The standard corrugated box is called a single wall box—made from corrugated board consisting of a layer of fluted material sandwiched between two paper sheets. While great for shipping most standard items, it sometimes just isn’t enough for heavier objects. A double wall box, using board made of two layers of fluting spaced between three paper sheets, offers superior padding and protection for those bigger, heftier items. But as with all packaging options, there’s plenty you should know about double wall boxes before adding them to your packaging strategy.

What’s the difference between box walls?

Single wall boxes are the most commonly used shipping carton. And while they provide enough protection for most products, there are time they’ll fall short. Double wall boxes are necessary for shipping larger, heavier items (either individually or in bulk). The added box wall provides more padding against the outside world, protecting items better against vibration, collision and drop damage.

While double wall boxes are most often used for shipping purposes, they’re also a smart choice for product storage. Boxes and items stacked on one another need strong walls to maintain their shape and avoid buckling damage. Double wall boxes are much more rigid than their single wall siblings, letting you stack and store boxes for longer periods of time.

There’s also triple wall boxes that have another layer of fluting and sheeting, making them even stronger than double wall boxes. So, why not just use them instead? Triple wall boxes are very expensive and are manufactured in a limited number of sizes. Unless a packaging consultant has specifically suggested them for your packaging operations, you don’t need them.

As double wall boxes are made from the same materials as single wall boxes, they’re just as recyclable, too. They’ll be picked up by curbside recycling programs with no problems, the only difference being that double wall boxes have more material to recycle.

What are flutes?

They’re more than just musical instruments, that’s for sure.

Box flutes are formed sheets of paper (resembling a repeating S or arch shape from the side) that are glued between two kraft paper sheets. These flutes are what gives a board its corrugation, and their shape adds protection, padding and rigidity to box walls. There are other cartons, like chipboard boxes, that lack corrugated flutes—this makes them significantly thinner but also decreases their strength and protection.

Single wall boxes are available in different flute sizes (or heights), which can change the properties and strength of boxes radically. The flutes used in boxes affect their level of protection, printability, and rigidity. Double wall boxes are available in many flutes sizes as well, and combining contrasting flute heights can create boxes suited for different products and purposes.

How do you secure double wall boxes?

When you’re upgrading to double wall boxes, you need to upgrade your packing tape, too. Standard carton sealing tape used for single wall boxes often doesn’t work well enough for double wall boxes. The board is too thick and strong (and the box too heavy) for the tape to stick reliably.

Reinforced water-activated tape is your best choice for keeping double wall boxes closed. Make sure you wet the tape and adhere it properly. Once the adhesive dries, it bonds the tape to the box and keeps it sealed during delivery. Using a kraft tape dispenser can help you with this.

What businesses should use double wall boxes?

Single wall boxes, no matter their fluting, will struggle to handle larger and heavier items. If your boxes are unable to support or protect your products properly during shipping (and storage), you may need to switch to double wall boxes. Businesses and industries who use them most often include:

  • Furniture and home décor retailers
  • Heavy equipment and automotive component manufacturers
  • Sporting goods companies that provide home gyms and weighted equipment

Heavier products take extra consideration and planning, that’s for sure. By using double wall boxes when necessary, you can pack, ship, and store them without worry. Be sure to stop by our boxes category, you’ll be sure to find double wall boxes that fit your shipping needs.