Packaging cardboard: types, characteristics, and uses

Tipologie di cartone

Packaging cardboard plays a crucial role in the world of industrial packaging, offering versatile solutions for the protection and transport of goods and products. Different types of cardboard are suited to specific uses, ensuring safety and durability during transportation while also serving as important vehicles for marketing and branding.

In this article, we will thoroughly analyze the different types of packaging paper and cardboard, their characteristics, and uses. Finally, we will focus on which boxes to choose for your products.

Packaging cardboard for companies: what are the selection criteria

The choice of packaging cardboard is crucial for companies, which must consider factors such as strength, lightness, and the thermodynamic properties of the material.

Customizing the cardboard in terms of thickness, shape, and size is equally important, as it can significantly affect the shipping and storage of products.

Varietà di carta

Varieties of packaging paper and cardboard

Exploring the world of cardboard packaging, it is essential to understand the types of paper or cellulose used in their manufacture. The choice of paper type significantly affects the characteristics of the cardboard, defining its optimal uses.

In terms of various applications, there are mainly two categories of paper used in the production of cardboard: Kraft paper and Testliner paper.

Kraft paper

Kraft paper is primarily obtained from untreated coniferous trees, such as pine, spruce, and fir.
The attribute “untreated” refers to the freshness of the cellulose fibers, which do not come from recycling processes.
The original composition of these fibers and the processing method give Kraft paper high strength, making it ideal for printing applications and elements requiring solid structural integrity.
For these reasons, it is the preferred choice for cardboard surfaces intended for printing and parts that require greater robustness.
Kraft paper is used in product boxes and postal shipments due to its strength

Testliner paper

Instead, Testliner paper, also known as “recycled paper,” is characterized by the predominant use of recycled fibers. Reprocessing woody fibers to convert existing products into new paper reduces strength and printability compared to Kraft paper.
This lowers its cost, making it suitable primarily for parts of the cardboard not exposed to view.

Both Kraft paper and Testliner paper generally come in duplex form, with a base layer for strength and a top layer of higher quality for printing finishes and aesthetics.
Two-layer lamination proves to be a popular choice for both types, although there are various alternatives focused on strength, aesthetics through bleaching, or the percentage of recycled material used.
This diversity allows for adapting cardboard to specific needs, balancing visual appearance and durability.

Cardboard packaging: properties and characteristics

When selecting cardboard packaging, it is essential to assess its mechanical and technological properties in relation to the product’s needs.

Mechanical properties, such as strength, elongation, traction, tear resistance, and pressure, ensure that the product is adequately protected from damage during transportation and handling.

Technological properties, including paper roughness, appearance of the sheet against the light, printability, fiber intertwining, and adhesion, influence not only the strength and durability of the packaging but also its aesthetics and ability to effectively showcase the product.

Here’s how some of the main properties of cardboard packaging can influence its selection:

  • Grammage: grammage, expressed in grams per square meter (g/m²), is a direct indicator of cardboard density and thickness. A higher grammage results in thicker and more resistant cardboard, ideal for heavy products or those requiring greater protection during transportation. The choice of the right grammage depends on the product’s weight and the desired level of protection.
  • Opacity: opacity is important in contexts where the packaging contents should not be visible or when a certain degree of privacy is required. This aspect is relevant for packaging containing sensitive information or for products that may be damaged by light.
  • Strenght: cardboard strength is crucial to ensure that the product reaches its destination without damage. Consideration must be given to compression strength, essential for transportation and storage, and tear resistance, important for keeping the packaging intact during opening. The choice of cardboard type for strength depends on the stresses the packaging will undergo during handling and shipping.
  • Whiteness grade: whiteness grade influences the aesthetic appearance of cardboard packaging and can impact consumer purchasing decisions. A high degree of whiteness is particularly desirable for luxury or high-end products, where the packaging aesthetics play a key role in product presentation.
Tipologie di cartone

Types of packaging cardboard

Understanding the various options of packaging paper allows companies to choose the most suitable material for their needs, ensuring that products reach recipients in optimal conditions, while also promoting sustainable practices and a strong brand identity.

Here is a comprehensive guide to the main types of packaging material.

Types of cardboard for packages

Corrugated cardboard:

  • Wave variations: A, B, C, E, and F, each with specific characteristics of strength and flexibility.
  • Uses: it is the most commonly used material, suitable for both fragile items and heavy products or as an external protective layer.

High-strength cardboard:

  • Characteristics: greater resistance to impacts and compression.
  • Applications: ideal for packaging requiring superior protection.

Types of interior paper

Kraft paper:

  • Properties: strong and tear-resistant, perfect for wrapping and protection.
  • Coloring: typically brown, contributes to a natural and recyclable appearance.

Sealing Kraft:

  • Advantages: good mechanical resistance, often used for sealing boxes.
  • Aesthetics: kraft color, offers a distinctive look to packaging.

More than the material: the importance of the right box

The selection of boxes for packaging plays a fundamental role in protecting products during transportation, ensuring they take into account their fragility and dimensions.

Beyond the protective function, customized packaging becomes an essential tool for branding and marketing, enhancing the customer experience and increasing brand visibility.

Moreover, choosing boxes of the right size is crucial for logistical efficiency, allowing for reduced shipping and storage costs.

Here are the main types of boxes.

Folding boxes:

  • Characteristics: easy to assemble, often requiring little more than folding along pre-set lines.
  • Uses: very common in the retail sector, for products such as shoes or electronics.
Scatole pieghevoli

Boxes with removable lids:

  • Advantages: provide easy opening and a premium appearance.
  • Uses: ideal for gifts, luxury products, and high-quality items.
Scatole con coperchio

Postal boxes:

  • Characteristics: robust and secure, designed to withstand transportation.
  • Uses: optimal for long-distance shipments, e-commerce, and subscriptions.
Scatole postali

Boxes for heavy products:

  • Characteristics: reinforced construction to support heavy weights.
  • Uses: suitable for machinery, sports equipment, and bulky items.
Scatole per prodotti pesanti


We have provided an in-depth overview of the world of packaging cardboard, highlighting how different types cater to specific needs to ensure optimal product safety, durability, and presentation. Here are the key points:

  • Informed choice: selecting the right cardboard is based on criteria such as strength, lightness, thermodynamic properties, and customizations related to thickness, shape, and size.
  • Crucial properties: evaluating the mechanical and technological properties of cardboard, such as grammage, opacity, strength, and whiteness grade, is essential to tailor the packaging to the specific needs of the product.
  • Material diversity: the wide range of available cardboards, including corrugated cardboard with its wave variations and high-strength cardboard, along with interior paper types like Kraft paper, sealing Kraft, and tissue paper, offer solutions for every packaging requirement.
  • Beyond the material: packaging is not only about protection; it also plays a key role in branding and marketing, enhancing the customer experience and increasing brand visibility. Choosing the appropriate box size significantly impacts logistical efficiency and cost reduction.
  • Types of boxes: from folding boxes to those with removable lids, from postal boxes to those for heavy products, there is a solution for every packaging need, combining functionality and aesthetics.

A detailed understanding of the different types of packaging cardboard and boxes can significantly influence the safety, efficiency, and visual impact of products, emphasizing the importance of a conscious choice for companies in every sector.

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