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Stretch film: a comparison of different materials

Stretch film: a comparison of different materials

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Stretch film is a versatile material with many different uses. It can be used to package products, secure loads on pallets, protect furniture, and even mask parts of a vehicle for painting. But how do you know which type of stretch film is best for the job? It all comes down to the type of material that the film is made from.

Different materials used to manufacture stretch films:

  1. Polyethylene (PE)

  2. PVC

  3. Polypropylene (PP)

  4. Linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE)

  5. Nylon

The next section provides an overview of the different materials used for stretch films, including each material’s pros and cons, and the cost of using them.

Overview of Different Materials Used for Stretch Film

Overview of Different Materials Used for Stretch Film

Cast stretch film is an essential component in the packaging and shipping process, providing a secure barrier between contents and potential contaminants. These films are made from a variety of different materials, each with its unique characteristics.

Low-density polyethylene (LDPE) is a general-purpose film that is soft and flexible, making it well-suited to light-duty applications such as wrapping pallets and small boxes. It provides good tear resistance and conforms easily to irregular shapes. LDPE films can come in standard or pre-stretched varieties, allowing for faster application without sacrificing strength.

Linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE) offers greater puncture resistance than LDPE blown stretch wrap, making it suitable for heavier items or those requiring higher levels of security. Its flexibility allows for use on both regular and irregularly shaped packages, though LLDPE films are generally more expensive than LDPE.

High-density polyethylene (HDPE) is the most durable of the three primary materials and is used in applications where additional strength and durability are required. HDPE films offer excellent puncture resistance, making them ideal for heavier items or those that need maximum protection from contaminants. They are also less likely to tear, providing a more secure seal with fewer breaks when applied to large packages.

Each type of material has its advantages and disadvantages, so it is important to consider the needs of each application when selecting the right cast stretch wrap. By ensuring that the most appropriate material is used, businesses can ensure the safe and secure transport of their products while saving time and money.

Comparison of Different Materials

  1. Polyethylene (PE)

Polyethylene (PE)

Polyethylene (PE) is a popular material used to make a stretch film, due to its affordability and wide availability. It is a thermoplastic polymer and is lightweight, making it easy to use with manual and automatic stretch wrappers. It is also very strong, offering excellent tear resistance when stretched during wrapping. In addition, polyethylene resists punctures as well as moisture and dust intrusion. Its flexibility also makes it ideal for a range of application needs. However, polyethylene has lower UV resistance than other materials used for stretch film, which means that it can become brittle if exposed to the sun for prolonged periods. Therefore, it is recommended that polyethylene traditional machine stretch film be used only for indoor applications where UV exposure is minimal. Furthermore, polyethylene can be difficult to recycle, as it is a mixture of different polymer types.

Pros and Cons

Polyethylene (PE) is considered one of the most popular plastics used for stretch film. It has many advantages, including its affordability and the fact that it is strong and waterproof. Additionally, PE has a high degree of stretchability due to its softening point and flexibility, making it ideal for wrapping around products securely. It also protects from moisture and dust, helping to extend the shelf-life of items.

However, PE stretch film can have some drawbacks compared to other materials. It may not be as resistant to sunlight or extreme temperatures as some other materials used in stretch film manufacturing such as nylon or PVC. Additionally, PE can create static electricity when unwrapping which is dangerous when considering food packaging or sensitive electronic components. Finally, although PE is an economical option for performance stretch film, the cost may increase if the material must be tailored to fit specific needs and requirements.


Polyethylene (PE) is one of the most cost-effective materials used for stretch films. It has excellent optical properties, which allow it to remain transparent and provide a clear view of what’s being wrapped. Additionally, it has a good tensile strength which helps prevent tears in the stretch film when stretched over a load. It also provides excellent puncture and tear resistance, making it ideal for holding heavy loads together. Furthermore, it is generally more cost-effective compared to other materials such as nylon or polypropylene (PP). Its low cost makes PE one of the most popular choices for stretch wrap applications. As a result, it provides an economical solution for businesses that require large quantities of stretch film. In summary, PE is an ideal choice for stretch wrap applications due to its low cost, excellent optical properties, and superior strength and puncture resistance.

  1. PVC


PVC stretch film offers superior strength and puncture resistance, making it a great choice for securing heavy-duty loads. It is also extremely stretchable, allowing it to be applied in thin layers that still provide superior strength. Additionally, PVC stretch film is more resistant to UV radiation and other environmental factors than other materials, extending its useful life. Its transparency also makes it easy to inspect packages without having to open them up. Its low cost and long-lasting performance make PVC a popular choice for many warehousing operations. Unfortunately, the material itself is not biodegradable and can release harmful vapors during production, making it an unsustainable option in certain circumstances. It also has relatively poor tear resistance compared to some other cast film options. Ultimately, PVC is an effective choice when used responsibly, but operators should consider the tradeoffs of using this type of stretch film before making their decision.

Overall, PVC stretch film offers a good balance of performance and cost-effectiveness, making it an attractive option for many applications.

Pros and Cons

PVC (polyvinyl chloride) is the most commonly used material for stretch film. It offers both cost-effectiveness and performance benefits. PVC is strong and durable, making it a popular choice for many types of applications. PVC has excellent tear resistance and good shrinkage characteristics that make it an ideal material for stretch film. On the downside, PVC can be difficult to work with due to its relatively brittle nature. Heat-sealing is also more challenging when using PVC as a stretch film material. Additionally, PVC generates toxic fumes when burned and may pose environmental risks if not disposed of properly after use. For these reasons, many businesses opt to use alternative materials such as polyethylene or low-density polyethylene instead of PVC for their stretch film needs.


