Are Bubble Mailers Considered Packages?

Whether a bubble mailer is technically considered a package depends on if it's thicker than 3/4 inches with your items inside
bubble mailers considered packages
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When it’s time to send out products, you’ve typically got two choices for packaging: boxes, or envelopes. Bubble mailers are one of the most popular envelopes for sending products…but did you know that USPS may not technically consider bubble mailers as packages if they aren’t thick enough?

Bubble Mailers and Envelopes are Considered Packages When They’re 3/4 Inches Thick or More

USPS will only accept bubble mailers as packages if their total thickness is 3/4 of an inch or more. This applies not when the bubble mailer is empty, but when the contents of your shipment are inside. As long as the total thickness of your mailer is at least 3/4 of an inch, you’ll be able to use any of the USPS shipping services to send it. One of the most popular ways to ship bubble mailers like these is USPS First Class Package Service.

Pro Tip: If you’re on the hunt for some cool bubble mailers, ULINE has the best selection we’ve come across. Check out their mailers here.

What Do I Do if My Mailer isn’t 3/4 of an Inch?

If your mailer is less than 3/4 inches think, then you’ve got what USPS calls a “flat” envelope. USPS requires you to mail flats instead of ship them, since they’re too thin to be considered actual packages. Therefore, you’ll need to send these out using good old-fashioned stamps for First-Class Mail. USPS technically makes more money from their mail products than their shipping products, so the workers at your local Post Office won’t hesitate to classify a thin envelope as something that needs to be sent via the mail, rather than with one of the USPS shipping services.

Something to keep in mind is that regular First-Class Mail service doesn’t include any kind of tracking, whatsoever. If you’d like to track your envelope the same way you can track a package, then you’ll need to purchase Certified Mail service at your local Post Office.

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  1. Jordan

    I have a small item with dimensions of 1″ x 1″ x 1.75″
    It weighs 1.1 oz. How should I send this? Thinking a padded envelope.

  2. Deb

    I have a small (5 x 7) padded envelope less than 1/2 inch thick and weighs < 1 oz. I put 2 Forever stamps on it. The USPS returned it to me a month later stating that postage due is $3.92. The other identical envelope I mailed at the same time was NOT returned to me. What gives??

    • TN

      99% of post offices consider all bubble mailers to be packages. Period. The other one? You got lucky….

  3. Beverly Albano

    I have a 10.5 x 16 padded envelope.
    How much to mail this?

    • k

      16″ is over the maximum length for first-class mail. It needs to be sent as a package

  4. TN

    This is BS. Every post office in the DFW area says ANY BUBBLE MAILER REGARDLESS OF SIZE MUST BE SHIPPED AT PACKAGE RATES, which start at $3.32 for commercial rate.

    • Daniel Boone

      DFW is the worst, no one knows the actual USPS policy; and then they won’t even listen to you once you explain it.


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