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What are Bubble Mailers?

By Bethany Keene
Updated Jan 24, 2024
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Bubble mailers are padded envelopes used for mailing breakable or slightly fragile items that need a little extra protection. They may also be referred to as padded mailers. They look like a traditional yellow or manila envelope on the outside, but are lined with bubble wrap on the inside for extra protection. Bubble mailers are a necessity if you do a lot of mailing and shipping.

Bubble mailers come in various sizes to accommodate different sizes of items. They are smaller and lighter than using a box or other package to mail an item, so they are generally less expensive to mail. They can be purchased in bulk at most post offices, office supply stores, shipping centers or online. They often feature a peel-off sticky strip at the top to make it easier to seal the envelope without using tape. This also then makes it easier to see if the envelope has been tampered with.

For mailing media such as CDs and DVDs, bubble mailers are a good option. The CDs and DVDs fit easily inside the envelope where they are protected from rough handling and any damage better than if they were in a non-padded envelope. You might also mail photos in a bubble mailer to prevent them from being bent. You can mail many items in a bubble mailer, except for exceptionally fragile items that should be packed very carefully in a box.

If you don't have any bubble mailers, you can create your own by wrapping the item you wish to mail in bubble wrap and inserting it into a manila envelope. It will keep the item as secure as if it was in a padded mailer. If your item won't fit in a bubble mailer, there are other options.

You might choose to mail your items in a cardboard box, which can then be reused or recycled. A mailing tube is another option for mailing over sized documents or oddly shaped items. There are many options to mail different sized items; to prevent damage to your items, be sure to choose the proper packaging and pack it carefully and securely.

If you are concerned about the environment, you might choose to use a cardboard box or mailing tube that can be recycled. Padded mailers usually cannot be recycled and often cannot be reused once they have been ripped open. Many bubble mailers are manufactured from recycled materials, however.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

By jholcomb — On Oct 08, 2011

I have sold a lot of our old DVDs ad CDs online. For a DVD or CD, a bubble mailer is ideal, but they really cut into your profit.

The article mentions that you can use bubble wrap inside a manilla envelope. I'm so cheap, I actually sometimes just wrap the item in plastic grocery bags for padding!

It's a little more trouble, but paper grocery bags are sturdier than manilla envelopes and make better do-it-yourself wrapping over bubble wrap or other padding. Just cut it up and use packing tape to close it up.

Whether you use manilla envelopes or paper grocery bags, make sure that the paper is wrapped quite tightly around the padding. Otherwise, the loose paper could be torn or punctured in transit.

By burcinc — On Oct 08, 2011

@SarahSon, @turquoise-- I'm also thinking about purchasing CDs and DVDs online. I contacted the seller and he said that he ships them in a bubble mailer. It's great to know you guys have never had any problems with them, but have you ever shipped them to or received them from abroad?

I will be buying these CDs from the other side of the world basically and that's a long way to travel. I'm sure bubble mailers do well with short distances, but I'm not too sure about shipments from other countries.

Have you had any experiences with this?

By turquoise — On Oct 07, 2011

I buy movies online all the time and the DVDs always come packaged in bubble mailers. I didn't know before whether they worked well or not, but since my movies have always come in perfect condition, I know they work well.

I bought some fashion jewelry for my cousin's birthday and mailed them to her in a bubble mailer. I first wrapped the jewelry in bubble and then put it in a bubble mailer for extra protection. She received them without any damage whatsoever.

By myharley — On Oct 07, 2011

I have a small business where I make and sell solid lotion bars. From the very beginning I have used bubble lined mailers to ship my products.

I used to buy Kraft bubble mailers at Target, but when I began selling my product, needed to find a cheaper way to buy them.

Now I buy the bubble mailers wholesale from an online supplier. This has cut down quite a bit on my envelope expense.

You can also get mailers that have different sizes of bubble wrap in them. If you are mailing something that needs a little bit more protection, you can get envelopes that have extra padding and protection.

You will pay a little bit more for these than the smaller bubble wrap, but is still better than separately buying the bubble wrap to add to your package.

By SarahSon — On Oct 06, 2011

I have sold quite a few CD's online and always used a bubble mailer to ship them. This way I know the CD has an added layer of protection. I have never had any problems mailing them this way.

Since I am not mailing huge quantities at one time, I buy my bubble wrap mailers at my local office supply store. I think they cost about 50 cents a piece if I buy them in packages of 6.

It is so easy to slip the CD in the envelope and take it to the post office. For me, this is much more convenient than trying to find the right size box, adding the bubble wrap and taping the box up.

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