PVC is often the most economical material used for stretch film. It is a commonly used plastic that can be applied in various forms, including films, coatings, and adhesives. PVC is highly versatile and cost-effective, making it an excellent choice for a wide range of industrial applications such as stretch film. Additionally, its abrasion-resistance properties make it ideal for protecting products from scratches and nicks during transit or storage. The material can also be treated to increase puncture resistance and provide additional strength. As such, PVC provides a good balance between performance and cost-efficiency which makes it the preferred option in many industries. However, it should be noted that this type of plastic tends to have lower environmental credentials than other materials used for the stretch film due to its higher production costs associated with its manufacture in comparison to some bio-based plastics. Ultimately, PVC is an economical solution that can help keep costs down, while still providing an acceptable degree of performance.

  1. Polypropylene (PP)

Polypropylene (PP)

Polypropylene (PP) is an ideal choice for stretch film because of its excellent flexibility and strength. It has a low-shrink temperature, which means it doesn’t stretch too much when exposed to heat. Additionally, PP has very good clarity and transparency, allowing it to be used for transparent packaging applications. It is also resistant to water and oil-based liquids, making it suitable for the protection of products with those characteristics. Lastly, PP is considered a cost-effective option since it is lightweight and easy to produce. This makes it an excellent choice for businesses looking to save costs while creating durable and effective stretch wrap solutions.

Pros and Cons

Polypropylene (PP) is the most commonly used material for the stretch film due to its affordability and versatility. It has excellent moisture resistance, making it an ideal packaging choice for wet products, as well as good puncture and tear resistance. Its transparency also makes it a suitable choice for displaying product information and other labeling requirements.

On the downside, PP does not perform as well in terms of its elasticity compared to other materials such as PE (polyethylene). This can lead to problems with load containment if the film being applied is unable to offer sufficient stretchability or memory retention. Furthermore, PP’s clarity may be superior but this comes at a cost; PP tends to have lower tensile strength than more opaque alternatives such as VCI (volatile corrosion inhibitor) films. Finally, PP may be sensitive to certain chemicals and solvents, so it is important to make sure any product stored in PP stretch film is compatible with the packaging material.


Polypropylene (PP) is a cost-effective choice when it comes to hand stretch wrap. It is commonly used as an alternative to more expensive materials due to its lower cost. Additionally, PP has excellent mechanical properties such as high strength, good flexibility, and low shrinkage. Furthermore, PP is resistant to chemicals and moisture which makes it ideal for use in environments where these conditions are present. Lastly, Polypropylene is lightweight yet durable making it easier to store, transport, and handle than heavier material alternatives. All of these factors combined make Polypropylene a great economical choice for pre-stretch film applications.

  1. Linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE)

4. Linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE)

Linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE) is a cost-effective material used for stretch film. It is strong and flexible, making it ideal for products that require extra protection during shipping or storage. LLDPE also has excellent clarity and reduces noise levels when wrapped around pallets and boxes due to its softness. Additionally, this type of blown film is resistant to tearing and punctures, meaning that it can protect items from the elements such as sun, dust, and water damage. LLDPE doesn’t contain any hazardous materials, making it safe to use in a wide range of applications.

Pros and Cons

The use of Linear Low-Density Polyethylene (LLDPE) in the production of cast machine stretch film is advantageous because it provides enhanced tear and impact resistance. Additionally, LLDPE offers excellent clarity and conformability over a range of temperatures. It is also known for its high puncture resistance and UV protection, making it suitable for outdoor use.

On the downside, LLDPE is more expensive to produce than other materials used for a stretch film such as polypropylene (PP) and ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA). Additionally, it has a slightly lower tensile strength than some of its counterparts. Another disadvantage of using LLDPE for the stretch film is that it is more difficult to recycle than other materials, making it less environmentally friendly.


Linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE) is generally the most cost-effective and widely used material choice for stretch film manufacturing. LLDPE has a greater ability to elongate and resist punctures, making it a superior option in comparison with other materials. The cost of LLDPE fluctuates according to market trends but is still considered much cheaper than other materials. The cost savings associated with the use of LLDPE are passed down to customers, making it a great option for businesses looking to stretch their budgets.

  1. Nylon


Nylon is a thermoplastic polyamide widely used for stretch film. It offers a high degree of tensile strength and puncture resistance, making it an ideal choice for applications where the package must be able to withstand frequent loading and unloading while being transported. The high tear strength of nylon makes it suitable for heavier loads, as well as items with sharp edges. Furthermore, nylon has excellent heat resistance and can be used to wrap products that require higher temperatures during shipping and storage. Its ability to be stretched and recovered provides a secure seal that can protect products even under extreme environmental conditions.

Pros and Cons

Nylon has great elasticity and elongation capabilities, making it an ideal choice for stretch film. It is also lightweight, which can help to reduce shipping costs. Nylon is highly resistant to wear and tear, is strong enough to contain heavy loads, and has good clarity when used in clear films. However, nylon does not have a good resistance to solvents, so it can be easily damaged by oils and other materials. Additionally, nylon has a higher cost compared to polyethylene, making it an expensive choice for stretch film. It can also be more difficult to handle and apply due to its low tear strength.


Nylon is an economically-priced material that has been used for stretch film production since the 1950s. It offers good product visibility, excellent elongation, and is strong enough to be used in manual or automated applications. Nylon is also a relatively lightweight material so it can provide cost savings during shipping due to its lower weight per length compared to other materials. Nylon is a good choice for applications that require low stretch energy, such as hand wrapping and bundling applications.


Ultimately, the selection of the right stretch film material is crucial to achieving your desired results. The material should be chosen based on its intended application, as different materials offer different levels of strength, tear resistance, stretchability, and other properties. It is important to remember that the material is the foundation of any successful stretch film and shrink-wrap product, and selecting the wrong material can have a significant impact on its performance.

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