preferred label sizes, and deviating from these can lead to handling issues. 

Moreover, international shipping often has more stringent requirements compared to domestic shipping. This includes the need for additional customs information, which might require larger labels to accommodate all the necessary details. To learn about international labels, refer to our guide – What is an International Shipping Label? 

Content and Legibility

The amount and type of information that needs to be included on a shipping label can significantly influence its size. Essential details such as sender and recipient addresses, tracking numbers, and barcodes must be clearly printed and easily scannable. 

The label must be large enough to ensure legibility, with all text and barcodes readable without straining. This is particularly important for automated systems used in sorting and delivery, where the readability of barcodes and text is crucial for efficient package handling.

Refer to our guides on ‘Best Practices for Designing Perfect Labels and Barcodes‘ and ‘Common Mistakes to Avoid When Designing Barcodes’ to ensure you create well-designed labels and barcodes.

Printer Capabilities

The type of printer and label material available can significantly influence the size and quality of your shipping labels. Some printers are designed to accommodate specific label sizes or types of label materials, making it crucial to understand the specifications of your printing equipment.

Print quality is also a vital consideration. Printers that do not produce high-resolution prints may necessitate the use of larger labels to ensure that barcodes and text remain scannable and legible. 

Understanding the capabilities and limitations of your printing setup is essential in choosing the right label size. Triton Store offers a comprehensive selection of thermal printers, consumables, and accessories for businesses looking to optimise their label printing process.

Our range includes thermal printer models from leading brands like Epson, Element, Senor, Honeywell, Zebra, and TSC and colour label printers from OKI, catering to various business needs. Whether you require industrial printers, desktop printers, direct thermal printers, thermal transfer printers, barcode label printers, mobile printers or receipt printers, our inventory has you covered.      

The Triton Store also provides a wide array of essential accessories and high-quality thermal print heads to complement our thermal printers. Our accessories range includes spare printer parts and accessories, waterproof printer enclosures, cables and cleaning wipes, all designed to enhance your printing experience. 

Additionally, we supply top-quality thermal print heads from renowned brands such as Zebra, Honeywell, TSC, Intermec, Datamax, SATO, and Bizerba, ensuring your printer maintains consistent, high-quality performance.

Our commitment to quality extends to our selection of thermal printer consumables. We cater to a broad spectrum of shipping and labelling requirements with products like thermal transfer ribbons, thermal labels, thermal carton labels, thermal carcase tags, food-compliant thermal inserts, receipt rolls and shipping & freight labels. Each product in our lineup is carefully chosen to meet the demands of businesses, large and small, ensuring reliability and quality in every item.

At Triton, we understand that each business has unique needs. That’s why we offer more than just products – we provide tailored solutions and expert support to help you select the perfect printer and accessories for your business. 

Explore our extensive collection and connect with our professionals via the live chat widget below for personalised assistance in enhancing your business’s printing and labelling efficiency.

Customisation and Branding

For businesses, the shipping label can also serve as a branding tool. The size of the label can provide space for branding elements like logos, promotional messages, or custom designs. 

However, it’s important to balance branding needs with the practical requirements of shipping. The label should still adhere to carrier guidelines and be functional in terms of content layout and legibility. Customisation should not compromise the label’s primary purpose of conveying essential shipping information clearly.

How Do You Design Shipping Labels of Different Sizes?

In the dynamic field of shipping and logistics, the ability to design labels that meet various carrier requirements while maintaining functionality is essential. Utilising the right software for label design is not just a matter of convenience; it’s a necessity for efficiency, compliance, and versatility. Software solutions like BarTender by Seagull Scientific stand out in this regard, offering a range of user-friendly features that cater to diverse labelling needs.

Why Use Software for Label Design?

  • Versatility in Design: Software like BarTender offers a range of templates and customisation options to accommodate different label sizes and requirements.
  • Compliance with Regulations: With preformatted templates for various carriers and standards, the software ensures that your labels are up-to-date with the latest shipping and carrier regulations.
  • Efficiency in Production: Streamline the label creation process, saving time and reducing the likelihood of errors.
  • Integration Capabilities: Easily integrate with databases and existing systems for seamless data incorporation.
  • Customisation: Tailor labels to specific requirements, including branding and unique shipping needs.
  • Scalability: Suitable for businesses of all sizes, from small startups to large enterprises.

BarTender Software: A Comprehensive Solution

BarTender by Seagull Scientific is a standout choice for those seeking a robust and versatile label design and printing solution. Known for its extensive range of specialised shipping label templates, BarTender caters to various requirements, including.

  • Dana AIAG Supplier Barcode Shipping Label
  • ASN Shipping Label
  • GS1-128 Shipping Label with Global Location Number (GLN)
  • Individual Carton Label
  • Amazon Barcode Packing Slip QR Code
  • Amazon Carton Label
  • PIPO Carton Label
  • MIL 129R Generic Cargo
  • Manufacturing Shipping Label
  • USPS Hold For Pickup
  • USPS IMpb – Non-Standard Parcel
  • USPS IMpb – Standard Parcel
  • UPS Domestic
  • UPS International
  • USPS Barcoded Tray Label
  • SPS Barcoded Sack Label


The software also excels in barcode generation, offering over 400 preformatted, ready-to-use barcode components based on more than 105 symbologies, ensuring precision and compliance. 

BarTender is not just about functionality; it’s about scalability and customisation. Whether you’re running a small business or managing the complexities of a large corporation, BarTender’s range of features makes it an ideal choice.

At Triton Store, we understand the importance of efficient and compliant label printing in the shipping process. That’s why we offer BarTender software at competitive prices, providing a solution that fits a variety of business needs. Our range includes all four editions of BarTender: Starter Edition, Professional Edition, Automation Edition and Enterprise Edition, each designed to meet different levels of labelling complexity and automation requirements.

For those looking for a modern approach to label management, BarTender Cloud is the latest innovation, offering remote management capabilities for label printing and design operations. This cloud-based solution brings the power of BarTender to your fingertips, wherever you are. To compare BarTender Cloud with on-premise BarTender, refer to our BarTender Cloud vs BarTender Software Guide.  

Choosing BarTender from Triton Store means more than just getting a software solution; it’s about enhancing your labelling and inventory management processes. With BarTender’s flexibility, robust security features, and comprehensive support, you can elevate your business’s efficiency and effectiveness. 

To explore how BarTender Software can revolutionise your label printing experience, connect with us through our live chat service or explore the software’s capabilities in-depth by referring to our informative article: What is BarTender Software? 

The Bottom Line

Selecting the correct shipping label size is more than a mere detail; it’s a crucial aspect of the shipping process that ensures efficiency, compliance, and professionalism. Throughout this article, we’ve explored the various sizes required by major carriers and e-commerce platforms, highlighting the importance of adhering to these specifications for smooth logistics and customer satisfaction.

The right parcel label size facilitates easy handling and accurate tracking and reflects your commitment to quality and attention to detail. Whether you’re shipping small parcels or large boxes, understanding and following the recommended label sizes is essential. It’s a practice that streamlines your shipping process and minimises the risk of delays or complications.

As you move forward in your shipping endeavours, remember the significance of these guidelines. Adhering to the correct label sizes ensures your packages are handled efficiently and arrive reliably at their destinations. It’s a small step that makes a significant impact on the success of your shipping operations.

We hope this article was useful. 

Thanks for reading! 

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