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What Thickness of Shrink Film Do I Need?

Apr. 14, 2023

Shrink film is a popular packaging material used to wrap products for storage or shipment. Choosing the right thickness of shrink film is crucial to ensure proper packaging and protection of the product. In this guide, we will discuss the factors to consider when determining the appropriate thickness of shrink film to use.


Understanding Shrink Film Thickness

Shrink film thickness is typically measured in mils, which is equivalent to one-thousandth of an inch. A higher mil thickness indicates a thicker and stronger film. Shrink film is available in a range of thicknesses, from 40 gauge (0.4 mil) to 12 gauge (12 mil).

 PVC Shrink Film

 PVC Shrink Film

Factors to Consider when Determining Shrink Film Thickness

When determining the appropriate thickness of shrink film to use, several factors must be considered, including:


  • Product Size and Weight: The size and weight of the product being packaged will influence the thickness of shrink film required. Larger or heavier products require thicker and stronger film to provide adequate protection.

  • Shipping and Handling: Products that are shipped long distances or are subject to rough handling may require thicker film to provide additional protection during transport.

  • Storage Conditions: Products that are stored in harsh environments, such as extreme temperatures or high humidity, may require thicker film to provide added protection against damage.

  • Shrink Equipment: The type of shrink equipment used may also affect the thickness of shrink film required. For example, a heat tunnel may require a thicker film than a heat gun.

Shrink Film

 Shrink Film

Guidelines for Choosing Shrink Film Thickness

Based on the above factors, the following are general guidelines for selecting the appropriate thickness of shrink film:


  • 40-60 Gauge (0.4-0.6 mil): Suitable for light-duty packaging of smaller and lighter products, such as CDs, DVDs, and small toys.

  • 75-100 Gauge (0.75-1.0 mil): Suitable for medium-duty packaging of products that are slightly larger or heavier than those packaged with 40-60 gauge film. Examples include cosmetics, small electronics, and light tools.

  • 125-150 Gauge (1.25-1.5 mil): Suitable for heavy-duty packaging of larger and heavier products, such as automotive parts, industrial equipment, and furniture.

  • 200-250 Gauge (2.0-2.5 mil): Suitable for extra-heavy-duty packaging of products that are very large or heavy, such as large appliances, machinery, and construction materials.

    Shrink Film

    Shrink Film

Other Factors to Consider

In addition to the product size and weight, shipping and handling, storage conditions, and shrink equipment, there are other factors to consider when choosing the appropriate thickness of shrink film:


  • Transparency: Some shrink films are more transparent than others. If the product needs to be visible through the film, a more transparent film may be required.

  • Barrier Properties: Some shrink films offer better barrier properties than others, providing protection against moisture, UV light, and other environmental factors. If the product requires additional protection, a film with better barrier properties may be necessary.

  • Environmental Impact: Some shrink films are more environmentally friendly than others. If sustainability is a concern, choosing a biodegradable or compostable film may be appropriate.

    Shrink Film

Shrink Film

Benefits of Choosing the Right Shrink Film Thickness

Choosing the appropriate thickness of shrink film offers several benefits, including:


  • Protection: The right film thickness will provide adequate protection to the product during storage and transport, reducing the risk of damage or loss.

  • Cost Savings: Choosing the appropriate film thickness will help avoid over-packaging, which can result in unnecessary costs.

  • Efficiency: The right film thickness will ensure efficient packaging and sealing, reducing the time and labor required for packaging.

  • Sustainability: Choosing an environmentally friendly film thickness can help reduce the environmental impact of packaging and contribute to a more sustainable supply chain

Contact an HYF Team today at info@hyfpack.com to learn more about shrink films and which option is best for your next label print project.