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Best Box Mailers 2018 – [Buyer’s Guide]Last Updated December 1, 2018
Best Box Mailers of 2018
I make the search easier for you, by reviewing the best box mailers on the market. The rating is based on multiple factors: The 3 metrics ‐ Design, Materials, Performance, and other indicators such as: Popularity, Opinions, Brand, Reputation and more.
Customers need to be careful on how they spend their money on these products. However, after giving you the TOP list, I will also give you some of the benefits you stand to gains for using it.
Test Results and Ratings
|Ease of use||
№1 – Wafer Tab Seals
Why did this box mailers win the first place?
I really enjoy the design. It is compact, comfortable and reliable. And it looks amazing! I don’t know anything about other models from this brand, but I am fully satisfied with this product. The product is very strong. Its material is stable and doesn’t crack. I was completely satisfied with the price. Its counterparts in this price range are way worse.
Why did this box mailers come in second place?
The design quality is top notch and the color is nice. I like this product. For such a low price, I didn’t even hope it to be any better. It’s decently made. Seems that the material is good. It has a very beautiful color but I don’t really like the texture. I really liked it. It is amazing in every aspect. It did even exceed my expectations for a bit, considering the affordable price.
Why did this box mailers take third place?
It doesn’t squeaks nor bents. Looks great in my apartment. It is inconvenient to use due to the size. I am going to get something different next time. This price is appropriate since the product is very well built. We are very pleased with the purchase — the product is great!
Box Mailers Buyer’s Guide
Time Vs. Money
It is good to save money. In fact, it is better than good to save money. However, sometimes cost-saving efforts can take more time than they are worth.
For example, if you were selling small pocket mirrors and your procedure might be: organza gift bag, bubble wrap around mirror, ribbon and then envelope. Take a step back and try to think of any steps that could be combined or eliminated. Even better, find material that can multi-task. Cutting bubble wrap to size and taping takes more time than simply slipping the product into an envelope lined with thicker bubble wrap.
If you are frequently shipping art prints, it would be advisable to buy stay flat mailers and cardboard panels (to be sure the envelope will stay flat). This will save you hours of cutting out cardboard and taping.
Unfortunately I have seen some people using cut up pieces of cardboard and then wrapping with brown kraft paper. Knowing the volume of material that these people are sending out, they would save lot of time would be saved if they invested in packing materials. It is great if you can get these materials for free, but in the end you are paying more with your time.
Another time waster is writing out addresses by hand. If possible, weigh your item at home and print out a label with your printer. You can receive discounts printing your postage online, and tracking is free for priority mail packages.
If you are shipping internationally frequently, filling out customs forms by hand can get old pretty quick. You can print Priority Mail and Express Mail international postage from Paypal, but not for First Class Parcel International.
Expensive and High-Value Items
Always do your research and never rush to ship a high-value item. If you are shipping jewelry, be sure to get an appraisal so you have documentation of the value in case you need to file an insurance claim with your chosen service. Make sure you have proof of the cost of your item, i.e. a purchase receipt or appraisal from a qualified person.
One method of shipping high value items is using an option from the USPS called registered mail. Registered mail is an option which is added on either First Class or Priority Mail. Make sure to also add insurance and signature confirmation to your package. Signature confirmation is very important.
B. How Many Products Do You Estimate Shipping
This can be very difficult to determine in the beginning. This is something that can be done after a few months of baseline sales are established. Once baseline sales figures are gathered more accurate forecasts can be made. We recommend forecasting out sales and production levels for two to five years in six month increments.
For established sellers, an estimate in the number of products being snew and shipped is much easier to obtain. Looking at past sales figures will allow easier and more accurate forecasting.
Proper and accurate sales and shipping forecasts are important for future purchases. Accurate shipping and sales forecasts can save money by ordering materials in bulk. The right machinery can save time and increase efficiency. In Part 6 and below, we will explain in detail the benefits of bulk packaging material purchases and the proper machinery.
C. What Commonly Bundled Items Ship Together
This can be another difficult question to answer if only beginning to sell online. Knowing common complimentary products that often ship together will help determine the right packaging materials to buy and what carrier to ship with. The ability to ship two separate products as one saves on shipping costs.
