Poly Bag Thickness: What is a Mil and More

Poly Bag Thickness: What is a Mil and More

Poly bags come in many different shapes, sizes, and strengths — which is why it is one of the most flexible, versatile, cost-effective packaging materials on the market. Let’s take a look at how poly bag thickness is measured and how to figure out what thickness and strength is right for your product. 

Understanding Poly Bag Thickness

Poly bag ply relates to the strength, durability, and protective capability of the bag. Depending on what you need to package, you may need a stronger, thicker bag to hold your product. This is measured according to a poly bag’s mil score. 

What’s a Mil?

A mil is the industry-wide measurement unit for poly bag thickness, or gauge. 

One mil is equal to a thousandth of an inch (1000 mil = 1 inch). Most poly bags are 6 mil or less, with the average poly bag breadth around 2 mil. This may seem like a small range, but for poly bags, there’s a big difference between 0.5 or 1 mil poly bag and a 5 mil poly bag.

It’s important to note that the industry standard practice in the manufacturing of poly bags and other flexible materials is to produce materials to nominal thickness — 10% thinner than the specified mil — unless requested as full gauge. This means that a 2 mil poly bag manufactured to nominal thickness would actually measure 1.8 mil, or 0.0018 inches thick.

To get an accurate quote for your custom poly bag order, be sure to specify nominal thickness or full gauge thickness.

Common Poly Bag Mil Types

To help you understand the difference between common poly bag thicknesses, here are some of the different uses for poly bags at varying mil sizes.


Poly Bag Thickness: Mil Poly Bag Thickness: Inches Poly Bag Uses
<1 0.0005-0.00075” Meant for short-term use requiring little protection, such as produce bags or dry cleaning bags.
1-2 0.001-0.002” Moderate protection for storing, shipping, or displaying items like food, clothing, or retail products.
3 0.003”
4 0.004” Heavy-duty protection for heavy or abrasive products. Can also be tear and scratch-resistant for added durability. Ideal for storing bulk items like screws or parts or large industrial uses such as pallet covers.
5 0.005”
6 0.006”


How to Choose Poly Bag Thickness

When choosing the right poly bag mil, you’ll need to consider three things: the product it will need to contain, the protection required for your product, and the ideal durability for your poly bag.


  • Measure Your Product: What are you putting in the poly bag? Consider the dimensions of your product, but particularly the weight. Heavier items require thicker mil poly bags than light items, regardless of size.
  • Choose the Level of Protection: Does your product need extra protection for fragile or sharp edges? Delicate items may require a thicker poly bag for better protection from damage like scratching. Thicker poly bags can also protect other items from your product — if your item has sharp edges, for example.
  • Consider Poly Bag Durability: How long does your poly bag need to last to protect your product, reach the shipment destination, or sit in storage? Whether your poly bag is single use or reusable will affect the mil. Reusable bags should be at least 2 mil, while temporary poly bags can be less than 1 mil.

Poly bags are an incredibly versatile packaging material that can be developed into varying strengths to serve any application. If you’re still not sure which poly bag thickness is right for you, talk to an expert from A-Pac Manufacturing. We’d love to learn more about your product and application and help you find the very best thickness and size poly bag for your company.

How to Choose the Right Poly Bag to fit your needs cta
4 Cost Effective Packaging Solutions That Help You Increase Profits

4 Cost Effective Packaging Solutions That Help You Increase Profits

Cutting costs to your packaging department without sacrificing productivity or quality is a great way to add to your bottom line. Here are some cost-effective packaging solutions that can help you increase your profit. 

4 Cost Effective Packaging Solutions to Increase Profitability

4 simple ways to save on packaging costs are switching to economical materials, using smaller packages, varying your packaging options, and making sure your packaging material is good quality. Let’s go through each of these cost-effective packaging solutions to reduce costs and increase profits.

#1 Choose Cost Effective Packaging Materials

Using cost effective packaging materials such as poly bags, paperboard, and cardboard, can significantly reduce your packaging costs. While all of these materials can be customized to accommodate different types and sizes of packaging, poly bags are the most versatile packaging — and a great price point for effective, durable packaging.

Poly bags can be developed to different strengths and durability levels to suit your needs, from single-use bags to reusable poly bags. They also support custom branding, offer unique sealing options, and come in a variety of shape designs. 

#2 Use Smaller Packages with Less Material

Another way to reduce expenditures on packaging materials is to maximize space with smaller packages. Smaller packages not only use less material, which saves your company money, but they also take up less space in your facility and on your shipping fleet, which translates to eased costs. 

Gusseted poly bags, for example, are a cost effective packaging solution that can accommodate a variety of products. The side panels can expand to allow larger products to fit easily inside or fold flat for smaller items.

#3 Vary Different Cost Effective Packaging Options

Using different packaging options can help you tailor your packaging materials more specifically to the product, and save on packaging costs. Not all products you ship will need to be packaged in the same way in order to be shipped safely. Consider having a few packaging options — different sizes, materials, strengths, etc — to use for different items. 

For example, while some fragile items may require padded envelopes, flexible packaging like flat poly bags may work well for other products such as clothing or small parts.

#4 Use Effective Packaging to Minimize Return Costs

Cost effective packaging solutions such as cheaper materials or smaller packages may save your company money, but if your packaging isn’t effective, you could end up spending more for damaged products and returns. When cutting costs and shopping for new packaging products, make sure your materials will support your products so they reach the consumer safely. 

Plastic bags, for example, can be manufactured to different strengths for sharp-edged or bulk items. If you have specific concerns about packaging and shipping your products safely, you can work with a poly bag supplier to design custom bags for your company. The right poly bag supplier can help you find the ideal packaging for your products, while saving you money and increasing your profits.

Increase Profits with Cost Effective Packaging Solutions

Cost effective packaging solutions such as versatile poly bags developed for your unique packaging needs are a great way to boost your company’s profits. If you’re looking to improve your packaging with custom poly bags, A-Pac Manufacturing offers the highest-quality poly bags at no minimum order and 2-3 week lead times. Give our team a call for more information.

How to Choose the Right Poly Bag to fit your needs cta