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Choosing your box

Plastic box buying guide: Choosing the perfect storage solution

How to use this guide

With hundreds of different types of plastic boxes available to choose from at the Plastic Box Shop, we thought we’d offer you a bit of help. Throughout this guide we will recommend the most appropriate type of plastic box for the setting you plan to use it in as well as the purpose for which you plan to use it. While we can’t always account for the most appropriate size and colour (these often come down to preference), we can make recommendations based on the intended function of the box. We will list a few of our more popular, or our favourite boxes in that range, before inviting you to browse our full range.

Plastic boxes present the perfect option for storage and transportation of goods, whether this be at home, the office, school, a sports club, a hospital or even a nightclub.

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Why plastic?

Our plastic boxes are injection-moulded for accurate, consistent dimensions — this means many boxes can be stacked together easily. Plastic is also hard-wearing and weather-resistant, making it a more appropriate choice for storage than a cardboard box, for example, which will go soggy at the slightest contact with water.

You can store one of our plastic boxes in a damp garage for the best part of a decade and still find the contents of it unaffected, as they are impervious to moisture. When your box does eventually start to look a bit worn and battered, disposing of it is easy and ecological, as it is fully recyclable.

As a result of our boxes being waterproof, they are very easy to clean with soap and water, and will dry easily. They are a hygienic option, meaning that as well as being suitable for storing old clothes or personal effects, they are just as handy for transporting food and perishables. Our boxes aren’t just functional though: they’re also visually attractive, available in a selection of different sizes and colours so that you can store goods for long periods without having to deal with an eye sore.

What size plastic box do I need?

We stock plastic boxes in an extensive range of sizes, and will generally list our boxes’ capacity in litres. This is the most efficient way to measure the storage capabilities of a box as it accounts for all available space inside. We also measure the internal and external size of the box so that you can measure your items specifically to be sure that they will fit inside, as well as measure your storage space to be sure that the box fits in it.

For example, our standard large box stores 50 litres, and has an internal length/width/height of 46cm/31cm/28cm. This means that inside your box you can store items that are up to 46cm long, 31cm wide and 28cm high (you may store taller items if you do not intend to use a lid). However, you also need to take into account the external size of the box so that you can be sure your room has the space to store it. The standard large size box has an external L/W/H of 58cm/40.5cm/31.5cm, which, as you will notice, is much larger than that of the internal size — so always check the two sizes against each other.

Measure the L/W/H of your items, rounding up to the nearest centimetre, and be sure that your box is big enough to contain these measurements. To maintain the structural integrity of your plastic box, it is recommended that you store the box with its lid on.

Which features should I consider?

Plastic boxes have more features than you might think. Here are a few to help you make a decision as to which box you choose.

      • Colour: Clear boxes allow you to see the contents of a box, which makes it more convenient to find different items when you have lots to store. However, coloured boxes will look more attractive on a shelf and allow you to organise items based on colour of box, which can be handy in a shared environment.
      • Strength: If you're storing something particularly heavy, make sure to choose a robust box so that the weight of the item doesn’t cause the box to buckle. You should also consider the strength of a box if you are storing fragile items. Consider using a heavy-duty box if you are looking to store porcelain or china crockery, for example.
      • Lid: As well as keeping the contents inside the box and helping to protect your items from moisture, dust, dirt or any other substance which may damage them, the lid can actually reinforce the strength of the box, making it much less susceptible to breaking.
      • Castors: Some boxes are available with castors for easy transportation. This is particularly useful if you are storing heavy equipment that would be difficult to carry by hand.
      • Handles: Choosing a box with handles will make it much easier to carry, which is useful for large storage boxes. And because handles help you keep boxes level, they are useful for carrying items such as cakes.

Which type of plastic box do I need?

While we will go over our wide selection of plastic boxes in the following sections, here is a quick guide to the most appropriate type of box for your contents.


It is best to keep fresh food in a box no larger than the contents and with a lockable lid, so the contents don’t have space to rattle around the box or even fall out. Don’t store piping hot food in a closed container as it will cause an excess of condensation and make your food soggy once it cools down. Use a plastic box with a pressure-release valve/ventilation hole if you intend to microwave the contents or you want to seal the box while the food is hot (you could use a standard container if you first allow your food to cool). For cakes and fresh bakes, make sure that your food isn’t touching the sides of the box so that it is not ruined when you come to remove it from the box.


