People can get confused about the difference between shrink wrap and stretch wrap. While both of these products work to protect items during shipping, they are not the same and are not used to protect the same things most of the time. In this blog we’ll break down the differences and advise you about which one is best for your needs.
Shrink Wrap vs. Stretch Wrap
These two terms are often used interchangeably, so if you’ve used stretch wrap to mean shrink wrap, or vice versa, you’re not alone! What is the difference?
First, while shrink wrap and stretch wrap are both often made from clear plastic that comes on a roll, the type of plastic is not the same. Stretch wrap is usually made of a thin, stretchable polyethylene plastic. This plastic can be wrapped around and around a pallet of goods to enclose it in plastic. Stretch wrap clings to itself, so it will stay in place once it’s wrapped tightly and it will contain whatever it’s wrapped around.
There are several types of shrink wrap. The key difference between shrink wrap and stretch wrap is that heat is used on shrink wrap. This causes it to shrink to whatever it is surrounding. You do not need to wrap an object in many layers of shrink wrap. One layer is enough.
Shrink wrap can be made of different types of plastic. One of them is polyolefin. This type of wrap is often found on items for sale in a store. It’s durable, good for freezer applications, and can be printed on.
Zormot’s shrink wrap is made in the United States from virgin polyethylene. It’s not recycled. It’s thicker than polyolefin, less clear, but much more durable. You apply it to an object with a heat gun. This type of shrink wrap is great for items that will be shipped long distances or stored for months outdoors. Our films have a UV inhibitor built in as well which aids in further protection against the elements compared to stretch wrap.
Which Wrap Is Best?
Both types of wrapping are good for protecting goods, but the one that you will select will be based on your specific needs. Stretch wrap is economical, comes in a variety of colors, and can be applied by hand without a heat gun or other tools. It will hold items within a pallet in place so they don’t move in shipping. It’s often used by movers to move furniture as well, since those items will be traveling short distances but still need some protection. This type of wrap is best for loads that are regular in shape, like items stacked on pallets.
Shrink wrap provides more robust protection during shipping or storage because it so closely conforms to the shape of the object it is covering. It’s ideal for large or irregularly shaped objects like boats, outdoor furniture, and vehicles, including large industrial equipment. It can even be used to cover entire buildings.
If you have any questions about shrink wrap or stretch wrap, our helpful customer service department can help answer them. We are here to make sure you get the right products, including the right size and thickness of shrink wrap, for your needs.