How Much Weight Can a Moving Box Hold? (More than you think)


I’ve always been curious as to how much weight a moving box could hold.

I’m a pretty strong guy and I’ve been known to load a moving box up with a pretty good amount of weight, but I’ve also been a little apprehensive at the vision of all my stuff crashing out the bottom of the box.

To quench my curiosity I decided to test it out.

What I found was a regular medium moving box from Lowe’s held up to being packed with 160 pounds in weight. It seems that if you have a new box without any tears in the cardboard and a secure piece of tape, a moving box can hold a lot of weight.

In this article I’ll walk you through my test and how I came to that conclusion.

Moving Box Weight Test

Testing Materials

I picked up a Regular Medium Size box from Lowe’s. I specifically say “Regular”, because they also make “Heavy-Duty” boxes now which look to be thicker the regular boxes.

After this test (and considering they were about double the price) I doubt I’ll be picking up any Heavy Duty boxes anytime soon.

In addition to the moving box, I used packing tape and an assortment of weights that I have in my garage gym.

The Test

I started off by taping the bottom of the box.

Actually, I taped the bottom of three different boxes, three different ways. This is because I also was wanting to test out the best way to tape a moving box.

So, I taped one with a single piece of tape, one with a second piece of tape diagonally across the bottom and a third using the “H” method of also taping the end seams.

Follow the link above if you want to see more info on how the different styles of taping compared.

Spoiler alert, it turns out one single piece of tape along the seem can hold a heck of a lot more weight than I would have ever thought and all the results I’m about to share are with the single piece of tape.

Can a Moving Box Hold 25 Pounds?

Can a Moving Box Hold 25 Pounds

I started off with a 25 pound plate.

I felt pretty confident with this one. I’ve moved lots of boxes in my time and a box being able to hold 25 pounds seemed like a no-brainer.

I picked it up, put it down, carried it around and swung it like a kettlebell. I really wanted to put it to the test (and gave myself a pretty good workout in the process).

The box performed great as expected. No issues.

Moving on.

Can a Moving Box Hold 70 Pounds?

Can a Moving Box Hold 70 Pounds

I’m going to skip right past where the moving box handled the 45 pound plate (pictured above on the left) and go straight to testing it with 70 pounds (pictured on the right).

It’s a little hard to see, but the picture on the right is a 25 pound plate sitting on top of the 45 (20kg) plate that you can see on the left.

Here is where, at least I thought, it was going to get interesting.

Again, I picked it up, put it down, carried it around and even swung it back and forth.

With 70 pounds you could tell that the box was getting stressed, but it held.

Moving on.

Can a Moving Box Hold 100 Pounds?

Can a Moving Box Hold 100 Pounds

It sure can. Not only did the moving box hold 100 pounds, it held the 110 pounds shown above. That’s a 45 pound plate, a 25 pound plate, a 10 pound plate and two 15 pound dumbbells.

At this point we are well surpassing what I thought this box would be able to hold.

Remember, this isn’t even the “Heavy-Duty” box, just a regular box with one piece of tape on the bottom.

Again, I picked it up and put it down multiple times and carried it in circles all around my garage. Couldn’t really swing it as much, ya know, cause it weighed over a 100 pounds.

Still held. Moving On.

Can a Moving Box Hold 160 Pounds?

Can a Moving Box Hold 160 Pounds

The regular medium sized moving box from Lowe’s held 160 pounds. 160 pounds!

After it held 110 pounds, I bumped it up to 130 pounds, tested it, and the box held again. I almost stopped there, but I wanted to do one more just to be completely absurd.

So, I loaded the box with a 45 pound plate, 25 pound plate, 50 pound dumbbell and a 40 pound dumbbell. 160 pounds altogether.

And. It. Held.

I couldn’t believe it. I did a set of ten deadlifts with it. I carried it around a bit, but the box felt like it was going to cut through my fingers so I didn’t go too far with it.

I stopped the test here at 160 pounds. I felt like at this point, the box had nothing left to prove.

If you have a box with no rips, or hasn’t gotten wet and was taped up with good packing tape – it can hold A LOT of weight. In fact, I never even considered moving weights inside of boxes before, but now I may have to reconsider that option.

Finally, I wanted to put 160 pounds in context, so I wanted to compare it to something that is probably the heaviest thing most of us will carry when we load a moving truck – a box full of books.

How Much Does a Box Full of Books Weigh?

65 Pounds of Books
This is what 65 pounds worth of books looks like.

I gathered up a bunch of books out of my office and weighed them.

In total they weighed 65 pounds and they’re more than enough books there to fill up a moving box. That’s still not even half of what I just watched a moving box hold.

Final Thoughts

A moving box can hold way more weight than most of us (at least me) probably give them credit for.

This is probably because we all can remember that one time we saw a moving box rip open and that image scars us for life.

After doing this test, it made me realize that most moving box mishaps probably come from a box’s integrity being compromised. Maybe the box got a slight rip it in somehow or it got wet cause you’re moving in the rain – that’s when disaster can strike.

Bottom line, it’s okay to have confidence that your moving box can handle some weight – it’s proven itself worthy.

Ryan

I've been a college coach for going on 20 years now and that career has led Jen and I on quite the journey. We've lived in 7 different states and have moved a dozen different times. We've learned A LOT over the course of all those moves and we want to pass on our knowledge to help others going through the moving process.

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