The most important thing about shipping a laptop is selecting the right box (or boxes) for your device. If you’re shipping a new laptop, your best option is to make use of the original box it arrived in from the manufacturer. This will normally supply a reasonable level of protection for your device.
Keep in mind that most manufacturers’ boxes are intended for palletized shipping, and are not designed to be shipped as a standalone item, so consider double boxing. For effective double boxing, choose an outer box that is about six inches wider in all dimensions than the internal container. Use packing material, like inflatable packaging or foam inserts, to fill the space between the inside and outer box.
If you’re shipping an older, previously-used device and still have the original box, it might be possible to reuse that packaging. If you want to go that route, make sure the box is in excellent condition with no punctures, tears, or corner damage.
Aside from making sure you’re using the right kind of box to ship your laptop, there are a few other crucial tips to packing your computer to get it there safely.
- Dust off and clean the laptop, making sure it’s free from any moisture. Double check the laptop is completely powered down, but don't try to remove the battery from the device.
- Protect the power button and volume buttons with a small patch of cardboard or electrical tape, so that the machine does not accidentally get switched on in transit. For extra protection, place a thin layer of bubble wrap or foam between the keyboard and screen to protect the keys and screen while the laptop is closed.
- Wrap the shell of the machine with plastic or bubble wrap. To protect against any static electricity risks while in transit, place the laptop in a snug-fitting plastic bag. Separately wrap any cables, plug adaptors and other accessories in bubble wrap and secure them with cable ties.
- Place the device in a padded laptop box and fill any remaining space with additional packaging material, like foam inserts, to hold the machine securely in place. Avoid loose packaging material since it’s less effective at preventing the laptop from sliding around on the move. Add any accessories into the box.
- Gently shake the box to ensure it is securely packed and there is no internal sliding. If you don’t feel any sliding, close the box and tightly seal with tape to avoid moisture getting in.
If you're shipping a laptop by air, it’s important to protect the device against overheating. Double check to be sure the laptop isn’t only completely powered down, but is unable to accidentally get switched on during transit. The heat and static electricity associated with air travel are risk factors for the lithium ion batteries inside of laptops.
Make a note of the regulations that apply when shipping a laptop with lithium ion batteries inside the United States or, if you’re shipping across borders, for your destination country. Securely attach any required labels or notices to the outside of your box. For larger shipments of laptops, check with UPS on any additional requirements that may apply.
Laptops can be expensive items and may contain sensitive data, so take sensible steps to protect your shipment as you would any other valuable object. Consider increasing the declared value of your shipment or taking out insurance through UPS Capital to guard against the risk of damage or loss.
The UPS Calculate Time & Cost tool can help you determine the likely cost of shipping your laptop. Make sure your package is properly labeled and you have verified the delivery address.