If there are clearly defined sales records of two products often being shipped together, an exterior box to accommodate both products should be invested in. If there are two products often shipped together but vary in size, there are a few packaging options to consider below. • Corrugated Boxes – The most popular and preferred way to bundle multiple products together. Corrugated boxes can be printed on to increase company branding and advertising.
The main drawback of corrugated boxes are costs. Purchasing enough boxes to accommodate a variety of complimentary products can be costly. Boxes too large do not offer the best presentation and can cause damage in shipping without proper void-fill. • Strapping – Aside from corrugated boxes, strapping is one of the most common ways to bundle one or more products. We recommend checking UPS strapping guidelines before sending strapped products. FedEx and USPS do not allow exterior strapping. • Shrink Wrapping – An excellent option for bundling multiple products together. Bundling multiple products together with shrink wrap saves on shipping costs and presents a professional looking package upon arrival to the customer. Shrink wrapping is accepted by FedEx, UPS, and USPS as long as the bundled boxes are uniform.
We recommend nothing less than a 100 gauge shrink wrap thickness for polyolefin shrink wrap and up to a mil polyethylene shrink wrap depending on the size and weight of the products being bundled together. • Tape – An affordable bundling option for lighter uniform products. Taping two or more boxes together does not offer the best presentation, but does get the job done. We recommend tape if there are no other options available.
UPS is the second most popular shipping carrier. They offer better options for shipping expedited packages and are often more reliable that USPS. Below are some helpful links for shipping UPS. • An All-Inclusive Guide For Shipping UPS – A long 18page guide for shipping UPS. Includes everything in detail needed to ship UPS. • UPS Packaging Guidelines – A real brief explanation of UPS packaging guidelines. • A Step-by-Step Packaging Guide From UPS – A multi-page packaging guide for preparing shipments to ship via UPS
C. Fed Ex • An All-Inclusive Guide For Packaging FedEx Shipments – A 4page guide detailing how to package products for shipment when shipping FedEx. • FedEx Restrictions – Since FedEx is often used by sellers to ship international, becoming familiar with international shipping restrictions is important.
D. DHL • General Shipping and Packaging Page – A general page with several different links for packaging and shipping via DHL. • Prohibited Products for International Shipping – A long list of items DHL will not ship internationally.
B. Secondary Packaging
Secondary packaging is often the first line of protection for a product. For retail brick-and-mortar sales, secondary packaging can be a variety of materials. For online sales, corrugated cardboard is the most commonly used form of secondary packaging.
Corrugated boxes are the most frequently used form of secondary packaging because they provide protection during transport by major carriers. The shipping guidelines for the four major carriers we linked to in part all require a corrugated box for the exterior packaging.
The type of corrugated boxes and the option of customization are important for a seller to consider. This is discussed in further detail in part – A. The external box or envelope is the very first thing customers see when the package is delivered.
We recommend printed boxes if viable, but a good looking, more affordable alternative is branded stickers. Branded stickers with company logos, contact information, and any additional information are inexpensive. Below are a couple online sticker companies to consider. • Sticker Giant • Sticker Mule • Sticker You
One more thing to consider when discussing secondary packaging; secondary packaging is any packaging that is not primary packaging. The external box is secondary packaging, but often sellers use a chipboard carton or something similar within an external corrugated box as another form of secondary packaging. This container can be branded as well to enhance the customer experience and increase brand awareness.
Void-fill is used to fill the empty spaces within the secondary packaging. It works as a shock absorber and cushion to protect products during transport. Probably the two most well-known forms of void-fill are: packaging peanuts, and bubble wrap. Though these two are the best known, there are many other options available.
So why is void-fill included in presentation and branding? The type of void-fill a seller chooses should not contradict the brand and the message being presented. If a company selling environmentally friendly products is using packaging peanuts as a void-fill option, it is directly contradicting the message the company is sending. If a company is attempting to be the lowest costing product on the market, the lowest costing void-fill would help in accomplishing the message. Below are some void-fill options to consider that may help further the message a company is trying to present.
