The Difference Between Shipping Boxes and Shipping Cartons, Pt. 2

Welcome to part 2 of “The Difference Between Shipping Boxes and Shipping Cartons”.  These articles are meant to be interchangeable, so if you missed the first part you shouldn’t have a problem hanging with us here in part two.  As a matter of fact, you didn’t miss much at all.  We simply deduced that the word “box” and “carton” are interchangeable because cartons are made from cardboard, and boxes used to be made from trees but now they are primarily made from cardboard as well.  Also, we discussed how you could say that a carton holds smaller boxes of something (a carton of cigarettes was the most popular example).

We ended by saying that a customer would probably say “shipping boxes” whereas a producer slash mover slash individual involved in the shipping and packaging industry would probably say “shipping cartons”.  Why is completely uncertain.

Keeping along the same trajectory of discussion, if you happen to go to a website that sells packaging and shipping supplies they will more than likely refer to boxes and cartons interchangeably.  Their menu probably advertises “boxes and cartons” above “bags” and “cans, jars, and bottles”.  Or if you select “shipping cartons” you are taken to the same page that “shipping boxes” takes you to.

While in part 1 of this topic I primarily talked about what discussion boards had to say on it, this part is more devoted to what I found on actual packaging and shipping websites.  For one of the websites, they referred to their boxes when talking about packing or shipping more household type items, like food and clothes.  When they started talking about shipping cartons, though, they referred to transporting freight.  Which could more or less be the exact same thing said in different words, since “freight” is just referring to “a load”.  Or “freight” could be seen as much heavier and bulkier items, such as a bunch of boxes put into a carton.  Also, it seems that a fairly common opinion is that cartons are made of two different parts, a bottom and a lid.


Once again, at this point in history, it seems like the words “box” and “carton” are more or less used interchangeably.  Whereas at one time the two probably distinguished between products, whatever developments in technology has rendered that distinction obsolete.  Therefore, “shipping cartons” may have differences when compared to “shipping boxes” or, then again, they very well may not.