How A Shipping Tube Affects The Material It Holds
Shipping tubes enable manufacturers to package long lengths of materials such as paper posters or cloth in a compact form. The tube may seem not that important at first, outside of its main use as a package for shipping, but it also affects the appearance and usefulness of the material it holds. If you are ordering mailing tubes, knowing how the shape and size of the tube affect the ability to protect the material in it will assist you in choosing the right type of tube.
Larger-Diameter Tube, Less Curling
If the material you're placing inside the tube is paper, then you have to find a way for that paper to not curl up too much once it's taken out of the tube and unrolled. Think of the posters you had in college and how you had to flatten them over the course of a few days after unrolling them; the same curling can happen with the paper you're rolling up, but the people receiving those rolls won't have the luxury of spending a few days waiting for the paper to flatten. A larger-diameter tube will result in less curling because the paper won't be rolled up as tightly.
Seams Along the Tube
Cardboard tubes may have seams along the surface (interior, exterior, or both), depending on how the tube was manufactured. These seams can leave marks on fragile items if the tube is packed full. If you are using the tubes to hold a lot of material that has to be smooth when pulled out of the tube, like artwork, look for seamless cores, or get more tubes and put less in each, so there isn't as much pressure shoving the paper up against the seams.
Most mailing tubes have reinforced ends with plastic caps, adding strength to the tube. However, some have cardboard ends that you simply fold together and tape over. These can be strong but could get crushed just enough for the tape to pop off and the end to open. You could just increase the amount of tape you use, but if you're mailing something fragile inside the tube, try to get tubes that have those reinforced ends and plastic caps. You'll still need to tape them shut, obviously, but the closure will be overall stronger.
Mailing tubes also come in different shapes, which affects stackability if you're ordering them in bulk. Take a look at the offerings from companies selling mailing tubes and see which types may work best for your needs.