1. Home
  2. Blogs

Cardboard Vs Plastic – Battle of the Boxes

Moving day is stressful enough without worrying that you’ve got the right tools for the job. Whether you’re moving your home or relocating your business, the same general list of equipment applies. One of the key items on this list must be a sufficient number of crates or boxes in which to pack your belongings, as well as the phone numbers of some very capable helpers.

It doesn’t matter if you’re moving yourself or have paid a removal firm to undertake the job, you’ll have already packed the contents of your house or office well in advance. But what will you have packed them in to? Both plastic crates and cardboard boxes have advantages, let’s look at the pros and cons of each:


Worried about damaging things in the move?

You’ve no doubt invested a lot of energy and cash in all the possessions, equipment and/or stock that you’re moving, not to mention the amount of time you’ve spent packing them ready for the move – of course you want them to make it to their new home safe and sound.

Plastic crates won’t burst open or lose their bottom if overfilled. They’re perfect for stacking with the rigid construction preventing squashing of items in the crate below and, best of all, they’ll easily survive a bit of wetting from the traditional British weather. 

Cardboard boxes are often unsteady when piled more than a couple high and even though you may have tried not to overload each box and stuck far too much tape on them in an attempt at fortification, can you really be certain that the bottom won’t give way? When/if they do make it onto the van or removal truck, boxes that aren’t rigid enough can easily get crushed by a heavier one. Be careful to keep cardboard boxes out of wet weather to avid them getting soggy and being punctured. If you can’t ensure reasonable cover, perhaps you should look at a plastic alternative.


Don’t want to spend a lot of cash or time on removal crates/boxes?

When you’re moving home or premises, budgets are always tight, so we understand your desire to keep costs down.

Don’t forget that plastic crates can be rented to avoid a large outlay when you need it the least. Crates will be delivered wherever and whenever you need them, ready to fill so there’s no cost to your precious time folding, taping and padding out cardboard boxes. No minimum order quantity rules make plastic crates a practical choice for any move.

Cardboard boxes can be begged or borrowed from pretty much anywhere but are they up to the job? Supermarket cast-offs aren’t always strong enough – you’ll need double-walled cardboard boxes to ensure that the bottom doesn’t fall out of your move. With the rising cost of cardboard, you might find that renting plastic crates does indeed work out better for you, especially when you factor in the expenses of tape and additional packaging, as well as the cost of your time used to build the boxes.

Ask phs Teacrate about a crate rental price – it might be cheaper than you think.


No space to store crates/boxes?

The last thing you need to be doing when you’re moving home or office is introducing even more items into your premises. It’s good to have plenty of space in which to work when you’re packing and dismantling.

Luckily, cardboard boxes can be left folded in storage until you need them, taking up little room. Simply fold, stick and stack as you go along. As long as wherever you store them is damp-free, they’ll be good to go whenever you are.

You might be surprised to hear that plastic crates can also be handily stored. They can be nested so will only take up the footprint of one crate until you need them. Store them in a garage or shed, without worrying that dampness will compromise them.

If you take advantage of phs Teacrate’s next day delivery service, at a time of your choice, you won’t have to worry about storing empty crates at all.


Need to be able to manoeuvre and handle the crates/ boxes safely?

Handling a removal easily and without harm to person or property has got to be a key aim. Up and down steps, in and out of vehicles, and along narrow corridors, those boxes or crates have to be up to the job.

A very definite advantage of plastic crates over cardboard boxes is their shape.  Secure lids and handles provide easy handling, while a range of sizes from 25 to 165 litres and speciality crates (including IT crates, book crates and stair crates) ensure there’s an appropriate container for each item, no matter where its destination.  As an added bonus, anyone transporting the crates can get to work, safe in the knowledge that the bottom won’t be falling out today or any other day.

The smooth-sided construction of cardboard boxes means that there’s little grip for the handler and with a taped up base there’s always a concern that the taped base could give way at a crucial point in the move.

Take a look at phs Teacrate’s range of handling equipment, also available on a rental basis, to make manoeuvring boxes or crates even easier.


Want to keep track of all your belongings?

During a move you can’t be everywhere at once so keeping your eye on all of the boxes or crates is virtually impossible! You don’t want to arrive at your destination with less than you started off with.

Aside from the issue of being accidentally damaged by crushing or wet weather, cardboard boxes can also be deliberately cut open to gain illegal access to the contents. They can, however, be written on directly with details of the area/room/desk they are being relocated to. Don’t be tempted to use labels as these have a habit of going AWOL. 

Plastic crates offer a tough design that is more difficult to unlawfully penetrate. An additional security option is available by using a security seal on the lid to make the contents difficult to access while in transit.

Make use of phs Teacrate’s barcode system to scan the crates at key points throughout the move, receiving an update via an app wherever you are, therefore allowing you to track each container’s progress. This reassures you that the project is running to schedule, all crates are accounted for and have been delivered to the correct house or office.


Thinking about re-using your crates/boxes?

Whether you’ve completed your move with boxes or crates, it would be great for you (and the environment) if you could re-use them. 

Of course, plastic crates can be washed and re-used many times over. Once your move is complete, just call us and phs Teacrate will arrange collection of your rental crates. If you need them longer, to help you to keep your items safe in storage, just let us know. Following collection, the crates will be processed at one of our state-of-the-art washing facilities which will have them spick and span in no time and ready to spring into action the next time you, or another one of our valued customers, need them. And when they’re finally worn out, we’ll recycle them responsibly (following the waste framework directive).

Cardboard boxes can be used once, twice at a push, before they’re too ripped, battered or soggy to perform the important job of keeping your possessions safe and sound. They can’t be washed and certainly can’t be sterilised so it’s down to you to dispose of them responsibly, and at your own cost.

While cardboard boxes may seem like the cheap alternative, we’re fairly sure you’ll agree that plastic crates are the more cheerful option for a speedy, stress-free, uneventful move. Choose the right supplier and you’ll be laughing all the way to your new home or office.

At phs Teacrate, we certainly have the experience to advise you which plastic crates would best suit your move. We’ve been in the crate rental business for over 35 years and handle around 25 million crates annually, not only for removals and storage but for the food and retail industries too. Eight depots and a fleet of delivery vehicles mean that your home or business is never too far away to benefit from the phs Teacrate service - fast, reliable and more than capable to help you on your next move.

Any other questions?

Give phs Teacrate a call for a quote or advice on how we can help get you moving.