Understanding the Difference Between Cardboard and Corrugated Box

Understanding the Difference Between Cardboard and Corrugated Box

Packaging plays a critical role in the success of an eCommerce business. It determines the condition in which the product reaches the customers. It ascertains the customers’ reaction when they will open their package. There are different types of packaging available that online retailers can choose from, such as corrugated boxes, cardboard boxes, and courier bags.

Depending on the product that you need to ship, you can choose the eCommerce packaging material. However, the most commonly used packaging materials are corrugated and cardboard boxes. Online sellers often use the terms cardboard and corrugated boxes interchangeably. Though they are both paper-based packaging materials, they are different and are used for different products and purposes. Therefore, it is important to know their properties in order to use them efficiently.

In this blog, we shall discuss the difference between corrugated boxes and cardboard boxes to help you make an informed decision.

Difference Between the Terminologies

When choosing the best packaging material to ship your products, it is vital that you know the different types of packaging materials available so that you can zero in on the best option. If not, it may harm your brand image. Cardboard is thick paper stock, and although corrugated boxes are made with the same cardboard, they are not the same. Generally, corrugated sheets are made of three layers of paper with an outside and inside liner.

Corrugated boxes enhance the packaging process of the products for the following reasons:

  • Lightweight
  • Durability
  • Protection
  • Cost-effectiveness
  • Environmental friendly

While the differences may seem insignificant to you, it is advisable that you use cardboard sheets and boxes for cards and cereals. On the other hand, corrugated sheets are the best option for shipping boxes. When you form a box of these sheets, they become ideal for shipping as corrugated boxes are sturdy, durable, and easily recyclable.

Cardboard Sheets

Cardboard sheets are heavy-duty paper stock, which is pressed hot to make thick and sturdy sheets. It is basically a pale brown colored sheet. The boxes made of cardboard are used for packaging consumer goods. For example, shoe boxes, milk cartons, toilet paper rolls, cereal boxes, and greeting cards. Typically, cardboard sheets and boxes are not used for heavy-duty shipping.

There are different kinds of cardboards, depending on how they are processed. The type of cellulose fiber and pulp used, the quality of pulp, the thickness of the pulp, and the percentage of fresh pulp differentiate the different kinds of cardboard. Knowing all these factors will help you choose the best. The most commonly used cardboards are paperboard, corrugated fibreboard, and cardstock.

Notably, all corrugated sheets come under cardboard sheets, but not all cardboard sheets are corrugated sheets. The same is the reason why most online retailers mistakenly take corrugated sheets and cardboard sheets to be the same.

Corrugated Sheets

Technically speaking, corrugated sheets are similar to cardboard sheets. You get corrugated sheets by further processing the cardboard sheet. Corrugated sheets are actually two or more layers of cardboard paper glued together. The primary elements of corrugated sheets are:

  • Liner: liner is the inner and outer flat board.
  • Medium: the medium is the cardboard between the two/more liners. Significantly, the medium is in the arches’ shape, and it gives the corrugated cardboard rigidity and structure.

Different boards, kinds, and flutes make different corrugated cardboard boxes. The boards and flutes ascertain the cardboard strength and thickness. For example, pizza boxes, shipping boxes, and retail displays use corrugated boxes.

Corrugated Boards

The primary differentiation between different corrugated sheets is based on the type of flutes and boards used. The most commonly used boards are:

  • Single Face: single face corrugated boards have a single sheet of liner board. It has a single medium glued together and is available in rolls. The single face corrugated boards are generally used as packaging inserts for cushioning and protecting fragile objects.
  • Single Wall: the single wall corrugated cardboard has two liner boards and a medium glued between them. Also referred to as double-face boards, these sheets are versatile and commonly used as shipping boxes and retail displays. The corrugated sheets’ single wall makes sure that the boxes are easy to ship, stack, or ship. They are also known as 1 ply corrugated boxes.
  • Double Wall: these cardboard sheets have three liner board sheets with two mediums glued between them. The layers of medium and liner board increase the boxes’ strength and structure. Double-wall corrugated boxes are the best for heavier objects and shipping stronger or heavy objects.
  • Triple Wall: triple wall corrugated boards have three medium glued layers between the four sheets of liner board. Undoubtedly, this is the most robust corrugated board of all and offers high strength protection. It is the best option for shipping heavier items. Triple wall corrugated boards are most commonly known as 3 ply corrugated boxes and are used for industrial parts and other heavy items.

Corrugated Flutes

The flutes between liner boards provide structure and padding to the corrugated cardboard. Their main purpose is to make the boxes sturdier and more rigid. They keep the boxes well-protected and make the boxes ideal for shipping.

Moreover, the thickness is the basis on which the flute is characterized. Depending on the flute size, they are termed as A, B, C, D, E, or F. The A-type flute is the largest with a thickness of 5mm, while the F-type flute has a thickness of 0.8 mm. Larger flutes come with steeper angles to provide more strength.

The flutes play a critical role in ascertaining the Edge Crush Test (ECT) and Mullen value of the corrugated shipping boxes. All these values talk about the strength of the boxes and how much pressure the boxes can withstand.

Benefits of Cardboard Boxes

Here are the top benefits of cardboard boxes:

  • Multipurpose packaging option
  • Suitable for high-end products and shipping
  • Offer visually-appealing presentation
  • You can easily print logos on the corrugated boxes for brand recognition
  • Easier to recycle

Benefits of Corrugated Boxes

Here are the top benefits of corrugated boxes:

  • Offer high protection from vibration, shock, and compression
  • It has a lower production cost
  • Cost-effective option compared to steel and plastic containers
  • Lightweight yet strong
  • Highly customizable option; you can get the boxes customized as per your specifications
  • Eco-friendly and easy to recycle

The Final Say

Both packaging options have different features and several benefits. It is essential to know the difference between them to make a sound choice for your online business.

Choosing the wrong type of packaging box can affect your business’s reputation among the customers. Inappropriately packaged products can make you lose customers. To counter this problem, you should ensure that you meet all your customers’ needs and requirements with products packed in the most appropriate packaging. Choosing the appropriate packaging will also save on unnecessary costs associated with packaging.