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Stretch Film vs. Shrink Film

stretch film vs shrink film

If I had a dollar for every time someone asked me the difference between stretch film and shrink wrap I would be rich!


Both of these products are used in the packaging industry but have very different applications.


Stretch Film (also known as stretch wrap) is a clear film that does have some elasticity and resembles “saran wrap” and if wrapped around itself “clings”.  The film is typically used to bind multiple items and help keep them stable and easier to handle.  The stretch film also prevents dust and moisture from interfering with the product.  Stretch film comes in various sizes.  A 5” handheld film is great to  hold together smaller items, while a 12”-15” would be better for larger items.  There are industrial stretch film machines that work great for wrapping pallets to insure they get to their destination safely.


Shrink Film is more of a film and does not stretch or give.  The film needs to be used in combination with a heat source.  Once heat is applied to the film it shrinks!  For smaller jobs,  a heat gun can be used which looks like an industrial blow dryer but reaches higher temperatures.  Larger jobs may require a heat tunnel.  Shrink wrap can be used for many purposes. It is very popular in the CD and DVD industry.  This film is also used in the food service industry and is USDA approved. Another purpose is to store and protect old record albums, comics and antique books.


Now that you are more familiar with the differences between shrink wrap and stretch film it will be easier for you to determine what product to order.

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