Which Shrink Film Should I Use?

The three main shrink films used for protecting and securing products for retail are PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride), polyethylene, and polyolefin. If you aren't completely certain that you are using the ideal film, here's a quick breakdown of the three: 

rolls of shrink films and shrink bags


Premium quality shrink films

Great clarity, and appearance; great for consumer products where appearance is critical (toys, games, candies, most retail goods)

Great appearance and ability to shrink quickly and completely (shrinks when heated resulting in a package that is finished as soon as it comes out of the shrink tunnel)

Durable, versatile, low cost

The differences between the two:

PVC -Higher resistance to propagation of tear, Polyolefin- higher resistance to puncture

PVC -Offers preferential orientation (shrinks in only one direction) and low shrink force

PVC Rolls are temperamental with drastic heat or cold temperatures, causing brittleness when too cold, and wrinkling when too warm

Polyolefin is more expensive, but more durable- not as effected by temperature changes

Many types of Polyolefin are FDA approved.

CLICK HERE for the list of sizes available.


Lower clarity and appearance, not an easy to shrink out completely

Good for lower end applications and unitization (24-pack of waters), replacement of master corrugated shippers, larger items.

More expensive, but durable

Thicker- offering more stretch ability

Shrinks as cools rather than heats, requiring additional cooling space at the end of the tunnel.

No matter what the application, knowing your film options and equipment can save you a ton in the long run.

CLICK HERE for the list of sizes available.

Frequently Ask Shrink Wrap Questions

How Do I Measure For Shrink Film?

Measuring for shrink film is fairly simple, but is determined by the type of shrink product you intend on using. See below for measurement formulas for each type of film. Remember if the exact size needed is not available go to the next size up. All of our shrink film has a shrink rate of at least 30%.

Centerfold Shrink Film Measurement Formula: Width + Depth x 2 x 1.1÷2 = Centerfold Film Width Needed.

Shrink Bag Measurement formula: The same formula as above to determine the bag width, for length add an additional 1-2 inches to allow room for making a seal.

Shrink Tubing Measurement formula: For squared objects use the same formula as above, but most people use tubing for cylindrical objects.

If measuring for a cylindrical object use the formula here: Circumference x 2 x 1.1÷2 = Tubing Width Needed.

Do I need a special shrink wrap machine?

Different applications require machinery. When using shrink wrap, a heating instrument will be needed to shrink the film. There are a variety of instruments to use depending on what you are trying to accomplish. Common instruments are heat guns, L-Bar sealers, I-Bar Sealers, and shrink tunnels.

Will a shrink wrap machine cut & seal the shrink wrap all at once?

Yes, most shrink wrap sealers cut and seal the shrink wrap film in one motion. Once sealed and cut, the scraps can be easily peeled away and heat can be applied to the shrink wrap. The heat will reduce the size of the shrink wrap film and help to conform it to the product. GET MORE MACHINE INFO HERE.

Can a hair dryer replace a shrink wrap heat gun?

No, if you are after a professional look a heat gun is strongly recommended. The wrap needs to reach 300 degrees Fahrenheit to properly shrink the film. Shrink wrap heat guns are very affordable.  

What are shrink wrap bags?

Shrink bags are pre-measured bags commonly made from PVC shrink film and come in a variety of sizes. They offer the ability to place a product or products within the bag for a quick and easy seal. Shrink bags are used for packaging a variety of products including: CD's, DVD's, gift baskets, assorted products, etc. If you are packaging products that will come into direct contact with food, polyolefin bags are required. CLICK HERE FOR A LIST OF SHRINK BAG SIZES.

How do I measure for shrink wrap tubing?

Start by measuring the circumference of the object that will be shrink wrapped. Once the circumference is identified, add 10% to the circumference. Divide the final number by 2 and that number will be the width of shrink wrap tubing you will need. If the width of shrink wrap tubing needed is not available, it is fine to go with a larger size. PVC shrink wrap tubing can shrink up to 40%. View: How to measure for shrink tubing.

What gauge of shrink wrap do I need?

We recommend a 75 gauge shrink wrap for products less than 12 pounds. A 100 gauge shrink wrap is recommended for products up to 30 pounds in weight.

How do I measure for shrink wrap bags?

Measure the product being shrink wrapped around its widest point. Add 10% to that circumference and divide the number by two. This number will give you the width of the shrink wrap bag you need.

Next, measure the product to be shrink wrapped all the way around from top to bottom. Once that number is determined, add 10% and then divide by two. This number will tell you the length of the shrink wrap bag needed.

For more information visit us here: www.quickpakinc.com or call 813 242 6995

About Quick Pak

Quick Pak Inc is a solutions-driven supplier of industrial packaging equipment and supplies, as well as a provider of best-in-class equipment service for our customers.

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