Heat shrink films are widely used in various industries for packaging and protecting products.

There are two types of heat shrink film: barrier shrink film and non-barrier shrink film.

Barrier shrink film is often made of materials such as polyvinyl chloride (PVC) or polyethylene (PE), and most of them contain barrier materials.

The oxygen-barrier properties of barrier shrink wrap make it ideal for packaging perishable items like meat.

There is a great selection of non-barrier shrink films to choose from. Includes polyolefin shrink film,  polyethylene shrink film, and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) shrink film.

Each of these films is tailor-made for a certain use because of its unique composition and set of features.

In this article, we’ll compare and contrast the features, uses, and benefits of these three kinds of shrink wrap.

  • Polyolefin Shrink Film

Polypropylene (PP) and linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE) are the two main components of polyolefin shrink film.

This premium shrink film is unparalleled in quality thanks to its crystal clear appearance, remarkable durability, and ability to condense.

Applications requiring high-quality packaging, such as those in the food and beverage industries, use this type of shrink film heavily.

Polyolefin shrink film’s clarity is one of the material’s primary benefits.

Its remarkable clarity makes it easy to see the contents inside.

It’s especially crucial in the food and drink industry to display the products and its packaging clearly and unambiguously.

Polyolefin shrink film has a low friction coefficient, so it is very simple to work with.

high clear polyolefin shrink wrap

Another advantage of polyolefin shrink wrap is its high strength.

Its excellent tensile strength and resistance to tearing make it a good choice for uses where the object being packaged needs to be kept safe during handling, storage, and transport.

This type of shrink film is also resistant to punctures, so it can be used to safely package items with pointed corners and edges.

POF shrink film can be used directly in food packaging.
For more information, please visit: Maximizing Food Safety And Appeal With Polyolefin Shrink Film: A Comprehensive Guide.

Cross-linked shrink film is the premium option for Polyolefin shrink film.

Irradiated cross linking technology is utilized in the production of the cross linked POF shrink film.

The raw material is only PE resin, which makes the polymer chain of the resin change from a linear structure to a network structure.

Greater shrinkage, improved puncture resistance, and increased clarity are the benefits of cross linked polyolefin shrink wrap over regular polyolefin shrink wrap.

Polyolefin shrink film has excellent heat resistance, making it useful when the products may be subjected to high temperatures during manufacturing or storage.

Because of its moisture resistance, this shrink film is especially useful for protecting items that would otherwise be damaged if they were to be exposed to the elements while being stored in a humid environment.

type of shrink wrap film

POF Shrink films can be formed into a wide variety of shapes, making it perfect for objects that have an unusual form.

It can be formed into arcs, bags, and tubing.

The POF Shrink Film offered by KEEPTOP are strictly tested according to the testing standards. Only Polyolefin Shrink Film that meets the standard will we provide to our customers.

  • Polyethylene Shrink Film

Low-density polyethylene (LDPE) or linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE) is the primary component of PE shrink film.

The shrink film is well-praised for its low price, adaptability, and simple processing.

Its low production cost makes it ideal for mass-producing packaging or low-value goods.

The low price is one of the key benefits of polyethylene shrink film.

As one of the cheapest shrink wrap options, it’s a good choice for any job where money is tight.

PE shrink film is highly flexible, making it easy to handle and process.

It is also resistant to punctures, which makes it ideal for packaging products with sharp edges or corners.

As it is so durable, polyethylene shrink film is frequently used for shipping heavier goods. And it’s especially prevalent in bottled water.

Easy processing is another advantage of PE shrink film.

Its ability to be heat-sealed makes it a great choice for uses where speed and efficiency in packaging are paramount.

Polyethylene shrink film is also suitable for uses where labels or logos need to be imprinted on the packaging material.

printable polyethylene shrink film

  • PVC Shrink Film

PVC shrink film is made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC).

The strength, and durability of this shrink film make it a popular choice.

The main qualities of PVC are that it is highly durable, has easily sealing and shrinking features.

Chloride, which is present in PVC shrink film, has a potent odor when it is heated and then cooled.

Since it is harmful to the environment, consumers have phased it out.

But in the shrink sleeve market, PVC shrink film still occupies most of the market share due to its low cost, excellent shrinkage rate, and easy printing.

The Difference Between Shrink Wrap And Stretch Wrap

Most people cannot tell the difference between shrink wrap and stretch wrap when it comes to PE film.

They can be used to wrap, seal, and pack up boxes and pallets so they are easy to move or store.

However, shrinkwrap is used to create a secure seal around a product by contracting the plastic using heat. Shrink film only has a 50%–75% stretch and doesn’t stick to itself.

Stretch wrap is more commonly used to secure and prevent movement of larger boxes and items. It has a stretching capacity of 100%–300% and a self-adhering property. The stretch wrap can be used without any kind of heat source.

polyethylene shrink film packaging effect

polyethylene shrink film packaging effect

PE stretch film packaging effect

  • Polyolefin Vs Polyethylene Vs PVC

Each type of shrink film mentioned above has been co-extruded.

