Brian's House Building Blog

3 Tips for Choosing New Shipping Crates

by Peyton Sanders

Shipping crates are a very important investment in your business; it doesn't matter how much time and money you spend in producing any item if it doesn't arrive at its final destination in good condition. There is a wide variety of shipping crates available, so note a few tips on choosing the right one for your product.

Lumber grade or use

The lumber used for shipping crates will usually have a grade or classification of some sort, and this will tell you something about the overall durability and quality of the crate itself. Industrial grade may be the lowest grade, as it may be prone to twisting or defects on the surface; this is good for lightweight goods or for when you don't need to get much use out of the crate, such as for one-way shipments. Construction-grade lumber is stronger, as this is used for framing a house or other construction. For crates you'll want to use repeatedly or for shipping heavier items, look for construction-grade lumber.

Plywood thickness

The thicker the plywood, the heavier the crate, so the more it might add to shipping costs; however, consider that a thicker plywood also means more protection for your items inside. You'll need to balance the cost of thick plywood with how much extra protection you need from your shipping crate, depending on the items inside and how they're packaged. A simple way to do this is to consider whether an errant forklift drove into the crate; would it splinter the plywood, and, if so, how much damage would the items inside suffer? If the items are packed in thick boxes, you may be able to get by with a thin plywood for the crate, but for delicate machinery and other such items, invest in a thick plywood for protection in a worst-case scenario.

Ease of access

You may want a shipping crate that will be very secure during transportation of your goods, but note how easy it will be for your end customers or other recipients to access and open the crate. Screws that can be removed with a handheld screwdriver can keep the crate secure but then also be easy for warehouse personnel to open. On the other hand, a crate that needs to be nailed shut may then need to be pried open with a pry bar, and this can be difficult for your customers or end recipient. Consider if your recipient can easily open or access the crate and the tools they'll need and then decide on the best fastener for your shipping crates.