Shrink or Stretch Wrap?

It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s superman! Confused right? That’s the same feeling that comes to mind when talking about shrink or stretch wrap. We know it can be overwhelming when you’re looking to protect products on pallets, the first thought is should I use stretch wrap. The second thought is maybe I should use shrink wrap? The third thought is what’s the big difference between these two? It is quite the dilemma trying to decide which one is right for you and your needs. Let’s keep in mind both shrink and stretch wrap are perfect packaging solutions, both are tear resistant, water-proof, dust proof and help hold bundles together for storage or transportation. At Colt Paper these are frequently asked questions. Luckily you came to the right place, by the end of this blog you will be well informed on the differences. Let’s find out!

Stretch wrap is commonly made from polyethylene plastics, it is a clear type of plastic film, with the consistency and appearance of a saran wrap. Stretch wrap is used to secure products usually on a pallet. Also called cling wrap, stretch wrap has a tendency to stick together when it is wrapped over itself. One of the key benefits of stretch wrap is its cost effectiveness. It’s far less expensive than other types of materials used to wrap pallets. At the same time, stretch wrapping equipment can be significantly cheaper than comparable machines for wrapping. Stretch wrap has been used for several decades to securely protect products from moisture and dust. Depending on the type of film you need, it can also offer protection from UV as well.

Shrink Wrap is usually made from a polyolefin film, it is a much thicker material that wraps loosely around a product or object like plastic sheeting. After the shrink wrap is in place, a heat source (i.e. heat gun) is used to apply intense heat to fuse together any seams. Finally, the shrink wrap is heated and shrunk to its secure and greatly protective form that you see below. We usually think about boat covers and small machinery when we think of shrink wrap, but how about as an aircraft cover?


Since 1935 Colt Paper has been providing high quality stretch wrap, both cast stretch wrap or blown stretch wrap. We also carry a variety of different colors (red, blue, green, black, purple, orange, yellow) and gauges (60- 120 gauge). Give us a call today for all your stretch wrap needs.