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Installing a mailbox will require a few simple tools, but it may be easier than you think, and the result is certainly worth the effort: a functional, attractive bit of curb appeal. There are several types to choose from depending on your personal needs and how much work you want to do. Not just any old box on a post will work. The United State Postmaster (USP) has set specific regulations about size, height, and exactly where you need to place the box. Our experts took a look and delivered the best options to fit the bill.
Here are the best mailboxes for 2021.
Best Overall Mailbox: Step2 531700 MailMaster StoreMore Mailbox
In theory, a good mailbox should only do one thing: keep your mail safe until you can retrieve it at the end of the day. While this is the most important quality for a mailbox, the top pick on this list actually gives you more storage and protection at the same time. As a result, you can hold more mail with an extra peace of mind. The Step2 MailMaster StoreMore Box is a mailbox with a few secrets under its faux stone exterior. In addition to a standard mailbox, the central core of the unit hides a large interior space you can fit other items and mail within its lockable door. The mailbox itself has front and rear access and a removable trapdoor so mail will fall directly into the hidden core if you desire. You should note that a post isn't included with this box, so you'll have to mount it and anchor it into the ground as you see fit.
Best Budget Mailbox: Gibraltar Mailboxes Gibraltar Patriot Plastic Box
In order to save some money on a mailbox without sacrificing the quality and security of it, it is best to find a box that is simple in design. While it is nice to have a mailbox that looks stylish or elegant in your front lawn, the most important thing is finding something that will keep your mail protected and covered until you come to pick it up each day. The Gibraltar Patriot Plastic Box makes the perfect budget option for anyone needing their first mailbox or a quality upgrade. The plastic exterior is treated with a UV resistant paint to keep the finish looking good for a long time. Conveniently, the box features a standard outgoing mail flag in addition to an automatically triggered incoming mail flag so you know when something is waiting for you on the inside. The box is compatible with any Gibraltar post with a letter code “E.”
Best Wall Mounted Mailbox: Gibraltar Mailboxes Designer Locking Wall Box
If you live in a small space or do not have a yard or shared neighborhood mailbox, a wall mounted box is the perfect solution to collect your mail right from the outside. Finding the right wall box can be tricky since most leave your mail exposed to would-be thieves without any protection. That is why it is important to find a wall box that comes with a small lock, giving you and only you access. For a small profile, the Gibraltar Mailboxes Designer Locking Wall Box is hard to beat. Along with a small, easy-to-mount profile that takes up little space on the wall, the Designer wall box comes in a sleek, modern finish that is right at home with a number of different home style decors. A central emblem can be attached anywhere on the body or removed if you want a plain look on the exterior.
Best Parcel Mailbox: Architectural Mailboxes Oasis Classic Locking Post Mount Parcel Mailbox
Sending and receiving larger packages through the mail requires more space and security. Most people do not think about the risk of having their packages stolen right from the mailbox. On the surface, it may even seem silly to think there are some people willing to take your junk mail and bills off of your hands. Unfortunately, the possibility does exist and can be difficult to remedy when it does happen. The Architectural Mailboxes Oasis Classic is the mailbox to choose when you want a heavyduty, secure place to keep your parcel mail protected when you are not around. The extra protection starts with the exterior made of galvanized steel plating with a corrosion resistant powder coating. The heavy-duty steel cam lock is tamper resistant as well, so you can have an extra peace of mind knowing your mail is safe from theft.
Best Post Mailbox: Architectural Mailboxes Basic Post
Sometimes, you only need something to put your new mailbox on to keep it stable and secure in the yard. A good mailbox post can be underappreciated since most people do not think about the quality of the post when buying a new mailbox. The post, however, is more important than the box itself in some ways. From keeping it safe during bad weather to adding a distinct look in the design, the post makes the mailbox. If you just need a new post to put your mailbox on, the Architectural Mailboxes Basic Post is a great option to consider for its upscale, classic looks and simple installation. The post uses a 3-inch galvanized steel tube with an aluminum base for stability. It is also compatible with many styles of mailboxes so you can easily find something that adds great functionality and a unique look to any yard.
