Cardboard vs Corrugated | Learn the Difference at FGS (2023)

Cardboard vs Corrugated | Learn the Difference at FGS (1)

Understanding the differences between cardboard vs corrugated fiberboard is an essential first step to take as you choose storage and shipping solutions. While the two materials are often referenced interchangeably, they’re actually quite different from each other.

Corrugated offers some significant advantages over traditional cardboard, ensuring that your produce gets from point A to B without any issues. Read on to discover the important differences between corrugated cardboard vs regular cardboard.

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Corrugated Is More Durable

Traditional cardboard is a thicker, heavier version of paper stock or pulp. For example, a cereal box is made from cardboard. Corrugated, on the other hand, might be made with cardboard materials, but the overall design and structure is much more durable.

The biggest difference between cardboard vs corrugated fiberboard is that corrugated is made with three layers. There’s a ruffled, fluted material sandwiched between the inner and outer cardboard layers, providing exceptional strength that can withstand severe wear and tear throughout the packing, storing, shipping, and retail display processes.

Corrugated Is Better for the Environment

Cardboard vs Corrugated | Learn the Difference at FGS (2)

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Corrugated is biodegradable and contains no dyes or bleaches, so it can be composted and recycled effectively. At Fruit Growers Supply, we partner with supply chain vendors who source materials primarily from sustainable forests. Unlike traditional cardboard boxes, corrugated cartons can be reused over and over again, saving you money while reducing your carbon footprint.

Corrugated Is Lightweight and Flexible

When considering the weight of cardboard vs corrugated fiberboard, it’s important to keep the overall strength-to-weight ratio in mind. While cardboard is a lighter material in general, corrugated is going to be much more rugged at the same weight.

The ruffled inner layer offers incredible strength and flexibility while keeping the overall weight of the container down. In order to achieve the same amount of strength as corrugated, you would need to use a much heavier cardboard that wouldn’t be practical physically or financially.

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That’s the major difference between corrugated cardboard vs regular cardboard: Corrugated is designed with the unique needs of the end user in mind, while regular cardboard is simply a means to an end. That’s not to say that regular cardboard doesn’t have its place; it’s just not suited for heavy duty applications.

Corrugated Is Customizable

As you learn about cardboard vs corrugated, remember that it’s all about context. If you’re packaging cereal, corrugated wouldn’t be the right choice. If you’re shipping fruits and veggies, corrugated is the best choice, by far.

The great thing about corrugated is that there are endless customizations and combinations available. Say you’re shipping apples to a retail store. Not only can we provide tough, lightweight shipping containers, but the retailer can also use those same shipping containers as retail displays. We deliver custom corrugated solutions that align with your unique challenges and goals.

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Contact Us for a Quote

Here at Fruit Growers Supply, we’re known for our competitive rates, exceptional quality, and outstanding customization options. Now that you recognize the important differences between cardboard vs corrugated, it’s time to improve your operations. We’ve delivered consistent, quality work since 1907, and we’d love to partner with you. Contact us now for a free consultation and quote.



What is the difference between cardboard and corrugated cardboard? ›

Corrugated Is More Durable

Traditional cardboard is a thicker, heavier version of paper stock or pulp. For example, a cereal box is made from cardboard. Corrugated, on the other hand, might be made with cardboard materials, but the overall design and structure is much more durable.

Is corrugated cardboard stronger than regular cardboard? ›

Corrugated is used more often for packing and shipping items due to its strong and durable nature. Whereas cardboard and other materials are not impact-resistant, corrugated can withstand the rigors of moving from a warehouse to a mail processing center and ultimately to a delivery vehicle.

How can you tell if cardboard is corrugated? ›

Cardboard is thick paper stock, and although corrugated boxes are made with the same cardboard, they are not the same. Generally, corrugated sheets are made of three layers of paper with an outside and inside liner.

Are all cardboard boxes corrugated? ›

Many boxes are made from cardboard, such as the packaging of consumer goods like cereal and beauty products. However, the boxes that most people think of as cardboard boxes, such as the durable brown shipping boxes used to ship all kinds of different products, are actually made from corrugated board.

What are the three types of cardboard? ›

For our needs there are three types of cardboard that matter the most: corrugated fiberboard, paperboard, and mat board.

