Pre-Assembled vs Compact Packaging

Compact v Pre Assembled Packaging

Here at Hydropac we supply both compact packaging that you assemble upon receipt/requirement (such as our Reflective Air Bags) and rigid, pre-assembled packaging (such as our Polystyrene Boxes) – there are pros and cons to both, but self-assembly packaging is certainly leading the game of late, particularly with concern of rising shipping and transport costs.

Self-Assembly Packaging

We supply a range of packaging solutions that can be easily compacted down and assembled as required, including the Reflective Air Bag as above, our Chilled Cool Bags and our Thermal Postal Pockets. These have several pro points but do have some cons, too.


  • Cheaper transport costs – you can get more to a pallet (700 to a pallet for Reflective liners)
  • As compact, may be easier to transport with less risk for damage
  • Lower storage costs – less space needed for more product
  • End user can often store easily and reuse rather than throwing away due to lack of space, thus enhancing the eco credentials of the product.


  • Packaging operation can be slower, which can in turn impact on customer service offerings and order quantities
  • May be limited to smaller number of off-the-shelf sizes

Pre-Assembled Packaging

The Polystyrene box is a prime example of pre-assembled packaging, as it is manufactured to spec and comes as is, ready to be used as part of an insulated shipping system. Many find this type of product convenient and effective but not necessarily best for recycling/reuse or storage.


  • Speedier packaging operation; more products out the door per hour
  • Increased capacity for orders due to higher handling rate
  • Typically, available in a wider range of off-the-shelf sizes
  • Often stackable for easier storage


  • High transport costs (shipping air used by space of product)
  • May also require additional care during transit due to fragile nature and bulkiness of item. Damaged items may accrue cost losses over time.
  • Higher storage costs – more space needed for less product
  • End users may simply throw away after one use as too bulky to store easily, limiting reuse and recycling benefits.

It would certainly seem that compact packaging that can fit more to a pallet and take up less room in storage is a sure winner; whilst there will always be a place for traditional shipping boxes, new technologies have meant we can supply the best of both worlds with packaging that offers the optimum insulation and protection whilst remaining compact and lower-cost.

Interested in our range of insulated shipping solutions? Visit our website or give us a call on +44 (0)1494 530182 to find out more!

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Knowledgebase Packaging branche