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What is the difference between cardboard and corrugated shipping boxes

 2023-06-16 07:47:20

corrugated packaging

When it comes to getting custom-designed shipping boxes for packing and shipping products, businesses often think of simple cardboard boxes to do the job. Even if they have heard of corrugated packaging, business owners might think they are the same. But knowing the corrugated box meaning is important.

While cardboard and corrugated might be used interchangeably, packaging manufacturers know the difference. Corrugated boxes and cardboard boxes are very different from each other in terms of material usage, construction method, structural integrity, and other factors. 

In this article, we will help you understand the difference between corrugated and cardboard boxes and which one better suits your shipping needs. So without further ado, let’s get to the differences.

What Is A Corrugated Box?

So, what is a corrugated box? These are the boxes that you get when you order something from Amazon. Corrugated boxes are what may be referred to as “shipping boxes.” While these boxes may use some cardboard in their construction, they are not in any way the same as cardboard boxes.

Corrugated boxes are constructed using three different layers of paperboard for their construction. The outer two layers, known as the “liners,” are plain layers of cardboard that offer support and structure. The middle layer is known as the “fluting” and offers padding to help protect your products from damage upon impact. These three layers combine to form the “corrugated material,” as you know it, for corrugated packaging.

What Exactly is a Cardboard?

The term “cardboard” can refer to any material whose construction may include heavy wood pulp. This may be the simple material used to make greeting cards or the heavier version used to make gift boxes. The term may also refer to the chipboard material used to make cereal packaging boxes. 

Cardboard boxes are a brilliant choice to be used as product boxes. They offer superior printing flexibility to make your products stand out on store shelves. They are also durable (but not as durable as corrugated boxes) and offer a longer product shelf life. These boxes are brilliant for product packaging.

There are some types of cardboard that can be used for multiple purposes. A type of cardboard that falls in the middle of cardboard and corrugated board is corrugated cardboard. It can be used for secure shipping and handling. Another type of cardboard is chipboard, which is used to make cereal boxes. So there are many applications for cardboard based on its types.

The Difference Between Cardboard and Corrugated Packaging:

So now that you are familiar with the terms cardboard and corrugated, let’s further discuss the difference between the two.

  • Construction

The primary difference between cardboard and corrugated board is the construction process. Corrugated material is made by pasting three layers of paperboard together. In contrast, cardboard is made by pumping layers of paper pulp or recycled paper together. 

  • Material Used

Cardboard is made from heavy paper-pulp board, which can vary in thickness. On the other hand, a corrugated board is made by combining three layers of containerboard.

  • Durability

Another difference between the two materials is their durability. Corrugated packaging is much more durable than its cardboard counterpart. Corrugated boxes' sturdy construction makes them perfect for shipping boxes.

  • Usage

Another difference between corrugated paperboard and cardboard is their usage. Corrugated packaging is primarily used as shipping boxes. On the other hand, cardboard boxes are used as product packaging boxes,   you can often see on store shelves.These are some basic differences between cardboard and corrugated boxes.

Why Is Knowing This Difference Important?

The difference between cardboard and corrugated boxes is important when shipping your products. Both have special features and different uses; knowing the difference helps you make a better decision. Knowing this difference will help you get the right material for better shipping when you are shipping a product.

Corrugated Vs. Cardboard - Which One Is Better For Shipping?

When you compare these boxes based on only one feature, that is shipping, using corrugated boxes is a much better choice than cardboard. The sturdiness, durability, and additional features make corrugated packaging a better choice to use as shipping boxes. Although, cardboard can also be used to ship products. Let’s see what kind of products you can ship in both.

What To Ship In Cardboard Boxes:

Cardboard boxes are more sturdy than corrugated ones. You can still use them to ship lightweight products. If you run an e-commerce store and get an order for one box only, you can ship your product directly in its cardboard box. 

What To Ship In Corrugated Boxes:

Corrugated boxes are sturdy and can pack and ship heavier products. Their sturdy construction allows them to ship heavy products securely. You can also stack multiple product boxes in a bigger corrugated box and ship them for secure delivery. This helps you save money on transportation costs while keeping your products safe.

How Do I Choose The Right Shipping Box For My Product?

There are a few factors you need to consider to get the right shipping box for your products;

  • Size Of Your Product

The first factor you need to consider is the size of your product. This will help you get the perfect size for your customized corrugated packaging. Decide if you wish to put your product directly in the corrugated packaging box or do you wish to pack the product box inside. Once you have decided on this, take the exact measurements of your product or box and get your corrugated box designed an inch larger than the measurements so you have enough space to pack your product. Ensure to avoid getting a very large box so the product stays in place.

  • Weight Of Your Product

Measure your product to get the right packaging box. A plain cardboard box may work if your product weighs less than 20 lbs. For products heavier than that, you must go with corrugated packaging boxes. Depending on the size of the box, a corrugated box can hold products weighing between 20 and 120 lbs. For products heavier than that, you can use a double or triple-layered corrugated box that can hold up to 300 lbs.

  • Number Of Products To Ship

The number of products you wish to ship is also an important factor. If you wish to ship a single item, you can do that in the product box. But larger corrugated packaging boxes are better if you wish to ship multiple products.Considering these factors will help you find the best product shipping boxes.


As a business owner, knowing the difference between cardboard and corrugated packaging is essential. This will help you make the right packaging decisions for your products. Choosing the right packaging box is important, so only get it from an experienced packaging manufacturer. OXO Packaging can help out with that. So get your corrugated packaging boxes custom-made from OXO Packaging.

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