Having the right mailbox installed outside your home offers several advantages to homeowners. For one, it can make a great first impression for people who pass by your home, and it increases your home’s curbside value. Furthermore, choosing a letterbox with the right features can help protect your mail from the elements and potential thieves.

With all these benefits, you can see why it is essential that you find the right one that best suits your needs and preferences. But with many different types of letterboxes, designs, materials, and features, how do you know which one is best suited for you and your home? Here is a short guide to letterboxes, what materials are often used to manufacture them with a comparison of the pros and cons of each type.

Wooden letterboxes

A wooden mailbox gives a homey yet rustic feel, which is suitable for traditional or country-style homes with 18th to 19th-century European décor. It goes well with interiors and homes that feature a more subdued colour palette.

Through the years, the traditional letterbox has gotten a facelift. You can now find modern homes with freestanding letterboxes that feature a combination of wood and metal or some other materials. The lines are simpler and cleaner, giving the mailbox a cleaner, more minimalistic feel.

Because of the nature of the material, having a wooden mailbox encourages creativity in some individuals. For instance, some models feature a planter. By integrating some plants or vines, you can make the mailbox blend with the rest of your garden or property.

On the downside, wood is prone to warping or cracking if not treated and left exposed to the elements. Plus, termites can turn your mailbox into their home.

Metal containers

If you don’t want to worry about termites turning your mailbox into their next meal or the wood warping, then metal letter containers are the answer. The material is impermeable to water, which makes it ideal for homes in areas that see a lot of rainy days, flooding, or other extreme weather. There are several options available, including steel, iron, and aluminium, among others.

Steel mailboxes

Letterboxes constructed out of steel are considered some of the most durable types. The mailbox can be dinged, scratched, or even bent and not affect its structural strength. However, these benefits come with a price.

Steel mailboxes may be stronger, but they take longer to produce. Adding details takes even longer. As a result, they tend to be more expensive to manufacture as compared to mailboxes made from other materials.

Both iron and steel require little maintenance over its lifespan. However, these types of metal are prone to developing rust, especially when the untreated or bare areas are exposed to moisture or salt in the air. A layer of paint or powder-coating is needed on both the outer and inner surfaces to protect the mailbox from rust.

Cast aluminium

Mailboxes made from cast aluminium combines the best of both worlds. Intricate details can be added to the surface, which makes it suitable for Victorian and similar period-style homes. On the other hand, the shiny, smooth finish also makes it ideal for houses that feature contemporary, modern, or even futuristic styles.

Compared to iron or steel, cast aluminium is more malleable. Reproducing is quicker and easier, making it a more affordable alternative to the other denser types of metals.

They are also lighter and require minimal maintenance. Powder-coating protects the surface from oxidization. By occasionally hosing it down with water, you can improve its lifespan.


Technology has made it possible for homeowners to choose from a wide selection of mailboxes made from different materials. One of the newer materials include mailboxes made from plastic.

Compared to the other previously-mentioned materials on this list, plastic models are some of the most cost-effective. Unlike metal models, the material will never rust. As such, it is recommended for use in areas where the annual rainfall level is high.

On the downside, letterboxes made from thin layers of plastic are prone to shattering or cracking. Homeowners who opt for plastic postboxes are advised to choose models made from thick quality plastic. The thicker plastic will also be more durable and will not easily break.

Mailboxes will never lose their charm. People will continue to send mail to each other, whether it is in the form of personal letters, bills, marketing materials, or magazine subscriptions, among others. By picking the right mailbox, you can effectively raise the curbside value of your property without spending thousands of dollars.

Each of the materials listed here has its own pros and cons. Only you can determine which one fits the bill. By going through this list, you have a better idea of what is available on the market and make an informed choice on what to install.


Jay Flavell is the General Manager at Sandleford Holdings. He has been working in the DIY & Home Improvement industry since 2007 and has vast experience sourcing and developing products from overseas suppliers in the Far East. Jay has also been successful dealing with a number of major DIY & Home Improvement retailers throughout his career.