Despite the transition to email and text messages, most of us still get a fair bit of mail. And that mail is important — it includes letters, bills, small packages, and other items we don’t want misplaced. Plus a mailbox is often the first thing people see when they drive up to your home, so it’s something most of us want to be presentable.
Types of Mailboxes
Before you jump into a purchase, it’s worth noting that there are many types of mailboxes that exist in 2020. The major categories of mailboxes are as follows…
- Post Mount: This is a traditional mailbox that sits on a 4 by 4 or a similarly sturdy piece of wood. When you get it you just get the mailbox itself.
- Wall Mount: This is a mailbox that has no post, but is rather affixed to the wall of your home or office.
- All-in-One Mailbox: This is a post-style mailbox that is sold with the post and all the hardware you need to get your mail solution setup.
- Double-sided Mailbox: If you live on a busy street or you have a fence, you might want a mailbox with doors on the front and back so you can get your mail without reaching around to the front.
Please note, we’ll just be discussing mailboxes, here, not package boxes (also known as package drops) which have gotten very popular over the past few years.
To Lock Or Not To Lock
Mail theft and tampering is not a major problem in most areas, but you might still want to consider a locking mailbox. These are simple devices where the mail is dropped into a lot and then falls out of reach of a passerby. The mailbox can then be unlocked to retrieve any mail or parcels inside.
The downsides of a locking mailbox include the change of losing the key, a shorter life expectancy because the lock will rust and break before the rest of the mailbox, a smaller overall capacity because of the lock compartment, and finally a higher price.
Plastic or Traditional
This goes without saying at this point, but — like all things — mailboxes can be purchased in plastic as well as their traditional metal designs. Plastic mailboxes are larger then normal ones because the plastic needs to be oversized in order to be strong, so these can look a little silly to traditionalists.
Plastic mailboxes are rust-free and dent-free, plus they never need to be painted and the last practically forever.
The Best Mailbox For Your Home
Here are some top mailbox options for you. All of these mailboxes are decidedly better than the galvanized steel Envelope Mailbox that, for some unknown reason, came with my home. No only did this mailbox cost over $60, but it has no notable features from the ones below! It doesn’t lock, it doesn’t accept parcels… it doesn’t even have a flag! Below you will find affordable, downright reasonable mailboxes that will get the job done.
Gibraltar Mailboxes Admiral
If you want a standard metal (in this case aluminum) mailbox with a traditional look, than the Gibraltar Admiral is a nice way to go (model ADM11B01).
This metal box is made of aluminum, which is lightweight and doesn’t rust, so it’s great if you are in a wet area or near the beach. It has tough, powder-coating instead of standard paint and the walls are 60% thicker than normal so it’s dent-resistant. This mailbox is sold in white and black.
Mailbox mounting hardware is not included with this model. You can get a mounting plate for about $5.
If you’re curious this is essentially the mailbox I use and it’s served me well for some years. Honestly, it’s nothing special but it does it job day after day. Despite its simple design it seals shut well so my mail is always bone dry, no matter how rainy it gets.
- Interior Compartment Size: 9.5″ x 7″ x 19″ (WHD)
Cheaper Alternative: If you want to save a few dollars you can opt for a painted steel mailbox. This should get the price down from about $35 to $20, but you won’t get a rust-free design or the textured powder-coat finish.
Gibraltar Mailboxes Gentry Plastic
The Gentry mailbox is a plastic, double-walled design that closely resembles the popular Rubbermaid plastic mailboxes that so many people own. The funny thing about those Rubbermaid mailboxes is that they aren’t actually that easy to find any more, and most of the ones for sale are actually from this company from Step2.
This is a dual-sided, plastic mailbox that is sold in green, black, beige, and white. It’s made in the USA and included a post kit, so this is almost one-stop solution for getting a new mailbox up. You will just need a 4 by 4 post for putting it into the ground.
Another nice feature of this design is that it has a newspaper compartment under the mailbox. This doesn’t have a door, but your newspaper delivery person can shove the newspaper inside, instead of throwing it in your bushes. This will keep the newspaper dry and in a predictable place.
- Interior Compartment Size: 9″ x 6″ x 21″ (WHD)
Jssmst Wall-Mounted Locking Mailbox
If you are going to start combining mailbox types then you won’t have as many options for products to choose from, but thanks to the huge range of products on the internet, you will be able to find what you want!
The clearly made-for-Amazon brand of Jssmst sells a mailbox that is both wall-mounted and locking, and as a huge bonus it’s under $30. That’s a great deal, as most other wall-mounted mailbox are expensive and few are locking. It includes 2 keys so ig you lose one you wont be out of luck.
- Internal Compartment Size: 13.2″ x 11.2″ x 3.8″ (WHD)
- Mail Slot Size: 11.8″ x 1.2″ (WD)
Upgrade Option: If you want to upgrade to a slightly nicer mailbox that is still wall-mounted and locking there is this one from Sandleford. It’ll be close to $45 than $30 but it has a cleaner design
More Affordable Option: If you want save a few dollars you can buy a Gibraltar Designer Locking Medium box for around $25. The main problem with a smaller (medium-sized) wall-mounted box like this is that it will not accommodate a parcel that is over 0.5 inches thick. This is a severe limitation and could result in your mail being locked but important parcels sitting on the ground next to your door.
- Internal Compartment Size: 9.7″ x 12″ x 4.0″ (WHD)
- Mail Slot Size: 8.5″ x 0.5″ (WD)
Mail Boss 7506 Mail Manager Mailbox
If you want a higher-end choice than many people opt for the Mail Boss 7506 Mail Manager Curbside Locking mailbox. This is the best looking mailbox in this list by a country mile, with a stylish, angular design that is both classic and modern, and a sturdy build that has garnered over 3800 positive reviews on Amazon.
This mailbox is USPS-approved, uses heavy 14- and 16-gauge welded steel, is fully lockable, and has a door designed to accept small parcels. It’s also a tough design that will resist attempts to bash or drill it open, unlike the other boxes in this list.
This is a premium mailbox with a premium price tag. Evidence of that? It weighs an incredible 23 pounds!
- Internal Compartment Size: 10″ x 11″ x 21″ (WHD)
- Mail Slot Size: 10″ x 4″ (WH)
Why do mailboxes have flags?
The flag in a mailbox indicates that it contains outgoing mail. If a postman sees a flag that is up she knows to stop and open the box. This way the postman doesn't have to stop at every mailbox along their route.