Gadgets like tablets, smartphones and e-readers are very popular gift ideas. You
can prevent costly damages and returns when shipping electronic devices by
packing carefully and correctly. Here are three tips to keep in mind when you
ship your high-tech gifts.
Protect Batteries from Heat and Static Electricity
Lithium-ion batteries--the rechargeable cells that power most high-tech
devices--store a lot more power than typical dry cells. Because of this,
shipping electronics requires extra precautions.
Air transit in particular brings air-pressure and temperature changes causing
build-ups in static electricity. A high-powered device like a laptop can also
create a lot of heat in a closed container if accidentally powered on in
transit. Enough static electricity or several hours of extreme heat can cause a
lithium battery-powered device to short-circuit, smolder, or even set fire.
But today's global trade means that a gadget may ship halfway around the
world before reaching stores, so retail packaging addresses these issues for
you. Strict international safety regulations govern the retail packaging of
lithium battery-powered devices, so it's best to leave your gift unopened in the
manufacturer's original packaging when you pack it in your shipping box. If you
need to pre-program your present before sending it, pay close attention to how
the device is packaged when you remove it. Repack the same way and with the same
materials as originally packaged, and be sure the device's power is off before
it goes back in the box.
If you don't have retail packaging to work with, the most important things to
ensure are that battery terminals are not exposed and that power buttons can't
be turned on. Electronics are designed to keep batteries grounded when attached,
so don't disconnect removable batteries. Cover or secure power buttons with
electrical tape or cardboard, and place the device inside a plastic bag to
insulate it from static electricity.
Choose the Right Packing Method and
The double (over) boxing method is a great way to ship fragile items like
electronics. Simply put, a double (over) box is a box within a box. This keeps
the item away from the container's outer walls to minimize impacts. In addition,
the layers of padding inside each box help absorb vibrations from bumps or
If the electronic device you're shipping is still in its original retail box,
and it doesn't shift around when you move the box in your hands, the retail
packaging can serve as your inner container. Otherwise, find a sturdy box about
six inches larger than your device in height, length, and width. Wrap the item
in several layers of bubble wrap and set it inside the box with at least two
inches of padding on all six sides.
Pack the box as tight as you can with bubble wrap, foam inserts, or
tightly-wadded kraft paper. (Don't use polystyrene "packing peanuts" or other
types of loose-fill packaging--they create static electricity and won't keep
your device from sliding around.) Seal the box with packing tape. Now cover your
inner box in more bubble wrap and seal that box inside another container, again
with two inches or more of padding on all sides.
Get Help from the Experts
You can call on the professionals if you're short on the time, materials, or
confidence to pack and ship your high-tech gifts on your own. The UPS Store
Certified Packing Experts® have specialty shipping supplies and can
help you choose the right shipping method for electronics. And if The UPS Store
does the packing and shipping for you, your shipment is covered by the Pack
& Ship Guarantee.