Why is some cardboard called corrugated? ›

Corrugated is made up of three layers of paper that includes an inside liner, an outside liner, and fluting with a ruffled shape, which runs in between the two. This type of material enhances the packaging process for the following reasons: Durable. Lightweight with a high strength-to-weight ratio.

What are the disadvantages of corrugated cardboard? ›

Drawbacks Of Corrugated Cardboard Boxes
  • They are not as durable as boxes made from materials such as plastic or wood. ...
  • They are generally used for shorter-term purpose, as such they are not ideally a long-term investment that can be used over and over again.
17 Apr 2015

What is the strongest form of cardboard? ›

The strongest type of cardboard is corrugated fibreboard if we were being very general about it. However, if you wanted to get more specific, the 5-ply variation which is double wall corrugated, making it perfect for heavy-duty situations.

What is non corrugated cardboard called? ›

Type #8: Paperboard

This is a very thin type of cardboard, that is used for everything from cereal boxes to toilet paper rolls. Paperboard is also known by the names chipboard or carton, and it is less sturdy than corrugated fiberboard, so is used for lighter objects or non-load-bearing purposes.

What are the different grades of cardboard? ›

The available paper grades for outer and inner liners when manufacturing cardboard are as follows:
  • KRAFT (K): Virgin Kraft paper.
  • TEST 2 (T2): Partly recycled liner paper.
  • TEST 3 (T): Fully recycled liner.
  • CHIP (C): Waste based liners.
  • FULLY BLEACHED WHITE (BW): Fully bleached Kraft liner.
28 Sept 2022

What is thick cardboard called? ›

Corrugated cardboard, sometimes just called corrugated, is a sturdy packaging material made of three layers of kraft paper. It's named for the interior layer of wavy paper, also called the corrugated medium, which gives the cardboard its strength.

Is corrugated cardboard more expensive? ›

Cost-effective: Its lightweight, customizable design makes corrugated board one of the most cost-effective options. There's no need for costly labor, expensive tools or unnecessary bulk.

What is corrugated cardboard called? ›

Corrugated fiberboard or "combined board" has two main components: the liner and the medium. Both are made of a special kind of heavy paper called containerboard. Linerboard is the flat material, typically on the outer surfaces of the board but also on the inside for some structures, that adheres to the medium.

What is corrugated cardboard used for? ›

Corrugated Cardboard is used in many packaging situations, from moving house to posting laptops and packaging food products. This kind of cardboard can be customised to safely transport a wide variety of goods with different sizing, card thickness and colour available.

What is the most common type of cardboard? ›

Now it's time to look at how cardboard is formed - more specifically, corrugated cardboard, the most common type of cardboard. In the simplest terms, corrugated cardboard is made from three different elements - a wavy/fluted/corrugated sheet of cardboard between two other flat layers of cardboard.

What is the strongest corrugated box? ›

One of the strongest types of corrugated we offer is called 275 Mullen BC. Let's quickly break down that name and what it means: BC means that this is a double-wall corrugated, stacking B-flute and C-flute on top of each other.

What is the most common cardboard? ›

Corrugated fiberboard is the most common type of cardboard and is characterized by their flute profiles. It is made from three different elements: A wavy, fluted corrugation layer between two other flat layers of cardboard.

Are pizza boxes corrugated cardboard? ›

Pizza boxes are usually made from corrugated cardboard , the same cardboard that your packages are shipped in. When in pristine condition, this is easy to recycle and you can toss it right in.

What is the thickness of corrugated cardboard? ›

Being between 6mm and 7mm in thickness, this is a double walled container combining B and C fluting. The most common applications for a cardboard such as this is transit boxes/ shipping boxes and items that require a higher level of transit protection.

What are three benefits to corrugated? ›

Corrugated cardboard is one of the most popular solutions for packaging and shipping. These boxes are customizable, provide stable cushion, are cost-effective, and keep moisture away from the products being housed.

How long does corrugated cardboard last? ›

There is no standard that specifies or requires the inclusion of an expiration date on corrugated cardboard boxes. Through studies and observations, however, it was possible to reach a consensus that, under ideal conditions (with controlled temperature and humidity), they last up to two years.

Can corrugated cardboard get wet? ›

However, exposure to water or humidity is highly destructive toward cardboard mechanical properties. Water-soaked corrugated cardboard can easily collapse with irreversible shape distortions.

