All Stretch Film Pallet Wrap is Not Created Equal

Can I get a quote on an 80 gauge stretch film? This is a question we hear several times a day. For years the go-to stretch film thickness has been 80 gauge. A true 80 gauge stretch wrap is a very good film for a variety of applications. It offers:

Excellent stretch capability

Heavy Duty Load Retention

Superior puncture and tear resistance

For years an 80 gauge pallet wrap was recommended for multiple applications in multiple industries. Even though quality can vary based on manufacturers, an 80 gauge film used to be a safe bet with most manufacturers. All of that has changed over the past several years. Rising resin costs have increased the price of true 80 gauge stretch film so much that manufacturers have been forced to find alternative resin formulas. All manufacturers including Berry Plastics, AEP, Sigma, and others now offer an alternative resin mixture or “equivalent stretch film”.


The new resin formulas are designed to offer a stronger thinner film that uses less petroleum to help reduce cost and environmental impact. These new formulas have produced a wide variety of stretch film names and gauges. The two we sell are hybrid and Ecowrap, other we have heard called Saturn, Galaxy, Extreme, Premier, and the list goes on. What do all of these names mean and how does it affect the end user?

The names of the equivalent stretch film do not mean much other than a way to track back to the manufacturer of the film. More than likely all of the films are made from a newer resin mixture and multilayered for added strength. It is very common for the equivalent films to be measured in microns instead of the gauge. The equivalent films commonly come in 11, 13, 16, 19, and 21 microns. Just like the true gauged film, the equivalent pallet wrap varies in quality depending on the manufacturer. The thickness may be the same, but the stretchability, memory, and puncture resistance can vary dramatically.

How can you tell the quality of the film? The best way to understand the quality of the film is to ask for a sample. This will give the opportunity to test the film with your loads. Different load weights, storage needs, transportation stress, and exterior load edges can require different stretch films.

Aside from the lower cost, new equivalent films do offer benefits over traditional true gauged stretch wrap. Some of the advantages include:

1. Reduced Energy Exertion- A stiffer film is not necessarily always a bad thing. When using a hand stretch film, the stiffer film enables workers to exert less energy when applying to loads to reach maximum stretch potential. This can help to reduce workplace injury.

2. Greener- The main purpose for manufacturers development of equivalent film is to use less petroleum and reduce costs. This also helps to reduce environmental impact. Making equivalent stretch film a “Greener” option.

3. Waste Reduction-  The thinner stiffer film enables workers to get maximum stretch potential in every revolution. This helps to ensure the full potential of the film is being used. Often with a true gauged film, workers are unable to reach maximum stretch potentials creating excessive waste.

There are substantial differences to an equivalent stretch film and a true 80 gauge stretch film. Both are great products to be considered when securing loads.

So if there are a wide variety of differences in the equivalent and trueQuestion-Mark gauged films, why do we always have requests for 80 gauge quote?

Stretch Film Pallet Wrap Misrepresentation

It is very common these days for sales representatives to call an equivalent 80 gauge stretch wrap an 80 gauge stretch wrap. Why would they do that? There are several advantages. If you can pass an equivalent stretch film for a true 80 gauge film it increases profit margins considerably. Another great advantage is the ability to throw off competitors that are trying to offer a quote. It keeps competitors from offering an apples-to-apples quote. Even if a competitor figures out the customer is using an equivalent film, how do we know what thickness it is?

Roll Weight

Your best friend when trying to figure out what type of film you are actually getting is a good scale. Weighing an unused scaleroll of hand or machine stretch film is the first step in figuring out what type of film you are actually getting. Even if you are happy with the film, knowing what you have will give you the ability to obtain a proper quote in the future.

With the weight of the unused roll, you can use the formula below to see what the roll is supposed to weigh compared to what it does weigh.

Film Width x Film Thickness x Film Length x 12 / 30,000= Film Weight

A common example would be an 18″x1500’x80 gauge stretch film. We will use the formula to figure what the roll should weigh.

18x.80x1500x12/30,000= 8.64 lbs.

The film weight of a true 18″x1500’x80 gauge stretch film roll should weigh 8.64 lbs. The inner core will add up to an additional half pound. This formula will work with any film to find out what you are actually getting or not getting.

U.S.Packaging LogoAt U.S. Packaging & Wrapping LLC., we have no problem and actually endorse the new equivalent films. We believe they are the future of the stretch film industry. What we do not support is not telling customers what they are actually getting. We enjoy explaining the differences, advantages, and disadvantages of the different pallet wrap on the market.

We would love to offer recommendations, and quotes for your specific stretch film needs. We believe the perfect stretch film is the lowest cost possible while fully securing each customers loads and reducing product loss. Give us a call (1-800-441-5090) if you have any questions or visit us online at to browse products or place an order. Our price breaks begin at 5 cases and increase at 10 cases, 20 cases, and full pallets.


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