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A Guide to Buying Cardboard Cartons & Boxes

Cardboard boxes and cartons are arguably among the most affordable, durable and easiest ways to send packages. With the number of options on the market, however, choosing the right box or carton for your purpose can quickly become confusing. In this quick guide, you’ll discover some of the most common types of boxes and cartons as well as the best situations to buy and use them for.

Types of Cartons and Boxes

While there are many types of packaging boxes and cardboard cartons on the market, the most common types used in packaging today are folding cartons, rigid boxes and corrugated boxes.

Folding Cartons

A folding carton is any paper-based or cardboard package which acts as an external container for an item or product. Almost every product in the world is stored in this type of carton at some point in its shelf life. The name itself is derived from the way in which a folding carton is assembled, by folding the panels of the flat paper-based or cardboard material until it has been successfully assembled into a box.

Folding cartons are among the most affordable and flexible packaging types on the market. The material is also easy to print on, making it an ideal packaging material for brands wishing to implement custom packaging for their orders.

Rigid Boxes

A rigid box is any sturdy packaging box that doesn’t collapse or fold as folding cartons are made to do. Typically, this type of packaging box is used to display and package items such as shoes, but other high-end products where perceived value is important will usually use a rigid box for their storage and distribution.

While not as flexible as folding cartons, the material is still relatively easy and affordable to print on. You’ll often see custom designs on rigid boxes from most mobile phone manufacturers and certain high-end jewellery brands.

Corrugated Boxes

While sometimes referred to as cardboard cartons, corrugated boxes are distinctive as they typically have three layers, making them much more durable than a typical cardboard box or carton. This type of box is also often referred to as a shipping box or moving box. Their superior durability makes them an excellent choice for shipping goods or storing fragile valuables during transit.

Similarly to cartons, corrugated boxes can be easily printed using a printing method known as ‘flexography’. Flexography prints directly on the box itself and is perfect for single colour applications, but may be limiting when it comes to brands or colour schemes that incorporate multiple colours.

Which Type to Buy

The type of boxes or cartons you choose to buy will depend on the situation, but as a quick reference:

  • Folding cartons – Are best for smaller items due to their light weight, flexibility and ease of assembly.
  • Rigid boxes – Are best for items where perceived value is an important value of the brand or store. Higher-end products and products that are heavier or might need extra support tend to suit this type of box well.
  • Corrugated boxes – Are best for transporting fragile valuables or shipping retail products over longer distances. The multiple layers on this type of box provide superior durability when compared to most other types of packaging boxes.

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