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Poly Mailers vs. Bubble Mailers: What Are The Differences?

Amy Lynn Voinier Mailing Bags 3 min read 7/11/2024
Poly Mailers vs. Bubble Mailers: What Are The Differences?

When it comes to shipping, the choice of packaging can make a huge difference. It’s not just about getting an item from point A to point B—it’s about ensuring it arrives safely and in good condition.

This is where poly mailers and bubble mailers come into play. Both have their perks and cons and picking the right one can be a bit tricky. 

I’ll show you which one works best for your business.

What Are Poly Mailers?

One favorite with so many online retailers is the poly mailers, a type of envelope slick with a shiny plastic covering. The best things to ship in these envelopes are those that do not require so much cushioning, such as clothes or books.

These mailers are made from a durable, moisture-resistant plastic material and are great for keeping items away from the elements.

Benefits of Poly Mailers:

● Lightweight: These mailers hardly contribute to any additional weight, and it can help save shipping costs.

● Inexpensive: In most cases, poly mailers are very cheap compared to other types of packaging.

● Durable and waterproof – able to resist rough handling and prevent the entry of water into the inside, protecting the contents.

Cons of Poly Mailers:

● Low protection level: They are not good for providing much padding, thus delicate products cannot be transported using them.

● Not suitable for all products: Anything breakable or delicate should have more padding to it.

Poly mailers are the fast sports cars of the packaging world: slim, efficient, but not built to carry fragile cargo.

What’s a Bubble Mailer?

The second type of mailer is a bubble mailer. It functions more like a regular envelope, but is lined with a nice squishy layer of bubble wrap. These are for when something really needs a little more loving care applied to it in shipping. Think about DVDs, small electronics, or dainty jewelry.

Advantages of Bubble Mailers:

● Better protection: The bubble lining adds an extra layer of cushioning, meaning the chances of your product being damaged are minimal.

● Great for fragile items: If you are shipping something that is likely to break, then bubble mailers provide an added measure of security.

Cons of Bubble Mailers

● Heavier and more costly: Additional packaging requires the cases to be heavier, meaning that they must incur additional expense in shipping.

● Bulky: They occupy much space, which could be a disadvantage when one is trying to ship in large quantities.

A bubble mailer is more like an armored truck; it is somewhat bulkier and more expensive but provides critical protection for such fragile items.

Key Differences of Poly Mailers and Bubble Mailers

Now that we’ve covered what poly mailers and bubble mailers are, let’s look at them side by side for a proper comparison; understanding the key differences between them will help you decide which one best fits your shipping needs.

Material Differences: Poly mailers are manufactured from plastic that is sturdy and flexible, which cannot easily break through or tear. Bubble mailers feature an exterior similar to a poly mailer but add an inner cushion made of bubble wrap to bring in that little bit of extra protection.

The level of protection for bubble mailers is quite high. They provide protection because the internal bubble padding protects the items inside from impacts and, therefore, the item from breaking. Tough on the outside, poly mailers do not provide the same kind of inside protection.

Cost Considerations: If you are working on a limited budget, then more often than not, poly mailers are the cheaper option. These are cheap products to make and send due to their light weight. Bubble mailers usually come with slightly extra costs; however, in the long run, they may save your pocket, as the chances of goods being returned are minimal because of breakage. Weight and Shipping Costs: Being feather-weight in nature, poly mailers can literally have you save much on postage, especially on sending large volumes. Bubble mailers, even being much lighter, become a bit heavier when additional padding is applied, potentially leading to a higher cost in shipping. This presents a trade-off between weight and protection.

Environmental Impact and Recyclability: Environmental considerations are increasingly important. In most cases, a poly mailer is considered to be recycled, but it depends on the facilities in place at the waste sites where it would be sent for disposal. Bubble mailers with plastic mixed material can cause some confusion and may be a bit difficult to recycle. If sustainability is a concern, check into the eco-friendly versions of both types of mailers.

Use Poly Mailers For vs. Bubble Mailers

Now, when do you use poly mailing bags, and in what situation would you rather bubble mail? It all boils down to what you are shipping and what your priorities are.

When to Use Poly Mailing Bags:

You’re Shipping Non-Fragile Items: Clothing, soft goods, or books are perfect candidates.

You need to save on cost: Their light weight ensures that the shipping costs are kept at a minimum.

You Require Waterproof Packaging: They ensure your contents stay dry and are kept away from whatever weather Mother Nature throws your way.

Use Bubble Mailers If:

You’re Shipping Fragile Items: Electronics, delicate accessories, and breakables need extra protection.

You Want Extra Assurance: That bubble wrapping gives you so much assurance that what will be delivered will still be intact.

You Don’t Mind Extra Costs for Added Protection: Sometimes it’s worth spending a bit more for the hassles of dodging damaged goods.


Poly mailers serve as the best lightweight and low-cost solutions for shipping non-fragile objects, such as clothes or books. These provide strength without upping the weight or cost with added features. And if you’re looking for those sensitive items or ones that could get hurt easily—such as electronic gadgets, small accessories, or anything else breakable—go with bubble mailers. The envelopes come inbuilt with bubble wrap and have some padding: just enough to land your packages safely but at a higher cost than other mailing materials. 

So, next time you are preparing something to be shipped, think of what you are sending and how you will get it to its destination safely.