Best Combo Mailbox: Gibraltar Mailboxes Stratford Decorative Plastic Mailbox Post Combination
If you are starting from scratch, one of the best ways to buy a new mailbox without the expense or frustration of buying a post and box separately is with a combination unit. By buying the two elements together, you can save some money and find something with a cohesive look in a variety of styles. Many combination units also make installation much easier if the box comes attached to the post. For a complete set, the all-in-one Gibraltar Mailboxes Stratford Combination mailbox will give you a unified box and post that cuts down on the amount of money and installation required. Made of double walled plastic, the whole unit offers a vintage look with modern weather and rust resistance. It fits over a standard 4x4 post, making installation straightforward and easy.
Best Novelty Mailbox: River's Edge Products Giant Bass Mailbox
Just like anything else in your yard, the mailbox has the potential to add some visual flair and variety to the outdoor space. If you are the type of person who likes to show off their hobbies or just wants something that really stands out from the neighbors, a novelty mailbox is the best option to buy. This next mailbox is one that offers great protection and an unexpected look all at once. The River's Edge Products Mailbox is a great product to show off your fishing pride or just to have something to catch the neighbors' eyes every now and then. The box comes in several different outdoors-themed styles such as a catfish, bass, or log cabin. Attaching to a River’s Edge Products post, the mounting hardware is tamper-proof to keep people from walking away with your prized box.
What to Look For in a Mailbox
Tampering with U.S. mail is actually a federal crime, but that won't stop anyone from opening your mailbox to retrieve not just your mail but your personal information, too. A mailbox with a key or locking system is your best protection again stolen letters or identity theft. Be sure to look for one with a locking system that will still allow the mail carrier to deliver your mail.
Mailboxes on posts are particularly prone to accidents. Cars and bicycles run into them, trees fall on them, and strong winds can blow them down. Consider this when you choose both the box itself and the support you plan to attach it to. Wrought iron is lovely and might work on a quiet residential street. If you live on a winding country road you probably want to use wood or stone. The support post should be anchored into the ground no matter what type you choose. A metal box will weather the elements better than plastic.
Convenience and Compliance
Most of us probably check our mail every day, so it's worth the effort to make it easy on ourselves. If you receive a lot of large letters or packages, make sure your mailbox can handle the volume. If your street has a lot of traffic you can avoid stepping into the roadway with a mailbox that opens from both ends.
Be sure to find out and stick to the recommendations and requirements issued by the USP. When purchasing a new mailbox, look for one that is labeled as USP approved.
How do you install a mailbox?
Place your mailbox at the street end of your driveway or next to your front door. For street boxes, you will need to anchor a sturdy support post in the ground no more than 24" deep. The post should be tall enough for the bottom of the mailbox to sit between 41" and 45" in height above the street surface. Place the post 6" to 8" back from the curb or street. A wall mounted mailbox must by 30" above the floor level at the exterior of the house. The slot must be 1 1/2" high by 7" wide. Horizontal slots must be hinged and vertical slots must be placed opposite the front door hinges.
How high should a mailbox be?
The bottom of a street mounted mailbox should sit between 41" and 45" above the street surface. A wall mounted mailbox should be place 30" above the floor outside the home. For example: If your home has a front porch, measure up from that surface.
How do you paint a mailbox
First remove any moving parts such as a flag. Clean the surface thoroughly with a mild detergent. Dry completely before applying a coat of primer. Primer paint formulated specifically for outdoor aluminum or plastic objects is available and recommended. Once your primer coat is completely dry, apply an outdoor paint.
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Barbara Gillette is a Master Gardener and herbalist. She works with honeybees and other pollinators to grow organic fruits, vegetables, flowers and herbs on her 8-acre hobby farm.