For storing clothes, you should first consider where you are looking to store your plastic boxes, as this will dictate which box is the most appropriate for the job. If you are looking to store the box under your bed, our under-bed storage boxes are very handy in that their flip-lid opens at either side, so you can access your clothes without pulling the whole box from under the bed. If you want to store your clothes in a different room or in the garage, choose a box with a secure lid, as the seal will eliminate the risk of your clothes becoming damp, damaged by moths or even falling out if the box is bashed. .


Though you can use a regular plastic box for tools — a 9 litre box with a lockable lid would be a great place to store tools in-between uses — we also stock a range of dedicated tool boxes. The traditional tool box shape is probably the most effective design, with enough depth to store plenty of tools and a sturdy design to combat wear and tear. One of our smart designs is a step-stool that has a generous amount of room under the step for tool storage.


For storing crockery, it is recommended that you use a heavy-duty plastic box. A thicker box will absorb more shock energy, so there is less chance of damage to crockery if the box is bumped in transit. These boxes will be particularly useful if you’re in the mobile catering business, as they offer adequate storage room and good protection for fragile cargo.


For simple bathroom cleaning chemicals, you will be fine storing them in a standard plastic box, but be sure to choose one with a lid so that children can’t get inside the box and come into contact with chemicals. For industrial chemicals however, you should look to store them in a heavy-duty plastic box with a lockable lid. Our hog boxes have pallet feet for use with standard lifting equipment and can be stacked and bound together, making them perfect for storage and transportation of chemicals.

Christmas decorations

Christmas decorations only make an appearance for a month out of the year, so you must be sure to keep them stored appropriately for the other eleven months. As well as the risk of baubles and ornaments being smashed, decorations can become damaged with dampness if not boxed appropriately. Your Christmas lights can also become tangled and mixed beyond retrieval if not organised properly. For small tree decorations, a compartment box would be perfect. These boxes come in a range of sizes so you can store everything from small ornaments to baubles. For bigger decorations, you should use our larger plastic storage boxes, or perhaps even plastic drawer units for keeping Christmas lights separate.

Which plastic boxes should I use in my kitchen?

which plastic boxes should I use in my kitchen?

Proper food storage is very important. Whether you are looking to retain leftovers, store cooking essentials such as flour, or gift a box of baked goods to your new neighbours, choosing the appropriate box can make the difference between your foods perishing or not. Read our food storage tips for more information.

Do I require a lid?

If the food will oxidise or lose its integrity if exposed to oxygen for too long, then you should choose a box with a lid. If it is food that would actually benefit from being in fresh air, however, then feel free to use a box without a lid.

If you need a lid, do you need a solid lid or a ventilated lid?

If you are planning on microwaving your food in the box, or sealing the box will the food is still hot, you need a ventilated lid so that is can be microwaved safely, while hot food will greatly benefit from ventilation holes in the box to prevent condensation from making the contents go soggy.

Does your box need to be any thicker than usual?

This is relevant if you are storing hot food and want it to remain hot for longer.

Does your box need to be larger than your item to take expansion into account?

This would be a consideration if you were using dough, which rises. These are all things to think about when choosing a box.

Plastic snack boxes

For storing small snacks such as nuts and nibbles, you will require a box with a solid lid so that your food doesn’t oxygenate and go hard/soggy (depending on the type of food it is). The largest sized container you will need for small snacks is around 350ml. Our miniature storage box will hold up to 0.125 litres and is perfect for dividing snacks into portions, which you can access easily when hunger strikes.

For larger snacks such as fruit or sandwiches, generally a plastic box between a litre and three litres will be suitable. You will require an airtight, solid lid to prevent your food going stale. If you intend on using your plastic box as a sandwich box, you may want to invest in a lid that locks to prevent any spillages when on the move. These are also available in different colours if you have children who would enjoy a brightly coloured sandwich box.

If you enjoy making soups and broths and you’re looking for a plastic box that is suitable for microwaving, you should look into buying a plastic box that has a pressure-release valve for convenient cooking and freezing. This is an efficient buy as you can just as easily use it as a regular storage tub, but it also has the extra option of circulating air and steam when microwaving.

