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Heavy Duty Polythene: What Thickness Do You Need?

We supply polythene sheeting, layflat tubing and poly bags in any thickness – from 32 gauge to 1200 gauge. This thickness range is divided into distinct categories, or “duty” ranges:

  • Ultra light duty polythene
  • Light duty polythene
  • Medium duty polythene
  • Heavy duty polythene
  • Super heavy duty polythene


As the word “duty” implies, each range has a usage application, ranging from very light use, like a garment separator sheet – to super heavy applications, like a membrane sheet for use in the construction industry.

Read more – Every industrial use for polythene

So, when you’ve been tasked with finding “heavy duty polythene”, what thickness do you actually need?

Polythene thickness comparison

We have previously investigated the question of how thick is 1000 gauge polythene, offering a simple conversion table to help micron and millimetre users get started. Now, we’re doing the same for duty ranges – giving each a defined measure, to help with ordering.

Duty Gauge thickness Micron thickness Millimetres
Ultra light 32 8 0.008
40 10 0.010
45 11 0.011
50 13 0.013
Light 60 15 0.015
80 20 0.020
100 25 0.025
150 38 0.038
Medium 200 50 0.050
250 63 0.063
300 75 0.075
400 100 0.100
Heavy 500 125 0.125
600 150 0.150
700 175 0.175
800 200 0.200
Heavy/super heavy 1000 250 0.250
Super heavy 1200 300 0.300

What do you need different thicknesses of polythene for?

Ideally, the thinnest and lightest gauge possible would be used in packaging, to save weight and transport costs – but it depends on the application. In polythene sheet for construction, for example, the thickest and most reliable sheeting is preferred over thinner gauges, as thicker sheets are less prone to notching and tears.

Simply put – every thickness has a use case, and the right thickness for you depends on what you’re doing with the polythene.

Light duty polythene

Light duty polythene, in thicknesses between 60 and 200 gauge, is useful as a single-use solution. It offers light protection for all manner of applications, from a final layer of outer packaging, to garment bags, to dust sheets. It is feather weight, and only surpassed in this respect by ultra light polythene; which some of you may have experienced as the ultra thin material used to package foam peanuts.

Medium duty polythene

Medium duty is very commonly found in boxes as a protective layer, or even as a final outer packaging. You’ll often find medium duty polythene in packaging for curtains and blinds, protecting car parts during shipping, and around consumer electronics and components. It’s a highly useful thickness range, and can even offer fair protection to items of furniture in transit at higher gauges. 

Heavy duty polythene

Heavy duty polythene, from 500 gauge up to 1000 gauge, has uses across industries and packaging requirements – from bagging bolts and screws, to creating coverings for polytunnels on farms, to uses in construction. Heavy duty polythene bags are often used to bag coal, or by builders merchants to transport heavy aggregate materials.

Super heavy duty polythene

This is the thickest of the thick, from 1000 gauge to 1200 gauge. It is the last word in strength, and so is used to pack heavyweight items like sharp metal components, large sections of timber, and to transport rubble.

It’s tough stuff! 

Hopefully, that’s answered all your polythene thickness questions – but if you need any further advice, just give us a call or send us a message; we’d love to help.

Get heavy duty polythene, in any format

We can provide heavy duty polythene sheet – in 1000 gauge thickness, even up to 1200  Get a quote now, or call us on 01773 820415 for more details.