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Optimising your packaging for Royal Mail services

postal packagingPadded EnvelopesPostal WrapSmall Box

In the last two years the volume of parcels being shipped in the UK has exceeded the 1 billion mark(1, 2). Royal Mail remains the largest postal service in the UK.   They handled 130 million parcels in December 2015 alone(2) and at the end of 2016 Royal Mail reported a 2% growth in parcel volumes being handled in their network.

With the continuing trend in online shopping, more and more parcels will be travelling in the postal system this year, so it makes sense to ensure your packaging meets Royal Mail posting criteria.

If you choose to ship via Royal Mail, but your packaging doesn’t meet the standards required, you could end up having goods returned. This could result in your deliveries being disrupted, which can affect your customer experience. Plus, you could up miscalculating carriage costs, which could be an expensive mistake. Therefore it makes sense for you check out our Royal Mail packaging guide…

Are you meeting Royal Mail standards? Follow our guide to optimise your packaging!

1. Large Letter

Max Weight Max Length Max Width Max Thickness
750g 35.3cm / 353mm 25cm / 250mm 2.5cm / 25mm


Large letters can be used to post A4 documents, CDs, DVDs, large greeting cards or anything up to a thickness of 250mm or 2.5cm.  So, to optimise your packaging for this large letter postage, we recommend using cardboard envelopes that offer consistent sizes and extra protection vs. regular envelopes.

2. Small Parcel

Max Weight Max Length Max Width Max Thickness
2kg 45cm / 450mm 35cm / 350mm 16cm / 160mm


Small parcels can contain anything from books and beauty products through to clothes and electronics. Depending on what you’re packing, you can choose from a range of packaging for small parcel postal services. We favour postal wraps, padded and polythene mailing bags and even small boxes if the goods need additional protection.

3. Medium Parcel

Max Weight Max Length Max Width Max Thickness
20kg 61cm / 610mm 46cm / 460mm 46cm / 460mm


Just like small parcel packaging, we recommend you choose your packaging depending on the goods you’re packaging. For lighter items, you can stick with postal wraps and mailing bags. However, if your parcel is on the heavier side, we suggest you use a box with the appropriate void fill.

4. Large Parcel

Large parcels are any item that exceeds 61cm x 46cm x 46cm or weighs more than 20kg. Items like these have to be sent via courier. For parcels weighing this much, we’d recommend using a sturdy double wall box to provide appropriate protection. Depending on the item, you could use various types of void fill or a suspension pack like Korrvu to pack your goods.

5. Tube Shaped Parcels

Another consideration is the shape of your parcel! If you’re using postal tubes, you should bear in mind that Royal Mail requires that for tube shaped items the length of the item plus twice the diameter must not exceed 104cm or 1040mm.

Need help deciding what postal packaging to use? We can help! Book an appointment with one of our packaging specialists on 01902 496666. Alternatively you can email us or complete our contact form and someone will get back to you!


(1) Allen et al (2016)

(2) eDelivery Article 

(3) Royal Mail Website- Performance Update

(4) Royal Mail Website – Parcel Guide