Shrink vs. Stretch


Stretch wrap and shrink wrap – what’s the difference?


These terms are often used interchangeably and frequently confused with one another.


However, whilst these products are both widely used for packaging purposes, by a broad range of industries, they’re far from being the same.


Yes they’re  both types of synthetic plastic, and yes they’re both rather great. But despite sharing a last name, there’s actually some pretty big differences between them.


If you’d like to know your shrink wrap from your stretch wrap, then we’ve put together this handy guide to these two wrapping wonders – enjoy!






Stretch Wrap



What Is It ?


Stretch wrap pretty much does what it says on the tin, it’s a type of highly stretchable, clear plastic film, that wraps around products. Simple!


This type of wrapping has some rather amazing abilities and thanks to its innovative chemical composition, can be stretched to many times its original size – pretty amazing, really !


The material’s elastic recovery keeps products tightly bound too, providing great stability.






What Is It Used For ?



Stretch wrap is employed by a variety of industries and is most often used to wrap and secure items on a pallet, for both storage and transport purposes.


That said, stretch wrap is hugely versatile and can also be used to package smaller items too. From coffee to carpets, it’s been used to package a whole host of different items.





A key advantage of stretch wrap is its ability to protect items from the elements.    Be it wind, rain, dust or dirt, you can count on stretch film to keep your products safe and dry.


Stretch wrap can also protect products from other hazards too. For example, it allows for the secure wrapping of items and provides great stability, meaning products are less likely to move around and become damaged during transport.


Unlike shrink wrap, stretch wrap does not require the addition of heat either.


Shrink Wrap


What Is It?


Not to be confused with the popular TV show Shrink Rap, shrink wrap is also a type of clear plastic film.


But unlike stretch wrap, shrink wrap is loosely applied to products. When heat is applied it then shrinks – hence the name – to tightly fit around the object it is covering.


What Is It Used For?


Shrink wrap is often used to wrap individual products and items, but is also widely used to bind products together.


Shrink wrap is also commonly used to package pallet loads and has a variety of industrial applications.


When it comes to the applications of shrink wrap the list is endless, and it really can be used to cover pretty much anything.





Like stretch wrap, shrink wrap is also a highly versatile and cost effective packaging solution.


Shrink wrap has a number of protective benefits. Because it acts to tightly seal its contents, it provides great protection from dust, dirt and moisture.


Products will also be protected from punctures and abrasions due to the high strength of this material.


Shrink wrap is easy to store too, thanks to its low weight and volume.



So, that’s a wrap. We hope you’ve enjoyed this quick guide to these wonderful types of wrapping.






Here at Dennison Stretch Films we’re leading suppliers of a fantastic range of both shrink wrap and stretch wrapping.


All our products are produced to the highest possible standards and can be tailored to suit your individual needs and requirements.


If you would like to know more about our range of products and services, simply contact a member of our friendly team today, by giving us a call on +44 (0) 161 2421275.

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