Choosing Between Flexible and Rigid Packaging

flexible packaging vs rigid packaging

In the vast packaging industry, there are a lot of options available when it comes to packing different kinds of products. Diversity is found based on the nature of the items needed to be boxed. From structure and shape to materials and cost, every type is distinctive and has its own set of applications. However, in general, packaging can be categorized into two broad groups: flexible packaging vs rigid packaging.

Let’s explore which type is right for you along with their key differences.

Rigid Packaging vs Flexible Packaging – Fundamental Differences

fundamental differences

The preference of opting for any specific packaging is affected by several attributes. These include product characteristics, material compatibility, cost, environmental impact, protection, preservation, etc. Considering all of these is integral when making any decision for a packaging type.

What Is a Rigid Package?

what is a rigid package

Rigid packaging is designed in such a way that its shape and structure remain intact irrespective of the weight of the product packed inside it. That's why it is used for heavier and stronger products. The major distinction of rigid packages is great protection it offers against external damages. However, this kind of packaging is a bit more expensive than flexible packaging. Some common examples of rigid packaging include:

  • Processed food containers

  • Glass bottles

  • Metal cans

  • Heavy plastic bottles

  • Self-locked cartons

  • Glass or plastic jars

  • Metals tins

  • Soda cans

What Is Flexible Packaging?

what is flexible packaging

As the name shows, flexible packaging is flexible and elastic enough to be molded or modified in any form. It is highly adaptable and lightweight, and takes less storage space during transit compared to rigid packaging. Moreover, it comes out more affordable for start-ups and SMEs. Some common examples of flexible packaging are:

  • Vacuum pouches

  • Plastic films

  • Paper foil

  • Shrink wraps

  • Clamshells

  • Blister Packaging

  • Skin packs

  • Seal Bands

Read More: Flexible Packaging - Industry Overview, Trends & Analysis

What are Rigid vs Flexible Materials?

what are rigid vs fexible materials

Based on the physical properties, flexible packaging vs rigid packaging materials have quite different compositions. Where rigid materials are not easily moldable, flexible materials can be deformed or stretched quite effortlessly without distorting the shape.

Rigid Materials

Flexible Materials


Maintain shape and structure

High tensile strength

Resistant to bending or stretching

High stability and durability

In the food and beverage industry to prevent breakage

In cosmetic and skincare products to maintain integrity

Returns back to original shape

Lower tensile strength

Easy to twist or stretch

Unstable and fragile

In food packaging to preserve freshness

In pharmaceuticals for easy dispensing


Steel and aluminum metal tins or cans

Solid and transparent glass bottles

Canned foods and carbonated drinks

Wine and juice bottles

Rigid plastic jars of creams and lotions

Rigid plastic or glass containers for condiments and dairy products

Ampoules and vials for injectable medicines

Campshell packaging for electronic devices

Strong cardboard boxes for sports equipment

Rubber and soft plastics

Snacks and frozen foods

Tablets, capsules, powders

Lotions and shampoo sachets

Tubes and stand-up pouches in cosmetics

Cleaning wipes and detergent packs

Fertilizers and seed packs

Clothing and accessories

Wraps for dried fruits

Pouches for condiments and sauces

Flexible Packaging VS Rigid Packaging: Pros and Cons

pros and cons

Commonly used for various items, both carry distinct products due to their remarkable benefits and product needs. Some of the critical points to ponder are highlighted as follows:

Pros of Flexible Packaging

Pros of Rigid Packaging

Lightweight, compact, saves spaces

Sturdy, solid, durable

Flexible enough to mold in any shape

Maintains product integrity

Pretty economical

Provides great protection during transit

Easy to handle and customize

Luxury finish

More eco-friendly

Resistant to environmental factors

Cons of Flexible Packaging

Cons of Rigid Packaging

Less protection against external factors

Takes up more space

Easy to tear

Offers low-cost benefits

Can change food flavor

High shipping charges

Why Is Flexible Packaging Better?

flexible packaging better

There is no hard and fast rule when it comes to deciding the type of packaging that would work better for your business. It totally depends on your preferences and needs, and thus varies from business to business. But if you are a startup, then flexible packaging would be the best choice to make. New and emerging businesses often face several challenges, mostly in terms of budget. That's why they need cost-effective packaging solutions that align best with their needs and requirements.

If we assess the cost-efficiency of flexible packaging as compared to rigid, the perks are greater in all aspects. This may include manufacturing, customization, printing, handling, transportation, storage, etc. Moreover, cost advantages of flexible packaging are:

  • Requires less material; lowering material cost

  • Fast manufacturing speed; decreasing machinery/production outlay

  • Easy printing and lamination; requiring less energy

  • Easy to store; lessening labor fees

  • Space-efficient; lowering storage cost and fuel consumption

  • Affordable customizations; plummeting design expenses

  • Less prone to breakage; decreasing the additional toll

  • Sustainable alternatives; reducing environmental compliance cost

Read More: Versatility of Carton Papers: All You Need to Know

Bottom Line

Ending the debate on flexible packaging vs rigid packaging, you must always select according to your business criteria and requirements. Both types of packaging have their characteristics. Flexible packaging is low-cost and versatile, whereas rigid packaging is robust and gives an impression of quality. So, take some time to plan out your budget including all the aspects and technicalities of packaging. Choose what suits you best!

Half Price Packaging – Your Packaging Saviour

Confused about what type of packaging should you choose for your business between rigid vs flexible packaging? Worry not, Half Price Packaging is here to resolve all your packaging-related questions. And yes, we are familiar with the cost savings on flexible packaging vs rigid. Our expert team does their best to help you with all your queries. We also offer free 3D design support for your ease and convenience. So, contact us today and enjoy amazing discounts on bulk or wholesale orders!

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