Foam Packaging Peanuts – Popular low cost option, not environmentally friendly. Bubble Wrap – Air-filled plastic bubbles often available on rolls. Affordable and effective, but not eco-friendly. Starch Packaging Peanuts – Environmentally friendly option often costing more that foam peanuts. Completely biodegradable within months. Kraft Paper – Available in recycled paper and completely biodegradable. An affordable and effective packaging option. Shredded Paper – The repurposing of a product for environmental concerns. An affordable and biodegradable option. Can be messy for customers opening products.
A. Corrugated Packaging Options
Essentially all of the major carriers prefer parcel shipments to be packaged in a corrugated carton. Corrugated containers can be expensive and difficult to source multiple sizes. An easy way to reduce or remove the cost of corrugated containers is shipping via USPS flat rate. The post office allows you to order flat rate boxes online or pick up at a local hub at no cost.
Sometimes flat rate boxes are not an option for shipping and purchasing boxes is the only option. We recommend sourcing corrugated boxes from the closest source possible. Shipping charges for corrugated products often cost as much or more than the cost of the boxes themselves. A local corrugated supplier will save time and money.
A great way to brand shipments is with printed corrugated boxes. If the same box sizes are used often enough, the use of printed boxes can add a professional touch. A plate fee is often required to get started, but costs are fairly reasonable after the initial run depending on quantities ordered. Most local corrugators have printing capabilities to fill large and small orders. The association of Independent corrugated converters has a great directory for finding nearby corrugators that can offer printed box quotes.
B. Mailers and Envelopes
Envelopes and mailers are an inexpensive way to ship smaller products. Determining the best type of mailer or envelope to properly protect products during shipping can be trial and error. We recommend if you are unsure, go with a bubble mailer for added protection. Below are some mailer and envelope options to choose from. • Standard Envelopes – Available in different sizes and colors. Often the cheapest external packaging option for supplies and shipping costs. • Flat Envelopes – Envelopes typically larger than standard envelopes with a variety of closure options available. Flat envelopes are inexpensive in cost and inexpensive to ship.
C. Flexible Packaging • Poly Bags and Tubing – A very popular and common flexible packaging option for sellers. The bags can be sealed, taped, stapled, or come in re-closable form. Poly products are commonly available in thicknesses ranging from 1-mils. Printed poly bags are fairly easy to source to add extra branding to product packaging. • Heat Shrink Film – Available in a variety of forms, thicknesses, materials, and colors. Heat shrink film is used for primary packaging, secondary packaging, and a bundling option. For packaging with direct food contact, polyolefin shrink film is required because it is FDA approved.
Colored shrink film is easier to source in a PVC material. PVC has the same consistency as cellophane prior to heat being applied. For bundling two or more products as explained in section – C a polyethylene or polyolefin shrink film is recommended depending on the size and weight of the products. The polyethylene is required for heavier products with sharp corners. • Vacuum Packaging – An excellent way to preserve and extend the shelf life of perishable items. Vacuum packaging also protects products from moisture, dust, and any other exterior elements.
Vacuum packaging is most often used as a primary packaging. The difference between vacuum packaging and shrink wrapping is the way air is removed from the package. Shrink wrapping uses vent holes in the film to allow air to escape when the film shrinks. The small holes keep shrink wrap from being completely sealed off from exterior elements. Vacuum packaging uses suction to remove air from a package and then seals the package completely from exterior elements.
D. Rigid Containers
Rigid containers can be made of glass, plastic, wood, rubber, and a variety of other materials. Below is a list of popular rigid containers used for primary packaging by online sellers. • Bottles – Plastic or glass, bottles can offer great branding and presentation to customers. Bottles are normally tapered towards the top and are available in many different sizes. • Jars – Like bottles, jars are available in plastic or glass. Jars have a variety of closure options available. Customized Mason Jars are very popular with Etsy sellers. Many Etsy sellers use mason jars for primary packaging as well as sell customized mason jar products
E. Carton Closure
Carton closure often deals with secondary external packaging closure. The most popular carton closure option for online sellers is tape. Tape can come in a variety of forms and is also used for primary package closure as well.
Other carton closure options include: string/twine, strapping, and staples. Below are a couple popular tape varieties and explanations of other carton closure options.
