Ever Googled “shipping boxes near me?” If so, you know that shipping boxes are available from many retailers, both online and offline. If you’re not careful, though, the cost of shipping boxes can add up quickly. This is why it’s good to know how to buy shipping boxes on the cheap.
Today we highlight where to buy shipping boxes, plus how to get free shipping boxes.
Easyship is here to help you save on shipping in every way. Aside from pointing you towards cheap boxes, we can also save you 70% on your shipping rates from leading couriers like USPS. Try our free shipping rate calculator to see exactly how much you’ll save with Easyship.
Here’s a full guide on where to buy shipping boxes – plus, how to get them for free.
What Types of Boxes Are Available?
Shipping boxes come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and materials. Prices for shipping boxes increase based on their size and the quality of materials.
Here’s an overview of what types of shipping boxes are available.
1. Corrugated Cardboard Boxes
Corrugated cardboard boxes are a staple of eCommerce shipping.
This is because cardboard boxes are a sturdy container for most products, including fragile items. All couriers accept cardboard boxes for their shipments.
Cardboard boxes can be found in all sizes from extra small to extra large.
You can also get cardboard shipping boxes in many shapes, including square, telescopic tubes, and even triangular. Heavy duty versions are available for shipping large items. Cardboard boxes that fold open, slide open, and more are also available.
As you look for where to get boxes for shipping, remember: if you need a cardboard box of a certain size or shape – it probably exists.
2. Custom Boxes
Custom boxes are corrugated cardboard boxes have been personalized for your brand. In most cases, your company logo or other messaging is stamped on the box exterior.
This benefit of adding your logo to your packaging is making your packages stand out. Customers are also more likely to remember the unboxing experience if you add a branded touch. You can also have boxes made of a certain size to match your product. For example, a bike box.
Where to buy boxes for shipping with your logo on them? Well, websites like Uprinting and Packlane sell customized boxes for around $1 per box. This makes these boxes more expensive than normal boxes by a lot. That said, the dazzle of a customized box may be a competitive advantage worth looking into.
3. Insulated Shipping Box Kits
Insulated shipping boxes are a combination of a cardboard box and a styrofoam/ polyurethane container that fits inside. Encasing your items in both allows you to ship things like food and medical supplies that may be sensitive to temperature or exposure to air.
Insulated shipping boxes are more expensive than traditional cardboard boxes. However, if you’re sending sensitive items, they may be right for you.
4. Poly Mailers
A poly mailer is a lightweight but sturdy plastic bag designed to ship non-fragile products. Your shipping label can be affixed to the bag exterior, and the top is self-sealing.
Poly mailers are a lightweight and therefore inexpensive alternative to corrugated boxes. Shipping companies tend to price their services according to package weight or size, whichever is larger. This means that using lightweight packaging can help reduce shipping costs.
Merchants often use poly mailers to send clothing, shoes, and items already enclosed in its own packaging. As you look for where to buy shipping boxes, you can generally get poly mailers from the same retailers.
Where to Buy Shipping Boxes
Google “shipping boxes near me” and you'll see a slew of shipping box retailers. The trick is finding where to buy shipping boxes for your specific needs on the cheap – without spending hours combing through stock lists online.
Here are a few Easyship favorites when it comes to cheap shipping boxes.
Uline is an online wholesaler of shipping boxes and other shipping supplies.
With over 38,500 boxes and supplies to choose from, it’s hard to imagine you can’t find what you need. And since the company sells in bulk – it’s like Costco for shipping – it’s hard to beat their prices.
Here's the price for a 6 x 5 x 5" corrugated box on Uline.
If we buy a pack of 25 boxes, we pay just $0.46 per box. The price falls to $0.33 per box when we buy 1000 or more boxes. You can also order in volumes of 100, 250, and 500. Uline also provides us the weight maximum for each box as well, which is 200 pounds for this particular box.
Uline ships from 10 warehouses around the US, which translates to fast delivery for your shipping supplies. You can even get same-day shipping if you order by 6 PM.
Amazon is the go-to retailer for many shipping supplies these days, shipping boxes included. Due to its economies of scale, Amazon can be a great place to buy cheap shipping boxes. Amazon Prime members can also get their orders delivered in two days or less.
For example, here’s the price for a pack of 28 cardboard shipping boxes.
At $36.99 for 28 boxes, we pay roughly $1.32 per box. Unfortunately, that's almost 4x the price of boxes on Uline. Amazon’s free shipping likely won’t compensate for the difference, but that depends on your order and location.
New vendors are always being listed on Amazon. This means that one day someone could pop up with the cheapest boxes anywhere and start selling. For this reason, you may want to do a quick price-check on Amazon before deciding where to buy shipping boxes.
