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People often use the word ‘cardboard’ when they are talking about corrugated boxes or carton board boxes; these are different materials, so what actually is the difference between the two? When you are selecting the right packaging to ship your products, it is important to know what materials you are actually using and the benefits of them.

What is corrugated board?

Corrugated board is a material which consists of liner board and kraft paperboard. The multilayer design includes two thicker pieces of liner board on the outside of the layers and a middle layer which is sandwiched between in a fluted pattern to create consistently reoccurring air pockets.

The air pockets that are inside are great for impact resistance and help the material to withstand rough handling. Corrugated board is used all over the world on a daily basis by people and business for shipping goods. This is because this material is one the most cost effective and reliable options to use when shipping goods through a transit network.

Corrugated board is also very versatile because it can be altered by increasing the thickness to suit different strength needs. You are also able to print on corrugated boards to add features such as a brand name, logo or shipping information (i.e. “fragile”). However, large and intricate detailed designs would be hard to print onto corrugated board due to the texture of the material.

What is carton board?

Carton board is the name for a container that is made of paperboard and often corrugated fibreboard. It is known for its sturdy and rigid properties, making it a popular choice for packaging. It is often mistaken for cardboard, but actually cardboard is a heavy duty type of paper made in varying strengths/thicknesses. It is a generic term that is often used for paper based products that are heavier than paper. Cartonboard is easier to print on than corrugated board, as it has a flat surface with no ridges and is thinner, so easier for printing machines to handle.

Corrugated boxes vs carton board boxes  

Despite the fact that corrugated board and cardboard are often confused, they are both very different materials which have benefits for different uses, but which one is the best choice of packaging for you to use?

For commercial packaging that doesn’t need to hold heavy items, carton board boxes are the best to use as they can be easily printed on, they are lightweight, aesthetically pleasing and are not bulky. They can also be used for shipping thin, light packages through postal services, such as DVDs, books and documents.

However, for shipping boxes, and large packaging needs, corrugated board is the best material to use. This type of box is very durable with a great strength, making it the perfect material for shipping and stacking as these boxes can withstand rougher treatment and support the weight of other boxes if required (for example, when stacked in a depot prior to dispatch or delivery).