Types of Packaging Materials

Packaging Material

When shipping a large amount of products, whether as a small business or large ecommerce platform, utilizing the right kind of packaging materials is critical for success. Packing supplies and packaging materials have only become more extensive overtime, and merchants can feel free to get more creative when packaging their products and goods. 

In this article we’ll explore different types of packaging materials, suggested types of shipping boxes and mailers, as well as some of the benefits of mindful packaging. With ShipCalms help, your shipping and packaging processes are bound to be elevated. 

Types of Boxes For Shipping

There are a large variety of shipping boxes available for online merchants to choose from, so selecting the best ones might feel like an overwhelming task. Some of the most commonly used boxes used by ecommerce companies and online businesses include: 

Corrugated Boxes

A corrugated box is the typical cardboard box that most people think of when contemplating the best types of packaging materials. Corrugated boxes are a simple and easy solution for most shipping needs as they are sturdy, relatively lightweight, and can hold a fair amount at the same time. These boxes also can come in single, double and triple walls depending on the amount of protection needed in shipping. 

Rigid Boxes

When shipping high-value or rare items, one must be extra mindful about what type of packaging materials they use, from the loose fill to the boxes. Especially for technology sales or high-value retail products, a rigid box is recommended to ensure a safe delivery process. These boxes are often the box that offers protection of the product, usually with company branding, and provide a sleek and premium shipping experience. 

Full Overlap Boxes

Nothing is more frustrating than a heavy box crumbling in on itself because the top flaps became loose. For high-value or larger volume shipments, consider using a full overlap box to package with extra precaution. These are good for heavy or fragile items as it provides additional strength to the openings.  These are also good for items that have to spend additional time in transit to avoid shuffling compromising the integrity of the box. 

Mailer Boxes

Mailer boxes are smaller boxes that easily fit inside of a mailbox. These are a popular option for businesses that need to accommodate the delivery of packages that don’t require a signature if you are and can be easily placed in a mailbox instead. For smaller products and goods, these could save not only packaging supplies but shipping costs as well. 

Auto-Locking Bottom Boxes

This is a box that when folded open, the bottom of the box locks into place. Think of an origami-like solution to forming boxes as It does not need to be taped.  Auto-locking bottom boxes help with the speed of construction and reduce tape expenses. These types of boxes are especially good for those that need to build boxes quickly. 

Paperboard and Chipboard Boxes

Thin cardboard packaging, more commonly used in product packaging, is another great box option for those looking to expand their horizons when choosing from different types of packaging materials.  Paperboard and chipboard boxes are most popular with cereal boxes, pharmaceuticals, and products of that nature.  These boxes tend to be affordable and less sturdy than other box types. 

Roll-End Boxes

Roll-end boxes are sturdy and sleek boxes with a great presentation factor for those looking for packaging materials on the fancier side. There are two major types of roll-end boxes, which include: 

  • Roll-end front lock – Roll-end front lock boxes are great for subscription box type packages.
  • Roll-end tuck top – An example of a roll-end tuck top box would be a pizza or pastry box.  Not recommended for shipping long distances.   

Types Of Shipping Envelopes

Another packaging material that should be within any online merchants’ aresel of shipping supplies are shipping envelopes. As any experienced seller knows, the heavier and larger the package, the more expensive the shipping becomes. Shipping envelopes are smaller and more compact options for items that are not too heavy. 

Bubble Mailers

Sometimes smaller packages still need a reliable level of protection during the shipping process, which is great for bubble mailers. Bubble mailers are affordable and sturdy enveloped perfect for smaller products that don’t need a box but still need a solid barrier from the elements. 

Poly Mailers

Poly mailers are a great option for shipping non-fragile products that still need a strong level of protection during delivery. Perfect for soft products such as bedding, towels, and clothing, these weather-resistant packaging materials are great for preventing any damage while still comfortably accommodating larger packages. 

Glamor Mailers

A glamor mailer is a mailer envelope that comes in a variety of colors to help make a company’s product stand out.  It’s also fairly common for a glamor mailer to include branding to help the parcel stand out among the sea of Amazon parcels and brown shipping containers. 

