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Stretch film vs. shrink wrap which is better for your packaging needs.

Stretch film vs shrink wrap

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How to Decide Between Shrink Wrap and Stretch Film?

Product wrapping is one of the most important considerations to look at when it comes to industries. However, choosing which kind of wrap is suitable for different purposes is a question people need clarification on.Here you will find a detailed analysis of both the films, followed by differences being highlighted between them. Since there are plenty of packaging options around, deciding what to choose is difficult.The two packing materials stretch film and shrink wrap, are used for two different purposes. The shrink wrap allows wrapping products by way of heating; it is suitable for wrapping individual products. However, a stretch wrap goes well in industries where multiple products must be packed together on pallets.In the article below, we have discussed everything you would want to know about the two kinds of packing materials and how they differ from one another, so let us read on…

What Is Shrink Film and different types of it?

As discussed earlier, shrink film is used for wrapping products that need individual packaging. For instance, food items wrapped and frozen, DVDs, and more.Shrink wrap is manufactured using plastic of different kinds, and to tighten it around the product, heat is applied so that the plastic shrinks and attaches itself tightly to the product. This offers a covering to the product that keeps it away from harm.

Types of Shrink Films

Shrink film comes in two different kinds, and both of these have been provided below:


It is a kind of wrap that is the best solution for all those products that are subjected to food items that need frozen storage. It offers to be clear, versatile, and contains no odors. The best part is that this wrap can also be printed if required.


This shrink wrap offers less clarity, but its thickness ensures durability. The products usually shipped from one place to another are wrapped in this film.

What Is Stretch Film and different types of it?

In industry, multiple boxes of products and sometimes multiple bundles might need to be wrapped together. This is done for protection during transport or storage. The primary purpose of using a stretch wrap is to hold the boxes or cartons of products together as one unit so they can easily be transported.

Options for Stretch Films

Stretch films are of various kinds. However, the two heads to look at in this case amount to manual stretch wrap done by hand and one carried out using mechanical equipment.

Hand Stretch Wrap

When applied manually, a stretch film falls under the hand stretch wrap category. It is done by holding and wrapping the film tightly, so it starched properly around the products. In the case of hand stretch, one may opt for either colored stretch film or UV stretch wrap.

Machine-Based Stretch Wrap Application

Machine-Based Stretch Wrap Application
Machine-Based Stretch Wrap Application

Stretch film can also be applied through a mechanical process, and there are three such processes to choose from, as discussed below:

  • Cast stretch wrap is a commonly opted wrapping process carried out by a machine to wrap the products. In the manufacturing process of this film, the resin is melted and introduced into a cooling roll where it solidifies. It comes with great clarity; however, if stretched too much, it could tear.
  • The other one is blown stretch film. In case of it, the heated resin is blown into the cooling tubes and solidifies. It has a lower clarity than cast stretch wraps but is sturdy and has a lot of tear resistance.
  • Pre-Stretch wrap, as the name suggests, is a stretch wrap that is stretched in advance and can be applied to the pallet directly. The wrapping force is not required since the films are already stretched.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Shrink Film

A shrink-wrap will have certain advantages as well as disadvantages, and these comprise the following:

Advantages of Shrink Wrap

  • Shrink wrap keeps moisture damage and dust away from the products, saving them from harm.
  • If the product is tampered with, it will be immediately visible via shrink-wrap.
  • Products wrapped in shrink films have an extended shelf life; various food products may be sealed using shrink-wrap.
  • Businesses can easily create their brand names over the shrink films as they have a printing capability.

Disadvantages of Shrink Wrap

  • Temperature is one of the main concerns that need attention in the case of shrink-wrap. If the temperature is too high, it could make the plastic get wrinkle. However, the texture becomes very hard if the temperature gets too cold.
  • At the time of wrapping using shrink-wrap, heat is applied, and this application causes many odors to release. Hence, this could be damaging to the surroundings in case if the room is not well ventilated.
  • It is harmful to the environment because of the use of certain chemicals it has in its composition.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Stretch Film

There are many benefits and downsides of stretch film that you might be interested in knowing; let us have a look:

Advantages of Stretch Wrap

  • Stretch wrap is made using recyclable material; hence, it offers sustainability and is not harmful to the environment.
  • It is flexible enough that it wraps almost everything, no matter what kind of product and layout it has.
  • It is a pocket-friendly option to consider stretch wrap when choosing packing material.

Disadvantages of Stretch Wrap

  • If the wrong stretch wrap is determined, it could be a complete waste without protection. Selecting the suitable wrap kind is imperative, which is sometimes very tricky.
  • Stretch wrap needs appropriate application; failing to have the correct application may be damaged on the way, and if the wrap is damaged, the products might be harmed.
  • In various cases, the wrong size selection might also cause harm to the products, and therefore the risk is present in using this material when it comes to the size.

