Poly Mailers: A Guide to Shipping With Poly Mailers

What is a poly mailer? You may have heard them referred to as bubble mailers, poly bags, mailing bags, etc. Regardless of what you call them, they’ve become a crucial part of today’s shipping process, particularly in the world of eCommerce. Learn more about what they are, when to use them, and why. 

What is a poly mailer?

A poly mailer is a lightweight but sturdy plastic bag that can house a variety of products for shipping. They are designed with a self-sealing foldover panel so that no tape is needed. Putting on shipping labels is easy as they can go directly on the bag. Poly bags are thin but durable, so they don’t take up much space in transit. They come in many shapes and sizes, and some have padding or bubble wrap inside so that they don’t require additional packaging elements. In addition, a poly mailer can provide protection against damage while in transit.

Pros to using poly mailers

Poly mailers have become more popular in recent years, for many reasons. Along with being durable and easy to use, poly mailers offer: 

  • Significantly cheaper shipping costs: These kinds of packages are much less expensive than options like corrugated shipping solutions, plus they’re light so shipping costs less. 
  • Custom branding options: Retailers can create custom poly mailers to meet their branding needs. 
  • Smaller and lighter choices: Weight matters when it comes to shipping. Poly mailers take up less space and are easier and cheaper to transport. 
  • Eco-friendly options: Many poly mailers are made from recycled materials and are compostable. 
  • Weatherproof protection: Most poly mailers are made from water-proof materials to protect items from the elements. 

Cons to using poly mailers

As great as these shipping packages are, they aren’t always a perfect solution. 

  • Limited colors: It’s not always easy to get a multi-color mailer, or customize poly bags for small orders. 
  • Product fit: Though there are a variety of sizing options, they are not all-encompassing. Many products do not fit perfectly within the poly bags or poly bubble mailers, which can leave wasted space. 
  • Risk of improper packaging: Carriers, such as USPS sorting, may require extra processing time in the event that you do not package your orders properly. This is due to some shipping carriers automation processes. Ultimately, this can lead to delays in delivery.

Different types of poly mailers

One of the biggest benefits of poly mailers is the flexibility offered by the different options. From custom packaging to standard USPS poly mailers, there is likely a poly mailer that can meet your needs. Common types are: 

  • Regular white poly bags: These are the “standard” offering and come in a variety of sizes and are available at most shippers and even stores. They also come in bulk for e-commerce shippers to send their products with ease. 
  • Bubble padded: Bubble poly bags also come in multiple sizes and provide additional protection against damage during shipping. These bags often negate the need for extra padding or packing elements. 
  • Expansion poly bags: These are strong mailers that protect products from moisture and tears. They provide strong seams and allow for thicker items. 
  • Eco-friendly options: There are a variety of environmentally responsible options available. They are typically made from recyclable materials and are recyclable and compostable. 

What can you ship with poly mailers?

Are poly mailers appropriate for all products? Not necessarily. Though they are a very versatile shipping option, some products are better for shipping in these kinds of packages than others. As we mentioned above, it’s essential that products fit snugly and correctly into poly bags in order to prevent delays in processing. These items work best for poly bags.


Make sure the items can fit properly into the bag. Lots of apparel can be folded to fit correctly into these mailers. Think of a t-shirt that is folded to fit perfectly inside a poly bag. In fact, many fabric items are a good fit for poly mailers. 

Book and printed media

Books, binders, and other flat paper products are a perfect fit also; depending on their size. Often the padding inside the bag is enough protection for the items. Since poly bags are water-resistant, you have the assurance that your item will arrive at its destination in perfect condition. 

Some health, wellness, and beauty products

Often, supplements and health products like protein powders can be shipped in a poly mailer. Even better, you can use custom poly mailers to reinforce your company branding. It’s important to note that there are some regulations that relate to distributing health and wellness products; as they differ from other items. In this instance, it can be beneficial to work with a 3PL who can manage the process from start to finish, from packaging and labeling to distribution, and everything in between.  

Where can you get poly mailers?

You can find standard poly mailers at any shipping facility or office store. You can also order them in bulk online from a variety of retailers, even Amazon. 

Depending on your business needs, you may wish to customize poly mailers or integrate the process more closely into overall operations. There are a variety of e-commerce fulfillment options that allow for custom printing of poly mailers along with other custom package elements. Learn more about how custom printing and kitting options work in our resource center

How Print Bind Ship can help

There are a lot of benefits to integrating shipping decisions and processes into your overall distribution model. If you’re a business leader who would rather have an expert manage this aspect of shipping along with printing, sourcing, design, and distribution, you may want to work with a 3PL.

At Print Bind Ship, we help companies to grow by managing printing, packaging, and global fulfillment, while they focus on customers (and getting more of them). We act as your total solution for eCommerce needs, providing all of the services that you need in a single place. To learn more about how we can help you to streamline your entire sales process, start a conversation with our experts.