Which cardboard is best? ›

Chipboard paper is by far the most versatile type of cardboard, 90% of the time corrugated box partitions are being used when chipboard box partitions could be used in their place and provide the same level of protection along with other benefits.

What material is better than cardboard? ›

In summary, plastic is actually more efficient to manufacture than cardboard and produces less waste during the process.

Is corrugated cardboard tough? ›

Good Strength: Compared to multiple existing packaging, the corrugated packaging holds an excellent strength to weight ratio. Their outer material is hard and rigid enough to keep the item inside of it safely. It doesn't break, tear out, or crack easily until and unless the weather is terrible.

What is the problem with cardboard? ›

Since cardboard is biodegradable, it produces Methane (the greenhouse gas) as it breaks down. If you don't recycle cardboard, then it will end up in landfill and increase the amount of Methane that is released into the atmosphere. As a result, it will take up unnecessary space and contribute to global warming as well.

What is the benefit of corrugation? ›

Corrugated cardboard is designed to keep moisture and bacteria away from the products within, this is particularly important for food products that have to withstand long shipping times. Corrugated packaging is easy to customize.

What is the problem with cardboard boxes? ›

The most obvious is environmental. Cardboard is more biodegradable than plastic, but the problem is that consumers are poor recyclers. The Fibre Box Association contends that while 90 percent of corrugated packaging gets recycled, the leftover 10 percent still adds up.

What kind of cardboard is used for packaging? ›

Corrugated fiberboard boxes are widely utilized in retail packaging, shipping cartons, product displays and many other applications requiring a lightweight, but sturdy material.

What kind of cardboard is waterproof? ›

The boxes made with waterproof corrugated cardboard are manufactured with recycled papers laminated with a PE layer in one or both sides. Because of the PE layer, it is guaranteed that the boxes or other packaging manufactured from this material resist water and grease damage.

How many types of corrugated are there? ›

There are chiefly 4 types of corrugated box, single-phase, single wall, double-wall, and triple wall. Now have a look at the difference between all of them and their application in several industries.

Is corrugated cardboard cheap? ›

Corrugated cardboard boxes are extremely low cost and some of the least expensive cartons available.

Why is corrugated so expensive? ›

The cost of some types of cardboard boxes that are used in packaging has increased by about four times in recent years. Making cardboard requires raw materials, like cellulose, at a higher cost, which makes e-commerce more expensive.

What will replace cardboard? ›

Alternatives to Cardboard Boxes
  • Recycled & Eco-Friendly Plastics. Just because plastics aren't normally environmentally friendly doesn't mean you can't use recycled ones. ...
  • Cornstarch Packaging. ...
  • Seaweed Packaging. ...
  • Mushroom Packaging. ...
  • Biodegradable Air Peanuts. ...
  • Inflatable Air Pillows. ...
  • Corrugated Up-cycled Cardboard.
23 Oct 2018

What is an advantage of corrugated board? ›

Not only is corrugated packaging easily recyclable and renewable, but it can also be reused as is, helping to further reduce packaging costs and the environmental impact. Many corrugated case styles are designed to be easily collapsible, and fully reusable.

What are the disadvantages of cardboard? ›

The Paper and Cardboard Con's

Less durable: Cardboard is much less durable than plastic and can be susceptible to mould, fire, and water damages due to weather. Stacking difficulties: Cardboard is not able to hold as much weight as plastic and so cannot be stacked as easily without breakage.

What exactly is cardboard made of? ›

Cardboard, also known as corrugated cardboard, is a specially engineered material made from paper pulp. It's made up of different components that work together to make it strong, lightweight and versatile. You might recognise the wavy shape of its distinctive fluting (or corrugation).

What is corrugated cardboard? ›

Corrugated cardboard typically refers to a type of cardboard which is a thick paper stock or heavy paper-pulp. This then creates a thick arrangement of card which, in turn, develops into a strong box – perfect for packaging.

What is heavy duty cardboard called? ›

Gaylord Box: Gaylord box is basically a bulk-size corrugated box. Traditionally, Gaylord boxes are large or bulk size and allow for the shipment of products in a large, single container or on a pallet.

Are there different grades of cardboard? ›

This can vary from very fine flutes such as “E” to manufacture lightweight retail cartons (being very good to print onto), through to a more coarse flute such as an “A” or “B” flute more usually used for transit packaging.


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