Packing Tape – Clear and tan packing tape are by far the most common packing tape for sellers shipping online. Clear packing tape is most commonly available in and inch widths. There are multiple thicknesses available depending on the product weight and size
Kraft Reinforced Packing Tape – A very popular packaging option for online sellers. Reinforced packing tape use fiberglass yarn to create a strong and durable seal. Reinforced packing tape is most commonly water activated.
String/Twine – Recommended for primary packaging to add extra presentation of products. All major carriers do not allow string or twine for secondary carton closure.
Staples – Commonly used for heavy products. Often coupled with double or triple walled corrugated boxes and strapping.
Strapping – Used to assist in heavy carton closure and bundling of more than one product. Strapping kits are available online for minimal costs.
C. Bag and Pouch Fillers
Bag and pouch fillers are commonly specific machines for small products and liquids. Bag and pouch fillers are designed to ensure a pre-set amount of product fills the same every time. Bag and pouch fillers also reduce headache from manually filling products.
Like any packaging machine, fully automatic bag and pouch fillers can attain amazing efficiency levels. Larger fully automatic fillers can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars depending on the size of the line and production levels. Smaller manual and semi-auto fillers can range from a few hundred dollars up to a few thousand dollars.
The conveyor industry is a multi-billion dollar industry in itself. Aside from packaging applications, conveyors are used all over the world for production. Conveyors have a very large range in size. An accurate definition of a conveyor is a horizontal, inclined, or vertical device for moving or transporting bulk materials or objects in a path predetermined by the design of the device.
For packaging, a conveyor can be used to transport unpackaged products into a machine or packaged products out of a machine or production area. Conveyors used to transport products into a machine are referred to as infeed conveyors. Conveyors used to transport products out of a machine or area are called exit conveyors.
An infeed conveyor in the packaging industry is almost always powered with adjustable speed settings. Infeed conveyors are commonly used with fully automatic machines. Infeed conveyors allow products to maintain a consistent speed when entering the machine.
An exit conveyor can be powered or gravity controlled. A gravity conveyor is simply placed at an angle to allow gravity to carry the product down the conveyor. Workers or an exit bin are placed at the end of the conveyor to catch the packaged product.
View some images of commonly used packaging conveyors below.
Custom Shipping Bags
Custom bags, bows and fillers create a fully pulled-together look
If you’d like a bit more sophistication for your products, look no further than Bags and Bows. From simple merchandise bags to high-end fabric bags and gourmet bags, you can ship your product in style. Bags and Bows also includes all the trimmings to complete the look, including crinkle-cut fillers, tissue paper, ribbons, bows and much more. Many of their products are eco-friendly as well.
For when you need something a bit simpler, take a look at Plus Packaging. They provide security packaging, poly foam bags, and poly mailer packaging. Custom runs have a minimum of 10,000 pieces where regular non-branded versions have a 3,000 piece minimum.
How to choose packaging tape
Packing tapes generally have two applications: sealing storage boxes and sealing shipping boxes. It makes a difference what kind of tape you use in either case. There are three factors to consider when choosing your packaging tape:
Tape dispenser size
Your packaging tape roll needs to be the right size for your dispenser.
This Packaging Tape Buying Guide will help you find the best packaging tape for your office.
Do you need packaging tape for storage boxes or shipping boxes?
Acrylic packing tape is your best bet for storage boxes. Acrylic adhesive can handle a variety of temperatures and setting, including warehouses, garages and storage facilities. Plus, acrylic packaging tape can maintain it seal for more than three years.
Hot melt shipping tape is the best for shipping boxes because of its superior holding power. Shipping boxes are typically subjected to rough handling in transit. Hot melt packaging tape ensures your boxes stay sealed. You can also use hot melt tape to strap boxes together.
Here are some highlights
About the sizes: These boxes are optimized for USPS cubic shipping (offered through Cratejoy) to provide you the most space for the lowest shipping possible:
About customizing your boxes: These boxes cannot be custom-printed, but you can still make the experience your own by using custom stickers, tissue paper, tape, packing material, and other branded box-adds or inserts.
Sometimes a product is stand alone, and in other cases it’s representing an established brand. If your packaging needs to represent a certain brand aesthetic, make sure you’ve gathered the following information before you start:
If you already have the CMYK values or Pantone Matching Values (PMS) colors include those as they’re specifically for printing. (If not, a hex code is fine, too.)
