Your Guide To The Different Types Of Packaging Boxes

Your Guide To The Different Types Of Packaging Boxes

Looking for the right packaging for your products can be a challenge with so many options out there. In this article, we'll take a closer look at the most common types of packaging boxes used in the US. From their uses and properties to tips for choosing the right option.

Whether you're a small business owner or product designer, or just need information about packaging, this guide will provide helpful insights to make the best choice for your needs.

What Are Packaging Boxes?

Packaging boxes are containers made of various materials, such as cardboard, plastic, or metal, used for the transportation and storage of goods. They come in a variety of sizes and shapes and are designed to protect the contents from damage during shipping or handling.

Packaging boxes are commonly used in industries such as retail, e-commerce, and manufacturing. They may be used to transport products from the manufacturing facility to the distribution center, from the distribution center to the retail store, or directly to the end customer.

In addition to protecting the contents, packaging boxes can also serve as a marketing tool. They can be designed with a company's branding, logo, or messaging to help promote the product or brand. They may also include information about the contents of the box, such as ingredients, product specifications, or usage instructions.

Types Of Packaging Boxes

Packaging boxes come in a wide variety of types and styles, each suited for different products and packaging requirements. Below is a list of the common types available on the market.

Folding Carton Boxes

folding carton boxes

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Folding carton boxes are a type of packaging made from lightweight paperboard (or cardboard) that's designed to be folded into a specific shape. They can be made from either single-ply or corrugated cardboard and are shipped flat.

These boxes have several key elements: a top panel (lid), a bottom panel, side panels, and a tuck flap. The tuck flap helps hold the box closed.

Folding carton boxes are commonly used in the consumer goods industry for lightweight products. They provide protection from dust, dirt, and moisture and are a popular choice for retail sales, storage, shipping, and transportation. These boxes come in a range of sizes, typically no larger than 12" x 12".

Folding carton boxes are available in different types and styles:

  • Straight Tuck Box
  • Lock Bottom Box
  • Reverse Tuck Box
  • Crash Bottom Box
  • Sleeve Packaging
  • One-piece Tuck Top Box
  • Two-piece Boxes
  • Counter Display Box
  • Holster Box

Mailer Boxes

mailer boxes

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Mailer boxes, also known as shipping boxes or mailing boxes, are a type of packaging box that is specifically designed for shipping products through the mail or other parcel delivery services. They are usually made from corrugated cardboard and are lightweight to minimize shipping costs.

These boxes typically have a simple design, with flaps that fold in to create the box and a tab or adhesive closure to keep the box securely closed during shipping.

Mailer boxes are often used for shipping small to medium-sized products. They are also commonly used for shipping fragile items, like glassware or ceramics, as they provide extra cushioning and protection.

Mailer boxes have the same elements (top panel, bottom panel, side panel, and tuck flaps) as a folding carton box, with additional features as follows:

  • Reinforcement features, such as additional layers of paperboard or corrugated material, make the box more durable and resistant to damage during shipping
  • Additional features, such as handle cutouts, tear-away panels or perforations for easy opening, or built-in padded envelopes for added protection.

Mailer boxes are also ideal for e-commerce and subscription businesses as they can have logos, art, or images printed on them. These can also be used to send gifts.

Shoulder Boxes

shoulder box

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Shoulder boxes are rigid boxes that consist of a base box and a lid that fits over the top of the base. There’s a tray that’s attached to the base and extends beyond the top of the base. That extension forms a “neck”, and the top edge of the base serves as the shoulder. This shoulder keeps the lid securely in place. There are also types where lids and bases don’t touch or come in contact with each other. Instead, there’s a gap between the lid and the base, which allows for easy opening of the box.

Shoulder boxes are typically made of cardboard, although other materials are also available. Their lids are also often secured with tape or other closures. Some variants also have internal dividers, which can help keep the items inside the box securely in place.

Shoulder boxes are available in a range of sizes, from small to large. These boxes are also commonly used for irregularly shaped packaging items, or require extra protection during shipping.

Telescope Boxes

telescope boxes

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You’ve probably seen this type when you bought a new pair of shoes. Telescope boxes are composed of two parts: a top piece or lid and a bottom piece that fit or slide over each other or a separate body. This provides additional insulation to the sides of the package. In the same way that a telescope lid covers the lens, the lids of telescope boxes can be removed in the same manner.

Telescope boxes are made of paperboard or corrugated cardboard, and the lid and bottom sections can also be sealed together with adhesive. There can also be flaps on the sides that can be folded in to secure the contents. Furthermore, the top lid can be printed with custom graphics and text to be used for marketing.

Being a versatile type, telescope boxes can also be small, medium, and large, depending on the item that will be placed inside. Also, they come in different types as follows:

  • Design Style Boxes with Cover
  • Double-cover Boxes
  • Interlocking Double-Cover Boxes
  • Full Telescope Design Boxes
  • Full Telescope Half Slotted Boxes

Collapsible Boxes

collapsible boxes

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Collapsible boxes often have an inner and outer layer of cardboard with a layer of corrugated paper sandwiched between them to provide extra strength and durability. They also have flaps that fold inwards to close the box and handles for easy carrying.

Collapsible boxes, also known as folding boxes, are a type of reusable packaging that can be easily assembled and disassembled. They can be folded down to a flat sheet when not in use, which makes them ideal for saving space. Common sizes of collapsible boxes can vary depending on the intended use, but they can range from small to large (around 8x10 inches to 20x20 inches).

Collapsible boxes are best for items that require a light-duty box but need to be stored or shipped.

Regular Slotted Container Boxes

regular slotted boxes

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Regular slotted container (RSC) boxes are characterized by their flaps on the top and bottom that are of equal length and width and are used to close and secure the box. Their two outer flaps, the lengthwise ones, have a width that’s half of the container, and they meet in the center of the box when folded. On the other hand, the width-wise flaps are shorter than half of the box width. The top and bottom of the box are taped, glued, or stitched to close.

