There are lots of situations where you might need to ship a laptop. It’s an essential task for stores that sell laptops, primarily if they sell them online because they’d be getting orders from a wide range of geographical locations. Alternatively, you might need to ship a laptop to an acquaintance or relative, perhaps as a present or if they live in an area where laptops aren’t readily available.
Several service providers will handle the shipping for you, but packing the laptop will be your responsibility most of the time. It would be best if you used proper packing techniques before you shipped the computer. Failing to do so could result in a whole host of problems, such as the laptop getting damaged or being held up during the shipping process.
You might think that packing a laptop is intuitive, but you’d be surprised at how many factors you actually need to consider. Read on to find out ten of the most important things you should keep in mind when packing your laptop so that it reaches its destination safe and sound.
1. Start With an Inspection
Before you start packing your laptop, you must first check to see if its original packaging intact. It’s important to pack your laptop in the box it came in because laptop manufacturers usually add high quality cushioning that can help make it easier for you to pack it for shipping. The original box can sometimes get damaged in transit. Accidents happen, and you want to make sure you know every vulnerability before it has the chance to cause problems.
The amount of packing material you use depends on how secure the original box is. If this box shows significant signs of wear and tear, it’d be helpful if you found out before you sent it off. You can ask the supplier or retailer to give you a replacement. That way you can be sure that the recipient of the laptop would get an intact and fully functional machine.
2. Use Multiple Boxes
As we have mentioned above, you shouldn’t remove your laptop from its original packaging before shipping it. Instead, pack it in the box it came in. You should ideally use multiple boxes so that you can add a layer of cushioning in each box. Your complete packaging would be about five to six times bigger than the laptop itself. The laptop should be kept in the carton the manufacture would have sent you with the packing foam still on it. Make sure you don’t jostle the packing foam. Trying to alter its placement can reduce its efficacy because it’s meant to keep the laptop from moving.
Once the laptop is in the manufacturer’s carton, you should place it in another even larger box. One thing to note here is that this box shouldn’t be too large. An overly large box might lead to the laptop moving around during its journey. That increases the chances of it getting damaged. While the manufacturer’s packing and cushioning goes a long way, you should take precautions where possible and using an appropriate box size is part of that. That’s one reason why we recommend keeping the laptop in its original carton. It’s sized perfectly and can make selecting the second box less of a hassle.
3. Accessories On Top
You’d need to open the manufacturer’s carton to inspect the laptop box, and it’s important to put its contents back in the right order. There will be two boxes inside the carton, one of which houses the laptop and the second containing its various accessories. That includes its charger and other add-ons if you ordered them. The laptop would be significantly heavier than the accessories, so placing them under it can put a lot of pressure on them and potentially cause damage. Also, the accessories box usually doesn’t have a lot of cushioning,
4. Choose the Right Packing Material
You already know that you need a box to put your laptop in, but what you might not know is the type of box you should use. Corrugated cardboard is a must here. It contains a ruffled layer between the two sheets of paper which dissipates pressure evenly across the surface. That means that it can absorb any shocks and bumps that your laptop might experience.
If you can’t send your laptop in its original packaging, try using triple cannelure corrugated carboard. It has three layers of ruffles sandwiched between four sheets of paper, thereby making it virtually impenetrable by anything except sharp, pointy objects. Packing material also depends on the shipping duration. The longer your laptop will be in transit, the more important extra corrugated layers become. Remember, the outermost box will sustain quite a bit of damage over the course of the journey. That’s what it’s meant for, to take the damage and keep it from getting to the laptop inside.
5. Cushioning is Essential
While corrugated cardboard can go a long way towards preventing damage to your laptop, you should definitely add a bit of extra cushioning too. If you haven’t opened your laptop’s original packaging, all you need to provide a cushion are some packing peanuts. Fill the outer box a quarter of the way to the top with packing peanuts, place the laptop on them and then add packing peanuts around the laptop box. Finish off with more packing peanuts on top for good measure.
