Did you know that more than 90% of all products shipped in North America use corrugated boxes? Corrugated boxes are the top choice for businesses looking for a cost-effective and sustainable option for their packaging. However, businesses often confuse corrugated boxes with cardboard boxes; believe it or not, they are different.
A corrugated shipping box comprises fiberboard layers, two flat outer layers, and one middle-wavy layer called the medium. The number of these layers determines the box strength and thickness and thus is chosen accordingly.
This article will discuss the factors you must consider when buying a shipping box for your business to simplify the buying process.
What to Consider When Buying a Shipping Box
As mentioned above, a corrugated shipping box is made up of paper-based fiberboards. The outer layers are constructed using kraft paper, which is resistant to moisture, wear and tear, and is generally more flexible than the recycled content of the medium layer. Kraft paper is also printable and of better quality, thus, ideal for shipping purposes.
The middle layer of the corrugated shipping box plays a critical role in its strength. The medium is made up of wavy-shaped fiberboards, commonly known as flutes. These flutes are available in different grades, each determining the box’s strength, cushioning, and compression qualities, such as:
- A-Flute – this flute size has a ¼” thickness and is great for high-value, fragile items. It has great strength and cushioning properties. It is also stackable and can withstand heavy loads easily.
- B-Flute – it has ⅛” thickness and is generally thinner than other flute grades. Despite its thinner size, it is extremely reliable and durable and is generally used for additional packaging materials like partitions, food cartons, and padding.
- C-Flute – it has a 3/16” thickness and is most commonly used for shipping glass, dairy products, and other high-value items. It has average cushioning and compression strength and is an all-rounder.
- E-Flute – it has 1/16” thickness and is generally used as folding cartons. This helps save space and has high crush resistance. Moreover, it also has high-printing applications and is dyed and colored to display brands’ colors.
- F-Flute – it has a 1/32” thickness and is similar to E-flute. It is commonly used in the food and retail packaging industry. It has a flatter surface, which is more suitable for printing.
A cardboard shipping box is also differentiated based on its thickness. Depending on the number of flutes used in construction, a shipping box can be categorized into single-walled or double-walled, both fulfilling different purposes, such as
- Single-walled – it consists of a single layer of corrugated material and is generally used for packaging light to medium-weight items. They are also used for storage and transportation. These boxes comprise 90% recycled material and can hold up to 35 pounds.
- Double-walled – consists of two sheets of corrugated material and is a thicker alternative to single-walled boxes. They are used for carrying and delivering heavy-weight items like books, decoratives, electronics, etc., and can hold up to 65 pounds.
Finding the perfect shipping box for your needs is easier said than done. You need to consider the strength, size, thickness, and flute grade to ensure your product safely reaches the customer, and you have the opportunity to market your brand without costing a lot of money. Choose a reliable manufacturer like The Boxery for all your shipping box needs.