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Corrugated vs Cardboard Box – No, They’re Not the Same Thing!
Moving boxes in a room with a plant and a lamp.

Ask someone what’s the difference between corrugated boxes and cardboard boxes, and you’ll likely get a confused look.

To most people, corrugated boxes and cardboard boxes are the same types of boxes. In fact, many use these two terms interchangeably.

But here’s the thing: they’re not the same. They’re two completely different materials, with two different purposes.

Corrugated Boxes

Corrugated boxes are often mistakenly called cardboard boxes, even though they’re made of different materials.

Corrugated box sheets are made of three different layers of paperboard: an inside liner, an outside liner, and a type of fluted corrugated sheet in between. This design creates a strong and stable material that can withstand an impressive amount of force relative to its weight.

Because of its high strength-to-weight ratio, corrugated boxes make the perfect packaging solution for shipping or transporting medium-sized and large items. They’re widely used in product shipping and transport, being used to deliver everything from medium-sized goods to large household appliances.

Corrugated boxes are available in a variety of fluting designs and flute profiles, providing different sizes, thickness, and load capacities. This makes corrugated boxes versatile packaging solutions, with different varieties designed for different needs.

Cardboard Boxes

Unlike corrugated boxes that are made of multiple sheets of paperboard, cardboard boxes often use a single sheet of heavy-duty paper or paperboard.

Compared to corrugated boxes, cardboard box sheets are noticeably thinner and lighter. These sheets, however, also come in a variety of strengths and hardness.

Cardboard boxes are commonly used for packing and transporting small or light items (think cereal boxes, boxes for perishable food, small toys, board games, and other similar items).

Because of its softer material, cardboard boxes can be bent or  shaped more easily than corrugated boxes. It’s not unusual to see cardboard boxes in different shapes, and they can even be moulded to follow the shape of the item that it’s holding.

Does the Difference Matter?

In most cases, using one term for the other won’t cause much harm. Many people refer to corrugated boxes as cardboard boxes, and it works out fine in most cases. After all, there’s no cardboard police who will come and take you away for calling a box by the wrong name.

However, there are instances when using the right term will help everyone avoid confusion and expenses.

For example, if you’re shipping products or valuable items to another location, then you’ll need to use the right type of box to deliver it. This is especially true if other people are packing your items for you. If they end up using the wrong type of box, then it could result in damaged goods or higher costs of delivery. In cases like this, using the right term will help you avoid confusion and potential expenses.

Remember: if strength and carrying capacity are what you’re after, then corrugated boxes are likely what you need. For small and lightweight items, a cardboard box is likely better and more cost-effective.

So, while using one term for the other might be alright in most cases, knowing the difference between the two at the right time and situation will prove to be helpful.

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