Choosing Between a Mailer or a Shipping Box

Choosing Between a Mailer or a Shipping Box

Mar 18th 2021

If you find yourself wondering whether to go with a box or a mailer (either a paper mailer or a poly mailer) for your shipping, read on! 

Big picture? A mailer wins on almost every operational, cost and sustainability dimension - so if you can effectively use one for your products, we typically recommend it over a box. However, a shipping box typically offers a higher end customer experience, a differential that can tip the balance in favor of boxes for some brands.

Why do we say that a mailer is more operationally and cost efficient?     

Material Usage: Mailers use less paper than boxes and much less glue. If a mailer provides sufficient product protection, it is a more sustainable option from a carbon footprint & waste perspective.

Postage Rates: USPS, FedEx, UPS, often offer flat rate postage rates that can only be attained through a flexible mailer. Be sure to research with your shipping company to optimize your shipping rates.

“Dead Space” Potential: The most common #packagingfails posted online are small items showing up in big boxes. Major shippers use big boxes to increase the amount of product the box could be used for, therefore increasing fulfillment speed. But the speed comes at a high cost of material usage, unit price, “dead space” in the truck or plane, extra waste for your consumer to throw out, and perhaps a loss of a loyal customer. We encourage you to rightsize your packaging and a thin envelope is often the best strategy to do this.

Fulfillment Speed: Mailers are fast! No folding involved. Open the mailer, enter the product, peel the paper strip and seal the mailer (using extra pressure if using a paper mailer).

“Unboxing Experience”: While a mailer may not give the feeling of opening a present at Christmas, a pleasant unboxing experience can be achieved through some custom branding or nicely placed tissue paper.

Storage Space: Mailers take up the least amount of space in your warehouse.

Product Variety: You may need a couple of different sizes of mailers to account for all of your SKUS. But your customer will want a well fitted envelope.

Unit Cost: Mailers have the most competitive unit costs.


EcoEnclose offers a variety of recycled mailers, all of which are eco-friendly and adhere to our Sustainable Packaging Framework. Most of our mailers can be custom branded, so you can still deliver an exceptional customer experience with them.