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Shrink Film VS Stretch Film: What Are the Differences?

Sep. 16, 2021

Stretch film and shrink film are two of the most misused interchangeable words in the field of packaging supplies for products. Although they sound similar in that they are both types of plastic film, the difference between the two is actually significant. Some packaging supply companies sell both products, so differentiating between customers and companies can become confusing. Shrink film manufacturer HYF shares their differences for you.

Shrink Film VS Stretch Film: What Are the Differences?cid=4

Shrink Film


Shrink film is a tightly packed plastic packaging used to wrap consumer products such as water bottles, soda cans and pharmaceuticals. The film gets its name from the literal shrinkage of plastic film to wrap products. Shrink film can also improve security and protection, and can be printed and branded to optimize consumer awareness.


Shrink films typically come in two types: polyvinyl chloride and polyolefin. PVC shrink film is not suitable for edible/consumer products, so for food and beverages, polyolefin is the best choice. Polyolefins are durable, have excellent clarity and have a high capacity for rapid and complete shrinkage when heated.


Shrink films are commonly used to wrap products and create packaging for consumers (e.g., bottle and can packaging, and pharmaceutical packaging). The main advantage of shrink film is that it provides additional protection against dust, environmental changes or tampering, in addition to improving shipping efficiency. 

Stretch Film


Stretch film is a clear plastic packaging applied by hand or machine for crating and product on pallets. Stretch film is applied by hand (hand film) or by equipment (machine film). It acts as a safety net for pallets during transportation, storage and distribution. Most stretch wrap is transparent so the user can see the contents of the pallet for easy identification, scanning and security.

2,Manufacturing methods

Stretch film can also be what is known as "blow molded" or "cast". Cast film is essentially a cheaper, more modern way of producing stretch film, although blown film still has many uses today. However, if overstretched, it breaks easily and does not shrink back to its original size easily after stretching. Blown, on the other hand, is not crystal clear and sticky to the touch, but it has higher holding power and greater resistance to tearing or breaking than cast.


The main advantage of stretch film is that it provides an efficient way to place products for shipping or storage (including boxes or other formats) on pallets. 

Because stretch film comes in many different forms, it is a highly versatile option that can be optimized for load stability through material testing. When using pallet wrappers, stretch film allows companies to automate the packaging process and consume fewer resources.

Shrink Film VS Stretch Film: What Are the Differences?cid=4

When to use

If you're looking for a film that can be used to wrap products for display on store shelves while giving them a glossy finish, shrink film is a good choice for you. In addition, if you want to catch the eye of the consumer while shopping, printed shrink film may be a better choice. Shrink film is a great choice when packaging food products. Specifically, you need to consider using polyolefin shrink film, as it is the best shrink film for packaging food products.

If you are looking for a film to wrap pallets of product that have been stacked on pallets and are ready to ship, you will definitely want to use stretch film. Stretch film is specifically made for palletizing products with proper load limits. Depending on the amount of product you are palletizing, you will need to ask yourself several questions, including budget, the amount of product I am wrapping, load control requirements, etc.

Once you have answered these questions, you can begin to explore the different types of stretch film and the different types of stretch wrappers available. Now please contact us to get various types of shrink films, we'd be happy to serve you.