Air Pillows and Air Cushion Packaging Systems for Shipping

Posted by Bob Janik on Oct 20, 2022 2:30:00 PM

Air Pillows and Air Cushion Packaging Systems for Shipping


As online buying becomes more and more popular, the solutions for protecting the contents in transit must also evolve.

After all, if online orders aren't able to be shipped so that products turn up at their final destination safely and securely, the e-Commerce market as a whole would collapse.

Protective packaging isn't a huge issue with soft goods, but it is important when you're dealing with the shipment of fragile items such as cellular phones, video game consoles, laptops, glass products, and more.

And while e-Commerce is a big market for protective packaging solutions, these solutions are also crucial for CPGs, manufacturers, and other companies who rely on shipping to get products to stores.

Air Pillows & Air Cushions: Protective Packaging Solutions

There are many types of existing protective packaging solutions currently in use, such as foam cushioning, retention inserts and suspension, pulp trays, and partitions.

However, one solution that also shows great potential when it comes to the e-Commerce market is air cushion packaging.

This post will take a closer look at air cushion packaging and why it may be the right solution for your application.

What is Air Cushion Packaging?

Specifically, air cushion packaging uses an inflatable cushioning system within a box to protect a package's contents from damage during shipment.

Solutions such as the ChamberPak Inflatable Cushioning System consist of inflatable, adjoining tubes that hold a fragile item. If one of the tubes pops, the other tubes will remain intact, thereby continuing to protect and secure the item in transit. 

While the ChamberPak system involves tubes, other types of cushion packaging involve pillow-shaped cushions.  Since air cushion packaging helps protect the item from the four walls of a corrugated box and then both from the top and bottom of the box, it's a highly effective solution.

Aside from its overall protection effectiveness, some of the other benefits of air cushion packaging include

  • It's lightweight.

  • It's quick and easy to assemble.

  • It doesn't just protect products from impact, but from shifting around within the box as well.

  • It's affordable.

  • Some types are recyclable and/or reusable.

  • They can be used to complement other types of protective packaging.

  • They can be custom-made.

The alternative to this type of protective packaging is what's known as "peanut packaging." This protective solution consists of hundreds - perhaps even thousands, depending on the size of the box - of peanut-sized foam or paper inserts designed to pack a product.

However, peanut packaging (also known as packing peanuts) is a loose-fill type of solution that's not able to as tightly secure boxed contents as air cushion packaging.

Ideal Product Applications

Air cushion packaging, or air pillow packaging as it's also often called, is versatile and flexible. It can be made to fit any sized box, so it can effectively be administered to protect any sort of product.

As we noted in the opening, however, there are some applications that it's better intended for than others. These products mainly consist of smaller fragile electronics, such as laptops, Blu-ray players, cellular phones, video game consoles, and more.

While this type of packaging can be used for larger items like television sets, said items are usually better suited for suspension and retention types of packaging.

In addition to electronics, delicate items made of glass and ceramic are also ideal applications for air cushion packaging.

Cost of Air Cushion Packaging

As we previously noted, air cushion packaging is one of the more affordable types of protective packaging. Much of this has to do with how it uses packaging film to form the air pillows, as this is generally a more affordable solution to corrugated and other types of protective inserts.

Prices, however, do vary based on quantity, the size of the tubes or pillows, and other considerations. Contact your packaging supplier today for a more comprehensive discussion about the application you need protected and cost estimates to do so.

Are Air Cushions or Air Pillows A Good Shipping Solution for You?

Protective packaging is continuing to evolve at a rapid pace, largely due to the popularity of online shopping.

Is air cushion packaging the right solution for you? Our support team would be happy to consult with you based on what's best for your project. Get in touch below!

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(Editor’s Note: This blog was originally published in May 2021 and was updated in October 2022 to reflect current information.)