RSC box sizes can range from 6x6x6 inches to 24x24x24 inches. These boxes are best for items that are not too fragile and don't require special protection.

RSC boxes are widely available and relatively inexpensive as they use less material. They also produce less waste during manufacturing. With their regular slotted design, they are easy to assemble and stack for efficient storage. The strength of the box ensures that the items remain safe during transport.

A drawback to using RSC is the limited customization it can offer. Only external and print designs can be edited due to their slotted design.

Rigid Boxes

rigid boxes

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Also known as set-up boxes or gift boxes, this type is made of stiff materials (such as paperboard, plastic, or cardboard, often 2-3 mm in thickness) with prints, designs, and decorations. They offer protection and a premium look and feel.

Rigid boxes are suitable for products like jewelry, with shapes and sizes varying according to the intended use. They are designed to hold their shape and maintain their structure, even when empty. They can have a variety of different elements, such as a lid, a base, and side walls. Moreover, these boxes can be made with or without windows, and they can have different colors and finishes like glossy or matte.

Corrugated Boxes

corrugated boxes

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Corrugated boxes are made up of three layers of cardboard: a wavy inner layer sandwiched between two outer layers. The inner layer, or corrugate, can be made from recycled paper and provides the structure and strength of the box. The outer layers, or liners, are made from virgin paper pulp and provide a smooth surface for printing and labeling.

The fluted construction or corrugation in corrugated boxes is crucial in protecting the items and preventing damage while in transit. The empty space between the flutes and under the arches offers cushioning and insulation to the products.

These boxes are suitable for items that are too heavy for a rigid box. With their corrugated materials, they can maintain their structural integrity even when stacked up. They are often custom-made to fit the specific dimensions and shape of the product being shipped.

Corrugated boxes are available in two types: white corrugated boxes and kraft corrugated boxes. The main difference between the two is their color.

White Boxes

White corrugated boxes are made from white corrugated cardboard. Their outer layers are made from bleached, virgin paper pulp. These boxes are a popular choice for packaging because their white color allows for high-quality printing and a clean, professional appearance. They are considered a more upscale and professional packaging option. Their white space can be used as part of any design, and their smooth finish results in prints that are true to color. Furthermore, white corrugated boxes are best for full-bleed designs and those with bright colors.

Among the products that are perfect with white corrugated boxes are luxury and health-related brands.

Kraft Boxes

Kraft corrugated boxes, on the other hand, are made from brown corrugated cardboard. They have similar structures as the white corrugated ones, but the outer layers of kraft corrugated cardboard are made from unbleached, virgin paper pulp. This gives the cardboard its characteristic brown color.

Kraft corrugated boxes are an economical choice for packaging as they are less expensive than white corrugated ones. They are also sustainable and recyclable. These boxes are not bleached, so they are a pure paper form. Other reasons to consider using kraft boxes are as follows:

  • They are available in matte or uncoated textures.
  • With their brown color, imperfections from transportation get hidden.
  • They are perfect for minimalist designs and/or dark ink.

Kraft corrugated boxes are the ideal packaging for natural and organic products.

Full Overlap Boxes

Full overlap boxes or FOL boxes feature overlapping flaps that fit tightly over the top, bottom, and sides of the box. These flaps almost completely overlap each other. The interior of the box usually features a layer of cushioning material or foam to protect the contents from bumps and impacts during shipping.

FOL boxes are easy to close and seal. They are also available in various dimensions. With their good structural strength, they are ideal for shipping fragile or valuable items that need to arrive in their best condition. These boxes can stand excessive weight or pressure because of their structure. This helps minimize the chances of costly product damage and the frequency of product returns.

FOL boxes are also typically used for bulk and heavier products, such as metal parts. The overlapping flaps will protect the box from breaking due to the weight of the products inside. You can be assured that your products will not fall through the bottom during shipping and will arrive safely.

FOL boxes can also be used for the transport of panels and other narrow products. With their long and durable flaps, you will only need small pieces of tape to secure their ends. Nevertheless, you can also opt to add industrial straps or staples for added stability during shipping.

Roll End Tuck Top Boxes

Roll end tuck top boxes consist of a base box and a lid or a tuck top that is folded into the base or tucked in behind the front panel to create a locking mechanism. The lid is folded into the base and locked into place using a tab-and-slot design, creating a secure seal. Simply, they are tray-style boxes with a lid that tucks into the top. They open from the top like a treasure chest.

Roll end tuck top boxes also feature roll ends and dust flaps. With roll ends, the box has added strength as the sides of the box have a second layer of material folded over. Dust flaps, on the other hand, provide additional padding along the sides while keeping dust from entering the box.

As an example, many craft and hobby items can also be packaged with roll-end tuck-top boxes, including model kits, puzzles, and board games.

Roll end tuck top boxes are a good choice for packaging items that require easy assembly and extra protection during transit. These boxes can even be assembled without tape or glue.

The Bottomline

Packaging boxes come in many different forms and materials. Each type of box has its unique features and advantages that make it ideal for specific types of items and shipping situations. Ultimately, the type of packaging box you choose will depend on your specifications and preferences. You also need to consider factors, such as the size, shape, and fragility of the item, as well as the shipping distance and conditions.

Make your packaging box stand out with high-quality packing tape that not only seals your box securely but also creates a lasting impression. At Impack, we offer a range of unique water-activated packing tapes that are not only eco-friendly but also designed with beautiful floral prints. Made from sustainable materials, our non-reinforced paper tapes use starch-based adhesive, ensuring maximum sealability while minimizing environmental impact. To learn more about our products,

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