Mailboxes are most often located on the curb or even attached to the front of a house, so they should complement a home’s style—not detract from it. Depending on the amount of mail received, someone who sells products or receives mailed payments might need a large locking mailbox, whereas someone who gets a little snail mail now and then might prefer a small but decorative mailbox. The best mailbox is one that’s secure, durable, and boosts your home’s curb appeal.
The following mailboxes meet these standards, and one of them just might be the right pick for your home.
- BEST OVERALL: Polar Aurora Cast Aluminum Bronze Postal Box
- RUNNER UP: Polar Aurora Barcelona Decorative Post Mailbox
- BEST VALUE: Gibraltar Solar Townhouse Wall Mount Mailbox
- BEST SECURITY: Mail Boss 7526 Street Safe Locking Security Mailbox
- BEST CAPACITY: ARCHITECTURAL MAILBOXES Oasis Classic Parcel Mailbox
- BEST DESIGN: Special Lite Products Hummingbird Horizontal Mailbox
Types of Mailboxes
Mailboxes come in various sizes and styles, but be aware that you might have to install your mailbox per United States Postal Service (USPS) rules or by the local building codes. Knowing the rules in your community before choosing a mailbox can save you from potentially having to remove the mailbox if it doesn’t comply.
A post-mounted mailbox is designed for curbside mail service, and the USPS makes the following requirements:
- Height: The height at the bottom of the mailbox should be 41 to 45 inches from the ground. This ensures the postal worker can reach out the delivery vehicle’s window and open the box with ease.
- Setback: The front of the mailbox should be 6 to 8 inches back from the curb. This gives the postal worker a little leeway for opening the box, and it reduces the risk of the delivery vehicle striking the box when pulling up to the curb.
- Post depth: The USPS requires mailbox posts to be buried in the ground to a minimum of 24 inches. Pouring concrete around the post is the best way to stabilize it—and local codes might require it.
- Surface mount: If you purchase a surface-mount post, you’ll need to bolt it down to a concrete pad that’s a minimum of 3 inches thick.
Similar to post-mounted mailboxes, column-mounted mailboxes are designed for curbside delivery. The same USPS box height and setback measurements still apply, but the column is usually built from stone or brick to match the residence, and the mailbox embeds within the column. Column-mounted boxes can be elaborate affairs with fancy copper or cast iron boxes, but they require installing a concrete footing and pad to bear the column’s weight. Check with your local building authority to determine footing depth, which is typically just below the frost line in your area.
In some communities, mail carriers still walk residential routes, and if you’re lucky enough to live in a neighborhood where this is the status quo, you can install a mailbox on the exterior wall of the front of your home. Mounting a mailbox to a wall is DIY-friendly and straightforward since this type of mailbox attaches with fasteners to the siding.
If you’re on a walking delivery route, you can opt to have the postal worker deliver the mail by dropping it through a mail slot installed in the front door. You can have a mail slot installed in an existing door or purchase a door with a pre-installed slot.
In addition to mail slots, in-wall drop boxes are available that install directly in the home’s front wall with the box’s front flush with the siding. Drop boxes come in various sizes, and other delivery services such as UPS and FedEx might use the box when delivering packages.
Mail vaults offer an added measure of security. The postal worker delivers envelopes (or small packages if the vault opening is large enough) through a slot, and they fall into a locked steel box. The owner can then retrieve the mail using a key or a digital code to unlock the box. Like other mailboxes, if you install a mail vault at the curb, it must meet USPS height and setback requirements.
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Mailbox
Once you determine the best type of mailbox for your needs, you’ll want to consider other factors, such as the best size and how to ensure the mailbox complements your home’s curb appeal.
While mailboxes come in various sizes, some dimensions are more common than others, and community restrictions may apply. Check with your local building authority or homeowners association (HOA) before buying.
- Standard curbside: This mailbox is more popular than any other type, and it measures approximately 6.5 inches wide by 18 inches deep and about 8.5 inches high. It will hold plenty of envelopes and perhaps a few small packages.
- Large curbside: Often found on rural routes, these larger mailboxes hold more so the postal worker doesn’t have to drive up a long driveway to deliver packages. The approximate dimensions are 12 inches wide, 23.5 inches deep, and 15 inches high.
- Wall-mounted: This type of mailbox comes in various sizes, some only big enough to hold a few #9 envelopes and others large enough to hold large manila envelopes. Building codes probably are not a factor here, but HOA rules may apply.
Most mailboxes are made from steel for durability, but you can also find some budget models made from heavy-duty molded polyethylene. A few higher-end models are available in cast iron and copper.
Mail Access and Security
On a busy street, stepping into the street to retrieve your mail from the box might put you (or passing motorists) at risk. If this is the case, consider installing a rear-open mailbox that allows you to open the box from the back to access your mail. If mail theft is a problem in your neighborhood, you might also want to consider installing a vault-type box so no one but you can access the contents.
