Is the Evolution of Cluster Box Units Coming Full Circle?

All of the hard work by commercial mailbox suppliers coupled with the U.S. Postal Service’s efforts has resulted in an interesting history for the centralized delivery receptacle commonly called cluster box units. This pedestal mailbox entered the commercial mailbox marketplace late in the 20th Century for the primary reason to replace the outdated Neighborhood & Delivery Collection Box Unit. Manufacturers of centralized mail receptacles and other industry influencers collaborated to make a pedestal cluster mailbox that was more secure and would be engineered to allow the mail carrier to make deliveries quicker while being designed to reflect today’s mail delivery needs. These requirements brought about the E Series cluster box unit which met the initial requirements but still left many including the general public wanting more.

The Transition from the E Series to the F Series Cluster Box UnitF Series cluster box units

As the first decade of the 21st Century progressed identity theft became an increasing problem for pedestal mailboxes and other centralized delivery receptacles. Initially, the USPS along with commercial mailbox suppliers began to tackle the problem with developing a new more heavy duty cluster box unit. The primary purpose of the new cluster box now commonly referred to as the F Series CBU was to enhance the security for pedestal mailboxes. The F series cluster box turned out to be an unequivocal home run for the Post Office, commercial mailbox suppliers, and the general public. The unwanted visitors now had met their match and pedestal mailbox break-ins decreased dramatically. Once the USPS saw the results for this new cluster box they decided to address wall installation mail receptacles with the same design in mind to deter mail theft, and to allow for swifter deliveries and to reflect the sizes of 21st Century mail. This brought upon the birth of the 4C horizontal mailbox and subsequently the 4C pedestal mailbox.

4C pedestal mailboxWill the 4C Pedestal Mailbox Supplant the Cluster Box Unit?

The 4C pedestal mailbox due to its versatility is beginning to make inroads into the pedestal mailbox segment of commercial mailboxes. Pedestal mounted 4C mailboxes are offered in a wider range of pre-configured models than the cluster box units and provide the same durability and security as the CBU. In addition, the pre-configured 4C pedestal mail receptacle allows for customization whereas the cluster box units do not. The U.S. Postal Service when developing the cluster box unit with their manufacturing partners wanted to bring economies of scale to the marketplace to keep costs down for the general public. While their heart may have been in right place in offering only small selection of cluster boxes, the general public demanded more configuration options. Eventually, this brought commercial mailbox manufacturers to produce the 4C pedestal mailbox. The final domino to fall in making the 4C pedestal mailbox the premier pedestal mailbox appears to be postal certification which could be right around the corner according to industry insiders.

Back To Building Supplies Menu