What Is The Difference Between Corrugated And Cardboard

You're looking to get some boxes for your company, and it should be an easy feat, right? All you have to do is get those brown boxes that seem to be available everywhere. Cardboard or corrugated, they should all mean the same, don't they?

Actually, they don't.

Most people use the terms 'corrugated' and 'cardboard' interchangeably, but in packaging engineering, they are worlds apart.

Knowing the difference between corrugated and cardboard will not only make it easier for you to find the best protection for your product, but it can also help you avoid costly mistakes. For instance, if you choose a box that is too flimsy, your product might be damaged during delivery. On the other hand, if you go for unnecessarily heavier boxes for your non-fragile items, you might end up with overly expensive shipping charges.

What is a cardboard?

Cardboard generally refers to a thick paper stock, or card stock. It is also known as paperboard, and is thicker than the standard office paper but probably thinner than a poster. It is usually pale brown in colour. Typical applications include book backings, cereal boxes, milk cartons, gift boxes, and other packaging for smaller consumer goods.

What about corrugated?

The corrugated cardboard was originally used for packaging fragile items like pottery and glass. It is made up of three different layers: an inside liner, an outside liner, and fluting (normally with a ruffled shape) that runs in between. This material makes it more durable and resistant to bending, yet lightweight with a high strength-to-weight ratio.

Corrugated cardboards are ideal for the shipping environment, as it can withstand compression, vibration, shock, moisture, and more.

The most typical applications of corrugated include shipping boxes, pizza delivery boxes, and perhaps some retail packaging for fragile items.

So which one should I go for?

Knowing the primary use of the boxes is the first step to help you decide between a cardboard and corrugated cardboard. Will they be used mainly for storage purposes, or for product packaging, or for shipping? Or perhaps, all of the above?

As the shipping process can be brutal to packages, here are some factors to consider when choosing between corrugated and cardboard:

What is the product type?

The box you choose will depend on the product you will be shipping. Food, clothing and electronics – they all have different needs.

For example, a T-shirt doesn't need the same amount of protection as a laptop. Therefore, it may not be necessary to ship a T-shirt in corrugated material. A laptop, however, cannot be shipped in cardboard as it is not sufficient to protect it through freight conditions.

How frequently will the product be shipped?

Will your product be shipped directly from warehouse to consumer? Or will it be delivered to a distribution centre before arriving at a regional office, where it will then be dispatched to the consumer?

Whether a product is being shipped one way, two ways or more has a major effect on the type of material chosen to transport it.

How will the product be shipped?

A product that is being hand delivered from the store straight to the home, like cupcakes or pastries, may not need an extremely durable box, compared to a product being shipped from the manufacturer to the distributor via truck, boat or plane.

As mentioned before, the shipping environment can be harsh and these packages are sometimes handled roughly. The boxes used to contain the products should be able to withstand the entire process and journey, and ensure your items arrive at their destination in one piece.

If you need help in choosing the right boxes, or if you're looking to create unique, customised boxes that represent your business perfectly, Redpak is ready to assist. Call us at 1300 390 063 or email sales@redpak.com.au.