Stretch wrap and shrink wrap are sometimes said to be similar because they are both transparent and are made to hold products. However, there is a vast difference between stretch packaging and shrink packaging.

First of all, stretch film is made, in most cases, from polyethylene. It can be used to wrap a lot of items and it is capable of holding the products tightly thanks to its elasticity.

On the other hand, shrink wraps are made from polyolefin plastics, and it shrinks to fit the products when heat is applied.

Stretch wrap is used for holding loads and products together on a pallet for transportation or storage purposes.

There are many types of stretch wraps like:

  • UV stretch wrap
  • High performance stretch wrap film
  • Vented Pallet Wrap
  • Anti-static stretch film
  • Coloured Stretch film
  • Pre-Stretched film, etc.

Stretch wrap is employed to protect a single product from dust or weather.

Sometimes it can be used to tightly combine smaller items together. It can also be very useful to cover foods, such as cheese, meats and vegetables.


Advantages of Stretch Wrap

a. Secure

Stretch wrap protects and secure products from dust and weather. If you choose a UV stretch film, you can also protect your items from the sun.

b. Better price

Stretch film is cheaper than other types of pallet wrapping. The equipment needed for stretch wrapping is less expensive than other forms of wrapping.

c. Versatility

Since stretch wrap comes in many styles, you will have no problem finding one that suits your needs.

Advantages of Shrink Wrap

a. Protective

Shrink wrap is great for securing and protective products from weather, moist, dirt and damage.

Used correctly, shrink wrap should not have any problems transporting your products from one place to another.

b. Ventilation

You can reduce any damage caused by moist when using shrink wrap because it has the option of being ventilated.



For both wraps, you will need special equipment to wrap your products.

Stretch Film Equipment


If you are wrapping less than 15 loads per day, you can use manual wrappers. Manual wrappers include the extended core with a film extension used as a handle. They also have mechanical brakes, and they use pole wrappers for easier use.

Pallet wrapping machines are used to reduce waste and to increase efficiency. You can choose:

Semi-automatic machines

Semi automatic machines require an operator to place the pallet loads on the machine. The pallet wrapping machine then applies the stretch film vertically and wraps the pallet load.

Automatic wrappers

The fully automatic stretch wrappers machines eliminate the need for an operator to place the pallet loads. They reduce the number of employees and time needed to unitize each pallet load.

Shrink Equipment

If you are using any type of shrink wrap you will need a heating machine.

There are different types of shrink wrap machines available for heating:

  • Heat Guns: They release a stream of hot air and they are necessary for more professional looking shrink wrap jobs.
  • Shrink tunnels: They are mounted over or around a conveyor system. The products have the shrink film loosely applied, with heat the film shrinks to fit perfectly around the item.

For the shrink wrap, you need 300 degrees Fahrenheit to shrink perfectly.

Before the products are ready for heating, the shrink wrap sealing machines will need to cut and seal the shrink. Once this has been done, you can tighten the plastic.

As you can see, both films have made packaging for storage and transportation easy and economic. Thanks to stretch film and shrink films, the packed items are protected to avoid any damage.

These wraps protect the goods from dust, dirt and weather, and help users to save time and money.

In short, stretch film and shrink wrap are completely different. Shrink wrap is mostly used for items like food, pharmaceutical and in the retail industry while stretch film is usually used for transportation purposes.

If you have questions regarding Stretch Wrapping and Shrink Wrapping, don’t hesitate to contact us.

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