Which Stores Have the Best Holiday Shipping Rates?

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Photo credit: simonkr/istockphoto

Online deals don't mean a thing if shipping costs an arm and a leg. We researched shipping rates and policies at 10 of the largest retailers to help holiday shoppers decide where to buy. Stores including Amazon, Target, and Walmart have temporarily waived the minimum order required for free standard shipping. Meanwhile, Sears has upped its threshold to $59 from $35. Fees and delivery options may vary depending on what you order and where you live, but generally they include:

Standard shipping: 4-8 business days
Expedited shipping: 2-3 business days
Express shipping: next day and/or same day

All the retailers we compared except Amazon also offer a free ship-to-store option. Expedited and express shipping typically are available only on select items and, for same-day delivery in particular, only in certain markets. The rates below are for addresses in the contiguous United States; a surcharge may apply elsewhere.

RetailerStandard Shipping
Expedited ShippingExpress Shipping

Amazon

Free with no minimum.

Free 2-day shipping with Prime.

Rates vary for non-members.

One-Day: Free with $35 minimum; starting at $2.99 per item otherwise with Prime.

Rates vary for non-members.

Same-Day: Free with $35 minimum; up to $5.99 per item otherwise with Prime.

Up to $9.98 per item for non-members.

Best Buy

Free with no minimum through Dec. 25.

Free 2-day shipping and scheduled delivery for Elite Plus members.

Rates vary for Elite and non-members.

Rates vary for same-day delivery.

Costco

Rates vary.

Rates vary.

N/A

Home Depot

Free on most orders over $45 and appliance purchases of $396 or more.

Free 2-day delivery on many items.

Rates vary for next-day delivery.

Lowe's

Free on qualifying orders for MyLowe's members.

Free with $49 minimum for non-members.

Rates vary for 2-day shipping.

Rates vary for next-day shipping.

Macy's

Free with $99 minimum and for Star Rewards Platinum or Gold members using a Macy's card; $10.95 otherwise.

$9 with $99 minimum and for Star Rewards Platinum or Gold members using a Macy's card; $19.95 otherwise.

$19 with $99 minimum and for Star Rewards Platinum or Gold members using a Macy's card; $29.95 otherwise.

Sears

Free with $59 minimum.

Free with $59 minimum for Shop Your Way Max members. Rates vary for non-members.

Rates vary for premium shipping (1 business day).

Staples

Free with $49.99 minimum; $9.95 otherwise.

Some phone orders only.

Next-Day: Free with $49.99 minimum.

Same-Day: $9.99.

Target

Free with no minimum.

Free 2-day shipping on most orders with no minimum through Dec. 22.

Rates vary for same-day delivery via third-party service Shipt.

Walmart

Free with no minimum.

Free 2-day shipping on most orders with $35 minimum.

N/A

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