Make sure you have the proper fonts and any specific usage instructions (like kerning or weight).
If you need to put a logo on the package, make sure you have a vector file available.
Understand packaging layers
There are three “layers” of product packaging: outer packaging, inner packaging and product packaging. Your product may need one or all three of these. by barzco by Cacau Quente for patrick Bm
Outer packaging is the first thing a customer is going to see. It’s what protects your product from the elements. This could include the box that the product is shipped in or the shopping bag the item is placed in at the store. via Lumi
Inner packaging is what keeps your product nestled safely in the outer packaging. This might be packing peanuts or tissue paper that stops something from getting jostled or scuffed. Or it might be a sealed bag that acts to preserve freshness. by Imee00for 6DT by Mj.vass for kim.nwf by febriana
Product packaging is what most people think of when they think of packaging: it’s the box the toy comes in, the bottle with a label, the tag on a garment, the wrapper of a candy bar.
Each one of these layers of packaging gives you a chance to tell a part of your story.
Everything always comes back to this! If you are selling something liquid, that’s going to limit your options. (Though don’t let this stifle your creativity! Look at Capri Sun: they turned the juice-box industry on its head by creating a juice-sachet. Or Go-Gurt, which took yogurt from a spoon-required snack to one you could suck out of a packet.)
A custom-shaped bottle is going to be much more expensive than a standard bottle. By cabinet for Bryson Ishii.
Does everyone else put their soup in a can? You’re going to want to think really hard about putting your soup in something else. On one hand, it will make you stand out, which could help set you apart. On the other, consumers are used to cans of soups, and grocery stores are setup to stock cans in their soup section, which may mean your box of soup is fighting an uphill battle.
Line up your printer
Printing is not something you’re going to do until after the design is complete. But you should think about it way before you get to that stage! Not only is connecting with a printer going to ensure you’re solid on the costs of printing, but they’ll be able to give you specific information that can help your designer prepare files. via Packaging & Dielines
Your printer will need a vector file. Does it need to be a layered file? Should you include cut-lines or not? Your designer should supply a print-ready file (usually an Adobe Illustrator (.ai), Photoshop (.psd), PDF or EPS). You may not be able to open these files if you don’t have the right software, but your printer will be able to. The designer will also supply visual mockups in a PNG or JPG format (which everyone can open). Make sure you understand which file types are what so you can supply them to the right people.
Create your information architecture
Think back to those questions, specifically who’s buying your product and where are they finding it. You’re going to use that to create the information architecture for your package.
You may have beautiful photos of your product in action, a brilliant testimonial from a customer, a witty tagline that explains how you’re awesome, and a great graphic showing customers how to use your product. But when a shopper looks at your packaging they’re probably only going to remember one thing. What do you want that to be?
Pick the one absolute most important thing you want customers to know about your product. That should be the centerpiece of your design.
You can then add 2-things you want to show once they’ve picked up your product (or clicked on your link) that will close the deal. Let’s look at an examples:
Lelini’s brand name is the most important thing, followed by a tagline that tells buyers what the product will do for them. By Mizazney for fabmol
The most important thing for the consumer to know about these tomatoes is that they’re organic. The photo then explains how their prepared. By tomdesign.org for Michael AFF
Look at that photo… hungry yet? You know exactly what comes in this packet. And a second glance tells you how easy it is to prepare. By Mj.vass for ricard S
Before you 100% decide on your packaging design, make sure to run it by both key stakeholders and people who have never heard of or used your product.
Even if it’s just your neighbor across the street, people not closely associated with your product will notice things you never did. Consider asking them:
Their answers to these questions will help you determine if the packaging is communicating what you want it to. If it’s not, go back to your designer and figure out what you can change.
Packaging design glossary
Whatzzat mean? Here’s a quick guide to some common packaging design terms:
Adobe Illustrator (AI) file — Adobe Illustrator is a design program used to create vector images (which you will need for printing). Files created in this program have a.ai extension. You will need Adobe Illustrator to open these files. (If you don’t have it, that’s okay! Your printer will.)
