As you start exploring the various options for product packaging, you will find that there is a long list of box styles and materials available. Among the most common are rigid, folding carton, and corrugated boxes. Each of these has their own advantages and disadvantages. To choose the right one for your product, you need to understand the differences.

Folding Carton Boxes

Folding cartons: (paperboard cartons, paperboard boxes) are some of the most common types of boxes that you will see at retail stores.

  • Folding cartons are shipped flat for lower transportation costs
  • Generally much less expensive to produce
  • Faster to produce

Rigid Boxes

Rigid boxes: (set-up boxes) are sturdier and do not fold or collapse as folding cartons do. Used for higher-end products where perceived value is important. They are also used when the product within is heavy and in need of extra support.

  • Often does not require expensive dies as used in folding carton manufacturing
  • Higher perceived product value, expensive looking box, better quality product by the consumer
  • Stronger and more durable
  • Rigid boxes usually do not require setup for product fulfillment

Corrugated Boxes

Corrugated boxes: (corrugated board, corrugated fiberboard or combined board) are what you would commonly refer to as brown cardboard boxes or shipper boxes.

A wavy or fluted layer sandwiched between two outer flat layers. The fluted layer is where the strength of this paper product lines.

Typical Functions

Folding boxes are the most commonly used for nearly every type of product sold, from cereal to medicines to chocolates or anything in a box. In the case of heavier products or high-end ones, you will typically find a rigid box. You are less likely to see a product sold in a corrugated box. Instead of being used for individual product packaging, these boxes are usually used to ship multiple products at once. Even so, you may also spot primary retail packaging made of corrugated boxes, particularly with extremely heavy or fragile products. Because of its strength, corrugated fiberboard is common for stand-up displays as well.