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Mailer Bags or Shipping boxes: Which is best for you?
Boxes vs Bags; which is better for the environment

By: Hadyn Oliver

4 Minute Read

Mailer Bags or Shipping Boxes: Which is best for you?

Let me guess … you’re sitting there right now, reviewing your current packaging? Or looking at ways to reduce your packaging spend. We’re envisioning the struggle to look something like this:

“What is better a box or mailer bag for shipping my products?” 

“Which do the customer prefer?” 

“Which is more cost-effective?”

“Which is more sustainable?”

We get asked these questions all the time, so, instead of you having to drop us a message, you can quickly read through this short guide to find your answer. Simple!

Many organisations have been in similar situations, not knowing which packaging to go for, the bag or the box. To help out, we will address the positives and negatives of each, and what other companies have done.

Let’ started with the definitions …

Paper Mailer Bag

The Mailer Bag

Definition: The mailer is available in a range of materials, sizes, thicknesses and styles. They are heavy duty envelopes with a self-sealing strip for a secure seal. They have expandable sides or bottom to allow for extra space when packing.   

Other names: mailer bag, shipping envelope, flat mailer, polymailer

Common Uses: Shipping samples, single products, and smaller products, storing items.

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The Mailer Box

Definition: Made from corrugated cardboard and primarily used for packaging goods and materials. Often with a self-adhesive strip, interlocking wings, and double side walls for additional protection.

Other names: Corrugated box, shipping carton, mailing box

Common Uses: Shipping large, heavy or fragile items. Or shipping a lot of items at the same time. Storage


Let’s get down to comparing the two…


A Mailer Bag Or A Mailer Box

Mailer bags? Or mailer box? There isn’t a yes or no answer to this question. OK, each have their own benefits, but it’s down to the product, the business, and what feels right.

At Sustabio, we don’t persuade you to choose one or the other, we aim to give you an honest comparison of both types. At the end of the day, we want to be here to help you, not force you to purchase a product.

Moving on …

Let’s do a quick breakdown of the good parts of each product:


Mailer Bags:
  • Less Material: Mailers use less material than the mailer box and much less glue. The mailer bag is a more sustainable option from a carbon footprint and waste perspective.
  • Cheaper Postage: UPS, FedEx and a most other couriers offer a flat rate postage with a flexible mailer. Thus, keeping costs to a minimum when shipping your products in mailer bags.
  • Easy-to-use: The mailing bags are a great way to speed up any packing operation. The wide open top allows you to easily pack your products into the bag. Most mailer bags come with side or bottom gussets, allowing for extra space inside the bag. The self-adhesive strip means no tape is used and is easy to seal in matter of seconds. 
  • Unit Cost: Mailers have upper edge on unit costs compared to the shipping box. So if you are looking for a way to reduce your packaging expenses, mailers would be a good choice.  
Shipping Boxes:
  • A Better Unboxing Experience: A box is a great way to present a product. The mailer box is perfect way to create the ultimate “unboxing” experience, plus add your own branding and it gives the mailer a premium, professional look.
  • Extra Sturdiness: It’s an obvious one, but the corrugated board make the shipping carton a reliable way to keep your products safe in transit. The strong sturdy cardboard provides ample cushioning from the outside world. 
  • Wider Range Of Sizes: You’ll often find that shipping boxes are available in a lot more sizes than mailing bags. Thus making them a great way to ship larger sized products or lots of items in one go. 

When it comes to making the choice between these 2 packaging options, the answer lies in your personal preference, you need to think, test, and gather feedback on which one would work best for you.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Are your products large, heavy or bulky?
  • Are you creating an unboxing experience or just shipping convenience?
  • Are you focused on becoming more eco-friendly?
  • Are you looking at reducing your packaging costs?

Provided your products are non-fragile and not huge, we would recommend the mailer bags due to them being more sustainable and cost-effective.

But, the shipping box is a great choice for larger, bulkier items or creating a luxury unboxing experience. Whatever you choose, we are here to support you all the way. Any questions, concerns or confusion, drop us a message, give us a call, come visit us, anything, our friendly staff are always here to give you a helping hand. 

A Note On Branding …

Both mailer bags and shipping boxes can be printed with your branding, logo and colours. A great way to promote your brand and create the ultimate experience for your customer is to add your own logo, own colours, own design to the box or bag. 

Give it a go with our online editor.

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Becoming eco-friendly is imperative in today’s world. With 72% choosing sustainable brands, retailers need to do their bit to protect the planet to bolster customer loyalty. The Sustabio mission is to help those brands reduce their environmental impact quickly and easily.

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