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To Stretch-Wrap or Shrink-Wrap?

To Stretch-Wrap or Shrink-Wrap?

It may seem that the difference between shrink-wrapping and stretch-wrapping is obvious, but many people still get the two confused, and even more fail to use the best method available. Our experts at Holmes Mann suggest you take a quick look at the two methods and where they should be applied.

Stretch Pallet Wrap

In very basic terms, stretch pallet wrap is a plastic film that, due to its high elasticity, can be wrapped around numerous objects to hold them securely in place. It is usually made using polyethylene plastics and is most commonly used to hold products and loads together on pallets so that they can be stored or shipped. It is an extremely effective way of protecting goods from damage caused by transportation, handling and environmental conditions.


There are a variety of speciality stretch wrap films available, including those designed to offer added ventilation, versions with a UV filter, anti-static film and pre-stretched or coloured products. All versions are also effective at protecting items from moisture and dust and keeping them secure. One of the main benefits of stretch-wrapping is its cost-effectiveness. Both the materials and the machinery required are very affordable compared to other forms of wrapping supplies and equipment.

Shrink Wrap

Shrink-wrapping is wrapped loosely around a single product or load and then is shrunk using heat to provide an extremely secure outer layer. It is most often made out of polyolefin plastics and is commonly used to protect single items or to hold together a combination of smaller items. It can be used to wrap products on a pallet, although this is less common in practice. It is often employed to cover food items such as meat, fish and vegetables. Shrink-wrapping is an effective way of protecting items from weather conditions and dust, and it should cause no chafing or damage to products if it has been used correctly.

Both forms of wrapping are extremely adaptable, with many different wraps available to suit a multitude of different needs. These include vented versions to help keep fresh produce in good condition and prevent moisture build-up and those designed particularly for use in certain environmental or weather conditions.

If you need any advice about the type of wrapping that would be best suited for your business, or want help with choosing the right product or machinery to meet your needs, feel free to get in touch with the packaging experts at Holmes Mann today.

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