About Boxes – The Fundamentals
You need to know a few of these fundamentals in order to purchase boxes intelligently.
We are always happy to talk boxes with our customers.
How the Size of a Box is Stated
Box dimensions are always inside dimensions — unless otherwise noted.
Box dimensions are given in a specific order. If you accidently give the dimensions in a different order, you’ll get a different box. The size is always given in the order ……. ( Length x Width x Height )
The first dimension is the length. Length is always the longer dimension of the opening of the box.
The second dimension is the width. Width is always the shorter dimension of the opening of the box.
The third dimension is the height. Height is always the vertical height of the box as you look down into the open box.
(We never use the word
depth because that word has several meanings.)
Notice how nicely the naming process clears up a potentially confusing situation.
Strength of a Box
Don’t overload your boxes. If you do, the boxes will get broken easily and the stuff inside tends to get broken.
Most boxes will tell you their weight capacity.
On the bottom of most boxes is a round, official looking design called a
box makers seal. One of the lines in the seal (in this case, the bottom line inside the circle) will say
Gross Wt Lt meaning
Gross Weight Limit
A standard box is rated to hold 65 pounds in ordinary shipping by
common carrier — ie it has a
gross weight rating of 65 pounds. Box ratings as low as 35 pounds and as high as 120 pounds are common. Boxes loaded above the
Gross Wt LT will tend to get damaged very easily. Legally, a shipper can refuse to pay a damage claim if a damaged box was loaded beyond it’s capacity.
Our experience (in dry Denver) has been that, in the process of moving, it is safe to load moving boxes right up to their printed load limits. But do not exceed that limit!
- Getting a stronger box:
This may require purchase of expensive, custom boxes.
You will still have the problem of lifting a large, heavy box.
Second, if you are packing fragile items, the weight resting on the bottom item may be excessive.
- Dividing the load into several smaller boxes:
This usually requires less expensive boxes if the load can, indeed, be subdivided.
On the other hand, shipping multiple boxes via a parcel service may cost more.
We sell a few sizes of heavy duty boxes.
It’s important to be specific about the construction of any box you buy. Saying
paper box or
cardboard box doesn’t tell the seller enough.
Shipping boxes are made of a paper material called
corrugated paper. A cross section of some corrugated is shown.
The material pictured at the top of the drawing is called
single wall corrugated. The vast majority of all boxes are made of single wall corrugated. The lower sketch shows a material called
doublewall corrugated which is usually much stronger than the
singlewall material described first.
Strength of single wall corrugated (or double wall) varies a lot depending on the materials used in construction. It’s a bit more detail than needed on a web page, but we can go over this sort of stuff at our store in Denver. There also exists
triplewall corrugated. This material is frequently designed to meet military specs. It is usually treated for extreme strength and moisture resistance. This makes it incredibly strong — and incredibly expensive. If you feel you need triple wall strength, it might be easier to purchase crates, instead.
Many store display boxes are made of a material called
chipboard. These are called
display boxes or
chipboard boxes. The construction material is simply a thick single layer of paper — typically, 1/32 inch thick. Chipboard makes a good box for in-store use, but it is not strong at all. Never ship anything more fragile than a shirt in a chipboard box. We do not sell chip board boxes. If you need a fancy display box, try an internet search under
display packaging or
gift boxes instead of