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Shrink vs. Stretch Wrap


The terms shrink wrap and stretch wrap are often used interchangeably, but the reality is, they are two different products. While they are both used for packaging purposes and are both clear plastic films, they serve different purposes during application. Understanding these differences can save you the frustration of ordering the wrong film.

Stretch wrap is an elastic film commonly used to wrap and secure loads on pallets for shipping purposes. As the products are wrapped in the film, tension is applied as it is wrapping several times around the load. The properties of the wrap cause it to cling to itself creating a tightly wrapped, secure packaging. Stretch wrap can come in a variety of specialty films such as: UV stretch film, colored stretch film, prestretched stretch film, etc., making it more adaptable than other films.

Unlike stretch wrap, shrink wrap is a clear plastic film that is not stretchy. Shrink wrap covers loosely around a product and shrinks tightly when heat is applied. It is typically used to professionally package retail items giving them a tamper proof and protective barrier. Shrink wrap is mostly used to wrap individual items such as CDs or meats, but can still be used to package multiple items together. Shrink Wrap has the option of being ventilated, which creates an advantage in reducing any damage that can occur from moisture.

Whether your application calls for stretch film, shrink film, or both, let Best Packaging help you find the right materials and equipment for you. Give us a call at (888) 930 BEST to set up a consultation.

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