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The Ultimate Guide to Shipping Boxes


Shipping boxes have been used to carry items from manufacturer to end-user for nearly 200 years, but many entrepreneurs are still unaware of the various kinds of boxes used to ferry their products everywhere. This guide serves as a backgrounder on shipping boxes and offer answers to some common questions such as:

  • What are shipping boxes?
  • How did shipping boxes come about?
  • What are the benefits of using a shipping box?
  • What materials are used for shipping boxes?
  • What kinds of boxes can be used for shipping?
  • How does one take a shipping box’s measurements?
  • How do I create and customize a shipping box through Packola?

Creative and Customizable Shipping Boxes for a Competitive Edge


Shipping boxes are essentially defined as cardboard containers used for the transportation of products from one point to another. These are usually made larger than most packaging options and are made of coarser but more durable materials that enable the box to hold its shape even when stacked for transit and to protect the contents within even through rough handling.


A product invented to keep up with the expansion of the global shipping industry during the Industrial Revolution, the first known corrugated cardboard shipping boxes were produced in the United States in 1871 to prevent the breakage of glassware during transport from artisan’s workshops to local merchants.

Since then, along with the evolution of international cargo and freight, shipping boxes have changed with the times and are considered a valuable necessity for today’s manufacturers and freight companies.

Today, shipping boxes are used for a variety of purposes. Along with the usual freighting of cargo to retailers, shipping boxes are also used for large-scale storage and for house-moves.


Due to its size, shape, construction, and the materials used for making it, a shipping box provides the following advantages:

  1. Protects Items Throughout Transit and Handing - As shipping boxes are invariably made of corrugated cardboard, these travel very well with minimal risk of damage. The layered construction of the box also ensures that even the most fragile of products arrive at their destination in one piece without compromise in quality.
  2. Can Hold Multiple Items - Shipping boxes are normally built on a large scale in order to hold a full consignment of a single product for shipment, including full-sized pallets or a given number of promotional bundles.
  3. Reinforces Brand Identity and Recall - Adding a corporate or product logo to a shipping box serves as a marketing tool for companies as this increases brand visibility for both retailers and customers.
  4. Produces a Lower Carbon Footprint - This is particularly true in cases where shipping boxes are made with sustainably sourced materials which have the additional benefit of being 100% recyclable or compostable. Using such boxes ensures that companies maintain a sense of environmental responsibility even while meeting sales targets.
  5. Cost Effective - You can order shipping boxes for as low as $0.57 apiece (Note: Price calculated based on maximum order amount.) from Packola, making it one of the most reasonably priced packaging solutions currently available.


There are currently four types of shipping boxes commonly available:

  • Regular Slotted Container (RSC) Boxes The most common shipping box has flaps which meet in the middle for easy sealing. Standard RSCs are usually built with corrugated sidewalls, making them sturdy and resistant to damage. For fragile cargo, heavier RSCs are used; these are double-corrugated boxes with a second fluted layer to reinforce the structure.
  • Tuck-top Boxes The name refers to the way these box lids are constructed, which makes opening and closing them easier. Standard tuck-top design usually incorporates a flap that extends forward, allowing the box to seal itself. A variation on the design – tab-lock boxes – was created to ensure additional security and tamper resistance.
  • Die-cut Boxes These boxes are custom-built and follow a specific folding pattern based on the size, shape, and quantity of the materials to be packaged within.
  • Mailing Tubes These cylindrical cardboard containers are used to ferry large printed documents such as blueprints, posters, reproduction prints, and artwork.


Use Packola’s online box design widget to specify the size of the box that you need. Measurements are also based on standard interior dimensions.

We also take the guesswork out of costing, as the widget also calculates the cost based on size, materials, and total quantity of your order.

You’ll be done creating your box in minutes!

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How do I order shipping boxes from Packola?

On the Shipping Boxes page, add the relevant details including the quantity required through the online widget, and you can start working on your box through our online 3D design studio. Save and submit your work, and we get right into production.

Q: Is there a specific size range for shipping boxes?

Dimensions range from the following parameters: 

  • Length: 2" to 30" 
  • Width: 2" to 29" 
  • Depth: 2.5" to 32" 

Note: Dimensions are based on the interior of the box.

Q: What materials do you use for boxes?

Our boxes are made of high-quality corrugated cardboard which gives the finished product structural integrity and durability. The cardboard that we use is both sustainably sourced and recyclable. We offer this material in the following variants: 

  • Standard Corrugated White Cardboard  
  • Premium White Corrugated Cardboard, prints with a glossy finish 
  • Brown Kraft  

Material thickness is determined by box dimensions and may be either of the following: 

  • 1/16” E-flute corrugated cardboard 
  • 1/8” B-flute corrugated cardboard
Q: How many pieces can I order?

Online orders can run from as few as one (1) printed sample to as many as 20,000 units. 

For orders greater than 20,000, email us at for a competitive custom quote specific to your requirements.

Q: Can I ask for a free sample?

We do not give out free samples, but you can order one (1) sample box before running multiple items. Our samples are reasonably priced and can give you a better idea on how your packaging will look like.

Q: In case anything comes up regarding my order, how do I get in touch with you?

Our Customer Service team is ready to help you any time. You can drop us a line at or, for urgent concerns, call us at 1-855-PACKOLA or talk to us online through the LiveChat widget on our website at

Get Production Started: Choose Your Box Style