Plastic cereal boxes

Life will deal you many trials and tribulations, but nothing is more devastating than stale or soggy cereal. Keeping your cereal in its original box, once opened, is a recipe for disaster, so we recommend dispensing it to one of our dedicated plastic cereal containers. Available from 400ml up to 5 litres, our containers will keep their contents fresh, the way they were intended to be consumed. A 2.5 litre box will be more than enough room to store your cereal, while the box is also freezer-, microwave-, and dishwasher-safe. While our sturdy plastic container more than does the trick, our airtight acrylic box has a metal clip lid for locking in your contents, meaning the box won’t be spilled in transit.

As well as cereal, our boxes can also be used for other kitchen items that need to be kept fresh. A popular alternative use for this box is to store baking flour, rice or dry dog food. The box’s curved spout lid makes it easier to pour from the box.

Plastic cake boxes

If you go to the effort of baking a cake, it would be a huge shame to see any of the cake go stale due to poor storage. Our plastic cake boxes are available in both circular and rectangular shapes to accommodate for different types of cakes. For a cake, you don’t want a box that is made to measure, you want to leave a bit of breathing room so that the cake isn’t squashed or damaged in any way.

We also stock cake boxes with handles on the lid, which makes removing them without damaging the cake a lot easier. It also ensures attractive presentation if you are taking your cake to a bake sale or a friend’s house, as you can keep it level when carrying it by using a handle. All of our cake boxes are BPA-free to ensure no contamination when storing your food.

Plastic lunch boxes

If you’re looking for a larger lunch box to keep food in, we have a selection of plastic boxes extending up to 4.5 litres. These sturdy lunch boxes have a silicon rim to create an airtight seal. The lid itself has 4 clips for each side of the box, making it a secure and airtight mobile food box that will withstand temperatures between -25c and +95c, so you can microwave or freeze.

While our smaller sized boxes don’t have a silicone rim, being airtight shouldn’t be an issue when storing foods this size, and these boxes are still very effective. All of our boxes are BPA-free so you can store food safe in the knowledge that it isn’t being contaminated with trace-level chemicals.

Plastic washing-up bowls

If you have managed to resist the urge to buy a dishwasher and prefer going old-school with your washing up, or you prefer to do a bit of washing up before you make use of the dishwasher, our plastic washing-up bowls will reward you for your intense loyalty to tradition. Our bowls range from small sized tubs that would only be large enough to wash a cup, to large bowls that can hold up to 9 litres of liquid. You should always measure your sink first to determine what size bowl will fit in it.

Browse our entire range of plastic food boxes and kitchen storage boxes.

Which plastic boxes should I use in the garden?

Which plastic boxes should I use in the garden?

Utilising plastic boxes can be greatly beneficial for your garden. As well as storage boxes for tools and gardening equipment, we also stock bins, plant pots, watering cans and other miscellaneous items that will decorate your outdoor space. Plastic is the perfect material to use outdoors, as it is sturdy, waterproof, and fully recyclable — it is also very easy to clean. Plastic products are also inexpensive, which means you can continue to add to your collection and easily replace a plastic box if it is accidentally damaged outside.

Plastic plant pots

We stock a range of different shapes and sizes of plant pots to accommodate the many types of plants you might want to decorate your garden with. Whether you are simply looking to brighten up your terrace with small flowers or fill your garden with huge shrubs, our planters range from a tiny 9cm to a large 60cm, ensuring that you can customise your space however you want to.

Plastic garden storage boxes

Our garden storage boxes are great for storing your outdoor tools as well as gardening materials such as soil, compost and manure.  These boxes are much larger than our indoor storage boxes, and can hold volumes of up to 115 litres. The most useful feature of our outdoor storage boxes is that they have wheels on the bottom, meaning you can drag them around your garden — this will make dispersing organic materials far easier.

Plastic tool boxes

For storing your small garden tools, you will need a sturdy box that is impervious to moisture and easy to carry around. Decide on the type of tools you are looking to store, and whether you’d prefer a small compartment organiser or a deep tool box where you can throw all of your tools when you’ve finished using them.

For these boxes, and a wide selection of others, browse our range of garden storage boxes here.

Which plastic boxes should I use in my bedroom?

Which plastic boxes should I use in my bedroom?

