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Shipping Mailers 101: How to Pick the Right Mailer Size and Type

Do you know how many pieces of mail the U.S. postal service delivers each year? The answer: over 200 billion! Mail delivery and shipping services are a big part of our everyday lives. With the advent of online shopping, they've become even more important.

If you ever ship packages, you should know some basic facts about shipping mailers.  Once you understand the pros and cons of different boxes and envelopes, you can choose the best mailer types and mailer sizes for your needs.

Keep reading below to learn how to choose the right shipping mailer for you!

Picking a Mailer Size

Picking the appropriate size for your mailer is important. You should choose the mailer size that is closest to the size of your item. Use a ruler or tape measure to determine the length, width, and depth of your item.

When you know the dimensions of your item you can look for a similarly sized mailer. For example, if you are shipping a standard 8.5" x 11" document, you should opt for a 9" x 12" flat envelope.  Allow for the thickness of your item when figuring out what size mailer you need.  If you have a thick item you may opt for a 10” x 14, instead of the 9” x 12”.

If your mailer is much bigger than your item, your item will slide around as it travels. This could cause it to break or wrinkle. On the other hand, a mailer that is too small won't protect your item from the rough handling of postal carriers.

Wasting space with an oversized mailer isn't just bad for your item. It's bad for your wallet, too. That's because larger mailers usually cost more and cost more to ship.

If you can't find a mailer that is an appropriate size for your needs, look for a padded mailer in a size up. You need to size up when using bubble envelopes. Because of their padding, the usable space inside the envelope is smaller than the exterior dimensions of the envelope.  If you need to size up on a bubble mailer you can always cut it down some.  Padded mailers are not as easy to size down, as the filling can get messy.

Picking a Mailer Type

Size isn't the only factor to consider when choosing a mailer. You should also think about the contents that you are shipping. What materials and mailer shapes are best suited to your shipping needs?

Listed below are some of the most common kinds of mailers and envelopes, along with the items they fit best.

Corrugated Mailers

Corrugated mailers are designed to hold specific items. They come in sizes that fit the average dimensions of things like documents, photos, and paintings.

These mailers are strong and lightweight, which makes them great for shipping small and fragile items. They are designed with folds and flaps that make them sturdy and hard to crush.

Corrugated mailers are usually purchased unassembled. It takes just a few folds to turn them from a flat piece of cardboard into a compact shipping box. No tape or staples required!

Because of their compact rectangular shape, these mailers are also great for storing items in.

Outside Tuck Cardboard

Outside tuck boxes are a variety of corrugated mailers. As the name would suggest, they feature flaps that tuck into the outside of the box. This way, you can pack a box without worrying that the flaps might damage its contents upon closure.

Outside tuck boxes are sturdy and lightweight and are great for items that fit snugly into the box.


Bookfolds are another kind of corrugated mailer. They are a great choice if you are shipping books or magazines. Bookfolds work best with items that have a depth of 5" or less.

Unlike many other corrugated mailers, you need to use tape when assembling bookfolds. To use one of these mailers, you should first place your item in the middle of the flat cardboard. Then fold it up around the item and secure it with tape.

Literature Mailers

If you're shipping a book, you can also use a literature mailer. These mailers come in a variety of sizes that fit hardcovers, paperbacks, picture books, and everything in between. They also work for magazines, framed photos, and folios.

Like corrugated mailers, literature mailers are sturdy and easy to assemble. They do not require any tape, staples, or glue. Their strong sides protect whatever literature you've put inside of them.

Poly Shipping Mailers

Poly mailers are durable and lightweight shipping bags made of polyethylene. They are weatherproof and protect against dirt, dust, and moisture. They are self-sealable and easy to store.

Poly mailers are made of thin material and do not offer much padding. For this reason, they are best for shipping soft items like clothing. However, there are some varieties of poly mailers that have protective bubble lining.

Poly mailers are also used for shipping magazines and catalogs. In these cases, a clear mailer is usually fixed around the piece of media.

Reinforced Nylon Mailers

These mailers are made of heavy-duty tear-resistant material. They are good for shipping items that need to be protected from the elements but don't require the added protection of bubble lining.

Because they're lightweight, reinforced mailers will cost you less than a heavier envelope or a box.

These mailers come with a self-seal feature. The seal is made of an easy-to-use rubber adhesive that securely closes the mailer.

Tyvek Envelopes

Like poly and nylon mailers, Tyvek envelopes are weatherproof and tear-resistant. They are also very sturdy. Because of the strength of Tyvek material, these envelopes are great for shipping important documents.

Tyvek envelopes come in a variety of sizes and shapes. These include commercial envelopes, CD sleeves, and extra-large envelopes. You can also customize them to fit your specific needs.

CD Mailers

It's all in the name! These mailers fit CDs. They protect CDs and other discs from damage during shipping.

Some models can fit several CDs in their cases, while other models are meant for one CD. CD mailers can be box-shaped or can look like a sturdy, cardboard version of paper CD sleeves.

Contact Us Today!

Using the information above, you should be able to pick the perfect shipping mailers for you. No matter what your shipping needs are, we've got you covered! We carry everything from poly mailers to outside tuck boxes.

For more information about our products, contact us now. We're happy to help.


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