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32 ECT vs 200# Test Boxes – What’s the Difference?

How do you decide which box is the right one for your products? What is the difference between 32 ECT and 200# test boxes? We’ve got the scoop.


ect vs mullen test


A box is just a box, right?

Well, not quite — at least, not when it comes to keeping your products safe and making sure that you don’t pay more for shipping than is necessary. There are many corrugated boxes to choose from when sending your products, but the two favorites are the 32 ECT and the 200# test box. So, how do you decide which one to use?

Keep reading to learn more about how these two packaging options compare — and which one is best suited to your shipping needs.


Strength Testing

The corrugated cardboard industry has two standards for testing the strength of a box: the Mullen Test and the Edge Crush Test.

The Mullen Test measures the bursting strength of corrugated boxes. In other words, it tests the amount of pressure or force needed to rupture the wall of the box. Boxes that pass this standard are rated with the appropriate # or lb designation – 200#, 275#, etc.

The Edge Crush measures the stacking strength of corrugated boxes or the amount of pressure a box can withstand before being crushed. Boxes are rated accordingly with the ECT designation — 32 ECT, 44 ECT, etc.


Which Box Is Best?

In general, the single-walled 200# test box and the 32 ECT corrugated boxes are interchangeable – both have a maximum weight limit of 65 lbs. Because stacking strength has become the most important factor for most warehouses today, many opt for the 32 ECT. If you were considering a double sided corrugated cardboard box, a favorite is the 275# test (or 48 ECT) box which has a maximum weight limit of 100 lbs.

We recommend considering your priorities carefully before selecting your box of choice: if you anticipate that your boxes will experience a great deal of wear and tear, then the best packaging solution for your products may be the 200# box, since the corrugated walls hold up better to rough handling. If your products will be shipped on pallets, then the 32 ECT box will likely be the better packaging choice, since the cardboard performs better when stacked.

The type of box you ultimately decide to use will vary based on the products you are sending and the way you ship them. If you have questions, contact Paper Mart today to speak with our packaging experts, who can help you select the best packaging solution for your specific needs.


  1. Robert E Cole July 19, 2022

    Can anyone help with recycled material content percentage in a given board strength like 275DW BC or 350DW BC or ECT 71 DW?
    Is there a chart?

    • Gabrielle at Paper Mart July 20, 2022

      Hi Robert! Great question! Recycled material content may fluctuate since it will vary by the supplier and the materials available to them. On average, we’ve seen similar boxes made of 48-50% recycled material content.

      For more personalized help, please give us a call at 800.745.8800, ext 2. Our Customer Care team is available Monday through Friday from 6:00AM – 5:00PM PST.

  2. Grace Zhu March 25, 2022

    So 200# is the best for mailing,32 ECT is the best for pallet shipping and storage in warehouse?

  3. Larhonda January 17, 2021

    whoah this blog is excellent i really like reading your articles.
    Keep up the great work! You realize, lots of individuals are hunting round for this information, you could help them greatly.

  4. P. Shell December 2, 2020

    Well that’s an amazing variety you have been shared. I love your ideas. Design impacts a lot in custom packaging. Thanks for sharing with us.

  5. james anderson December 18, 2018

    I like how you think and the way you represent your views in this article. I agree with your way of thinking. Thank you for sharing. I am also working with a packaging industry which produced custom boxes and delivered all over the world.

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