Aside from the dimensions of the bag, the mil thickness is another critical component in selecting the right plastic bag for your needs.

A Mil is a unit of measurement used to measure the thickness of film in thousands of an inch; 1 Mil = 1/1000 inch. While simple in principle, it's very hard to visualize 1/1000 of an inch. Look around; is there anything that you can relate to 1/1000 of an inch? For example, paper is about 9 mils and a human hair is about 2/1000 of an inch or 2 Mils, but try visualizing two hairs stacked upon each other as a 4 Mil bag. This is where most people get lost; there are few things that we understand as being 1/1000 of an inch.

Mils are sometimes listed in decimal as thousands of an inch; a 2 mil bag may be listed as .002. To convert the decimal to actual mils, simply shift the decimal over by three, .004 to 4 mils.

Choosing the Right Mil Thickness

How thick of a mil needed is dependent on the application. If you're product is heavy or has sharp corners, it would be a wiser choice to go with a heavier gauge than lighter. Vice versa, you would not want to place food items; fruits, vegetables, etc… in a 6 mil bag. Keep in mind that the clarity of a bag is affected by the thickness. A 4 mil bag would not be a clear as a 1 mil bag.

The best way to understand the thickness of a Mil is to use some perspective. Here are some common everyday bags and their associated Mil thicknesses:


  • A grocery store bag is 0.5 mil
  • A dry cleaning bag is 0.75 mil
  • A bread bag is 1.5 mils thick
  • A freezer bags is generally 1.75 mils
  • A retail shopping bag is usually 2 mils

Suggested Uses:

  • 1 MIL - Economical short term storage.
  • 1.5 MIL - Lightweight protection from dirt and moisture.
  • 2 MIL - Protection for shipping and storage.
  • 3 MIL - Additional protection for hardware, nuts, bolts and industrial parts.
  • 4 MIL - Heavy duty protection when packaging nails, screws & heavy metal parts.
  • 6 MIL - Extra heavy duty protection against punctures and tears on bulky items or items with sharp corners.
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