The mailbox is one of the first things visitors and passersby will see when they approach your home, so the mailbox should be perfectly straight—not wobbly or tilting to one side—and it should complement your home. Wall-mounted mailboxes should be level, and all mailboxes should be in good condition. A rusty, decrepit mailbox sends the message that the homeowner doesn’t care how the property looks.
Classic black is the most common color for mailboxes, but don’t be afraid to opt for one featuring a pop of color to match or accent the house trim or the entry door. Consider how the mailbox will function once you install it—a dainty little mailbox might catch your eye, but if it doesn’t hold anything more substantial than #9 envelopes, you might have to make frequent trips to the post office to pick up larger envelopes or parcels.
Our Top Picks
The following mailboxes had to be durable, functional, and attractive to be recommended as top picks. They’re designed for various locations and delivery needs, helping you determine the right choice for your home.
This option from Polar Aurora checks boxes for both security and design. Made from durable cast aluminum in a bronze finish, the box displays historical figures on the sides. You can drop the mail in the slot at the top front of the box, but you can retrieve it only via the locking door on the back.
This attractive mailbox measures 16.5 inches wide, is equally as deep, and stands 46 inches high. The metal base should be bolted to a concrete pad for stability and security. As with many of today’s newer-style mailboxes, the Polar Aurora is designed for receiving mail only—it doesn’t come with a red outgoing-mail flag that signals the delivery person to pick up mail. Install the mailbox at the curb or position it alongside your front sidewalk near your home’s entry. Where you place the mailbox depends on where or how your mail is typically delivered, either by walking or driving postal workers.
Another decorative mailbox from Polar Aurora, this one comes complete with the elements you need for a great-looking and secure mailbox. The box is made of cast aluminum for durability and strength, and it features classic motifs on the door and sides. It has a standard pull-open door and a red metal flag to signal the postal worker you have mail you’d like picked up.
This is not a locking mailbox, though, so it’s best installed in a safe neighborhood. The top of the decorative post stands 62.2 inches tall, and the post box dimensions are 18.3 inches by 8.3 inches by 9 inches.
You don’t have to spend a lot to get a good mailbox. This wall-mount mailbox by Gibraltar is functional, offers a classical look, and is available at an attractive price point. The box measures 8.63 inches wide, 10.13 inches high, and 3.52 inches deep. It comes with a lift-open flap for delivering the mail, and just under the flap is a locking slot so that the postal carrier can deliver the mail, but only you can retrieve it with a key. The box comes with an installation template and instructions on how to attach it to the wall. However, fasteners are not included because the type of fastener you need depends on your home’s type of siding.
To securely retrieve your mail from a curbside box—without needing to step into traffic to do so—consider this locking mailbox from Mail Boss that allows you to retrieve your mail through a secure rear door. Mail is deposited via a drop-down flap in the front of the box (similar to a commercial mailbox) that’s suitable for inserting letters, magazines, and even small packages.
This USPS-approved mailbox features powder-coated galvanized steel and can be mounted on a standard mailbox pole. The box alone measures 21.48 inches long, 10.83 inches wide, and 11.06 inches high.
If you regularly get a large number of mail or multiple packages, you’ll appreciate this oversized option from ARCHITECTURAL MAILBOXES. This USPS-approved mailbox measures 18 inches deep, 15 inches high, and 11.5 inches wide, making it spacious enough to hold letters, magazines, and multiple small packages.
The fold-down delivery door and the locking retrieval door both feature rubber seals to keep the rain out and the mail dry. You can mount this large-capacity mailbox to the top of a column or pilaster. Additionally, you can mount it to a standard 4-inch by 4-inch post by using an adapter plate (sold separately).
Dress up your entry with this ornamented option from Special Lite Products. This mailbox is made from durable powder-coated cast aluminum but it does not lock. There is a newspaper holder located at the bottom. The mailbox measures 5 inches deep, 12.75 inches wide, and 17 inches high.
FAQs About Mailboxes
Mailboxes should last for years, so if this is the first time you’ve chosen a mailbox, you likely have some questions.
Q. How do I choose a mailbox?
Choose a mailbox that accommodates the way mail is delivered in your neighborhood. Consider one with added security features if mail theft is a concern.
Q. Where should you place your mailbox?
If it’s a curbside mailbox (post- or column-mounted), the box’s front should be 6 to 8 inches back from the curb—no closer and no farther away. If it’s a wall-mounted box, put it where the postal delivery person can reach it with ease.
Q. How high should a mailbox be?
The USPS determines curbside mailbox height and says the bottom of the mailbox should be between 41 and 45 inches above the ground.
Q. How do you clean a mailbox?
A quick wipe down with a damp rag will remove dust and dirt. You can also spray on a mild all-purpose cleaner to remove tough stains, and then wipe with a clean, damp rag.