How to Pack and Ship a Game Console
If you're reading this it's probably because you need to pack and ship one of the larger game consoles (like a PS5, PS4, or Xbox) for shipping. Packages can suffer a lot of abuse in the process of being shipped from one place to another. Whether it's being moved between multiple trucks and along conveyor belts, dropped into bins, or who knows what else, boxes can take a beating. That's why packaging up your console well is one of the best ways to increase the chances of it making it to it's destination undamaged.
No matter where you're shipping your console, it helps to know how to package it well so we're sharing our best tips on how to package your PS5, PS4, and Xbox consoles for shipping.
Before You Begin Packing Your Console
A common mistake people make when shipping their game consoles is to send unnecessary things along with the console. If you are sending your console in to be repaired, most repair services will only want the console to be shipped. Nothing else. Check the information they give you but in general do not send the following:
- Discs (in the disc drive or otherwise)
- Power cords
- HDMI or other cables
Basic Packaging Guidelines
Here are the basic packaging guidelines to follow for your PS5, PS4, and Xbox game consoles:
- At least 2 inches of padding on each side of the console (including the top and bottom).
- A sturdy box that's not too big or too small.
- Additional padding to fill any remaining space.
Those are just the basics. Keep reading for more information about how to pack your console for shipping.
Using A Packing Service
A lot of times you're not going to have good packaging materials available at your house to safely pack up your console. If you can't or don't want to package your console yourself we recommend finding a local packing service. A number of shipping centers such as UPS and FedEx will package your console for you. It will cost significantly more but will save you from having your console damaged in shipping.
Using Your Own Packaging
Using your own packaging is another way to make sure your console is packaged safely. The steps below will give you detailed information on how to package your console using a variety of different packaging materials that you likely have at home or can easily get at a local store that sells shipping materials.
STEP 1: Pad the console. The console should be padded so it has at least 2 inches of padding on each side (including the top and the bottom). When we package consoles for shipping we use a combination of bubble wrap and crunched up paper but you can also use all bubble wrap. (DO NOT use air pillows in place of bubble wrap for the 2 inches of padding since they are likely to pop during shipping.)
STEP 2: Find a box. You'll want a box that is as close to the size of your console as possible while still allowing for at least 2 inches of padding on each side (including the top and bottom). If your box is too big, check out this YouTube video about how to cut your box down to a better size. Just make sure to wrap your console in whatever padding you're using BEFORE cutting down the box so you don't make it too small.
STEP 3: Pack the box. Place the console wrapped with 2 inches of padding (including the top and the bottom) into the middle of the box and then fill any empty space around the console with additional padding such as bubble wrap, crunched up newspaper or other paper, packing peanuts, or air pillows.
STEP 4: Tape the box. The box should be taped securely using packing tape. Be sure the box is taped across the entire top and bottom and along each side of the top and bottom (see photo below).
STEP 5: Ship the box. Take the packed box to your local USPS, UPS, or FedEx location where they will weigh and/or measure the box to determine the cost of shipping.
Packaging Resource Links
Here are some links to products similar to what we use when we ship consoles. Whether you buy your packaging materials on Amazon, in a local store, or use what you already have at home, just make sure you're using good quality materials and plenty of them.
Additional Packing Tips
Here are some additional tips to give your console the best chance of making it safely to it's destination.
TIP 1: Shake test the box. Before you seal the box up it's a good idea to close the flaps and then shake it gently to make sure things are snug and can't shift around. If you hear lots of movement try adding additional padding to the box to keep everything in place.
TIP 2: Pad the corners. The corners of game consoles, especially consoles with sharper corners, can be more susceptible to damage when shipping if a console is not packed correctly. Using additional crunched up paper around the corners can help protect them from damage if the box is dropped on the corner.
TIP 3: Use extra padding on the bottom. If you have a lot of extra space in the top of your box after adding your console it's actually a good idea to take the console out and fill up some of that extra space with packaging on the bottom of the box. As the console is moved around and even dropped while being shipped the more centered it is inside the box the safer it will be.
Additional Shipping Tips
Here are some tips that can help you once your console is all packaged up and ready to be shipped.
TIP 1: Explore Shipping Options. Depending on where you live and where you're shipping your game console you likely will have multiple shipping services to choose from. We recommend doing a bit of research before deciding which service to go with.
TIP 2: Don't Necessarily Go With The Cheapest Option. Price does matter and just because a shipping service charges a lot doesn't mean they will do a really good job of getting your package safely to it's destination. Ideally you'll want the shipper that is the most reliable, not necessarily the cheapest (or most expensive). If you're in the United States, we've found both UPS and FedEx to be two good options with regards to both reliability and pricing. USPS tends to be more costly and less reliable, in our experience.
TIP 3: Consider Paying For Shipping Insurance. Since larger game consoles are at more risk for being damaged during shipping, it's often a good idea to pay extra for shipping insurance.
Hopefully, this post has helped you know how to pack your console safely for mailing. While nothing can guarantee your console won't be damaged during the perils of shipping, packing your console well is the best way to keep it safe.