Four types of corrugated!
Deciding on the right corrugated material and box for your products seems like a fairly straight forward task. Although there is nothing incredibly difficult about choosing the right box there are a surprising amount of details that do need to be considered before you can decide on the best option. One of those details is whether or not your product will need a single, double, or triple wall box. If you look at the picture to the left you will see a nice diagram showing the difference between these materials.
Corrugated gets its strength from two things: the flutes and the liner paper weight. Notice from the diagram that the flutes are manufactured as arches. Arches, which have been used over and over throughout history in many building projects, are the strongest way to span a given space. The flutes are formed as arches and glued between the liners. The liners can be made of varying paper weights which also will affect the strength of the box. The heavier the paper the stronger the box.
Now let's compare the different materials. Single wall is by far the most used corrugated material. It is strong and durable enough for most packaging needs whether that be as a shipping container or a retail packaging box. Doublewall corrugated with two sets of fluted material is stronger than singlewall, but not necessarily twice as strong as you might think. It is used generally when heavier items or glass items are shipped and need extra protection and strength that the doublewall box can offer. Triplewall boxes are much less common than singlewall or doublewall and are used in large bulk type boxes that are sometimes filled with granular products. Triplewall is very sturdy and strong, but also much more expensive than the other options and therefore is uncommon. There is one more material type that I have not mentioned yet and that is singleface corrugated. Look back at the diagram once more and see that there is the fluted medium, but only one liner. This material is only used as inner packaging to wrap glass and provide cushioning for shipment.
There is a specific set of rules for all boxes that are to be used as shipping containers but to keep things simple, most products will be well protected in a single wall box. That is the place you should start when searching for a new box. Use doublewall when you have a product that is quite heavy or large or if you are shipping items that need extra cushioning qualities from the box walls!