If you removed the laptop from the manufacturer’s casing for whatever reason, you would need to take some extra steps to cushion it. Start by wrapping it in bubble wrap. The bubbles work as shock absorbers similar to the ruffles in corrugated cardboard. A laptop without a box is very fragile, so if you don’t have bubble wrap you should replace it with something else that can cushion it. Newspaper can work wonders in a pinch because it’s made of soft, high quality paper that’s actually quite dense. Cotton wool is another useful option, and make sure that your place your wrapped laptop in a sturdy carton before placing it on the packing peanuts in the outer box.
6. Securing the Box
Now that you have packed the box, it’s time to secure it. That means taping up the edges with wide tape. Make sure you cover both the edges of the carton as well as the center of the two flaps. Don’t forget to tape up the bottom of the box as well. Shipping can often be very haphazard, and you don’t want your laptop falling out of the bottom. Another thing to note is that you need to close the box evenly. Protruding flaps can get snagged and pull the entire carton to the ground.
7. Avoiding Shipping Delays
You don’t want your laptop getting held up at customs, so you should learn about shipping restrictions so you can plan accordingly. Most countries need packages containing lithium-ion batteries to be marked, so add a label in case they hold your package. A damaged lithium-ion battery can be a fire hazard, so there’s a chance that you might have to pay a fine if a customs official finds your package and sees that you haven’t labeled it properly.
8. Other Labels to Add (And Which Ones to Avoid)
The lithium-ion label is not the only one you should add to your package. Using a fragile sticker is useful too. Some items that are shipped can take a lot of damage, and shippers might treat them roughly to expedite the process. Adding a fragile label will make them handle your package with care. However, you shouldn’t label your package as a laptop. Shipping providers are very trustworthy, but you never know when someone or the other might get tempted if they know a box contains an expensive machine. Marking it as fragile should do the trick, any other labels won’t be necessary.
9. How Much Will it Cost?
No one is going to ship your laptop for free. Finding out how much it’d cost can help you avoid the hassle of rethinking your shipping strategy in case it’s too expensive. The price of shipping depends on the courier service you use, and they’ll charge more if you ask for express shipping. You should also factor in how heavy your laptop is with all of its packaging, and one of the biggest factors would be its destination. The further away it needs to go, the more expensive shipping will become. One factor that lots of people forget is the dimensions of your package. A larger package takes up more space, and will be more expensive to ship.
10. Get Insurance
You never know when something might go wrong, and it can’t hurt to have a contingency in place. Buying insurance for your package can help you avoid financial loss if it gets lost or damaged. You would have to prove the culpability of the shipper to make them pay damages, but some insurance providers would give you a payout regardless of whose fault it was. Either way, insurance can give you some peace of mind while your laptop is en route.
Can I Ship My Laptop in the Box It Came In?
New laptops come in a box, but you’d need to add a bit more padding to keep it from harm. While your laptop manufacturer would have added some cushioning to the box, it’s not enough for the rigors of long distance shipping. You’d need to follow the instructions above to ensure that there’s no chance of your laptop getting damaged.
Why Should I Pack the Laptop Myself?
Some service providers can pack your laptop for a fee, but this is the sort of thing that you should handle on your own. That can allow you to take all the necessary precautions and add padding and cushioning where you see fit. Relying on someone else with something so delicate might not be a good idea because you can’t be sure that they would do a good enough job. Also, paying extra for something you can do yourself is rather unnecessary, especially when you’d likely do a better job.
Is It Safe to Ship a Laptop?
Some situations can make laptop shipping dangerous. Lithium-ion batteries can be dangerous, and many countries factor that into their shipping restrictions. However, if you take the necessary precautions and add all the right labels, shipping your laptop will be perfectly safe. It’s all a matter of taking common sense measures as well as doing your research to ensure that you have covered all of your bases.