Different Box Styles: Which one is right for you?

Kyle Winkeler | January 11, 2021

There are many different options in the world. Making the right decision is an important one. When It comes to packaging, Xceed’s goal is to make those decisions as easy as possible, so when the time comes you can make the most informed choice. That’s why we wanted to put together a comprehensive guide on what the different box styles are and how to identify which one will serve you best.

There are three main cardboard box design categories we are going to talk about; custom subscription boxes and mailers, custom beverage holders, and custom printed shipping boxes. We will go through each of these categories and discuss the various types of corrugated box styles within them, and general information that can be helpful when trying to sift through the sometimes-overwhelming number of options.


Subscription Boxes & Mailers


Tuck Top Mailer

A Tuck Top Mailer is a box style most commonly used to display a brand’s unique art. This is normally detailed on the outside or even interior of the box. You will most likely see this artwork printed on the top lid of the box, but at Xceed you are not limited. This box is useful for customers who want to put their stamp on the packaging and let their style shine.

This particular box style has a variant design called Tuck Top Mailer with Flaps that comes with what are known as dust flaps. These provide locking support and prevent dust from entering the packaging during transport. Some products need the extra protection dust flaps provide.

There is also a Roll End Tuck Top option for the tuck top mailer but this style does not have dust flaps. It would not be an ideal choice for transport unless placed inside of an additional shipping box.


One Piece Folder

The second style is a One Piece Folder and they are considered a basic shipping box. Normally you would see this style produced in a kraft material with little to no graphics. We have seen however, in the last several years, an increase in the popularity and use of this box style with some impressive graphics. This guide will serve as a good source of general information but note that with sites like Xceed you are free to create custom packaging outside the norm and find what works for your brand.

The one-piece folder comes in two alternative styles. The first alternative style is called a One Piece Folder with Air Cells and these boxes are designed with extra cushioning. Air cells are meant for fragile items that could be damaged during transport. The second alternative style is called a Self-Locking One Piece Folder and this version of the OPF has a lid capable of folding into itself. This design adds another layer of protection for the products inside.


Tuck Top Box

The next style is called a Straight End Tuck, its packaging built with a standard locking fold at the top and bottom. Straight end tuck boxes are commonly used for presentation and gift sets. (weddings, birthdays, corporate events or even a general “thank you” gift)

There are two features offered for the Straight end tuck, the first is a Tuck Top with Auto Bottom; which will require glue on the bottom fold in order to keep its form, this glue allows the auto bottom to pop right into shape when it is opened.

A Tuck Top with Snap Lock Bottom is the other feature and it is very similar to the auto bottom but does not require glue. The snap lock accomplishes the same effect as the auto bottom by popping into shape when its opened but due to the lack of glue more material is needed.


Snap-Lock Gift Tote

The fourth style of mailer to discuss is what is called a Snap-Lock Gift Tote. Designed more like that of a carrier, this unique box style is perfect for carrying bulk items. The catering community tends to use this box style often.


Full Overlap Box

The last mailer style to go over is a Full Overlap Box. It is designed to provide extra protection by overlapping each flap on the top and bottom. This method quadruples the thickness and creates a stronger box capable of holding heavy and weighted items better than a traditional OPF.


Custom Beverage Holders


6-Pack Drink Carrier

There are two styles of drink carriers most commonly used. They accomplish the same goal but one is a 4-pack and the other a 6. The 4-pack drink carrier is most often used for carrying bigger containers that are 12 oz or more. Having 4 slots, versus 6, helps the carrier remain sturdy when transporting heavy drinks. This is not always the case though and sometimes it boils down to simply preference.

The 6-pack drink carrier could absolutely hold up to the weight of larger containers but, it is often used for drinks of 12 oz or below. This is the most commonly used style of drink carrier on the market and is considered a tried-and-true method of safely transporting beverages.

Both of these styles represent an opportunity to establish a retail shelf presence. There is ample material to print branded messaging and artwork and doing so will increase consumers attention toward your product.


2-Pack Wine Bottle Carrier

The 2-pack wine bottle carrier is designed with slots in the front of the box that show the wine bottles inside. Customers can benefit from seeing the actual bottle like this because It helps them visualize the product more clearly. Plus, these flaps also help keep the bottles secure. This is a great option for safely transporting brands with an exceptional presentation of your products.

Speaking of transporting wine, that brings us to the final beverage holder style; a wine shipping box. This style is primarily made to house large glass containers and keep them protected because we all know Glass can be easily damaged in shipment. The wine shipping box can be useful in this regard and help keep your containers safe during transport. This style also works for other types of beverages too!

These beverage holder styles are used by businesses of all shapes and sizes to ensure safe delivery of their products. They provide an opportunity to express your brand right on the packaging and help make a connection with a potential customer before they’ve even tried your product.


Custom Printed Shipping Boxes


Regular Slotted Container

This is a regular slotted container but you may know it by its acronym RSC. This box style is considered to be the “gold standard” of shipping boxes so it’s only fitting we discuss the RSC first. They are considered the standard because they are one of the cheapest boxes to produce in comparison to the other styles in this guide. An RSC uses less material than other box styles so when a high quantity order is made the difference really adds up and helps the overall bottom line.


RSC with Auto Bottom

Like the straight end tuck an RSC also has two features customers can choose from. The first is an RSC with auto bottom and it is similar to the tuck top with auto bottom we discussed earlier in the guide. To reiterate; an auto bottom is a design on the bottom of the box allowing it to fold flat and pop right back into shape easily. This design requires glue to keep it in place.


RSC with Snap Lock Bottom

The next feature is an RSC with snap lock bottom, a similar design to the tuck top with snap lock bottom discussed in the mailer section. This design achieves the same goal as the auto bottom but does not require the glue to keep it in place.

Regular Slotted containers are most commonly used as reliable shipping boxes. This is because of their durable and affordable design. RSC’s are a popular choice for business of all types and continue to dominate the box market.


Five-Panel Folder

The last style we will cover in this guide is a five panel folder. This box is primarily used for longer bulk items and is designed to house elongated shapes that might otherwise be too awkward for other shipping boxes. It is traditional to see no print on a five-panel folder. These boxes are used in mostly industrial environments so they don’t typically need to be eye catching or feature a brand. Ultimately, the five-panel folders are tough and durable methods of shipping.


The Right Packaging for Your Product

In this guide we discussed the different types of boxes and their many styles with the intent of helping you make the most informed decisions. Picking the right style of box for your business and your product is a tough call. We have gone over mailers, beverage holders, and shipping boxes to aid you in finding that perfect box. Whether it’s a tuck top mailer with a beautiful eye-catching graphic or a two-pack wine carrier helping transport wine as a party gift, the world of box styles has something in it for everyone, so see what you can create!

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