Nathan Dube

By: Nathan Dube on October 19th, 2021

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Polyester Strapping VS Steel Strapping: Which Is Right For You?

Packaging Materials | Investment | Shipping Protection

After diligently scouring the internet for a packaging material that is good for packaging heavy-weight items, you stumbled across strapping material.


Curious as to whether this would be a good fit, you took a look at the most popular types of strapping and have narrowed your choices down to polyester strapping and steel strapping.


However, you are not sure what the differences between these two types of strapping materials are. You know that they are both well suited for heavy products, but you need a clear understanding of which of these two materials is the best one for your heavy products.


You want to move forward with a purchase to complete your current product packaging project, but you are having trouble finding the information you are looking for to complete this process.


Well, the good news is, you have come to the Industrial Packaging blog!


With over six decades in the packaging industry, we know all there is to know about strapping materials. And, we can educate you on the types of strapping that you are looking to compare.


This article will explain the differences between polyester strapping and steel strapping. With the information in this article, you will be able to purchase the correct type of strapping for your heavy product packaging needs.


What Is Polyester Strapping?


Polyester (PET) strapping is a solid and tough form of strapping material. In many applications, polyester strapping is utilized to replace steel strapping depending on the items being packaged.


Polyester strapping is commonly used for packaging cinder blocks, timber, metal, pallets of unitized products (such as soda or beer), and other heavier items.


Polyester strapping material is most often used for packaging applications that require high tension and less elongation. Polyester strapping features superb load containment for extended periods, especially when compared to polypropylene strapping.


Polyester strapping features a smooth feel and texture, although, it may be embossed if necessary. The environmentally-minded buyer will be happy to know that polyester strapping is almost always made from recycled materials.


It may come as a surprise, but polyester strapping has a higher tensile strength than steel strapping. It also holds the tension for an extended period of time when compared to polypropylene strapping.


This is a crucial consideration for shipments of strapped products traveling long distances or those that feature consistent stops along the journey.


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What Is Steel Strapping?


Steel strapping features high tensile strength and is made from multiple types of steel alloy. While steel strapping suffers from having less tensile strength than polyester, it boasts the highest break strength of all strapping materials.


Essentially, this translates to the fact that steel strapping has the best load containment for the heaviest loads (such as industrial equipment).


Steel strapping is the superior choice when it comes to containing products with sharp edges or corners.


This may include items such as machinery parts or iron. Steel strapping's rigidity makes it a popular choice for companies that need to contain loads that do not settle during transportation. Simply put, steel does not easily lose its shape.


But, steel strapping's rigidity can be a double-edged sword or a catch 22. Products such as timber may settle or expand based upon the humidity during shipping.


This can result in the load loosening, which may result in damage to the product. Furthermore, when steel strapping is bent at a right angle, it loses half of its strength.


Steel strapping's popularity is consistently decreasing year to year, but it is used almost exclusively for railroad-shipped applications.


This is because its use in these applications is mandated by the government (specifically the Association of American Railroads). When shipping any load that is not held with a container, steel strapping must, by law, be used.


strapping materials question


Which Type Of Strapping Material Is Right For Your Products?


Now that you know the differences between polyester strapping and steel strapping, you are probably trying to figure out which one is right for packaging your products.


However, to make the correct decision, you will have to answer a few questions first. Once you have answered these questions, you will be able to choose the right strapping material for your product packaging needs.


  • Are you packaging heavy-duty construction machinery? - If you answered yes, you would want to use steel strapping material.

  • Are you strapping lumber? - If you said yes, then you will want to choose polyester strapping.


  • Are you shipping your products via railroad? - If your answer is yes, then you have to use steel strapping by law.


  • Are you shipping bricks or cinder blocks? - If you said yes, polyester strapping material is the correct choice for your packaging needs.


  • Are you shipping i-beams, iron, or steel coils? - If you answered yes, then you will want to use steel strapping.


  • Are you shipping pallets of bottled or canned beverages? - If the answer to that question is yes, you will want to use polyester strapping.


  • Are you packaging baling wire? If you are, steel strapping is your best choice.


  • Are you packaging tiles? - If the answer is yes, polyester strapping is the proper choice for you.


  • Are you securing metal containers? - If you answered yes, steel strapping is your best bet.


  • Are you palletizing heavy loads? - If you said yes, polyester strapping is the better choice for your packaging requirements.


How To Calculate The Cost And Volume Of Your Strapping Materials


With the answers to the questions above, you should have everything you need to choose and purchase the correct type of strapping material for your current packaging applications.


But, you are probably wondering how to calculate the total cost and required volume of strapping materials, correct?


Suppose you would like to calculate your required volume and total purchase price for your order of the strapping material that you have chosen.


In that case, you will want to consider reading this companion article, How To Calculate The Cost And Volume Of Your Strapping Materials.


With the information in this article, you will be able to calculate the total cost for the required volume of your chosen strapping material.


Strapping Tensile Break Strength Calculator

About Nathan Dube

As the Digital Marketing Specialist at Industrial Packaging, I am honored to create content for such a phenomenal company and work with one of the greatest teams in the Packaging Industry. Whether creating a video, writing blog posts or generating other pieces of content and multimedia, I am always excited to help educate and inspire our prospects and clients to reach their highest potential in regards to their packaging processes and needs.