Essential Guide to Mail Knives Legally, Safely, and Securely

Posted by Tara Hohenberger on

For those of us enthusiastic about having good knives on hand at all times, it’s important to be informed about the ins and outs of transporting kitchen knives. Whether you are shipping knives for sharpening or repair, traveling for work or want a great knife to cook with on vacation, sending someone a gift or mailing knives you purchased while traveling, there are some important things to take into consideration. Read on for more information about the potential issues and complexities involved with shipping knives

Understanding the Legalities of Mailing Knives

Postal regulations for mailing knives domestically or within the United States.
  • General USPS rules
USPS permits shipping knives with any of its service offerings as long as the item is securely packed to prevent injury to postal workers handing the packages. We’ll cover some recommendations on packing materials and how to keep them secure in transit in the paragraphs that follow.
  • What types of knives are illegal?
The law prohibits mailing switchblade knives or as the USPS defines it: “a blade that opens automatically by hand pressure applied to a button or other device in the handle, or by operation of inertia, gravity, or both.” Avoid mailing switchblades and other automatic knives without prior approval. If you have specific questions we recommend contacting the United States Postal Service at a local post office or

  • Using FedEx and UPS
Does the shipping service matter? Which option is most reliable? Fastest? Cheapest? All of the above including USPS priority mail are reliable, trackable ways to ship knives. Take into consideration shipping cost and transit time, which can vary depending on your location and weight and dimensions of your packaging materials when deciding which mail service to use.
  • International shipping regulations
Customs laws and regulations varying by country and rules are subject to change. It’s best to use a reputable shipper who can help with customs forms. Shop from trusted ecommerce sites to be sure you are adhering to international and federal laws.
  • Consequences of violating shipping laws:
Avoid running afoul of international laws to avoid penalties and or the potential confiscation of the item.

Packaging Knives for Safe Shipping

Proper packaging can help prevent damage and ensure safety of postal workers.

Follow this step-by-step guide on how to securely package knives and sharp instruments.

  • Sheathing and wrapping: Use a well fitted knife cover or sheath that is securely attached with rubber bands or tight plastic wrapping to prevent them from unsheathing during transit. An unsheathed knife can cut through the packaging materials and ultimately through a box, which can be dangerous.
  • Selecting the right size box: You want to select a box that properly fits the item without excess space.
  • Padding and protecting the knife within the box. This will prevent movement that can result in unsheathing. Use ample amounts of air packs, packing peanuts, bubble wrap or crumpled paper to minimize that chance of knives moving in transit.
  • Seal and label the package in secure way without indicating what is inside.

Insurance and Tracking for Mailed Knives

Having insurance will allow you to be reimbursed should the item go missing. Many trackable shipping services provide an introductory level of insurance, but inquire what the limits are and if you should take out additional insurance to protect your shipment.

What to do if a mailed knife is lost or damaged? Inquire with the shipper on how to begin a claim.

Alternatives to Mailing Knives

Although knives and other sharp objects are prohibited from traveling within a plane’s cabin, they may be eligible to be transported in checked luggage. The sames rules for securing and packaging properly apply. Use plenty of materials and caution and inquire with your airline or train provider if you have questions.


We cannot emphasize enough the importance of understanding the legalities, safety measures, and insurance before mailing knives. Take extra care when packaging knives and sharp objects. Be informed about the requirements and use a trusted shipper.

← Older Post Newer Post →