Free ZIP Code Database vs. Commercial Products

ZIP Code Database Alternatives (free & low-cost)

Although we believe most businesses will yield a greater return on investment by choosing a superior product, we understand not every purpose requires the highest level of quality. The following is to arm you with some basic information when making a comparison. As you will see, one ZIP Code database is dramatically different from another according to its purpose, source, and verification process. Regretfully, we are seeing the term “commercial grade” applied so frequently that it’s no longer useful for determining quality or standards.

Navigating the low-end Market

You can buy repackaged USPS ZIP Code data from several sources for under $50 and often can get a ZIP-Code-like database derived from the census bureau for free. When choosing, it’s good to have some familiarity.

Some tips for things you will likely encounter when comparing:

Critical Considerations

Some free or low-end ZIP Code data is derived from Census data. zcta versus zip code

Watch our ZCTA vs. ZIP Code video.

Others use straight USPS data. Free or low-end data offerings usually can’t bear the overhead of extensive data cleansing (and USPS data is not clean). If that is acceptable in your case, lets focus on other things to watch for:

Informative Resources

usps.gov
census.gov
wikipedia.org/Postal_code
Free Postal Code Data Lookup