This article was originally published in 2019. It was updated in 2022.
When you are looking to purchase chipboard, it might be handy to know the difference between converted chipboard and manufactured chipboard. While it sounds like they are basically the same product – and they share many similarities – they are used for entirely different purposes.
The product difference is in the name.
Converted chipboard is a paper product that has already gone through the papermaking process of converting wood pulp into paper. Converted chipboard is typically thinner, ranging in thickness from .010-.400pt., and is often used in packaging. This is what we produce here at Badger.
Manufactured chipboard uses excess wood materials – wood chips, sawdust, etc. – to ‘manufacture’ a thicker product. Manufactured chipboard is often used in countertops and floor panels.
There are more similarities than there are differences. Both chipboards are made from recycled material derived from wood, pressed and held together with a type of resin or glue. Both reduce waste by using materials that would otherwise be filling up landfills.
That said, if you ever have both in your possession, you probably wouldn’t confuse the two boards. That’s why some people call manufactured chipboard “particleboard” and converted chipboard “paperboard.”
In this image, a stack of chipboard/paperboard is on the left, and a stack of particleboard is on the right.
They are, just not everywhere. It’s like how people outside of Wisconsin call bubblers “drinking fountains”. Sometimes where you live determines your vocabulary.
For now, just remember that converted chipboard is softer and more malleable, whereas manufactured chipboard is harder and more rigid. Think of it like you were building a house: you’d use manufactured chipboard for the frames and converted chipboard for the insulation. The same is true with shipping; the pallets are made of manufactured chipboard while the protection is converted chipboard.
See eight uses for chipboard products, including some you might not have thought of (pizza, anyone?).