Decluttering your bedroom can prove to be a mammoth task if you don’t take advantage of efficient storage options. A common problem can be to run out of wardrobe space, and while this affords a good opportunity to get rid of old clothes, you may merely want to put your clothes into storage. This is particularly relevant for seasonal clothes, as there isn’t much point keeping winter coats and jumpers readily available in the summer — you won’t be wearing them!

Under-bed storage boxes

Keeping your out-of-use clothes or items in an under-bed storage box is a great way to utilise space. Our shallow but long boxes are perfect for slotting under your bed, keeping them out of sight and out of mind — until you need them of course. Their bisected lid allows you to open the box from either side of the bed without having to pull the full box out. This is the best way to store items under your bed without the risk of them becoming blanketed in dust.

Plastic laundry bins

If you need a place to store your dirty clothes before doing a full wash, you will benefit from our selection of plastic laundry bins. These are available in different sizes and colours to suit your needs: the jumbo 75 litre laundry hamper is catered more towards families, while the smaller 21 litre bin is suitable for one person. Our laundry bins are also very easy to wipe down, so if you are throwing muddy clothes in there, such as a worn sports kit, you will be fine cleaning the bin after.

Rattan-style storage boxes

For a more visually appeasing storage box, our rattan-style boxes are both stylish and functional. These boxes could be used in either the bedroom or the office due to their sleek design and practical use, while they come in simple-toned selection of colours. Whether you are looking for just a shallow paper tray or a large storage box with a lid, these basket-effect boxes offer something different to a standard plastic box — just be sure not to try and store liquid in them!

Check out our extensive range of bedroom storage boxes here.

Which plastic boxes should I use in my bathroom?

Bathroom storage can sometimes be quite difficult due to the lack of practical storage space. Most bathrooms may have a cupboard under the sink, and perhaps a medicine cabinet behind the mirror, but that’s usually about it, but you can create more storage options in your bathroom with our selection of plastic boxes.

Plastic bathroom storage drawers

In your bathroom you will need a place to keep toilet paper, cleaning products and toiletries. Plastic storage drawers can be a great option due to their compact, stackable design as well as being easy to clean or dry down if splashed with water. Plastic won’t get mouldy, is waterproof, and is available in a number of different colours to offer plenty of options when decorating your bathroom with functional plastic boxes.

Plastic bathroom bins

It is important to have a bin in your bathroom, but it can sometimes be difficult to find one that suits your décor. Our plastic bathroom bins are available in a number of different designs and colours in an effort to relieve you of that problem. Our rattan-style bins are available with a pedal for impressive functionality, while their woven design also makes them an attractive fixture of your room.

Check out our full range of bathroom storage boxes here.

Which plastic boxes should I use in the office?

Which plastic boxes should I use in the office?

If you work in an office or have a home office, you will know that keeping documents and files organised is absolutely paramount. In an ideal world, all files will be organised so that they can be easily accessed, and we have considered this when designing our office storage boxes.

Plastic archiving and filing boxes

Our plastic boxes are perfect for storing loose paper or ring binder files, while our boxes with organiser trays will also store office stationery. We have boxes that are designed specifically for universal paper sizes, while our lockable lids guarantee stability in transportation. We also stock heavy-duty boxes if you are looking to put files in storage and are worried about water damage or the weight of heavy files cracking the boxes.

Paper storage boxes

If you are looking to store anything from business cards to A3 paper, we have boxes that will keep your documents tidy and secure. Our boxes are clear, so you can identify documents through the box. This saves you searching through a load of boxes for a particular file. If you prefer, however, we also have coloured boxes which could be utilised if you implement a colour system in your filing, or you are simply looking to inject a bit of life into your office. Decide whether you’d prefer a box with a lid to protect your paper, or whether you’d prefer the easy access of a lidless paper tray. We also have lids with handles on them to make transportation easier for you.

Rubbish and recycling bins

There’s no reason why your office can’t have a waste bin that subscribes to the décor of the room, and our boxes are consistent with the designs of our paper trays and storage boxes. We have open basket-style bins for waste paper, while our pedal bins are more appropriate for kitchenette areas of the office. Our multi-functional recycling bins have colour-coded lids for sorting recyclable materials.

Browse our extensive range of office storage boxes here.

Which plastic boxes should I use in the classroom?

Which plastic boxes should I use in the classroom?

Whether it’s a primary or secondary school, don’t underestimate the need for organisation. A clean room promotes productivity, so be sure to set an example to young minds by organising your space.