Rigid Envelope

A rigid envelope is perfect for those important documents that need to be shipped afar. Usually made out of rigid cardboard that is less susceptible to bending, these envelopes provide a solid layer of protection not only from outside elements but from potential tampering during the carrier process. 

Padded Mailer

Perhaps the most durable and sturdy envelope option for those looking for new types of packaging materials is a padded mailer. Padded mailers provide a bit more protection than bubble mailers and are suited for many types of electronics and books. Decently weather-resistant, these are suggested for products that need additional reassurance. 

Types of Void Fillers

Oftentimes when preparing packages for shipment, void fillers become necessary to protect products during transit. Especially for fragile or delicate shipments, voil filling becomes an absolute necessity. Let’s explore some of the most common types of void fillers


The most simplistic of packaging materials is loose fill paper. This can include regular newspaper for cushioning, crinkle cut paper for decorative type cushioning, or tissue paper.  Using paper as loose fill is a good method of recycling supplies to show a commitment to sustainability for a company. Affordable, easy to obtain, and sustainable, paper is understandably a very popular option among many online merchants. 

Poly Bags

Polybags, not to be confused with poly mailers, are used to wrap t-shirts or other clothing apparel. Typically looking like a clear plastic bag, these are a great option for products that need a layer of protection that are not too fragile within transit.  

Packing Peanuts

Another popular loose fill choice is packing peanuts as they are great for filling in space around the product.  Popcorn peanuts can also be recycled but many people don’t take the necessary steps to properly recycle them.  There are newer packing peanut options made from recycled materials or from corn starch. These do tend to weigh more and that will need to be considered when debating the most cost-efficient loose fill options. 


Best suited for fragile products such as glassware, plates and silverware, and artwork, packing foam is a great loose fill choice. Coming in a variety of sizes and styles, there are foam sheets or inserts as well as expanding foam that can be used to better hold a product in place while in transit. 

Air Pillows

A very popular option with Amazon are air pillows, used tp brace products within a box. Air pillows require a special machine to inflate them but there is room for custom sizing on the pillows. Many companies will also choose to print a logo or brand on plastic. 

Bubble Wrap

A formerly popular packaging material is bubble wrap, which is losing some of its popularity for more sustainable options in recent years. Bubble wrap is perfect for protecting fragile items and can easily adjust to fit numerous types of packaging. 

Most Sustainable Options

Ecommerce has opened many consumers’ eyes to the excess of materials used throughout the shipping process. Plastic is a highly popular material used, and the sudden boom in online sales hasn’t catered well to that point of ecological distress. Luckily, there are many biodegradable and recycled material options available now for those looking to introduce some sustainability into their packaging choices. .  There are also many local programs to pick up used boxes so that shipping supplies can be reused whenever possible.

  • Best shipping box – Corrugated boxes – Corrugated boxes are made from recyclable materials and can be reused or recycled easily.  Some corrugated boxes can be compostable as well as long as they are cut into small pieces.  
  • Best envelope/mailer – Poly mailer – can be made from recycled materials as well as being able to have multiple uses and easily recyclable
  • Best void fill – Air pillows – Less material is used and can be made from recycled material as well as easily recycled itself.  Lower cost and less mess as air is used as the filler.

Take Note: Each company’s shipping requirements will be unique, and these are simply general guidelines of the best sustainable supplies that should be considered when choosing from the different types of packaging materials.

Let ShipCalm Help You With Your Ecommerce Shipping Needs

With the large variety of packaging materials and shipping supplies available to ecommerce companies and online businesses it can be easy to get overwhelmed when choosing. Luckily, by choosing a third-party logistics provider like ShipCalm, you can save money on packaging supplies while focusing more on business-related responsibilities at the same time. 

ShipCalm knows which types of packaging materials make for reliable delivery and shipping management, and seek to help new and growing businesses review their packaging processes to optimize their savings. Boasting competitive pricing and comprehensive services, such as ecommerce order fulfillment and inventory management to packaging and assembly, ShipCalm makes packaging and shipping products simple. You can rely on ShipCalm to improve and elevate the way your company packages their products. Contact a ShipCalm representative today to learn more!