Why Are There Different Kinds of Shipping Envelopes?

Why are there different kinds of shipping envelopes? That’s an excellent question. On the face of it, how many types of envelopes do you really need? If you’re mailing a letter, paper has always performed the job admirably. But in our fast-moving, next-day-delivery world, envelopes need to perform a plethora of duties—sometimes even duties traditionally performed by packages. If you’re not up on the many different types of envelopes out there, here’s a quick rundown of what’s out there and what they can do.

Flat Mailers

With these envelopes, it’s all in the name. Flat mailers are made of stiffened cardboard to keep their contents, yes—flat. These are best for photographs, important documents, stickers, pamphlets, diplomas, and anything else you want to keep flat and undamaged. Flat mailers ensure the envelope’s contents won’t be folded, bent, spindled, or mutilated (even if it ends up in a place where people still spindle things). Most are self-sealing as well and can be reused and recycled easily.

Padded Envelopes

For more delicate and dainty shipments, consider the extra protection that padded envelopes offer. Padded envelopes are equipped with internal bubble wrap and coated with a tough and durable Kraft paper or plastic outer layer. If keeping the item flat isn’t important, and the focus is on protecting it from drops, bumps, and other potentially damaging actions, then padded envelopes are the best choice. Some padded envelopes can also provide a level of temperature protection for their contents.

Poly Mailers

Poly mailers qualify as envelopes because they’re not at all like the packages they’re intended to replace. More like sealable bags, they’re constructed of polyethylene plastic, making them flexible, and more importantly, capable of taking up less space than a box. Poly mailers save you on shipping costs because they’re lighter and can be piled up in delivery vehicles and warehouses. Use them for things that don’t have to be kept flat or protected, like clothing, loose bulk materials made of plastic, metal, or other items that won’t break easily. Overall, poly mailers are excellent packaging envelopes for shipping.

Clear Shipping Mailers

We’ve suggested a few of the most common answers to the question, “Why are there different kinds of shipping envelopes?” All offer branding possibilities, but if you really want to make a statement, ship out materials in a transparent plastic mailer. These are ideal for sending magazines and other periodicals, as well as documents and materials where you want the messaging to be front and center before they rip open the package. Save these for items where privacy isn’t an issue!