Plastic boxes for books

Schools store a lot of books, and these need to stay organised. As well as stocking different sizes, we have stackable boxes in a variety of colours, allowing you to distinguish between sets, age groups or subjects. All of our boxes have rounded edges so are not at all dangerous to children.

Tidy baskets

Whether they are storing paper, toys or general stationery, our tidy baskets are an essential plastic box for your school. They are the easiest and safest way of storing school supplies, as they have no sharp edges or choking hazards. When not in use, the baskets can be stacked on top of each other for easy storage, so take up very little room.

Desk organisers

For storing stationery, school work or educational materials, desk organisers can be a great way of teaching students how to take ownership of their own desk. We have organisers for universal paper sizes, as well as baskets for pens, paper clips etc. Our paper organiser units can be customised and stacked floor to ceiling for extremely efficient storage.

Take a look at our range of school storage boxes here.

Which plastic boxes should I use for crafts?

Which plastic boxes should I use for crafts?

If you or the kids enjoy crafting, you’ll appreciate that you need to keep all of your components separated. If you use paper, you need to ensure it doesn’t become creased, while also being sure to store your glue supplies in a separate unit could be the difference between a therapeutic afternoon of crafting and trying to fight your way through a sticky mess.

Mini clippy boxes

You need to be sure that if you drop a box of craft materials, or it is accidentally knocked over, it is not at risk of spilling its contents everywhere. You can prevent this by using a box that has a lid with clips. These are a simple but effective way of locking your craft box so it can’t open accidentally, only when pulled in a certain way.

Compartment boxes

For keeping your many different craft materials separate, you will need a plastic compartment box. These boxes have a number of different sections for items such as beads and sequins, as we understand that mixing these together can be a real nightmare. These boxes are also lockable to ensure that they aren’t accidentally spilled or at risk of being opened by young children. We have options for whether you would prefer to store your materials horizontally or vertically, while we also have boxes with handles fitted for easy transportation — they are also useful for if you want to shake your materials to stop them from sticking together, which can be a real problem with craft materials.

Plastic drawer units

Plastic drawers are an effective and compact way of organising and storing your craft materials. Vertical storage can save a lot of space in your room, and our smart designs allow you to keep attaching more drawers for stackable storage. We have clear plastic drawers which allow you to see what you’re storing, while our coloured drawers are much more visually attractive and enable you to conceal all of your treasures. Whether it’s keeping different pieces of paper and card, needles, thread, or decorative items such as rhinestones and sequins, these drawers allow you to store your craft materials securely but still in an easily accessible way.

Have a look at our full range of craft boxes here.

Which plastic boxes should I use in an industrial setting?

plastic box for industrial setting

In industrial settings such as factories, warehouses, and workshops, you may be using a variety of small parts that you need to keep organised and easily accessible. For efficient storage, plastic is usually the best material to use due to its durability, lack of corrosive chemical properties, and low cost. Our products are also very space efficient and can more than often be safely stacked vertically for maximum space saving.

Heavy-duty containers

For chemical materials, organic matter or dangerous equipment, you may require a box that is thicker than our standard models. Our heavy-duty boxes are available with both open tops and lockable lids, and despite their strength and sturdiness are surprisingly lightweight. They are available in a wide range of sizes, with our largest heavy-duty container able to store a huge 190 litres. We also stock sturdy and reliable plastic dollies for transporting heavy equipment.

Semi-open fronted containers

For storing parts that are used quite often, using a semi-open fronted plastic container is the best option. Although these boxes will keep your materials easily and effectively organised, they do not inhibit your ability to grab your items freely, with an open side to fit your hand in whether the box is standalone or stacked. These boxes would be great for storing nuts and bolts, or parts for fitting or constructing machinery.

Small parts storage cabinet

Efficiently storing a wide variety of small parts can be difficult, as although large containers aren’t needed for your items, keeping your storage containers in a neat and organised fashion can be very challenging. These cabinets can hold up to 60 small plastic drawers for your components. Whether you are looking to store electrical parts or machinery fittings, these storage cabinets are the best option for you — just be sure to label the drawers as you store things in them!

Check out our extensive range of industrial plastic boxes here.

If you have any questions or would like some additional information on any of our plastic boxes, please feel free to contact us.