Stretch Wrap

Stretch wrap (not to be confused with shrink wrap) is a plastic film that secures loads using its high-elasticity. Once stretched around a pallet, the wrap will try to return to its original state, securing the load in the process.

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Category

Use Case Specific

What are the different categories of stretch wrap?

  • Ultraviolet (UV) – prevents exposure to the sun’s rays
  • Vented – prevents moisture accumulation
  • Anti-static – prevents damage to electronics
  • Colored / Product Concealing – used for privacy, color-coded organization, and branding

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Cling Type

Performance

Cling type can either be 1-sided or 2-sided. Opting for 2-sided cling increases how secure the load will be.

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Color

Style

Typically clear, unless you opt for a special category of stretch wrap, such as Ultraviolet (UV) or product concealing.

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Core Diameter

Dimension

Core size is the inner diameter of the roll.

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Film Grade

Performance

How the stretch wrap is applied to the product.

What is the difference between hand and machine grade stretch wrap?

The differences relate to how the stretch wrap is applied:

  • Hand Grade - applied by hand or a manually-powered applicator, used for small loads/low-volume warehouses, and can stretch ~25-100% in length when pulled.
  • Machine Grade is applied by machine, used for large loads/high-volume warehouses, and can stretch ~150-300% in length when pulled.

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Gauge

Unit of Measurement

A measure of shrink wrap film thickness.

What is film gauge?

Gauge is the measurement for film thickness. One gauge is equal to .254 Microns.


What gauge stretch wrap do I need?

Common use cases for different gauges and widths of shrink wrap.
Common use cases for different gauges and widths of shrink wrap.

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Handle Type

Style

Used to aid unrolling without interfering with the stretch wrap film.

Stretch wrap can be purchased with or without a handle. There are 3 common options:

  • Longer Core - built-in handle that removes the need for purchasing separate handles.
  • Handle with Brake - built-in handle with brakes to protect team members from sharp edges. 
  • Reusable Handle - handles that can be removed when the roll is empty and reused with new rolls.

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Material

Construction

Linear Low-Density Polyethylene (LLDPE) is the most common type of stretch wrap, though there are different forms of Polyethylene (PE) available.


What is PE shrink wrap?

PE commonly comes in three forms: 

  1. High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) - high strength-to-density ratio; recyclable; used for heavy-duty wrapping like bundling produce on farms.
  2. Low-Density Polyethylene (LDPE) - density lower than HDPE; resilient to impacts, moisture, chemicals; recyclable; recyclable; used when heat-sealing is necessary 
  3. Linear Low-Density Polyethylene (LLDPE) - most flexible and common PE. Better for stretching than shrinking compared to other PEs; recyclable; used for wrapping pallets and heavy loads.

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Microns

Unit of Measurement

The thickness of the stretch wrap film. One micron is equal to one millionth of a meter. One gauge is equal to 0.254 microns.

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Overall Length

Dimension

The total length of the stretch wrap when unrolled.

How much shrink wrap do I need?

The answer will ultimately depend on your usage rate, but if you’re looking to wrap a pallet, you can use this calculator to get a quick estimate.

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Overall Width

Dimension

The horizontal width of the roll.

How wide should stretch wrap be? What size stretch wrap do I need? 

Similar to Overall Length, the answer will depend on the products being wrapped and usage rates

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Sheets per Roll

Packaging

You can purchase rolls in either separate sheets or as a single continuous roll.

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Style

Style

Cast stretch wrap and blown stretch wrap are two different methods of manufacturing stretch wrap.

What’s the difference between cast and blown stretch wrap?

Both cast and blown stretch wrap have pros and cons:

Cast
  • Pros - less expensive, excellent clarity, less force to stretch, high tear resistance, superior cling, and quiet unwinding.
  • Cons - weaker holding power, less memory, and lower tear resistance. 
Blown
  • Pros - stronger holding power, high memory, and higher tear resistance.
  • Cons -more expensive, poor clarity, and noisy unwinding.

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Temperature Performance

Performance
Min. Temperature

Minimum temperature stretch wrap can be exposed without damaging.


Max. Temperature

Maximum temperature stretch wrap can be exposed without damaging.

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Thickness

Dimension

The thickness of the film material. Usually measured in microns or gauge.

Frequently Asked Questions

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We’re always working to improve the quality of our knowledge base. If there’s anything you think we’re missing or needs changing on this page, let us know.

What’s the difference between shrink wrap and stretch wrap? 

The primary difference is that shrink wrap is commonly used on individual products (e.g., CDs, soda jugs, etc.), while stretch wrap is used to secure products on a pallet. You can learn more about stretch wrap here. Beyond usage, one important distinction is that shrink wrap needs heat for application, while stretch wrap doesn’t.

How much is stretch wrap?

With prices constantly changing and 100s of vendors out there, the easiest way to find out is with Response.

What do you use stretch wrap for?

The answer depends on the material you choose to use. Check out the different options in the Material section above.

What is the strongest stretch wrap?

The answer ultimately depends on the application. Generally, blown stretch wrap is stronger than cast and a higher gauge can hold heavier loads.

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