Holiday Shipping Rates Comparison

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boxes on conveyer belt
Photo credit: simonkr/istockphoto

Holiday season sales and savings don't mean a thing if shipping costs you an arm and a leg. Before you shop online, find out which major retailers offer the best rates with the most options — and consider becoming a member or signing up for a card if the shipping perks are worth it.

We researched shipping fees and policies at 10 of the largest retailers to help you wade through the morass. We chose a similar item that could be purchased at each retailer -- a small countertop microwave -- and compared standard shipping, expedited or two-day shipping, and express or next-day shipping. We also included useful information regarding the stores' special discounts, such as free standard shipping on a minimum order and loyalty member perks. 


**Pricing based on 0.7 cu. ft. 700-watt microwave
Retailer Shipping Options
Discounts Holiday Deadlines
Amazon Standard: Free 

Expedited: $24.19  

Express: N/A 
Free 2-day shipping on all eligible purchases with no minimum for Amazon Prime members.
(Some restrictions for Alaska and Hawaii.)
Free same-day shipping for select orders over $35; $5.99 per order for purchases under $35.
Pickup eligible at local Amazon Locker or Hub.
Free standard shipping on minimum orders of $25.
Order by Dec. 17
Best Buy Standard: Free

Expedited: $35.74

Express: $66.74
My Best Buy Elite members get free shipping and free scheduled delivery with no minimum purchase.
My Best Buy Elite Plus members get free two-day shipping and free scheduled delivery with no minimum purchase.
Free standard shipping with no minimum through Dec. 25.
Ship to store available for select locations.
Order by Dec. 17
Costco Standard: Free

Expedited: $16.06

Express: N/A
Membership is required for most Costco shopping purchases. Several different plans are available Order by Dec. 17
Home Depot Standard: Free

Expedited: Free

Express: N/A
Free standard shipping on minimum orders of $45.
Ship to store available for select locations.
Order by Dec. 17
Lowe's Standard: Free

Expedited: $12.99

Express: $19.99
MyLowe's members get free standard shipping on all qaulifying orders.
Free standard shipping on minimum orders of $49
Ship to store available for select locations.
Order by Dec. 17
Macy's Standard: $10.95

Expedited: N/A

Express: N/A
Macy's Star Reward Platinum and Gold members get free shipping on all orders when shopping with the Macy's card.
Free standard shipping on minimum orders of $99.
Ship to store available for select locations.
Standard/Premium: Dec. 21 at 5 p.m. EST
Express: by Dec. 22 at noon
Same-day delivery: by 10 a.m. local time on Dec. 24
In-store pickups: by noon Dec. 24
Sears Standard: Free

Expedited: $16.49

Express: $19.49
Free standard shipping on most items for Shop Your Way Max Customers.
Free standard shipping on minimum orders of $49.
Ship to store available for select locations.
Economy: Dec. 19 by 2:59 EST
Standard: Dec. 21 by 4 p.m.
Premium: Dec. 22 by 4 p.m.
In-store pickup: Dec. 24
Staples Standard: Free

Expedited: N/A

Express: N/A
Business Rewards Plus members get free next-day shipping on orders of $25 or more.
Free standard shipping on minimum orders of $49.
Ship to store available for select locations.
Order by Dec. 17
Target Standard: Free

Expedited: $25

Express: $35
REDCard, Target credit card, and Target debit card holders always get free shipping on orders over $35.
Free standard shipping on minimum orders of $35. *Free standard shipping on all orders through Dec. 23
Ship to store available for select locations.
Order by Dec. 17
Walmart Standard: Free

Expedited: Free

Express N/A
Free standard shipping on minimum orders of $35.
Ship to store available for pick-up and drive-up at select locations.
Order by Dec. 17

Shipping rates based on one 0.7 cu. ft. 700-watt microwave. Rates and shipping options may vary for other items.

Standard shipping: 4-7 business days

Expedited shipping: 2-3 business days

Express shipping: overnight or next day