Nathan Dube

By: Nathan Dube on December 14th, 2021

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Strapping Material VS Stretch Film: Which Is Right For You?

Packaging Materials | Shipping Protection

When choosing a packaging material to unitize, palletize and contain your products, you have two options to choose from.


These include strapping material and stretch film. Both packaging materials are commonly used for the applications mentioned above.


And each material is well suited for specific packaging applications. But, not all products are appropriate for one of these materials or the other.


So, how do you know which one of these packaging materials is the right choice for your packaging requirements?


By reading this article, of course!


With over six decades in the packaging industry, Industrial Packaging has consulted countless clients on which type of packaging material is best suited for their palletizing and unitizing needs.


This article will explain the differences between these two types of packaging supplies. After reading this article, you will know whether strapping or stretch film is right for your business's packaging applications.


What Is Strapping Material?


Strapping material is a long piece of flat packaging substrate that comes wound onto a core. These look similar to the rolls of fishing line you may find at your local Walmart.


However, rolls of strapping are much larger than rolls of fishing line. Strapping is generally made from three different types of materials.


These include polypropylene, polyester, and steel.


Strapping material is used to unitize, palletize and contain various types of products of different shapes, sizes, and weights for shipping and transportation. Strapping may also be used for bundling consumer products such as clothing and magazines.


Strapping is applied to the products being packaged with an automated strapping machine or a handheld strapping tool (also known as a tensioner).


What Is Stretch Film?




Stretch film (alternatively known as stretch wrap) is a highly stretchy plastic film that is most commonly made from polyethylene.


The elastic nature of this flexible packaging film ensures that the products contained within are bound tight.


Stretch film is commonly used with automated stretch wrapping machinery or a handheld tool known as a stretch wrap dispenser to ensure the proper load containment of the palleted products.


With one of the aforementioned tools, stretch film is wrapped around stacks of palletized products to keep them steady and contained during shipping and transportation. Stretch film may also be used for bundling products such as firewood.


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Which Is Right For You? Strapping Or Stretch Film?


Now that you know the differences between Strapping and Stretch Film, you are probably wondering which material is best for your packaging requirements?


To decide which of these two materials is the correct packaging supply to palletize items you wish to contain, you will have to answer a few questions.


With the answers to these questions, you should have everything you need to decide which material is a better fit for you.


  • Are you packaging ultra-heavy items such as steel beams or construction equipment? - If you answered yes, steel strapping material is your best choice.

  • Are you packaging items that require warehouse color coding, international transportation, or dating inventory? - If you are, color stretch films are your best choice as they were created specifically for these applications.

  • Are you unitizing pallets of boxes of bottled or canned beverages? - If so, polyester strapping would be your best bet.

  • Are you unitizing products that need to be resistant to ultraviolet light? - If your answer was yes, then UVI stretch film is the proper packaging material choice for you.

  • Are you packaging newspapers, magazines, or trade publications? - If you said yes, polypropylene strapping is an excellent choice.

  • Do you require anti-rust capabilities for your packaging material? - If yes, then Vapor Corrosion Inhibitor Stretch Film may be right for you.

  • Are you transporting heavy industrial items via railroad without a container? - If so, you are required by the Association of American Railroads to use steel strapping.

  • Are you shipping appliances? - If you are, polypropylene strapping is the correct option.


Where Can You Learn More About Strapping and Stretch Film?


Now that you know the difference between strapping and stretch film, you are probably wondering where you can learn more about these materials.


After reading the article above, you should have a good idea of which material is best for you. If you have decided that strapping is the best choice for your needs, you will want to read this sister article, The Top 3 Types Of Strapping Material And Their Uses.


With the information in this article, you will be able to choose the correct type of strapping for your packaging requirements.


On the other hand, if you have decided that stretch film is the appropriate material choice for your business, you will want to read this companion article, Exploring The Different Types Of Stretch Film.


With this article, you will have everything you need to choose the proper stretch film for your products.


Stretch Wrapper ROI 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.