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The Complete Guide to Anti-Static Bags

Anti-static bags are essential for the safe handling and storage of static sensitive components and devices. When shipping electronic components or devices, many manufacturers will require you to use some form of anti-static packaging to prevent damage from electrostatic discharge (ESD). Thus, anti-static bags are provided to help ensure optimum performance and protection in each shipment. Read on to find out more about ESD bags.

How Do Anti-Static Bags Work?

Anti-static bags are effective ESD control products, particularly if you’re going to be shipping or transporting items which are sensitive to electrostatic discharge. However, it’s important to understand how these ESD control products work so you can determine which ones are suitable for your needs. When it comes to safe shipping for ESD-sensitive items, both dissipative packaging and static shielding packaging are effective choices.

Benefits of Anti-Static Packaging

Reduced damaged goods

Using the right type of anti-static packaging can prevent static electricity from building up and discharging onto the static sensitive component. ESD is one of the leading causes of component damage.

Reduced costs

Protecting your static sensitive components with anti-static packaging will help to reduce the likelihood of ESD damage. This means you will save money on product repair or replacement costs.

Increased efficiency

The lack of damaged static sensitive components will enhance the efficiency and, in turn, will reduce the amount of product returns.

Increased longevity

ESD and moisture damage can have a devastating effect on static sensitive components. Using anti-static packaging will ultimately protect your static sensitive components from this damage and therefore increase their longevity.

Increased customer satisfaction

Latent damage to a static sensitive device can be hard to identify, and because of this, the product may accidentally be shipped to a customer without realising it is in fact damaged. The device may still continue to perform its intended function but the operating life of the device may be reduced greatly. This can frustrate the customer as they would have to wait for a new one to be shipped.

Using anti-static packaging can reduce the risk of an ESD event from occurring in the first place. This ensures that any component or device shipped to the customer will be at optimal performance; increasing customer satisfaction.

The Types of Anti-Static Packaging

Static Dissipative Packaging

Standard polyethylene bags can create a static build up when the polyethylene rubs against itself or another surface. If static sensitive components, such as SMD components, GPUs or integrated circuits, are placed inside these P E bags, a damaging amount of static build up could cause them to malfunction.

Opposed to standard polyethylene bags, static dissipative packaging increases resistance which protects better against an ESD (i.e. between 1 meg-ohm (10^6) and 1000 meg-ohm (10^9). This type of packaging is suitable for non-critical environments.

Static Shielding Packaging

Often known as metallised bags, static shielding packaging is made to protect items from static build up in the same way that static dissipative and anti static packaging does, but it also goes a step further and protects against contact with external static charges. Static shielding bags provide a conductive barrier against ESD, also known as a ‘Faraday Cage’, which protects any static sensitive components inside the bag.

Metallised bags contain various layers, Bondline’s metal bags typically consist of four layers: static dissipative coating, polyester, aluminium shield and static dissipative polyethylene. The presence of these layers provides a protective environment for the static sensitive components inside the bag and ensures they can be transported or stored without being harmed by static build up or external static charges.

Static shielding packaging should be used for all electronic components, devices, boards and assemblies.

Structure of Bondline’s Static Shielding Bag

Our static shielding bags are made with industry approved polyester and polyethylene laminates. The polyester layer works with the metal layer to provide a ‘Faraday Cage’. The polyethylene layer prevents tribocharging.

Static Shielding Bag Structure - Bondline Electronics

Anti Static Packaging

Anti static packaging provides minimal generation or retention of a static charge. Often available as anti-static pink bags, bubble wrap or bubble bags, anti static packaging is a popular method of ESD control. This type of packaging typically consists of an anti-static coating which can help to prevent static build up from occurring.

It’s important to remember, however, that anti static packaging won’t protect against a static charge penetrating through the packaging. Instead, it’s used to prevent static build up occurring due to the packaging itself; thus, they will not charge if rubbed against other surfaces or materials.

Structure of Bondline’s Anti-Static Pink Bag 

Our pink anti-static bags are made with industry approved polyethylene laminates.

Pink Anti-Static Bag Structure - Bondline

Conductive Packaging

Typically black and opaque in appearance, conductive packaging offers a low resistance i.e. less than 1 meg-ohm (10^6); the closer the 1 meg-ohm, the slower the discharge. This type of packaging is commonly used for material handling, shipping and storage. While conductive bags have a low resistance, they do offer a small amount of shielding (<30%) and thus can be a cost-effective alternative to static shielding bags.

Though lower in cost, conductive bags do not have a dielectric layer which means they cannot isolate a static sensitive device inside. It is possible that the static charge may be transferred through the volume of the material to the static sensitive contents inside the bag instead of around the material to ground.

For full static protection of components and devices, you should look for packaging that transfers static charges at a slow enough rate to prevent ESD damage, but not slow enough that it allows a build up of static – a static shielding bag is a good option.

Choosing the Right Anti-Static Bags

When selecting anti-static bags, it’s important to consider the level of ESD protection that is required, the environment it will be used in, alongside any additional features that are needed, such as protection from moisture or mechanical damage. As many electronic components are sensitive to more than just ESD, choosing the right packaging is a critical way of protecting goods and reducing unnecessary losses.

