USPS & Bubble Wrap: 8 Common Questions (Answered)

As one of the most reliable shipping companies in the United States, the US Postal Service offers various services to make mailing and shipping convenient for its customers.

Apart from delivering packages, you may have wondered if USPS also provides mailing supplies, including bubble wrap and bubble mailers.

Here’s What You Need To Know About Bubble Wrap & Bubble Mailers:

Bubble wrap is a transparent plastic material with air-filled “bubbles” that are equally spaced. It is used for packing fragile items when shipping. They provide cushioning to prevent these items from breaking while in transit. A bubble mailer is an envelope lined with bubble wrap inside.

Does USPS Provide Bubble Wrap When Needed?

When sending items made of fragile materials like glass, it is important to secure them and add some protection to prevent them from breaking.

Packages go through a lot while in transit, and items inside can move around the box when they are not packed securely.

The easiest and most cost-effective way to secure items inside the shipping box is by placing them in bubble wrap. Will the US Postal Service provide bubble wrap when needed?

USPS does not provide bubble wraps for free, but you can purchase them online or at the local post office.

USPS provides 67 materials and supplies for free when you ship packages through Priority Mail, Priority Mail Express, Signature Mail, or Customs Forms.

While USPS provides lots of free packing materials and shipping supplies such as boxes, envelopes, labels, and receipt forms, bubble wrap is not included. It has to be purchased separately.

Does USPS Sell Bubble Wrap?

USPS sells bubble wrap online and at your local post office. You can purchase it in singles or rolls to get the right quantity you need for your item.

You can buy the bubble wrap there right before you ship an item. A post office staff can even give tips on securely packaging your item in the shipping box.

You can also purchase bubble wrap at the USPS online store. Look for the Premium Shipping Supplies section, and you will find the ReadyPost Bubble packaging material.

You can order it in packs of 10, with each bubble material measuring 9 x 16 inches.

Does USPS Sell Bubble Mailers?

Bubble mailers are padded envelopes. These are envelopes lined with bubble wrap inside, which are great for shipping smaller or slimmer fragile items.

Apart from bubble wrap, USPS also sells bubble mailers. 

You can get bubble mailers at your local post office or the USPS online store. Bubble mailers are available in different sizes. Depending on the size, you can get them online in packs of 24 or 36.

Here are the sizes of bubble mailers available at USPS:

  • ReadyPost Bubble Mailers Small – 12 x 8.5 inches, available in packs of 24 for $35.80
  • ReadyPost Bubble Mailers Medium – 16 x 10.5 inches, available in packs of 24 for $43.80
  • ReadyPost Bubble Mailers Large – 19 x 12.5 inches, available in packs of 36 for $79.00

When you buy bubble mailers at your local post office, they are sold in singles instead of packs. This way, you can purchase the quantity you need for your item.

How Much Does It Cost To Send Bubble Mailers Via USPS?

The cost of shipping bubble mailers via USPS typically depends on the shipping service you will use.

There are different types of shipping services that you can use for bubble mailers.

Here’s when to use each service and how much it costs:

First-Class Mail

If the item you will be shipping is an envelope and weighs 1 ounce or less, you can use this option, and it only costs $0.60, which includes postage.

First-Class Package

If the item in the bubble mailer weighs more than an ounce, it is already considered a package.

Use this option if the item weighs less than 13 ounces.

It only costs $4.80, which includes postage and end-to-end tracking.

Insurance is not included, but you can purchase it as an add-on.

Priority Mail and Priority Mail Express

If the item weighs more than 13 ounces but less than 70 pounds, then use this option to ship your bubble mailer.

Shipping cost starts at $9.00, which includes end-to-end tracking and insurance.

The item will be delivered in 3 business days or less. If you want faster shipping, then use Priority Mail Express.

Retail Ground

Use this option if the item weighs less than 70 pounds and you regularly ship through a retail channel.

The cost starts at $8.80 and includes end-to-end tracking.

Media Mail

If you are shipping media and educational materials like books, videotapes, CDs, and other similar items, and the total weight is less than 70 pounds, this service is a great option.

It only costs $3.49 to ship bubble mailers through this option.

Does USPS Always Accept Bubble Mailers?

USPS always accepts bubble mailers as long as it does not contain any prohibited or restricted item.

Since bubble mailers are treated like regular mail or packages, the US Postal Service always accepts bubble mailers. There are several shipping options available for bubble mailers based on the weight of the items.

The only reason that USPS will not accept bubble mailers is if they contain any restricted or prohibited items.

Some examples of these items include cigarettes, tobacco, ammunition and weapons, money or bank notes, medicines, perishable food items, and many others.

Yes, some of these items can easily fit inside bubble mailers, but they will not accept them for shipping via USPS.

Do Bubble Mailers Count As Packages?

Depending on the weight, bubble mailers can count as mail or packages.

If a bubble mailer weighs more than an ounce, it will be a package. A bubble mailer can only count as mail if it weighs 1 ounce or less.

If it weighs more, then it will be counted as a package and can be shipped through USPS First-Class Package, as long as it does not weigh more than 13 ounces.

If a bubble mailer weighs more than 13 ounces, it can no longer be classified as First-Class Package.

Your only option to send it as a package is via Priority Mail or Priority Mail Express.

Is It Cheaper To Send A Bubble Mailer Or Box?

First, let’s look at the shipping costs without any other expenses. By factoring in only the weight of an item, the cost to send it inside a bubble mailer is the same as sending it in a box.

If you factor in the additional expenses, including shipping supplies, it appears that sending a bubble mailer is more expensive than sending a box.

When using a box, you do not need to spend extra for shipping supplies. This is because USPS provides shipping boxes for free when sending through Priority Mail or Priority Mail Express.

It doesn’t matter if you will use a small or large box because USPS will provide it.

However, USPS does not provide bubble mailers for free. If you want to ship your item inside a bubble mailer, you must purchase it at the USPS online store or your local post office.

If you add the cost of bubble mailers to the shipping cost, then sending a bubble mailer is more expensive than sending a box.

Can I Reuse Amazon Bubble Mailers For USPS?

Since bubble mailers are not provided for free by USPS, you may think that it is good to reuse bubble mailers.

It is more cost-effective, plus you get to lessen plastic waste in the environment.

You can reuse Amazon bubble mailers for USPS packages.

No rule says you cannot reuse bubble mailers when sending an item through USPS. USPS allows it the same way customers use Amazon boxes for USPS.

When reusing Amazon bubble mailers, just make sure to cross out or cover up all the markings and labels from Amazon.

This is to avoid confusion and ensure that your package reaches the correct destination.

How Reliable Is Amazon’s Shipping? Is it safe? Find out more here!

Sources:

Does USPS Use Bubble Wrap? (All You Need To Know)

USPS: Shipping Supplies

USPS Mail & Shipping Services: Find The Right Domestic Mail Service

How To Ship With Bubble Mailers USPS

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