Nathan Dube

By: Nathan Dube on February 25th, 2020

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Shrink Wrap Film Cost: Factors That Influence Price & How To Calculate

Packaging Materials | The Business of Packaging | Investment

Hey there! Take a load off, stay awhile! It looks like you have been shopping for shrink wrap film all day, and I would guess that you probably need to sit back and reflect for a moment.


You have been reviewing prices for a roll or multiple rolls of shrink film. And, while you have seen a different array of pricing from various vendors, you are not sure how these prices are calculated.


You want to know how to do these calculations for yourself to figure out if you are getting the correct pricing for the rolls of film you want to buy.


Industrial Packaging has provided thousands upon thousands of shrink wrap consultations to companies just like yours. So, when it comes to shrink film, we know how to calculate roll pricing and translate it into an easy-to-understand process.


In the article below, we will help you understand the price of shrink wrap and show you how to calculate the cost of the film yourself.



What Elements Affect The Price Of Shrink Wrap Film?


The Width Of Your Shrink Film


One of the first things you need to figure out is the correct width of shrink film for your application. At first glance, you might think that choosing the right width of shrink wrap is simple, but it can be slightly confusing.


To choose the correct width, you need to identify several aspects of your film. These include:


  • Your product
  • The type of sealer you will be using
  • Package width (cross-directional: how many inches is the item opposite the direction of travel into the machinery)
  • Package height (how tall is the item as it would be placed on the machine to be packaged?)


When you have these measurements, you can use our free shrink film width calculator to help determine the proper width to purchase.


The Gauge Of Your Shrink Film


Shrink wrap gauge is one of the most important dynamics to get right regarding your packaging line. Using the wrong gauge could result in thousands upon thousands of wasted dollars, not to mention wasted material and time.


When a person discusses their shrink film gauge, what they are talking about is the thickness of the shrink wrap. Again, gauge = thickness. A higher gauge means a thicker film. This thickness can be measured by gauge or mil. Mil thickness is a technical metric and industry standard. Gauge is a commonly used term used in place of mil by industry insiders.


A “mil” is exactly one-thousandth of an inch (.001 inch). Oddly enough, in the packaging industry, when we discuss premium shrink films, we usually use the term gauge rather than mil, e.g., 45 gauge, 60 gauge, 75 gauge, and so on. That being said, when speaking about polyethylene film, mils is the most common way you’ll hear thickness described.


To understand the conversion of mil to gauge, you simply need to multiply the number of mills by 100. This element of calculating gauge is known as the conversion factor. So, 1 mil x 100 = 100 gauge.


If you need help calculating the correct gauge of film for your products or are unsure if you are currently using the right gauge, you can read more about the gauge of shrink wrap here.


Need Help Choosing The Right Shrink Film?

Calculate My Ideal Shrink Film Width



The Type Of Shrink Film


When buying shrink wrap, you are generally going to be choosing from three main types of film. There is polyolefin, polyethylene, and PVC. Depending on what you are packaging, one type of film may be a good choice while another may not.


Understanding the differences between PVC, polyolefin, and polythene shrink film is the first step to choosing the film that is right for your packaging line and products.


In addition to each of these unique formulations of film, there is another type of film to consider. Printed shrink wrap is a super premium film that can be printed with branding, logos, and other graphic dynamics, which can significantly increase the shelf appeal of your products.


Printed shrink film is significantly more expensive than regular (transparent) shrink wrap, but it also offers some significant ROI and benefits that you can not get from clear shrink film.


How To Calculate The Price Of Shrink Wrap Film


Generally speaking, a (centerfold) roll of clear shrink film costs (on average) between $100-$250. You can review this example to better understand how to calculate the cost of shrink wrap: NOTE that gauge doesn't often impact the cost of shrink as much as the width of the film. You are purchasing a light 45 GA, 12” CF film that costs $8.50 PIW. The total cost of this roll of film will be = $102.00. The formula is Width x Cost Per Inch of Width. W x cPIW= Cost Per Roll.


CF = Centerfold.

GA = Gauge.

PIW = Per inch of width. 


Also, while this equation does not include these items, it is important to know the following terms:


SW = Single wound. - Unlike centerfold film, single-wound film is not folded in half before it is put onto the roll.


DL = Double length rolls. - A double length roll is twice the length of a regular roll.


It is uncommon for most buyers to choose single-wound instead of centerfold film because it costs more for most applications. To better understand the differences between these two types of film and why centerfold film is generally used more often than single-wound, you will want to read Centerfold VS Single-Wound Shrink Film: Which Is Right For You?


With the information above, you can now calculate your cost for a roll of film. 


What Role Does The Length Of Your Shrink Wrap Film Play?


You might have noticed that the equation above negates the length of the roll. While that may seem odd, the length of the roll plays no part in the cost of the roll. However, the length of the roll does play an essential part in the next step of purchasing shrink film.


Why is my bag length important?


The length of the roll is dependent on your bag length. Your bag length (also known as the cut-off) is the size of each section of shrink film used for each individual product.


Having the proper cut-off, or bag length, for your packaging can reduce waste and maximize your use of each roll of film.


For example: If you reduce your cut-off from 11” to 10”, you will save 9.1% immediately!

And, while you could do the math to figure this out yourself, why bother when you can use this handy free calculator instead?

Where Can I Calculate My Shrink Film Width?


If you are like me and you absolutely hate doing math, why go through all the trouble to calculate your film width yourself when you can use our free shrink film width calculator?


With these free calculators, you can bypass doing all the work and get the information you need to purchase the correct roll of shrink film ASAP!


Use our F


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.