Other points to consider:

  • What you intend to put inside the ESD bag; static sensitive components (i.e. PCBs) or non-static sensitive items (i.e. studs, bolts).
  • Whether moisture is an issue for your business.
  • The size that is required.
  • Whether the item you intend to pack into the bag is sharp or sensitive to physical damage; a durable bag is needed in this instance.
  • Whether you would need resealable (loc-top) bags or open-top bags with ESD tape/labels to close the bag.
  • How the ESD bags will be stored or transported.

Although static dissipative and static shielding are two broad categories of ESD bags, there are a wide range of additional options to consider. At Bondline, we offer an impressive selection of ESD control products, including anti-static bags, to ensure you have access to the packaging solutions you need.

To discover which types of ESD protection bags could be right for you, take a look at the various options here:

Anti-Static Bags

Pink Anti-Static Bag with Non-Static Sensitive Device - Bondline

Simple and easy to use, anti-static bags can be a good choice if you’re planning on taking non-static items (i.e. nuts, bolts, studs, etc) into an ESD Protected Area (EPA). By preventing static build up, they help to ensure that good ESD practices are upheld and prevent ESD-sensitive items within the EPA from being exposed to a static charge. Of course, anti-static bags don’t prevent external charges from penetrating the bag itself, so these aren’t suitable for storing ESD-sensitive components if external charges remain a threat.

Anti-Static Bubble Bags

Pink Anti Static Bubble Bags

When you’re shipping fragile items, it’s important to consider how damage could potentially occur. While protecting an item from ESD may be necessary, you’ll also need to factor in how shipments may be handled and whether they’re at risk of being damaged. Anti-static bubble bags provide extra protection against shocks, vibrations and abrasions and reduce the risk of items being damaged in transit. With a dissipative coating to protect against static build up, bubble bags can be a great way to transport fragile or sensitive components.

Moisture Barrier Bags

Bondline Moisture Barrier Bags

Moisture barrier bags are commonly used when vapour barrier protection is required or when maximum shielding protection is needed without transparency being an issue. Most types of electrical components are sensitive to moisture, which is why manufacturers often choose moisture barrier bags when shipping items. These can be particularly effective for packing SMD reels or trays and other moisture-sensitive components. Manufacturers may place components in a moisture barrier bag before dispatching the item in PCB packaging boxes, for example.

While moisture barrier bags provide dissipation, anti static properties and static shielding, they also have a moisture vapour barrier which protects components from both moisture and static build up and improves long term storage.

Although moisture barrier bags provide an excellent form of protection, it’s advisable to use desiccant silica gel pouches (or clay desiccant) and humidity indicator cards within the sealed bag too for optimum protection.

Static Shielding Bags


If you want to protect items from external static discharge, as well as static build-up, static shielding bags are the obvious choice. Open-top or resealable options ensure static shielding bags can be used for a variety of purposes. You can be confident that a four-layer construction will provide a full ‘Faraday Cage’ effect to prevent static sensitive components succumbing to ESD.

High Shield Cushion Pouches

Ground Image High Shield Cushion Pouch Bondline

When you want heavy-duty protection alongside static shielding, high shield cushion pouches might be just what you’re looking for. The three-layer metallised packaging has a cushioned layer which provides extra cushioning to absorb impact and keep components protected against physical damage while they’re being transported from one location to another.

Metallised Barrier Bags

Metallised barrier bags supplied in packs of 100.

Metallised barrier bags work in a similar way to moisture barrier bags but they’re typically a more cost-effective option. As well as offering ESD protection, an additional layer of aluminium protects the contents from moisture too. As with moisture barrier bags, it’s advisable to add desiccant silica gel pouches (or clay desiccant) and humidity indicator cards when placing items in metallised bags.

Metallised barrier bags have a similar structure to static shielding bags but with opaque, thick layers of metallisation.

Sourcing Anti-Static Bags

When sourcing anti-static bags for your business, there are several key points to keep in mind.

  • The quality of the bag; while inexpensive bags may seem appealing, it may not be the best investment; particularly when it comes to the bag quality. When looking for a bag, always check the supplier’s quality program, material traceability and test standards. The materials and bags should be tested by the manufacturer before shipping.
  • The supply chain; stability and delivery.
  • The technical properties and specification.
  • Compliance to Standards; consider IEC 61340-1-5 International Standard.
  • The selection of standard sizes.
  • Ability to customise; if this is something you would require.
  • Lastly, the price.

Protecting Components with ESD Packaging

While it’s important to use ESD control products, like grounding kits and ESD wrist straps, in an EPA, it’s also essential to consider how ESD-sensitive components and devices can be transported without being damaged. Fortunately, our range of ESD control bags and ESD packaging makes it easy to find the shipping and storage supplies you need for any component. Don’t forget to also add a caution symbol to EPA protected workspaces, to remind people to wear ESD wrist straps.

For ESD Bag Advice, Contact Bondline

To learn more, browse our range of anti-static and static shielding bags now on our website get in touch with our friendly team on 01793 511000 or email us at sales@bondline.co.uk. 

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