Many people, often without even thinking about it, perceive a dichotomy in shipping. If you are just sending a letter through the mail, you use an envelope. If you plan to ship an item, you place it in a box or similar shipping container. It seems like common sense, but actual shipping workers know better.
As we recently discussed, choosing the right packaging materials for your shipments is an important decision. In many cases, the envelope mailer is the better choice. In this blog post, we will describe the different types of mailers and why using them is sometimes better than boxes.
Why Use Envelope Mailers?
People in the shipping industry must consider two factors when preparing a shipment: money and space. The former refers to the costs of delivering a product from its origin to its final destination. The latter refers to the maximum volume of both the container itself and the transport vehicle that will take it away.
The traditional box is useful for shipping goods with any sort of bulk. With that said, they take up quite a lot of space in the hold. More boxes mean less space, which means longer shipping times and higher shipping costs. It gets worse when your items do not take up all the volume of the container. This inefficiency can be expensive.
Envelope mailers provide a great solution to these tricky issues. They are too flat to hold many objects, but they still have enough space inside to hold smaller objects. Instead of using boxes to hold small parts, electronics components, important documents, and certain apparel, you can use envelope mailers.
Relying solely on envelope mailers would be as big a mistake as relying solely on boxes. Shippers must become savvy enough to know when to use each type of packaging material. The results can be twofold: more efficient use of space — both for the containers and the transport — and lower shipping fees.
The Different Types of Mailers
As long as the mailer meets USPS regulations, you can use any kind of mailer you want. Indeed, each type has its features, advantages, and limits. Knowing the differences between at least the most common ones can help you make smarter shipping decisions. That is why we will describe the different types of mailers below.
Flat mailers are the quintessential type of mailer. Their practically two-dimensional construction makes them suitable only for shipping objects that have length and width but no depth. This constraint excludes many items, but it makes them ideal for shipping documents, photographs, comic books, magazines, and even discs. The mailers’ exteriors are made from tougher materials than regular paper envelopes, ensuring that sensitive and vulnerable papers are protected from folding or crumpling.
Stayflats mailers deserve special mention for being tough, even by flat mailer standards. These heavy-duty envelopes feature extra reinforcement on the corners, helping the whole package maintain rigidity. Even in arduous conditions within the shipping container or cargo hold, they keep their shape without bending and worse. No additional stiffeners are required when you use this brand’s top-notch sleeves.
Some may balk at the idea of using envelopes over boxes due to concerns of fragility. The latter are often made from thick materials, providing plenty of protection to their contents. The former usually have a paper-thin barrier. In their eyes, wasting space by putting a small and fragile item in a larger container is acceptable if that will keep it safe.
Fortunately, shipping workers do not need to choose whether they will prioritize efficiency or safety. Bubble mailers are envelopes whose inner walls are lined in a coating that works much like bubble wrap. They cushion the contents and absorb forces that would otherwise damage the items. Combine that with a kraft shell exterior and you have a powerful mailer that resists moisture, splitting, tearing, and more.
Poly Envelope Mailers
The different types of mailers on this list are not always mutually exclusive. Poly envelope mailers are a good example. The name refers not to their construction or other features, but to the material used to make them. Bubble mailers, flat mailers, and other styles can also be poly envelope mailers if they are built with the same polyethylene plastic.
Skeptical shippers should know that this is no ordinary plastic. The polymer combines a few types of materials to create something much tougher to tear. It is even waterproof, allowing you to send otherwise vulnerable goods without the worry of getting them wet. The material on its own offers little protection against bumps. Even so, poly mailers are great for shipping items made from softer materials, such as clothing and books.
Padded mailers take a different approach to protecting fragile items within the seemingly fragile envelope. The exterior consists of an extra-hardy double dose of the kraft material, which stops moisture from penetrating the mailer. The interior features a layer of heavy-duty padding that absorbs shocks during transit and cushions its contents. This combination allows shippers to deliver more fragile goods in ideal conditions.
Padded mailers are a common and consummate choice for shipping small electronics, including cell phones and computer memory. The padding is also great for shipping discs, such as CDs and DVDs — objects rendered unusable if scratched even once. The strength of the mailer has its limits. With that said, sleeves of this sort are harder than most, and they remain highly useful for many purposes.
Order High-Quality Envelope Mailers Today
Envelope mailers are not always as tough as boxes, and they certainly cannot compare in terms of volume. They make up for these weaknesses with their high versatility and hardy construction. Shippers should not underestimate these packaging materials. Instead, they should learn when it would be wise to use them, as well as how to use them efficiently.