Buyers guide – Plastic Storage boxes

At first glance plastic storage boxes are the simplest solution for workplace storage and handling.  However with so many variations picking the right plastic storage box can be more difficult than it might seem.  Especially considering the importance of using the right product to make the application as efficient, safe and practical as possible.  At the very least consideration is required before making a purchase, weighing up your application against the options available.  In this post we have a look some of the difference between the storage containers on the market, which we hope will prove useful when deciding which container is most suitable.

Stacking v stack nest containers

The two most common designs fit into two categories, stacking containers and stack and nest containers.  Stacking containers, as the name suggests, are designed to stack on top of each other.  Typically designed with subtle moulded features to enable one container to securely locate on the next.  The obvious benefit is that stackable boxes can be easily stored with or without contents, whilst the straight sided design provides a large capacity.  Stack and nest containers are also designed to stack, the difference is they have a tapered design enabling them to inter nest.  There are several common types of stack / nest container, bale arm which have a retractable bar that can be folded into position enabling the containers to stack or withdrawn to enable the container to best.  The alternative is a 180 degree stack / nester, which position one way round will stack and when turned 180 degrees will inter nest.  The real benefit of stack and nest containers is space saving, when empty the containers can be nested to take up around 70% less space than when stacked.  Whilst the tapered design means a compromise in terms of capacity, they are an excellent choice for applications where space is a premium, such as transportation where space can be saved on return trips. 

What is Euro size?

When looking at different options you will no doubt see options described as Euro size, such as the range of Euro size containers we list in our web shop.  Euro size is essentially a European standard size that has become common place in the UK market.  The most common sizes for are 400 x 300mm, 600 x 400mm and 800 x 600mm (length x width), each available in a range of depths.  The reason behind these particular sizes to ensure the boxes stack defiantly on standard pallets.  For example a 600 x 400mm (Length x width) box can be layered 5 across on a standard pallet, leaving no wasted space and in turn offering economic transportation and storage of the boxes.  As Euro size containers have become more prevalent the associated accessories have been devolved to suit, such as racking systems, trolleys and wheeled dollies, all readily available.  If you are looking for an alternative footprint there are many alternatives on the market, many of which have been developed for specific purpose for a particular industry.  For example the bakery industry use 30” x 18” containers to transport confectionary items and there are wide selection of bread baskets designed to hold a set quantity and size of loaf. 


The majority of plastic containers are manufactured from either polyethylene or polypropylene.  These general purpose plastics will offer good durability and longevity, subject to the design of the container and production process used.  Many containers can now be sourced in a recycled material offering a more economical alternative.  The material is manufactured using waste material from the production process or made up of from suitable recycled plastic products.  Typically available in black only, recycled material can be lower cost option. 

Here at G-Force we offer a wide range of storage containers and will be happy to assist with any enquiry.  Often it can be beneficial to see an application and a possible solution first hand, in which case we are always happy to come on site armed with product samples.  Click here to see our range of storage containers.