Since we had the Mullen Test and ECT duke it out in a boxing ring, we’ve been asked to throw a few more fighters onto the mat and see who emerges victorious. So, we decided to see if corrugate vs chipboard would be the title fight everyone could get behind. And then we ran into a problem.

Corrugate board and chipboard turned out to be far too reasonable, and decided to sit down and compare notes with each other. So, while there’s likely to be no TKO by the end of this blog, we think everyone will walk away knowing a little bit more when it comes to corrugate vs chipboard.

Fiber #1: Corrugate

Corrugated board is created by sandwiching (gluing and pressing) fluting (wavy paper) between 2 sheets of linerboard (flat paper). This simple but effective technique creates a board (called single wall corrugate) that’s lightweight but strong, and ideal for use in protecting products. Additional layers of fluting and linerboard can be added to further reinforce the board, creating what’s known as double wall and triple wall corrugate. A single linerboard glued to fluting and leaving one side exposed is called single face corrugate.

Typically, the board is turned into corrugated boxes. This shape provides extra strength and stability to the board, and the resulting shipping container is used to safely ship products and materials of varying natures. There’s a multitude of box styles available as well, each designed according to a shipper’s needs. Regular slotted cartons (RSC) are the most commonly used corrugated box, but corrugated mailers, front lock mailers (FLM) and easy fold mailers (EFM) have their own advantages and are increasingly being adopted by e-commerce businesses.

Corrugated board is also used to create other shipping or support items. Corrugated pads can be layered between items or boxes for extra protection when they’re being stacked on pallets. Point-of-purchase displays in department and grocery stores use corrugated board to withstand repeated movement and less-than-gentle interaction with consumers. And corrugated bins are used for sorting, corrugated trays are used for support and organizing, and corrugated dividers provide protection for individual products.

Fiber #2: Chipboard

Chipboard, also known as paperboard, is a thick material made from the compression of paper fibers (often from recycled sources). It’s manufactured in multiple thicknesses, giving it varying levels of strength and allowing for all sorts of uses and applications. It’s that versatility that makes it so widely used in shipping, packaging and crafting projects.

When used for shipping purposes, chipboard is most often a support material. Larger pieces are used in place of corrugated pads on pallets, while smaller pieces are used to stiffen mailer envelopes. And while it’s not used as shipping boxes, it’s made into folding cartons for smaller items, gifts and clothing.

It’s also formed into shipping envelopes called rigid or chipboard mailers, which are perfect for photographs and printed documents. And once laminated and formed into right angles, long lengths of it becomes edge protectors (edgeboard), designed to help secure and protect pallet loads during shipping.

When not used for shipping purposes, chipboard finds itself with a wide array of options. Thinner variants become postcards, book and magazine covers, and other printed graphics. Thicker versions find their way into reinforcing notebooks and notepads. But chipboard is most often used in creating display packaging for a lot of what you see in boxes on shelves (boxed soda cans, electronics, fashion items and lots more). This is most often when people refer to it as cardboard, a term that’s not necessarily incorrect, but not the most accurate title either.

Artists use it for sculpture, scrapbooking and other creative endeavors. Retail stores use chipboard as gift boxes for watches, clothing, and lots more. It’s not an overstatement to say its uses are extensive.

So, who wins this tale of Corrugate vs Chipboard?

It all comes down to how you’re going to use it, and what you need from it. Chipboard is best for support needs, corrugate is best for protection needs.

Chipboard is thinner than corrugated board and takes up far less room when stacked, making better use of inventory space. Corrugate is stronger and more protective, making it the better choice for shipping large, bulky or high-volume products. Chipboard tends to be the more attractive material, due to its smoothness and well-defined edges. Both chipboard and corrugated board are available in white and kraft coloring, can be printed on for custom packaging purposes, and both are recyclable.

Whether you’re a packaging expert, product designer, professional artist or boxing enthusiast, there’s no need to take a side in the corrugate vs chipboard debate. Both have their strengths, both have their uses, and both can be utilized in some interesting and original ways.

The Packaging Company is a big fan of both packaging supplies and willing to call this match a tie. And after reading this blog, we’re wagering that you are, too.