What is Shrink Wrap?


Shrink Wrap is a plastic film typically made from polyolefin plastic. This strong and lightweight film is used to secure and protect products for shipping, storage, and in-store displays. Shrink film is loosely wrapped around individual products and shrinks in the presence of heat, tightly conforming to the shape of the product inside. The heat is supplied by either a heat gun or a shrink tunnel. Shrink wrap is available in different sizes, thicknesses, and types to serve a wide range of applications. Shrink wrap ensures products are safeguarded and ready for retail.


Shrink Wrap vs. Stretch Wrap


The terms “shrink wrap” and “stretch wrap” are often used interchangeably, but these two plastic films have a few key differences that set them apart. Stretch wrap is tightly wrapped around palleted items without the need for heat. Shrink wrap, on the other hand, requires heat to firmly constrict around its items. As such, shrink wrap does not stretch well and stretch wrap should not be exposed to excess heat for long periods of time.

For more information on the differences between shrink wrap and stretch wrap, be sure to take a look at our article comparing these packaging materials side-by-side.


What is Shrink Wrap?


Our Shrink Wrap






Centerfold Shrink Wrap

Centerfold Shrink Wrap

45 - 75 Gauge

Folded along the center, makes for faster sealing


What Gauge of Shrink Wrap Do I Need?


Gauge is a measurement of the shrink wrap’s thickness. As it relates to packaging supplies, a gauge is one-hundred-thousandths of an inch. As a point of reference, the average human hair clocks in at roughly 400 gauge, or 0.4% of an inch. The thicker the shrink film, the greater the protection and the higher the expense.

Heavy Duty (100 gauge and above) – This is the thickest, and therefore the strongest shrink wrap available. These films offer superior puncture resistance and can support loads weighing 20 pounds or more. However, the thicker material results in less clarity.

Regular (75 gauge) – 75 gauge is the industry average thickness for shrink wrap. These films have great puncture resistance and can carry loads up to 15 pounds. Regular shrink wrap is a clearer material than heavy duty.

Economy (45 and 60 gauge) – These are the lightest and most affordable shrink wraps. However, its minimal puncture resistance means it should be used exclusively for small and lightweight loads. Economy shrink wrap offers the highest amount of clarity.