Looking for a cardboard box to ship your products? Confused between paper types and paper weights? We’ve compiled a list of everything you need to know. We’ve even included a handy buyer’s guide if you’re specifically looking to Buy Cardboard Boxes. Keep reading for our top tips on how to choose the right shipping box for your products.
1. Choose The Right Shipping Box – Size
Start by measuring the product you intend to ship. Measure the product’s length, width and height. Select a size as close to the product as possible. For delicate products it’s best to choose a size slightly bigger to allow you to pack some protective Void Fill around the product. We recommend using eco-friendly void fill such as shredded cardboard or paper based bubble wrap to help reduce your carbon footprint. Most customers hate receiving their order wrapped in unrecyclable plastic packaging!
Don’t Forget! – Top Tip For Shipping
Cardboard box sizes are specified in internal dimensions to enable you to fit your product perfectly. Remember to measure the external sizes of the box for shipping or fitting onto pallets.
2. Choose The Right Shipping Box – Strength
The strength of a shipping box is not determined by how many times it has been used. New and used cardboard boxes can be equally strong. Cardboard strength is determined by board grade and fluting.
Understanding Corrugated Cardboard
Corrugated cardboard is made from a middle layer of wavy paper, known as fluting, sandwiched between 2 outer layers of paper. Multiple layers of fluting can be added as shown below.
Fluting Types & Standards
Single Wall Fluting
This comprises of 1 layer of fluting between 2 layers of paper.
Double Wall Fluting
2 layers of fluting and linerboard are sandwiched between 2 layers of paper to create extra strength and stability.
Triple Wall Fluting
3 layers of fluting and linerboard are sandwiched between the outer layers of paper. Triple wall fluting is often used for larger boxes such as pallet boxes or octabins. These boxes need to be extra strong and durable as they often ship very high capacity products.
The thickness of fluting will help determine the strength and therefore the application of the cardboard. Find out what type of fluting you need for your products and method of shipping.
A – 5mm thickness. Extremely heavy duty, perfect for providing extra protection.
B – Probably the most common type of fluting. Approximately 3mm thickness, offering good all round protection. Often used for cardboard boxes.
C – With a 3.5-4mm thickness, this fluting provides a greater compression strength and is ideal for stacking.
E – Very fine fluting, commonly used for printed cartons as it provides a high quality surface for printing on.
BC – Used to describe double wall fluting that combines B and C fluting. This creates a combined thickness of 6-7mm. Use for shipping boxes to provide a greater level of protection.
EB – Double wall fluting of a combination of E and B fluting. This provides a thickness of around 4 – 4.5mm. This type provides a smooth exterior for printing.
Kraft or Test are the two main types of paper used to make cardboard. Both have an impact on cardboard strength.
Kraft paper is manufactured from trees. It contains ‘virgin’ fibres, making it the strongest type of paper and the easiest to print on. It is also more expensive and less sustainable.
Test paper is double layered and made from recycled board which makes it less expensive than Kraft. As a lower quality type of paper it is generally used for the inside liner or ‘fluting’.
There are also a number of specialist paper types available but Kraft and Test are the two you are most likely to encounter.
Paper is measured in GSM or grams per square meter. You will often see the weight of the paper used next to the paper type. So cardboard with 125 gsm Kraft paper is referred to as 125K.
Applying what we now know regarding fluting, paper types and paper weights you should now be able to understand the way in which manufacturers label corrugated cardboard strength.
Test Your Knowledge
This means the corrugated cardboard includes 150 GSM of Kraft paper outer liner, E grade fluting and 150 GSM Test paper inner liner.
If it still seems a little confusing, it is always best to ask for advice. Tell your packaging supplier what you are packing and how you are intending to ship it. They will advise you on the most appropriate strength of cardboard for your needs.
Consider Eco-Friendly Options
Cardboard is considered an eco-friendly packaging option but it still takes a lot of resources to make a cardboard box. There is another option that’s low cost and even better for the planet…
Choose To Reuse!
A cardboard box is not a single use item. Many boxes are strong enough to be reused multiple times before they are ready to be recycled. Used Cardboard Boxes are always quality checked before they are sent out for a second use. This means you can still rely on a used box to protect your products to the same standard as a brand new one.
If used boxes are not suitable for your product you can always opt for Brand New Surplus Boxes. These boxes have never been used and tend to be batches of brand new, end of line stock. These boxes are incredible value for money!
Need some help finding the perfect box? Check out our Cardboard Box Buyer’s Guide below.
Choosing the right size and strength of cardboard box for your products is incredibly important. Get it wrong and you will likely create multiple problems for yourself. By understanding the different types of fluting, paper types and paper weights, you can select the right strength board for your requirements. It’s always a good idea to consult a Packaging Professional who can guide you through the common pitfalls and misconceptions. It’s also a good idea to see if your product can be packed in Used Cardboard Boxes. Used boxes maintain their original strength and durability. Therefore, they are a great way to save money and get packaging that’s better for the planet. Find out more about Cardboard Box Reuse or check out our Full Stock Range.