The Difference Between Pre-Stretched and Standard Film

In the world of logistics and warehousing operations, even the finest of margins in both cost and general efficiencies can make sizeable differences. From wrap types to load patterns, we’ve become experts in how to optimise load stability. In fact, we’ve helped save 50% in annual spend and reduced plastic waste by an incredible 78% in some cases. In this article, however, we’re going to dive into film and more specifically, explore the difference between standard and pre-stretched films…

Understanding Load Stability


For those new to the concept of load stability, allow us to start by explaining why it’s become such a key focus. In the era of innovation and machinery, load stability experts are optimising warehousing processes to save time, reduce waste, and ensure all loads are as stable as a rock. Reducing costs incurred for damaged goods and enhancing their reputation for reliable deliveries.

Man stretches out pre stretched film.

The Basics of Pre-Stretched Film

So, where does film, and specifically the amount it stretches, factor in?

Pre-stretched film is a wrap that has been stretched to its performance potential. Pre-stretched film is pushed to a sweet spot between 250-300% before being wound onto rolls. This means it requires less effort to apply and, in turn, secures loads more efficiently.

Why Pre-Stretched Film?

For those not used to working with the stiffness of pre-stretched films, it can take some adjustment. But once the user is more familiar with its lighter and taut application, the benefits are plenty. Goods are more tightly secured, physical strain and fatigue is lessened. Not to mention, the average meterage in your roll is increased, saving money and reducing the waste in plastic that comes from standard or rigid films.

Time and again we hear instances of how switching to pre-stretched has resulted in major cost savings whilst maintaining, if not strengthening, their loads in transit.

Man tests the tension of standard film.

Standard Film Explored

Often made with lower grade polymers. Standard, or rigid film as it’s more commonly referred to in the industry, is a choice less frequently made in the age of innovation. Though it does require a bit more muscle to apply tightly. It’s also often thicker than pre-stretched, although that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s more reliable.

The Case for Rigid Film

The case often made for standard film is that it’s cheaper per tonne than pre-stretched rolls. Not only that, but when wrapping by hand, standard film has more give and may ‘feel’ as though loads are wrapped snug and secure. It’s also quite common to find rigid films to be thicker and therefore stronger than pre-stretched films.

Pre-Stretched vs. Standard Film: Which is Best?

When pitting these film types against each other, it’s not about declaring a winner but understanding which tool is right for the job.

Material Efficiency and Cost-Effectiveness

Pre-stretched film isn’t weaker because it’s thinner. This efficiency translates to cost savings, as you’re using less material for the same, if not better, load stability. The reduction in physical effort to apply the film is also a form of savings — less strain on your workers means fewer injuries and less downtime.

Environmental Impact

In today’s world, we can’t ignore the environmental aspect. Using less material is inherently better for the planet. Making pre-stretched film the obvious choice for those of us looking to improve the ecological impact of operations.


Though it may seem like pre-stretched is the obvious choice for overall savings and efficiencies. One area that standard film does excel is its adaptability. Specifically, with pallets that feature sharp edges for instance, the flexibility of standard film means you’ll often find it used with loads of unusual load shapes.

Ease of Use

Anyone who’s worked with both types of film will tell you that pre-stretched is easier to apply. It’s lighter, which means less fatigue for your team, whereas rigid film requires a bit more technique and physical effort to get that perfect wrap.

"A switch from converted hard film to pre-stretched can be a challenge for some, but the benefits to load stability can be significant. With significant savings and sustainability benefits on top, a lot of our customers have found it a necessary switch to make.
Another reason we find businesses love the transition is because of how much easier they are to apply. In turn, that reduces worker fatigue and improves general health and safety standards."
Ben Thompson
Load Stability Specialist


Choosing between pre-stretched and rigid film isn’t about giving up one for the other. It’s about understanding the strengths and applications of each. In the end, the right choice depends on your specific needs, your operational goals, and your commitment to sustainability and efficiency.

Want to know more about the difference between the two types? We suggest speaking to one of our load stability experts. Not only can they provide greater depth to the conversation, but visit you on site and provide a detailed report of how your current film holds up.

Book that appointment by using the contact form or calling the team now on 01524 734040.

How did Carpetright reduce their plastic usage by 73.6%?

Carpetright, the UK’s leading flooring retailer, has made significant strides in reducing plastic usage and CO2 emissions thanks to Castle Industrial. In an interview with Pete Newby, Distribution Site Manager, and Daniel Burt, Operations Manager, Carpetright reveals how Castle Industrial has helped optimize their pallet wrapping operations.

Carpetright was looking for a company that could offer full stability testing, rather than just a cheaper product. Castle Industrial came in and conducted testing on the load stability film they provide, and it was found to be best in class. Carpetright was originally using a 30-micron plastic from another supplier, but they switched to Castle Industrial’s 15-micron plastic, which saved 52% on costs, equating to around £19,000.

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Moreover, Carpetright has seen a significant reduction of 73.6% plastic and CO2 emissions, which equates to 21 tonnes per annum. This reduction is a result of Castle Industrial’s innovative products and processes. Castle Industrial’s team identified inefficiencies in Carpetright’s existing pallet wrapping machines and recommended two new pallet wrapping machines to increase load stability. These machines were purchased for their Florence Supplies, which is another part of their division.

Carpetright’s decision to work with Castle Industrial was based on product and testing, CO2 reduction, and price. According to Pete Newby, the three reasons why he would recommend Castle Industrial are the price, the support and testing, and the CO2 reductions.

Carpetright | Purfleet, UK
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With the rising global focus on reducing plastic usage and CO2 emissions, Carpetright’s success story is a shining example of how companies can work with innovative partners like Castle Industrial to achieve their sustainability goals. The reduction in plastic and CO2 emissions not only benefits the environment, but it also reduces costs for businesses, making it a win-win situation.

In conclusion, Carpetright’s partnership with Castle Industrial has led to significant reductions in plastic usage and CO2 emissions, while also saving costs. Carpetright’s success story is a testament to how innovative partnerships can help businesses achieve their sustainability goals, all while saving money in the process. 

"We've seen a reduction of 73.6% plastic and CO2 reductions which equates to 21 tonnes per annum."
Peter Newby
Distribution Site Manager at Carpetright