How to choose the best strapping product for your business

The industrial market uses one of four types of strapping material.

Some strapping is stronger than others, and others are better suited to specific situations. Here are the options for the best strapping product for your business:

strapping product

Steel strapping

Best strapping product for: Hot products and the steel, car, and construction industries.

It is the most robust strapping material available and best used when high strength and low stretch are needed. Another usefule feature is that it can be used on hot materials, as it won’t melt. Mechanical seals and notch type joints are used for steel straps. It’s more expensive than alternative materials, and it can be dangerous to work with because of the sharp edges. It’s also difficult to recycle.

Polypropylene strapping

Best strapping product for: Light palletizing, unitizing, bundling, and carton closing.

This is the most commonly used strapping material and is available in both hand and machine grades. Manual tools can be used with machine grade strapping. Hand grade products can’t be used in a machine application, however. polypropylene can be used in  automatic strapping machines and most arch strapping machines.

The material is popular because it’s light, easy to use, inexpensive and recyclable. It’s also appreciated because it has high elongation (stretch) and impressive elongation recovery.  It has a low retained tension and can be sealed with buckles, seals, heat seals, or friction welds.  However, it does have the potential to split so it cannot be used in certain situations.

Polyester strapping

Best strapping product for: Heavy-duty loads that need high initial tension along with high-retained tension during handling and storage.

The most rigid strapping option is polyester (often referred to as PET). It has less elongation than polypropylene but has the benefit of retaining for longer and is nick resistant. It’s sealed with seals, heat, or friction welds. The affordability of this material and strength has resulted in many businesses moving from steel to polyester strapping. It’s available in both machine grade and hand grade and is fully recyclable.

Plastic strapping (both the above materials) is sometimes collectively called ‘poly strapping’, which can cause confusion when you’re placing an order. Here’s how to tell the difference:

  • Polypropylene strap is usually embossed, matte, and feels more like plastic.
  • Polyester is glossy and smooth.

Cord strapping

Best strapping product for: Manual applications in the agricultural and boating industries.

Cord strapping comes in both polyester and rayon form and can be uniline or cross woven. It’s sealed using buckles, seals, or can be tied.  Polyester cord is water resistant and doesn’t need any tools to be applied, making it a suitable material for outdoor use. However, it is difficult to recycle and has the disadvantage of having poor elongation.

Be careful when you’re choosing strapping tools as some are only designed to be used on specific strapping materials. Others are limited to particular widths or thicknesses. Unfortunately, no tool can be used across all sizes or types of strapping. Steel straps require tools mainly designed for their safety and technical requirements.

Top terms you need to know when buying or choosing strapping:

  • Embossing: The textured pattern found on polypropylene strapping.  It makes the strapping less prone to splitting, improves the stiffness, and increases joint efficiency. It’s often diamond shaped.
  • Colour: The shade of the strap doesn’t affect its performance or usability. It’s up to you to choose this based on your preference.
  • Thickness: This refers to the physical thickness of the strapping, and it’s often measured in fractions of an inch or centimetre.
  • Width: This refers to the physical width of the strapping. It’s important to note that it must match the width settings of the tools or machine being used to apply it.
  • Break strength: This is the amount of force, in kilograms, that it would take to break the strap.
  • Core size: This refers to the diameter and depth of one coil of the strapping. It must also match the dimensions of the dispenser or machine being used with the strapping.