Over the years, since the US began official mail delivery in 1775, mailboxes have evolved and changed to meet customer and postal service needs. Once, customers used anything and everything as a mailbox, but regulations have evolved as well with customer and employee safety in mind. In even earlier times, mailboxes didn’t exist, and the postal service needed to hand mail directly to recipients.
Times have changed, and now we have mailboxes for our convenience. They may need maintenance, but they keep our mail safe from the elements as well as theft, in many cases. As the population grew, security became an ever-growing concern, and locking mailboxes eventually came onto the market.
If you’ve never heard of roadside locking mailboxes, that’s because they aren’t very common yet, but they can be very useful for some customers and communities. They’re a newer type of mailbox, designed with extra security and durability in mind. But are they right for you?
What are Locking Roadside Mailboxes?
You’ve probably seen plenty of curbside mailboxes in both cities and rural areas. These mailboxes typically just have a door and flag. Roadside locking mailboxes are simply a variation of the curbside mailbox. As the name suggests, these mailboxes lock, allowing only the addressee to access the mail that’s dropped inside.
Locking mailboxes are generally larger than standard curbside mailboxes and come USPS-approved, though they can also be used for private (non-USPS) use. These mailboxes are great for holding larger than normal volumes of mail and even small packages, which are more prone to theft.
The USPS will deliver your mail through a flap and take our outgoing mail from the provided tray. The delivered mail then gets stored in the bottom, locking compartment until pickup by the customer.
The customer is then able to access the mailbox, generally through the front or back, using keys. Typically, two keys will arrive for each lock.
These mailboxes usually mount to posts, but can also mount to columns or walls, making them a versatile option. Posts can come as standard pedestals, or as designer posts which can accommodate one to four mailboxes each.
Are These Mailboxes for Me?
Before you determine whether locking roadside mailboxes are the right solution for you, you’ll want to know the advantages and drawbacks.
The one drawback of purchasing locking mailboxes is the higher price, but these mailboxes are sturdier and more secure than standard roadside models. The price is also not very high, which makes them a relatively inexpensive investment.
It’s also good to check with your neighborhood to see if these mailboxes are allowed. Some homeowner’s associations have rules regarding curb appeal, which can include mailboxes. Breaking such a rule could mean digging up the mailbox and installing a different one later. However, most homeowner’s associations would likely be fine with a secure, locking mailbox.
If these are no issue, the advantages of a locking roadside mailbox will help it pay for itself in the long run. They are as easy to install as regular curbside mailboxes, so long as you follow the USPS regulations for curbside mailboxes. Be sure that the bottom of the mailbox delivery flap is between 41 and 45 inches from the ground or curb, for easy USPS access, and keep the post between 6 and 8 inches from the roadside or curb.
These mailboxes are great for protecting more sensitive mail, so those who travel often or run small businesses could benefit from this extra security. These mailboxes also contribute to curb appeal and can raise the value of a property, attracting prospective renters or buyers. They’re also made of sturdy aluminum, making them more resistant to damage.
Another perk of locking roadside mailboxes is that they can also work for multiple properties. Spreaders are available so that more than one of these mailboxes can be mounted to the same post, saving valuable space and maintenance time. This makes them an ideal choice for condo communities and some homeowner’s associations. By mounting multiple mailboxes to the same post, communities and property managers can save money on posts and installation costs. These mailboxes are also available in a few different colors to match a community’s palette, and are generally attractive as well.
Deluxe versions are also available which are made from a sturdier grade of aircraft aluminum and provide a bit of extra durability. All locking roadside mailboxes have a powder finish, which will keep them attractive and resistant to weathering for many years to come.
What About Broken Parts?
Roadside locking mailboxes tend to be more expensive than standard curbside models. This is because they’re locking and less likely to take damage.
However, accidents and vehicle collisions do happen, and these can’t be entirely prevented by choosing these mailboxes. Usually when this occurs, the mailbox falls as the post easily breaks away. This is purposeful design to prevent extensive damage and injury to drivers.
But the great news is that if your locking mailbox gets damaged, replacement parts are available at retailers such as National Mailboxes. This can save you money, as you’ll only need the new parts, time, and a bit of mechanical skill to make a replacement.
These parts can include locks, address plates, name plates, and flags. If the damage to your mailbox is more extensive, replacement posts of every type are also available, and spreader plates (which hold more than one mailbox and are great for duplexes) are also available. If you want to add a newspaper holder, matching holders are available as an accessory.
Find Your Perfect Mailbox Today. At National Mailboxes, we’re committed to helping you find the right mailbox or mailboxes for you and your property. Everyone is different, so we’ll be best able to recommend a solution based on your specific needs. Reach out to us today with any questions you have.