Barcodes (UPC and EAN) — Barcodes are those groups of lines on any package. They have machine-readable data on them that stores information about the product, including price. There are several different types of barcodes, including UPC (Universal Product Code)—the predominant barcode in North America—and the EAN (International Article Number (it was originally “European,” hence the E)—a global barcode. You may wish to apply for these before you get your packaging designed.
Bleed — In printing, you use a bleed when your design goes to the edge of your paper (or box, or wrapper). In this case, designers will actually add a little extra design to the edges (the “bleed”) so that when the design is printed and cut to the right size there’s some room for error if the cuts are a few millimeters off.
Canister — A round or cylindrical container, typically made of metal, and used for storing things like food and chemicals.
CMYK — Stands for cyan (blue), magenta (red), yellow and key (black). These are the four colors used in printing. Each color has a CYMK code that a printer will use to help color match between your design and the finished package.
Dielines —The flattened pattern of your product packaging. Designers and printers use them to create the proper layout for a package.
EPS — Stands for encapsulated postscript. This is a file extension for vector-based images. They can generally only be opened in specialized graphic design programs.
Digital printing — A modern printing method wherein information about the file is sent to a printer digitally and each piece of packaging is run individually through that printer. Digital printing is great for small-runs and short turn around times. Often times, the more traditional offset printing is more affordable for larger print runs.
Offset printing — A printing technique wherein plates of your design are created in four colors (CMYK). These plates are then run through a large, industrial printer. Offset printing has high setup costs (i.e. the plates need to be created), but in large volumes (usually over 1,000 or so pieces) it is more economical.
Pantone — Pantone is a company that created the Pantone Matching System (PMS). The PMS is a catalogue of standardized printing colors. Each color has an assigned number and can be reproduced nearly identically by any printer.
PDF — Stands for portable document format. It’s a versatile file format that be either a vector or raster (you want vector for packaging!) and supports both images and text. PDFs can be opened on nearly any computer.
Raster file type — Raster images are made up of thousands of tiny dots (pixels). As such, they are difficult to resize.
RGB — Stands for red, green and blue, the three primary colors (that can be combined to create all other colors) in light, and therefore on digital screens. RGB or hex codes are used to identify colors in digital spaces; they can be converted into CMYK and Pantone color codes for printing.
Vector file type — Vector images are made up of lines. As such, they are easy to resize.
When evaluating what surprises to send, look for items that are tasty, fun or practical.
When looking for fun items to put in your package, opt for gifts that are small, light and unlikely to break. Consider earrings, scarves and quirky socks. A personalized mix CD or favorite book is a great gift from a friend. You can also print out photos of family and friends back home. This gift fits easily into an envelope and is a great way for students to decorate their dorm room (and maybe cope with a little homesickness).
To keep your expenses low, try to buy food items in bulk, on sale and at discount stores. Check around the house for extra items you can send. Consider buying books, scarves and jewelry secondhand. Handmade items can also save you money, and may be especially meaningful.
We have some of the most competitive freight rates in the US. Our multiple partners help make your move affordable and efficient.
Our moving experts will provide you with a free estimate and design a personalized service to accommodate your specific needs.
Box Bros cares about the environment. We recycle and properly dispose of all of our waste.
Our cardboard products are made from at least 80% post consumer goods and we hope to bring our styrofoam and poly products to that level in the near future is well!
I then am taken to a page that looks like this:
Here, I will enter in the information about my product, and how many I am selling. See next screenshot for a continuation of this page:
This screen allows you to review the information you have previously submitted, and make sure it is correct. Once you have verified this information, click on the submit listing and create shipment button. That will bring you to this screen:
I select the plan that I had created already and click the add to shipment, enter the quantity, and click the continue button. I will then be taken to this screen:
So, I printed and applied my labels, and then press continue:
First of all thanks for reading my article to the end! I hope you find my reviews listed here useful and that it allows you to make a proper comparison of what is best to fit your needs and budget. Don’t be afraid to try more than one product if your first pick doesn’t do the trick.
Most important, have fun and choose your Box Mailers wisely! Good luck!
So, TOP3 of Box Mailers
- №1 — Wafer Tab Seals
- №2 — Zont Rigid Mailers Photo Document Mailers Stay Flat Mailers
- №3 — Aviditi M422 Corrugated Mailer