Different Types of Inserts Available for Your Product Packaging


Packaging is essential to the success of your product because it directly affects your brand image, unboxing experience, as well as the protection of your products. If you have an excellent product, with a poor presentation, you may be hurting your unboxing experience and brand image and overall affecting your sales. Apart from the visuals, protecting your product is key to product packaging before the customer purchase.

This is where the inserts come into play. In essence, box inserts prevent your products from moving around inside the box and helps to present your products to enhance the unboxing experience professionally.

Boxes that have window cutouts or window patching may allow the product to be shown without even opening the box, making it essential that your product is presented in a well-placed way to highlight its value.

What is an insert and why would you need it?

A box packaging insert can be made of many different materials and acts as a base for your product to sit properly. It is designed to reduce or cut off all movement inside the box and acts as an absorber for both external as well as internal shocks.

Packaging inserts also make it possible to package unconventional and unusually shaped products by fitting them into a square or rectangle or to divide boxes into several sections.

Listed below are the popular types of inserts available in the market today with a quick explanation of why these inserts are the perfect choice for your next packaging project.

Cardboard inserts

Cardboard inserts are corrugated sheets that are precisely cut and shaped to help hold products in place. Corrugated boxes are well known for their heavy-duty nature and design that allows them to hold a lot of weight. The inserts are made of either the same material that goes into the box, or slightly lighter material.

Cardboard packaging inserts are also used to fill in gaps between where the product is placed and the outer wall of the box, providing a rigid, protective space where the item can be secured. The weight it can bear is quite impressive when compared to standard paperboard. There are a number of ways to design boxes that can be folded into itself and secured without pins in this case as well.

The most significant advantage of cardboard is that it can be easily recycled and reused. Everything from small appliances to computers and even fridges come packaged in cardboard with inserts that are strong enough to protect the enclosed items from damage.

Cardboard inserts for custom boxes.
photo: cardboard dividers

Foam inserts

This type of insert is among the most popular form of inserts in the market. Foam can be used in different ways to keep the product safe and secure especially when packaging delicate and expensive items. Foam is also used when products are more prone to scratches. In such cases, using cardboard or any other type of insert may be risky. Foam is also perfect to keep the product from being affected by heat and temperature changes to a certain extent.

It is also perfect when the package needs to be kept light. Weighing next to nothing, it can be used as much as needed to protect the items inside. Often times, foam packaging inserts are molded and cut out to be slightly smaller than the product it holds by a small margin so that it grips the item firmly, this makes it possible to reuse the insert as a storage option.

Another advantage of foam is that it is easy to recycle after use and is eco-friendly. Whatever be the shape of the product, it is possible to mold the foam accordingly, to minute detail.

A custom foam insert for a black custom package.

Molded pulp inserts

Pulp packaging inserts are similar to paper mache, where they can be formed into shapes by the use of molded fibers. Molded pulp can be very sturdy and can range in multiple densities. The most significant advantage of pulp is that it by itself is a recycled product, promoting an eco-friendly image for your company. It can be relatively inexpensive in higher quantities. Molded pul inserts are often used for holding electronics due to their lightweight and shock-absorbent nature. You will find larger appliances, and many commercial electronics use molded pulp inserts for their low-cost and protective traits.

A molded pulp insert for your next custom packaging project.

Molded plastic inserts

Plastic packaging inserts are a popular choice and work in the same way that molded foam works, except it does not offer the same level of protection. For some, it may also not look as good as the other insert choices.

The molded plastic inserts are often seen in packages that hold food simply because they are the perfect choice for food-safe packaging. The plastic used is similar to the ones found on the cover of beverage cups, which are thin, soft, and light, but not very sturdy and can be easily damaged.

They can, however, be made in intricate shapes and designs with snap-on tabs to secure the items.

A black molded plastic insert for custom packaging.
  1. It’s great to know that foam inserts could be used to protect delicate items when packing them. My grandmother has some fragile items she wants to store in a storage unit, but she is afraid of putting them in boxes. I will let her know that getting some foam inserts will keep them safe from raking, so thanks for the help.

  2. Hi Mark, Your blog is really helpful, Sleeves and inserts are necessary for packaging. I am already a user of cardboard boxes. These boxes are best for the secure packaging of products. Keep sharing such kind of content. Thanks

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