Walmart is the largest brick-and-mortar retailer for shipping supplies in the US. You can also visit Walmart.com for free shipping on all orders over $35. It's a common solution to the question of where to get boxes for shipping.
Here's the price for a 25 pack of 6 x 6 x 6" corrugated cardboard boxes via Walmart.com.
We pay $21.06 for a 25 pack, or roughly $0.84 per box. If you buy a 50-pack for $20.95, the price drops to $0.41 per box. This means you can get roughly the same price from Walmart as Uline, depending on your order size.
Free Shipping Boxes from Shipping Companies
Top shipping companies like USPS, FedEx, and UPS all offer free shipping boxes of various sizes. If your products fit these boxes snugly, this could be the best-value option when it comes to where to buy shipping boxes.
To get free shipping boxes, visit the courier’s website. Click on the shipping supplies section. From here you can order a range of shipping supplies, including:
- Cardboard boxes (S - XL)
- Poly mailers
Place your order online, and your order will be delivered to you. Supply depending, you can also visit the nearest physical location for USPS, FedEx, or UPS to pick up these free boxes.
Free USPS shipping boxes can only be used with certain shipping services, and the same is true for each other courier. USPS Flat Rate, for example, requires you to use Flat Rate boxes instead of free boxes. This is because the Flat Rate box itself functions as the shipping label. In most cases, though, free shipping boxes can be used for any shipment.
Free shipping boxes from a certain courier may not be used with another courier. In other words, you won't be able to ship with FedEx using free USPS boxes. Make sure to consider your preferred courier company as you consider where to get boxes for shipping.
Free USPS shipping boxes can be ordered in packs of 10 or 25. You can also buy singles up to five boxes. Boxes are available in sizes from small to extra large.
USPS offers the following free shipping supplies:
- Priority Mail Boxes
- Priority Mail Express Boxes
- Registered Mail Envelopes
- Global Express Guaranteed Envelopes
Free FedEx shipping boxes come in three sizes: small, medium, and large. You can order them online in packs of 25, and they’ll arrive with free shipping in 2-5 business days.
FedEx offers the following free shipping boxes and supplies:
- FedEx boxes (S - L)
- Poly mailers
UPS provides free shipping boxes for UPS Express services. The minimum order is 20 boxes for all UPS Express box sizes. Order online from the UPS website, or pick up free shipping boxes from any UPS location.
UPS offers the following free shipping boxes and packaging supplies:
- Express boxes and envelopes
- Labels and stickers
- Shipping forms and labels
- HAZMAT boxes
DHL is a leading international express courier. For international merchants, free DHL shipping boxes are a great way to lower shipping costs. You can order free boxes online from the DHL website, including:
- Cardboard boxes (S - XL)
- Padded pouches
- Tube Mailers
- Waybill sleeves
- Poly mailers
Other Ways to Get Free Boxes
Trying to be sustainable in your shipping? Looking where to buy shipping boxes? Free used shipping boxes can be found several ways:
- Grocery stores: Free used boxes are available at your local grocery store. Call ahead to confirm availability because used boxes get recycled weekly. Avoid boxes from liquor stores -shipping restrictions prohibit couriers from shipping them.
- Freecycle: Freecycle aims to reduce global waste by helping people reuse materials that would otherwise end up in a landfill. Boxes are among the most common items at Freecycle. Just place an ad to say that you need used shipping boxes, or wait for members to post on the community forum when they have packing boxes available.
Where to Buy Shipping Boxes & Easyship
Buying shipping boxes is most cheaply done online from wholesalers like Uline or retailers like Walmart. If your choice of shipping service permits, you can also order free shipping boxes online from couriers like USPS, UPS, and FedEx. As you look for where to get boxes for shipping, make sure that your chosen shipping services can use free boxes, as not all do.
Once you know where to buy shipping boxes cheaply, it’s time to ship for cheap. With Easyship, you’ll save up to 70% off every shipment. This is because all Easyship users get access to our pre-negotiated discounted rates from all couriers directly.
To save on your next shipment, create your free Easyship account.
What is the best material for shipping box packages?
Corrugated cardboard makes the best material for shipping boxes. Boxes made of corrugated cardboard are sturdy enough to ensure safe packaging and shipping of fragile items.
Which factor is the most important for shipping boxes?
Size and shape are the most important factors when choosing a shipping box. Ensure that the box is appropriately sized and shaped to make for a snug fit of your item. Consider the price too, to avoid overspending on shipping.
What is the cheapest way to ship boxes?
To find the cheapest way to ship boxes, use an online shipping rates calculator to compare rates from different courier services so that you can choose the service that best fits your needs.