Co-extrusion is a manufacturing process used to create multi-layered films by extruding multiple layers of materials together.

The principle behind co-extrusion is that it allows for the combination of different materials, each with its unique properties, to create a film that combines these properties.

The process involves feeding multiple extruders with different types of plastic and then combining the molten materials into a single, multi-layered film.

polyethylene film five layer co extrusion process

In recent years, for instance, certain metallocene polyethylenes and linear low-density polyethylenes(LLDPE) have been shown to exhibit good lateral shrinkage qualities in addition to great mechanical capabilities.

As a result, many new high-strength PE shrink films with high levels of transparency have recently entered the market.

Top tier manufacturers will give custom shrink wrapping solutions based on the actual needs of end users.

  • The summary of each shrinkable film:

Polyolefin Shrink Wrap:

1. Environmentally friendly and non-toxic, polyolefin shrink wrap conforms to FDA and USDA requirements and can be used to package food.

2. The shrinkage rate is high, typically 60% or more (with the cross-linked film reaching 80%), and the flexibility is greater.

3. Superb Clarity, nice gloss, can clearly depict the product’s appearance.

4. Perfect for grouping together various things, such as tissue boxes.

5. Strong Resistant to Punctures.

6. Despite exposure to temperatures as low as -50 degrees Fahrenheit, the material retains its pliability and shows no signs of fragile.

PE Shrink Wrap:

1. Good for lower-end applications and unitization (24-pack of waters).

2. Uses include huge, heavy goods such as the bundling of multiple water bottles.

3. It’s easy to print and the images look amazing.

PVC Shrink Wrap:

1. The Chloride in PVC shrink film generates a distinct stench when heated and cooled. Since it is not eco-friendly, the market has gradually phased it out.

2. Due of its increased brittleness after shrinking, this material is unsuitable for grouping many components.

  • Various performance comparisons:

1. Comparison of physical properties

POF has excellent moisture resistance, a uniform thickness, a soft texture, a strong tensile strength and a resistance to tearing, a shrinkage range that can be adjusted, and strong friction resistance.

PE has consistent thickness, is moisture-resistant, feels soft to the touch, has a lower tear strength than polyolefin (POF), but a lot greater tear strength than polyvinyl chloride (PVC), and has a significantly lower friction resistance than POF.

PVC is thick, irregular in thickness, hard and brittle in texture, low in strength, low in shrinkage, and poor in friction resistance.

2. Comparison of cold resistance

Since POF shrinkable film is not hard or brittle at -50 degrees Celsius and is not easily broken, it is suitable for the packaging of frozen foods. Long-term storage at -50 to -95 degrees Celsius will not affect the integrity of the shrunken packaging. It is difficult to contaminate the dust and maintain products freshness with static electricity anti-fog treatment.

The PE shrinkable wrap performs well in the cold. It retains its integrity after being frozen and can be transported without fear of cracking. Static electricity elimination treatment helps prevent the accumulation of dust and dirt, allowing the product to remain pristine.

It is difficult to transport PVC shrink film without it breaking due to its brittleness in the cold or when it has been frozen. It’s not compatible with static removal treatment, and it’s easy to get dust on it, which can mess with how your products seem on display.

3.Comparing processing performance

POF processing produces no gas, does not adhere to seals, and is simple to maintain and run. Ideal for automatic packing on high-speed production lines because to its excellent tenacity, smoothness, and friction resistance.

PE processing does not generate gas, does not adhere to seals, and is simple to operate and maintain. Superior tensile strength, appropriate for automatic packaging on high-speed production lines;

The processing of PVC will produce toxic gas that does not satisfy environmental protection standards and is likely to cause mechanical damage, it is easy build up on sealing components during shrink wrapping, and challenging to maintain.

4. Security evaluation

After POF shrink wrapping, the seal’s four corners are soft, won’t hurt hands, and are resistant to friction.

After PE shrink wrapping, the seal’s four corners are soft and will not harm the hands.

After shrink wrapping with PVC, the four corners of the seal are hard, making it easy for hands to be injured.

5. Environmental safeguards and hygiene

POF is non-toxic, does not emit a toxic odor during processing, and conforms to FDA and USDA regulations.

PE is non-toxic, produces no toxic gases during processing, and conforms to FDA and USDA standards.

PVC is toxic and will produce a peculiar odor during processing, so its use is being phased out gradually.


All three types of shrink film—polyolefin, polyethylene, and polyvinyl chloride—share a number of similar properties and benefits but are best used for different purposes.

The type of product being packaged, the level of protection desired, and the available budget are all important considerations when settling on a specific type of shrink film for a given application.

It is possible to choose the most appropriate type of shrink film for a given application by learning about the distinctions between the three types of shrink film.

Please contact us at sales@keeptoppackaging.com if you have any questions about shrink wrap film or would like some guidance in selecting the right material for your product and company.

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