Gardening For Not-Quite Beginners

Tips For Choosing A New Mailbox

In this age of mail and package thieves, installing a secure mailbox is imperative. The following guide can help you decide what is the most secure option for your needs.

The Mount

There are two main options when it comes to a mailbox mount — wall or post mounted. Which one you choose depends on your mail delivery zone. Opt for a wall-mounted option if you have walkup delivery and a post option for drive-up delivery. If you aren't sure, contact your local post office branch and inquire. Although wall-mount types are pretty straightforward, there will be several options for a post mount. These can range from simple pipe or wood posts to ornate brickwork. There are even swinging posts, which protect your mailbox from vandalism or damage from passing equipment, like snow plows.


Your next decision is size. There are small, letter-only–size mailboxes, as well as mailboxes large enough to hold big packages. Then, there are the more common in-between sizes that can hold letters and small packages. What you choose depends on the space you have available for a mailbox as well as the type of mail you typically receive. For example, if you live in an area where you must pick up packages at the post office, it doesn't make sense to install a large mailbox.


Material is one of the most important factors for a mailbox due to security, durability, and maintenance. Flimsy aluminum mailboxes, for example, may be attractive, but they can be damaged easily. Plastic versions tend to weather in the sun, eventually fading and breaking down. An iron mailbox is decorative and it can withstand most types of damage. If it does begin to look worn, it can be sanded down and repainted so it looks new again.


Finally, determine the access type. A standard mailbox is accessed from the front by both the delivery person and the recipient. These mailboxes generally have no lock. There are also rear-access mailboxes, which the delivery person loads from the front and you access from the back. If you need security or have a large package box, then locked access is useful. These boxes lock once your delivery person places the mail inside and closes the door. You will need a key to access your mail.

Once you have decided on these basics, you can then check out those mailboxes that fit your needs. You should be able to find many decorative designs to fit your home's exterior while also providing for your mail security needs.