Stretch Wrapping Vs. Shrink Wrapping

Protecting products is the number one priority for many businesses, with it being incredibly important that products can stay in ultimate condition without getting damaged during transportation and right up till they reach the consumer. Because of this many companies are now paying close attention to how they package their products, taking steps to ensure that they are packaging their products as securely as possible.

Two of the main packaging methods now used by companies to pack and secure loads are shrink wrapping and stretch wrapping. Many people often confuse there two packaging styles with one another, but today we are here to outline the differences, enabling companies to make better informed decisions going forward.

Stretch Wrapping

What is it?

Stretch wrapping refers to wrapping stretchable plastic film (Stretch wrap film) around a stacked load of products, tightly securing products together, making them much easier to both store and transport. Stretch film is typically made from polyethylene plastics.

What is it used for?

Stretch wrapping is usually used to hold loads and products together on a pallet for storage and transportation purposes. Many different films are available for stretch wrapping, with popular options including UV stretch wrap, vented pallet wrap, anti-static stretch film, coloured stretch film and pre-stretched stretch film.


The three main advantages of stretch wrapping are:

  • Stretch wrapping can secure products together whilst protecting them from dust, moisture, UV rays and many other otherwise harmful elements
  • Stretch wrapping is an affordable packaging method that is much more affordable than many of the other packaging methods available
  • Stretch wrapping is highly adaptable with many different films available to cover a wide range of applications

Shrink Wrapping

What is it?

Shrink wrapping is a popular packaging method which refers to covering a product or set of products in lose plastic film which is then tightened by applying heat. This heat can either come from handheld heat guns or shrink wrapping machines. Film used for shrink wrapping (shrink wrap film) is commonly made from polyolefin plastics.

What is it used for?

Shrink wrapping is generally used to protect singular products from dust, dirt and other harmful outside elements. It is also sometimes used combine multiple small items together. Food items are often wrapped in this way, with examples including cheese, meats and vegetables.


The three main advantages of shrink wrapping are:

  • Shrink wrapping is a good way of protecting products from a huge range of elements including but not limited to the weather, moisture, dust and dirt
  • Shrink wrapping enables products to be stored and transported without getting damage, providing their product packaging with an extra layer of protection
  • Shrink wrap films are now available which are breathable and ventilated, reducing any damage which could otherwise occur from trapped moisture. This is why it is so popular amongst food products

If after reading this you are still unsure which method is for you, we highly recommend that you contact a packaging supplier such as Sontex who will no doubt be delighted to assist you.