Post Boxes, Mail Boxes and Letter Boxes are all terms which have individual meanings, but which today are commonly used individually or in combination to describe some form of box installed at homes or commercial premises into which mail delivered to the premises can be deposited.
The purpose of this type of mailbox or postbox is to allow the mail to be delivered safely and securely to the intended recipient, without the risk of it being taken by someone other than the person it is addressed to. They also eliminate the problem of mail cluttering the floor when posted through the letterbox in a street door for instance.
There are many things to consider when choosing your post box, including; the type and style of box, material used in its construction, colour, capacity, mail deposit and retrieval method, intended location, and any special features required such as anti-arson protection.
Below you will find information which should help you to find the best mailbox for your needs.
Types of Post Boxes and Mail Boxes
There are many types of mailbox to choose from, ranging from those designed for installation at an individual home, to banks of individual boxes designed for use as communal mailboxes at multi occupancy premises such as a block of flats or shared business premises, where they will typically be installed in the entrance vestibule.
Mailbox Styles and Materials
The modern post box is typically manufactured from formed and welded steel sheet and is either manufactured from stainless steel sheet, or mild steel sheet, finished with a weather protective coating.
It’s worth mentioning that in coastal locations or other harsh environments, whilst a stainless steel letterbox may seem like a good choice, in such environments, the surface appearance of stainless steel can quickly deteriorate, even where “marine grade” stainless steel material has been used in the construction.
Post boxes for houses are also available manufactured from plastic, cast aluminium, cast iron and even wood. Cast Aluminium boxes or the Cast Iron Post Box are generally used where a more decorative appearance is required, such as those designed to replicate Georgian or Victorian style units.
When choosing an outside letter box you will need to consider the weather protection applied to the exposed (and internal) surfaces of the box, as well as the effectiveness of the mail deposit slot flap and mail retrieval door, which should prevent water entering the box which could lead to soggy mail.
Many of the budget priced mailboxes on the market are manufactured from thin gauge steel sheet with a budget price paint finish, which often results in a short operational lifespan and the need for early replacement.
Post Boxes - Size and Capacity
Mail Boxes and Post Boxes come in a variety of shapes and sizes, so it’s important to choose a unit that will meet your needs.
If you need a box that will accommodate magazines, for instance, you need one that will accept a C4 envelope, which will have a bearing on the height of the unit. If there are times when you may receive a lot of mail items at the same time, then the overall capacity becomes an issue and you will need to consider a box which is deeper and possibly wider.
When considering the size of box you need you’ll also need to consider where it is to be fixed, to ensure that it does not restrict the access to your premises.
Note: Letterbox Post Boxes are designed specifically to receive standard mail items (which may include small packages), but are not designed to receive Parcels for which a specialist Parcel Box for home will be required.
The Mail Box Deposit & Retrieval System and Security
For external or wall mounted units, mail is normally delivered through a slot in the front or the top of the box. Front deposit slots normally feature a lift up flap to protect the contents against weather ingress, while deposit slots in the top of the box will be protected by a lift up top flap. Which style you choose may come down to personal preference, however a top slot could be a good choice if you are likely to receive a lot of magazines.
Mail Catcher Boxes or Letter Catcher Bags fitted over a through the door, or through the wall type letterbox, are fitted directly to the inside of the wall or door and feature an opening rear panel from which the mail can be retrieved within the building. This type of unit offers a variety of benefits including: preventing pets from destroying your mail, preventing fishing attacks through your letterbox and if fitted with a smart fire extinguisher, will foil arson attacks.
A simple integrated keylock provides a level of protection for the contents of most post boxes. This is normally achieved using a standard key operated rotary type camlock which, combined with the build structure of the mailbox, offers a reasonable level of security against unauthorised access to your mail. Should you need a high security mailbox it`s advisable to seek a specialist solution.
Mailbox Colour & Finish
Aesthetics are an important consideration for most people when choosing a Postbox for their home, so in addition to the style and design of box required, colour and finish are also important considerations.
Black Mailboxes along with Silver, White and Green have long been popular colour choices, while over recent years additional colours including Midnight Blue, French Grey and Anthracite have grown in popularity to blend in with the architect influenced modern finishes applied to many new buildings.
Locating & Fixing Your Postbox
The wall mounted post box is a common sight on homes throughout the UK, eliminating the need for a letterbox in the street facing door. The massive growth in the adoption of UPVC front doors by homeowners is also driving up the use of post boxes for houses, as the elimination of the need for a letterbox through the door panel not only improves the security of the UPVC door, but also reduces its cost.
Household post boxes are also often mounted on, or adjacent to, gates or fences. The outdoor post box is ideal for use as a rural mailbox, as they can be positioned to enable the postman to deliver mail without the need to open the gate or enter the grounds, eliminating the possibility of dogs or other pets escaping. Post boxes for gates can be fixed directly to the gate or to the gate post as needed.
Anti Arson Protection
Mail generally consists of combustible material and can become a serious fire risk when mixed with petrol or other types of accelerant popular with arsonists. The Insight Security range of anti-arson mailboxes include indoor and outdoor units with a choice of one or two slimline, sealed-for-life smart fire extinguishers.
Whether it’s a mindless moron stuffing a firework though your door, or an aggrieved arsonist targeting your home or business premises, the last thing you need is a fire starting at your entrance. So the anti arson mailbox provides a simple, effective and rapid solution to any arson threat.
Letterbox Protector or Letter Box Guard
The letterbox in your front door conveniently enables your mail to be delivered to you, even if you are not at home when the postie arrives. However the letterbox presents a vulnerability that many people overlook, but can have devastating consequences. The two most obvious risks are fishing attacks and arson or vandalism attacks.
Fishing attacks are frequently carried out by car thieves who simply raise the letter flap in your front door and use a pole with a hook to snag car keys left that may have been left on a nearby internal shelf. Once the criminals have your car keys it`s easy to steal your car.
Vandalism and Arsonist attacks are generally carried out by someone with a real or perceived grievance against you or your business, but sometimes they are carried out just for fun! Such attacks may involve posting something unpleasant or dangerous through your letterbox ranging from fireworks or petrol, to poisoned foodstuff targeting your pets.
A letterbox cowl or letterbox protector is a simple way to foil fishing attacks by preventing inquisitive eyes from surveying your property through the letterbox. And a letterbox lock or internally fitted mail catcher provides protection against arson or vandal attacks.