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The 7 Best Pallet Wrapping Techniques and Tools You'll Need

Demand for shipping pallets is surging in response to the recent dramatic growth in e-commerce.

Is your business one of the many needing to handle more pallet shipments than in the past? Are you looking for ways to improve your logistics?

Pallet wrapping is a critical part of the shipping process. It secures your goods to the pallet and prevents damage or loss during distribution. Efficient pallet wrapping depends on using the right tools and the right techniques.

Learn more here about the tools and supplies you'll need for pallet wrapping along with tips for wrapping pallets the right way. 

Types of Pallet Stretch Wrap

Pallet wrap is one of the most important tools you'll need for efficient pallet wrapping. Most stretch wrap is made from linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE).

You can choose cast or blown wrap. You'll also need to select hand wrap or machine wrap depending on how you wrap your pallets.

Cast Wrap

Cast LLDPE film is the most common stretch wrap material. The production process is quick and inexpensive. This means cast film is usually the most economical option.

Cast stretch wraps are suitable for light- to medium-duty applications. Cast film stretches easily. It can stretch even after you apply it, though, which can allow the load to shift.

If cast film stretches too much, it will tear.

Blown Wrap

Blown LLDPE film has a higher stretch and higher load capacity than cast film. It's very tear-resistant and puncture-resistant. Blown stretch wrap is suitable for medium- to heavy-duty applications.

Blown stretch wrap has one-sided cling. Pallets won't stick to each other. Blown film won't keep stretching after you apply it. It has better stretch memory. However, it's harder to apply.

Blown wrap also makes more noise when you use it. The production process for blown film is more expensive, which makes the stretch wrap cost more.

Hand Wrap

Hand stretch wrap is designed for manual pallet wrapping. It's available in cast or blown wrap.

The rolls are smaller and lighter than for machine wrap. Hand rolls are usually 1000-2000 ft long and 5-9 lbs in weight. The width is typically 10-18".

You can choose different thicknesses and stretch rates. Thicker film is more resistant to punctures, but it takes more force to apply it.

Hand wraps typically have a stretch rate between 75% and 150%. The user has to keep constant tension on the roll to maximize the stretch rate and the wrap usage.

Machine Wrap

Machine stretch wrap rolls can be 20-80" wide. They can weigh more than 100 lbs. A range of thicknesses is available.

You get a higher stretch rate with machine wrap. The machine maintains constant tension on the roll. Stretch rates of 200% to 250% are standard, but you can often exceed these rates. This can significantly reduce your wrap costs.

Stretch Wrap Gauge Guide

This is an approximate guide for choosing the correct stretch wrap for your needs.

  • 60 Gauge for loads up to 1600 lbs.
  • 70 Gauge for loads up to 2000 lbs.
  • 80 Gauge for loads up to 2500 lbs.
  • 90 Gauge for loads up to 3000 lbs.
  • 120 Gauge for loads up to 4000 lbs.

Manual vs Machine Pallet Wrapping

You can wrap pallets by hand or use a pallet wrapping machine.

Wrapping pallets by hand is a feasible choice if you wrap a small volume of products. Companies that wrap less than 50 pallets or so a day may choose to have their employees manually wrap pallets. Following best practices is very important to prevent employee injuries and avoid damaged goods.

Stretch wrapping machines are more efficient for businesses that need to wrap a higher volume of pallets. The most common types of stretch wrapping machines are turntable stretch wrappers, overhead wrappers, and robotic stretch wrappers.

Turntable wrappers and overhead wrappers are semi-automated. Robotic wrappers are fully automated.

How to Wrap a Pallet

Whether you wrap your pallets manually or using a machine, the basic steps are similar. These techniques help ensure your load gets to its destination safely.

1. Prepare the Load

Choosing the right pallet is the first step in pallet wrapping. The pallet should be the right size for the load and in good condition. It needs to support the full weight of the shipment.

When possible, the load should be stacked uniformly from the bottom to the top. Individual items should be as close together as possible. This makes the pallet easier to wrap and helps prevent the load from shifting.

2. Choose Your Equipment

For hand wrapping, a tool like a Nelson wrap dispenser makes pallet wrapping easier and more ergonomic.

If you need to ship large loads frequently, a pallet wrapping machine is probably a better option. You can choose the type of machine based on the degree of automation you want.

3. Attach the Stretch Wrap

Pull out some stretch wrap from the roll and twist it into a rope shape. You can weave it into the pallet slats or thread it through one corner and fold the rest over it.

You don't need to tie a knot. The film will stick to itself. Leaving the wrap without a knot makes unpacking the pallet easier.

4. Wrap From Bottom to Top

Wrapping starts at the bottom and spirals upward towards the top. You'll be doing a 360ยบ wrap. Wrap the base several times to ensure the load is well-secured at the bottom.

As you move up the load, the stretch wrap should overlap itself by 50%. You can program stretch wrapping machines for specific overlaps. If you're wrapping manually, you'll need to estimate.

You should wrap the top of the load twice to improve stability.

5. Keep the Right Wrap Tension

Tension controls how tightly the stretch wrap compresses the load. It ensures the load is packed as tightly as possible.

Fragile products need a lighter tension to avoid crushing. Higher tension is important for heavy and solid loads to improve stability.

6. Double-Wrap if Necessary

When you get to the top of the load, you can either tie it off or spiral back down.

Double-wrapping is a good idea if the load could use additional stability. You use more stretch wrap, but you help prevent damaged products.

7. Tie off the Wrap

The final step in good pallet wrapping is tying off the wrap. Once the load is secure, you can cut the stretch wrap from the spool.

One finishing option is to tie the end of the wrap to the load. This takes time when preparing and unpacking the pallet.

Folding the cut end of the wrap into a seam is more efficient. The film will stick to itself. Compression from the seam will hold the end in place.

For additional security, you can use pallet strapping. Tools like the StrapBandit make threading the pallet easier.

Finding the Best Pallet Wrapping Tools and Supplies

Quality tools and supplies make your pallet wrapping more efficient and more secure.

Pack Secure has the stretch wrap, dispensers, and other tools you need to optimize your warehouse logistics. We've been providing top brand products to our customers for over 20 years.

Contact us today to start designing your ideal pallet wrapping solution.


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