What Does Mil Stand for in Thickness?


What does mil stand for in thickness? Apart from a bag’s dimensions, the mil thickness is also an important factor to consider when choosing the right custom bag for your product packaging purposes.


A mil is a measurement unit for film or foil thickness. For that reason, you’ll see this used as a common term used to denote dimension in manufacturing.


1 Mil is equal to 0.001 or 1/1000 inch, specifically around half the width of a single strand of human hair.


While it’s easy to define in words, it is challenging to visualize just how thin one mil is. Accordingly, help you try to make sense of this, we must use some perspective.


  • For example, a sheet of paper generally measures 9 mils in thickness;
  • For instance, a freezer bag needs to be at least 1.75 mils to be protective;
  • Moreover, a bag used for grocery shopping is typically 0.5 mil thick;
  • Finally, a standard retail shopping bag is 2 mils thick


How to Choose the Right Mil Thickness for Your Bag

We correctly determine the right mil thickness for each packaging project by firstly looking at your application. In addition to this, we note any special requirements. Indeed, we ask, what must your packaging accomplish, and how must it accomplish these?


Application is always tied to the product, its appearance, and how it behaves. For example, if your product is weighty or has sharp edges, a heavier gauge might be a better choice than a lighter gauge.


What Does Mil Stand for in Thickness?


Food products, such as vegetables and fruits, should not be placed in a 6 Mil bag. Also, bear in mind that the thickness of a bag affects its clarity. Comparatively, a 5 Mil bag is not as transparent as a 2 Mil bag.


Choose the Right Mil By Reviewing These 3 Factors

When selecting the right mil thickness for your bag, there are three factors that you should consider: the bag’s optimal durability, the level of protection your product requires, and the weight of the product to be contained.


  • Firstly, consider the bag’s durability.

Question: How long do you need your bag to preserve your goods and transport them to their destination? Moreover, how long should they remain in storage?


The thickness will be influenced by whether your bag is single-use or reusable. Reusable bags should have a thickness of at least 2 Mil, whereas single-use bags can have a thickness of less than 1 Mil.


  • Secondly, consider the level of protection.

Question: Is there also a need for additional protection for your product’s brittle or sharp edges?


Delicate products may need a thicker bag to protect them from harm, such as scratches. If your product has sharp edges, a bag with a thicker mil will, without a doubt, help protect other goods that may be stored together.


  • Afterward, measure the weight of your product.

Question: What are you placing in the bag, and how big is it?


At this time, take into account the size and weight of your goods. No matter how small they are in size, heavier products require thicker mil bags than lighter products.


Undoubtedly, choosing the right mil thickness for your custom packaging bag is essential. So, if you aren’t particularly confident about your spec, always ask for help.


What Does Mil Stand for in Thickness?


Additionally, if you choose a gauge that is too light, you run the risk of having the issue of puncturing or tearing the bag. However, you may wind up paying a lot more for a thick gauge that isn’t required for your purpose.


To choose the correct thickness, think about what is best for your product’s display and safety.


  • 6–8 mil: Ideal for products requiring secure protection and also excellent puncture resistance.
  • 5 mil: Suitable for products that need more protection but are more likely to pierce the bag, such as products with sharp corners.
  • 4 mil: Best for weighty products or commodities that require extra sturdiness since we want to avoid puncturing the bag.
  • 3 mil: For storing medium-heavy goods that therefore require a sturdy storage bag.
  • 2 mil: Ideal for specifically holding light to medium weight items.
  • Thickness of less than or equal to 1 mil: Use anything that’s this thin to hold lightweight goods with a low risk of puncturing the bag.


Although the concept is simple, envisioning 1/1000 of an inch is truly difficult. Still, many people will ask, “What does mil stand for in thickness?” and  find it hard to relate since there are only a few objects we can perceive as being 0.001 inches.


For Your Reference: Gauge Conversion Chart

To make it easier for you to standardize specifically, below is a gauge conversion chart you can refer to.


Gauge Mil Micron Millimeter Inch Centimeter
30 .30 7.6 .0076 .0003 .000762
40 .40 10 .0101 .0004 .001016
50 .50 12.5 .0127 .0005 .00127
60 .60 15 .0152 .0006 .001524
75 .75 19 .0190 .0007 .001905
80 .80 20 .0203 .0008 .002032
90 .90 23 .0228 .0009 .002286
100 1.0 25 .0254 .0010 .00254
120 1.2 30 .0304 .0012 .003048
150 1.5 38 .0380 .0015 .00381
160 1.6 40 .0406 .0016 .004064
180 1.8 45 .0457 .0018 .004572
200 2.0 50 .0508 .0020 .00508



-What Does Mil Stand for in Thickness: FAQs-


  • How thick is mil in mm?

1 mil = 0.0254 mm (millimeter)


We use mil when referring to the thickness of film materials. Accordingly, 1 mil is equal to a thousandth of 1 inch — .001 inch.


  • How thick is a mil?

1 mil = 0.001 or 1/1000 inch, which is, to illustrate, roughly half the width of a single strand of human hair.


All in all, visualizing this is pretty difficult. Therefore, the best way to “see” this is through comparison, using some perspective.


For example:

  • One sheet of paper is likewise 9 mils.
  • A standard freezer bags is 1.75 mils.
  • A retail shopping bag is typically 2 mils.


  • How do you calculate mil thickness?

To convert mil to inches, you basically divide your value by 1000. Therefore, to convert mil to gauge, you simply multiply mil by 100.


  • How do you choose the right mil for packaging?

Of course, choosing what mil thickness for your packaging depends on your application. If your product is especially prone to spoilage, heavy, or bulky, those are specific needs that need to be discussed.