Despite its deceivingly simple make-up and function, corrugated boxes can generate a lot of questions. Some of those questions may include the difference between cardboard and a corrugated box (which we will get into later).
We aim to answer some of the questions about the key packaging and shipping products that we get asked constantly, in the hopes of making our friend, the simple cardboard box, even more simple.
How Much Weight Can a Cardboard Box Hold?
As will be the theme in these FAQs, cardboard and corrugated are not the same thing, though they're often thought of as the same thing. The former holds far less weight than the latter, usually only up to 20 pounds. However, corrugated boxes tend to be capable of holding much more weight.
For instance, depending on the size of the single-walled corrugated box, it may hold up to 80 pounds worth of items. If you need a box to hold more weight than the 20 to 80-pound range, keep in mind that you can opt for stronger, double-walled and triple-walled types of boxes.
Double-walled boxes can typically hold between 60 and 150 pounds of items, while triple-walled boxes can hold up to 300 pounds in items.
What is the Strongest Type of Cardboard?
In general, cardboard boxes are not very strong and are usually simply designated to store and hold the likes of cereal, pasta, and other limited-quantity foods. For light items, bigger cardboard boxes can be used as shipping containers or for storage purposes.
Corrugated boxes, on the other hand, are very strong. The strongest type of corrugated is a triple-walled corrugated box. Triple-walled corrugated consists of three sheets of corrugated board, which are sandwiched in between four sheets of carton board to make for one heavy-duty box that's often used to package the likes of refrigerators and other heavy items.
It's important to understand the difference between cardboard and corrugated.
What is the Least Expensive Cardboard Box Type?
The least expensive cardboard box type is also the most common: the conventional folding cardboard carton box. These boxes typically cost less than $1 a box and can be acquired for less if they're purchased in bulk.
Keep in mind that this is also the most basic type of cardboard box that holds the least amount of weight. What makes these types of boxes the most affordable is that there's the least amount of cardboard and other resources going into them.
What is Corrugated?
Corrugated is the name used to define a type of packaging box that is comprised of at least three layers: two sheets of container-board and then a sheet of paperboard liner which is sandwiched between the two sheets.
When formed into boxes, corrugated is an ideal packaging and transportation option due to the material's high strength, ease of printing and labeling, and ease of handling.
It's important, however, to distinguish corrugated from cardboard and rigid packaging options. Cardboard boxes are those that are made from heavy-duty paper pulp to form a box, while rigid packaging normally refers to the likes of plastic milk cartons, clamshell packaging, and other non-cardboard and non-flexible packaging options.
When Should I Use Custom Box Inserts?
Custom box inserts are primarily used for two reasons:
To add another level of sleekness and style to the packaging to further engage and form a relationship with the customer upon opening.
To add another level of protection to an item and keep it from jostling around while in transit.
On this note, it's easy to see when custom box inserts would make sense in a package. It may be especially helpful for packaging and shipping fragile items like laptop computers, television sets, glassware and more. Or brands may elect to print on and include custom inserts that offer further directions to the consumer or display a message.
Did Your Corrugated Box Question Not Get Answered Here?
If you’ve made it to the bottom of the blog and still have questions about corrugated boxes that we didn’t cover here, don’t despair! Read more here or download the free Protective Packaging Consideration Guide below. You can also reach out to our team here:
(Editor's note: This blog was originally published in July 2021 and has been updated in November 2023 to reflect the most up-to-date information.)