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Mil vs Micron vs MM: Some Facts and Calculation on Bag Thickness You Need to Know

Updated: Sep 25, 2021

When you are buying for some plastic packaging and plastic bag, or you want to make your own custom printed, custom sized and custom design plastic bag, you should be noted the thickness factor is crucial to you. But do you know why?

It is because the thickness of the bag will affect the amount and quantity of material being used for margin the bag. Simply put, the thicker the bag, the more material it will need and thus, the higher the cost the plastic bag and packaging will be.

So what is the best thickness I should choose? There is a simple answer to that but it is not a simple and straight fixed figure. The answer is it depends on your need or, to a certain extend, the size of your bag and packaging. The rationale is that the bigger your bag implying the heavier and more bulky your goods to be packed. So it again means you need a thicker bag for bigger bag.

You can see that in the market or if you have ever contacted a factory or supplier, they will inform you with details about the bag with thickness gauge in mil, micron or millimeter (mm). So what exactly they all mean? Let's take a closer look below.

First of all, we can say that micron is just equivalent to millimeter (mm). If we say a bag is 20 micron thick, it means it is 0.02 mm thick and 50 micron is 0.05 mm and thus, 100 micron is 0.1 mm and 1000 micron is 1mm. It is just as simple as that. Now we will discuss further about the gauge of mils and microns.

Mils vs. Microns

Mil - A unit of measurement in the English system that is measured in thousandths of an inch. (i.e., 0.001 = one thousandth of an inch or 1.0 mil)

Micron - A unit of measurement in the metric system that is equal to one thousandth of a millimeter.

The North American countries, ie, USA and Canada, use mostly the English Imperial/US system (inches, feet, etc.). So mil is widely used in measuring thickness of bag and packaging. All measurements taken in microns must be converted to thousandths of an inch.

For the exact conversion you may refer to the following figures:

Mils to Microns: (Number of Mils) x 25.4 (i.e., 0.75 mil = 19 microns)

Microns to Mils: (Number of Microns) / 25.4 (i.e., 14 microns = 0.55 mil)

Some everyday life example of thickness may shed you some light on thickness. A daily used trash bag ranges its thickness from 1.0 mils to 1.7 mils. A much stronger or larger trash bag that offers better durability and tear resistance can be made between 3 to 6 mils. A credit card you put into your wallet is around 30 mils (0.762 mm) in thickness whilst a common deck of playing cards including the paper box is about 0.75 inches tall or 750 mils in thickness.

When you are planning to buy some plastic bag, no matter it is pre-printed standard sized one or custom printed bag and packaging, you will need to consider if it can hold the weight of your merchandise. If you have a question on the thickness like how thick you should choose for your bag, you are very much welcome to contact our packaging specialist for free advice. We can give you our 50+ years of expertise and share our experience with you. Get in touch with us for a free consultation and quotation by visiting www.eplasticbag.com/contact or drop us an email directly.

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