A guide to choosing strong cardboard boxes

Cardboard boxes on production line

Corrugated cardboard is a lightweight material. That’s one of the reasons it makes such great packaging options. But, some applications require a sturdy box. When you need packaging with extra strength – is corrugated cardboard up to the job? Absolutely. Here are a few methods we use to create strong cardboard boxes and packaging.

Why would you need a stronger box?

There are a wide range of reasons that clients come to us for stronger packaging, but three we see most often are:

  1. Strong boxes can carry more weight. This makes them ideal for bulky items and wholesale orders.
  2. Stronger boxes offer better protection for fragile items which are common in the beverage industry, beauty products, pharmaceuticals and more.
  3. Stronger boxes are better prepared for the rigours of shipping and supply chains.

It’s tempting to opt for strong boxes just for peace of mind, but if you don’t need them, you can waste materials and money. The best way to choose the right box is to ask our team for advice. With 20+ years of manufacturing experience, we’ll know exactly what kind of strength you need.

How we build stronger boxes

If your current box is not performing, or you have decided that extra strength is important for your brand or packaging, you need to decide how to achieve it. Here are some ways that we can increase the strength of your corrugated cardboard packaging.

Paper Type

Selecting the right paper type is one of the first steps. Most businesses today are looking to be environmentally-friendly and utilise recycled paper. But recycled paper is not as strong as virgin kraft paper. Kraft paper will provide a much stronger carton (gram for gram) and perform better if your product is being exported or will be stored in cool rooms or freezers.


Packaging papers come in various weights from lightweight 100gsm recycled papers to 300gsm kraft papers. Depending upon the weight of your product and the supply chain, we can tailor the right blend of paper weight to get your product safely to the end user.

Flute sizes

The curved cardboard in the middle of corrugated packaging is the fluting profile. That flute can come in many different sizes. Flute sizes range from E which is only 1.5mm thick all the way up to A which is 6mm thick. The thicker the flute, the stronger the box. But it’s not as simple as changing the flute profile to make a stronger box. It’s important to match the right flute size to your product so you achieve the right blend of stacking strength, containment and space utilisation.

Single vs double-walled

 The more layers that your cardboard box has, the stronger it will become. Sometimes a single flute option just won’t have the strength you need to deliver products from A to B. When this occurs, we can provide double-walled boxes. These are made with 5 pieces of paper and provide two flute profiles in the middle to give very high strength.

Stitching vs gluing

Another option is adjusting how you assemble your boxes. Gluing is the most common method of box assembly because it’s cost-effective and in most applications, plenty strong. But, if you do want extra reinforcement, you can opt for stitching. Echo Cartons use a combination gluer/stitcher machine to add extra strength at the join when our clients are looking for heavy-duty boxes.

Size, orientation and palletising

Finally, how you pack your boxes makes a difference. Getting the box to be a perfect fit where every product is packaged efficiently is a good start. Next, putting those boxes on the pallet in the right manner can make a huge difference in how the box performs; both its strength and the containment it provides for your products. In some cases, altering these simple elements can improve box strength without the excess costs of changing your flute or papers, or additional assembly methods.

Order the right box every time with Echo Cartons

With many years of manufacturing experience, our team can help you design the perfect box with the minimum cost.  We consider all your important specifications from unique industry requirements to budget constraints and deadlines. Ready to upgrade your packaging? Request a quote from our team.

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