Shrink Wrap vs. Stretch Wrap

Shrink Wrap MachinesI can’t even begin to tell you how many people have asked me, “Should I use shrink wrap or stretch wrap to package this product?” Many people interchange stretch wrap and shrink wrap not realizing that they are two completely different products. I will help clear up the differences. By then end of this article you will be a stretch wrap and shrink wrap expert!

To begin with, both stretch wrap and shrink wrap are used for packaging purposes. For that reason, I believe a lot of people get confused. Here is my brief explanation of each of these packaging technologies.

Stretch Wrap – Stretch wrap is a type of clear plastic film that has the appearance and consistence of saran wrap. This film is typically designed to bundle multiple items together or provide stability to a package of items. As the film is wrapped around a product, some tension is required to provide stability. Stretch wrap film tends to “cling” together as it is wrapped over itself. Many stretch wrap machines are designed to apply stretch wrap to large pallets of products for stability and shipping purposes. No heat is applied during the stretch wrap process.

Shrink Wrap – Shrink wrap is also a type of clear plastic film, however, it does not have stretchy or clingy “saran wrap” properties. Shrink wrap is typically designed to package an individual product, although it can be used to package multiple items together. Unlike stretch wrap, which is wrapped around a product multiple times, shrink wrap is actually cut around a product using a heat sealer or shrink wrap bar. The shrink film then shrinks (hence the name) around the product as heat is applied. The end result is a professionally packaged product. Shrink wrap provides a tamper proof and protective barrier.

I hope that helped. Let me also demonstrate the differences between stretch wrap and shrink wrap with a few video demonstrations.

This is a video demo of a stretch wrap (pallet wrap) machine:

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This is a video demo of a shrink wrap machine:

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At ABC Office we offer a great selection of packaging products designed to preserve, protect and package. You can find our entire selection of pallet stretch wrappers here and our entire selection of shrink wrap machines here.

Please feel free to contact one of our packaging specialists at 1-800-658-8788 with any stretch wrap or shrink wrap questions.

Keith Barlow

Keith is a third generation office equipment expert. ABC Office was started by his grandfather back in 1980 and he is proud to be caring on the values that made ABC Office what it is today… unsurpassed selection, detailed information, low prices, and courteous support.

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