Finding balance between dimensional weight charges and packaging protection

It’s no secret that we here at Packsize advocate using the smallest possible box. There’s a lot of good reasons for this that we’ve talked about quite a bit.

But one question I get asked a lot when talking about Packsize’s On Demand Packaging® is whether or not the smaller box will damage the contents inside it, since there won’t be as much void filler in the box anymore.

Let’s take a look at that question, and how smaller packaging can often actually help you protect your packages.

First, the importance of keeping your packages intact.

A package that’s damaged in transit is pretty costly:

  • It triples your shipping costs (product is shipped to customer, then back to you, then back to the customer).
  • Product costs are doubled.
  • The negative effects on the environment are more than tripled.
  • Your customer satisfaction is damaged.

Obviously, any packaging solution that damages your products isn’t a solution at all—it’s a money sink.

So what causes the damage and how can I prevent it?

Packages can get pretty banged up on their way to your customer. Just take a look at this video captured in China:

Obviously, that’s an extreme case. But let’s face it, when your packages are being shipped across the country in just two days, you should expect them to experience some bumps along the way.

Is adding lots of void filler the best way to prevent these damages from happening?

Surprisingly—and maybe a bit counter-intuitively—the answer is almost always “no.”

For most companies, products will fit into one of two categories:

  1. Soft goods like stuffed animals, blankets, diapers, and clothes. These items don’t need any void filler to stay undamaged.
  2. Fragile goods like a digital camera, a sewing machine, or a statue.


For the latter, the goods will often be pre-packaged. A digital camera, for example, comes in a box that unboxing an aging digital camerasurrounds the camera itself with a healthy layer of padding (see the photo to the right). Products like this don’t need any more packaging. Empty space in the box will not provide any more protection, and in fact will increase chances of damage more often than not.

Any empty space in your packages gives the products inside more room to jostle around while in transit. The best possible thing for your products is usually a snug fit inside the box. Think of it like the difference between hitting a bump in your car with a seatbelt on versus hitting it without.

Now, there are some cases where you would want a layer of void filler in between your product and the box it’s shipped in. If that’s the case, then Packsize’s box making machinery can simply make you a slightly larger box. See, that’s the beauty of having a machine that can make any sized box at anytime.

In general, there is surprisingly no conflict between having the smallest possible box, and making sure that your packages are kept safe while in transit. That’s a good thing too, since the new dimensional weight charges make shipping empty space pretty expensive, and can increase the average cost of shipping a product up to 30 percent.

If you would like to learn more about the benefits of using the smallest possible box, click the button below to download our free white paper, titled—appropriately enough—”The Smallest Possible Box.”

Download white paper