How Is Stretch Wrap Different from Shrink Wrap?

Stretch wrap and shrink film are confused mainly by being the same, but these two have many differences among them. These differences between the two materials are provided below:

Cost Considerations

Stretch wrap is comparatively affordable, whereas shrink-wrap proves to be a little expensive. Industries require the packing of many products. Mainly, these are transported in a unitized manner, so they prefer a stretch wrap.


Shrink-wrap involves a lot of hassle, whereas there is no such hassle in the case of stretch wrap. In the case of shrink-wrap, it has to be subjected to heat, which is not the case with stretch wrap; hence, packing becomes easier. Therefore, stretch wrap is quite suitable if we look at it in the context of ease.

Environmental Impact

Stretch wrap is recyclable. Hence, it does not cause harm to the environment. However, shrink-wrap is not recyclable and tends to accumulate in landfills.In addition, during the shrink-wrap heating process, many toxins and chemicals are released that cause destruction to the environment. Hence, choosing shrink-wrap is somewhat environmentally damaging.

Manufacturing Material

They differ in terms of the material in which they are manufactured. The two of them, despite being plastic products, have different kinds of plastics used in their production.

Purpose of Use

Stretch wrap covers and packs boxes and bundles of multiple products to unitize them; the packaging is done over a pallet. However, to wrap individual products, shrink-wrap is taken into use. It only covers the small pallets or a little of the load.

Which kind of wrap among the two must you choose?

You must still be wondering which kind of film must be used, either stretch film or shrink film, to wrap your products. Well, there are certain things that you need to assess and ask yourself before you finally decide which instead film your must use.Read below and get to know the context of making a decision in this case.

When is shrink film suitable?

There are a few things that you must consider when shrink-wrapping your products; understanding these would help you analyze when it is shrink-wrapping suitable.

  • The first thing you must assess is what kind of product you will pack. If it is food, you will need a shrink-wrap suitable for food items like polyolefin wrap.
  • Shrink wrap is wrapped after passing through a high temperature, so the packed products must also be heat tolerant. If it is not, you might need to change your packing material to something else.
  • Some products need to breathe despite being packed, so if you also need a packing that must be breathable for your product, then choosing a shrink film is a good idea, but make sure to use perforated shrink film.
  • Shrink film might not be a very environment-friendly option to invest in. so you also need to look at the customer base.
  • If your clients follow environmentally friendly policies, choosing a shrink film for packaging might be impaired. However, you can opt for a biodegradable shrink film instead.
  • Budget amounts are one of the major concerns when selecting shrink films. Shrink-wrap is expensive, so if you have a limited budget, it is of no use to go for a shrink-wrap, and you must look forward to a budget-friendly plastic wrap in this case.

When To Use Stretch Film?

A standard stretch film does many things when it comes to its applications but specifically whine you can use stretch film is a question that you might have in mind.

  • Stretch film will be a better option for you if you have budget constraints since it is affordable compared to shrink film.
  • In addition, if you need to pack multiple products at a time, the stretch film will be a better choice as it will hold the products together in the form of a bundle.

Therefore, selecting a machine stretch wrapping would be suitable if you have to handle loads above 15 kg. However, if you have lower weight requirements, choose hand wrapping, as that would be cheaper.· If you want to unitize similar products together and want them to be identified as well during storage, in such case, the stretch film proves to be a better choice. It helps in identifying the products separately.· If you have a clientele that looks forward to environmentally friendly packing, stretch film is a better approach.

Where to Buy Your Shrink or Stretch Films?

You can find them at various places when buying two materials, stretch film and shrink wrap, irrespective of their sizes or widths. Many online platforms and packing stores hold the stock of these wrapping films.However, choosing a film with the best quality and long-term durability is one of the most important things. In this regard, you must look forward to Rolls Stretch Films. Here you will find plenty of choices of different sizes of stretch and shrink films.Apart from the finest quality, you will have access to various stretch films suitable for different purposes. These stretch films are also manufactured, keeping in mind that they have no environmental impact.Therefore, choosing us could be one of the best decisions you can make to have your products packed and transported safely.


Transportation and storing consumer goods for extended periods are always very challenging, so choosing the right film is equally important. There is no room to tolerate surface damage or any climatic impact on the products.Hence selecting the appropriate packing materials is very important to ensure that the product is delivered to its location without any hassle and is in good shape.Packaging of products is never a piece of cake, and it is essential to ensure that the suitable material is chosen for the ultimate safety of the products.After going through the guide above, it would be easy for you to distinguish between the two kinds of materials and decide accordingly.

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