We offer a large range of strapping for every application in the industry.  Please contact us directly for more information and pricing regarding strapping.
There are four primary types of strapping available in the industrial market - steel, polypropylene, polyester, and cord. Each has its own strengths and applications. The following information will help you determine what type of strapping will work best for your needs and help you understand the difference between them.  Please contact us for pricing and availability.

Steel Strapping

Steel strapping is the strongest of all the strapping materials. It is recommended where high strength is necessary, low elongation (stretch) is important, and where the product may be sharp or hot. Steel strapping is sealed using mechanical seals and notch (sealless) type joints. While it is still the preferred alternative in many industries, the market for steel is declining, largely because it can be dangerous to work with (presenting sharp edges) and is difficult to recycle.
  • Advantages - High strength, low elongation
  • Disadvantages - Relatively expensive, sharp edges, difficult to recycle
  • Applications - Sharp or hot products, steel, rail car, heavy construction 

Polypropylene Strapping

Polypropylene strapping is the most commonly used and least expensive of all strapping materials. It is light, easy to apply, and easy to recycle. It's primary characteristics are high elongation (stretch) and elongation recovery. It has, however, a low retained tension. Polypropylene strapping is available in hand grade and machine grade, and can be sealed with buckles, seals, heat seals, or friction welds. Worth noting, machine grade strapping can be used with manual tools, but hand grade strapping should not be used in a machine application. Polypropylene is used in all automatic strapping machines and almost all stand-alone arch strapping machines.
  • Advantages - Most cost effective, lightweight, easy to apply, easy to recycle, high elongation, high elongation recover
  • Disadvantages - Low retained tension, potential to split
  • Applications - Light duty palletizing, unitizing, carton closing, bundling 

Polyester (PET) Strapping

Polyester (or PET) is the most rigid of the strapping options. It has significantly less elongation than polypropylene and retains tension over a longer period of time. Polyester strap is nick resistant and is sealed with seals, heat, or friction welds.  Since polyester strapping offers the highest strength and greatest retained tension of all the plastic strapping, it is often used on heavy duty loads that need high initial tension along with high retained tension during handling and storage. Additionally, competitive pricing and performance characteristics have motivated many steel strapping uses to switch to polyester. Polyester strapping is available in both machine grade and hand grade and is easy to dispose of and recycle.
  • Advantages - Most rigid, long tension retention, high strength, nick resistant, easy to recycle
  • Disadvantages - Less elongation than polypropylene
  • Applications - Empty cans and bottles, lumber, heavy/rigid pallet loads, steel replacement

Discerning Polypropylene from Polyester Strapping

Plastic strapping, in general, is often referred to collectively as "poly strapping." This can create much confusion when attempting to order or obtain quotes since poly strapping could be either polypropylene or polyester. Polypropylene strap is typically embossed (per the graphic above) and feels more like plastic. It is usually a more of a matte finish. Polyester is a glossy, smooth strap. Polyester strap does not resemble polyester fabric in any way. Since polypropylene is the most common plastic strap option, "poly strapping" will generally refer to polypropylene. Still, it is important to be able to differentiate between the two in order to be certain you or your customer procure the correct material.

Cord Strapping

Cord strapping is available in both polyester and rayon, and comes in two basic forms - uniline and cross woven. Cord is used only in manual applications and is sealed using buckles, seals, or is tied. Polyester cord offers excellent resistance to moisture and is frequently used in outdoor applications. Heavy duty polyester cord is frequently replacing steel in lumber applications.
  • Advantages - Can be manual applied with no tools, moisture resistant
  • Disadvantages - Poor elongation, difficult to recycle
  • Applications - Steel replacement, agricultural, boating 

Strapping Tools and Options

Be careful when selecting any strapping tools. Some tools can be used on any plastic strap, some can only be used on polyester or polypropylene, and some can only be used on one type of strap. Most are also limited to a certain size range (width and/or thickness). There are no tools that cover every strap size and/or type. Tools for steel strapping are always exclusive to steel strap only.

Hand Application

No tools are required, only buckles that the strap is wound through. The strap is hand-tightened.
  • Advantages - No tools required, most convenient
  • Disadvantages - Maximum working range of the strap is not achievable
  • Strap Type - Cord only

Manual Tools

Requires a tensioner, a sealer, and seals. This is the most common way of applying strapping.
  • Advantages - Allows the achievement of the maximum, or near maximum, working range of the strap; secure
  • Disadvantages - Requires multiple tools and the appropriate seals
  • Strap Types - All: Polypropylene, polyester, cord, steel

Battery Operated Tools

Combines all the necessary operations in one tool - tensioning, sealing, and cutting. Offered in varying strengths to accommodate the unique needs of the user.
  • Advantages - Consolidates all strapping functions in to one tool, portable, efficient, requires no seals, enables achievement of a specific amount of tension
  • Disadvantages - Can be lost or damaged due to their portability, least durable of the powered tools
  • Strap Types - Polypropylene, polyester 

Pneumatic Tools

Combines all the necessary operations in one tool - tensioning, sealing, and cutting. Offered in varying strengths to accommodate the unique needs of the user and the type of strapping.
  • Advantages - Consolidates all strapping functions in to one tool, efficient, powerful, requires no seals, enables the achievement of a specific amount of tension
  • Disadvantages - not portable (requires a compressed air source), heavier than battery tools
  • Strap Types - Polypropylene, polyester, steel


There are a variety of strapping machines depending upon your needs. Low volume machines include semi-automatic arch and table-top machines. They extend in to high-volume automatic machines custom made for your application.
  • Advantages - Consolidates all strapping functions, fast, efficient, automatic or semi-automatic, requires no seals, can integrate with an assembly line or conveyor system, allows achievement of a specific amount of tension
  • Disadvantages - The most expensive strapping option, relatively large footprint, require and power and/or pressurized air source, limited as to the size/weight of the box that they can strap
  • Strap Types - Polypropylene (smaller machines), polypropylene or polyester (larger machines)

Strapping Characteristics and Definitions

  • Elongation - The amount of stretch in the strap as tension is applied
  • Elongation Recovery - The strap's ability to return to its original state after tensioning
  • Hand Grade Strapping - Designed to be applied by hand with manual, electric or pneumatic tools. Cannot be used in a semi-automatic or automatic strapping machine. 
  • Break Strength - The amount of force, in pounds, required to break the strap
  • Core Size - the diameter and depth of one coil of the strap. This must correspond to the dispenser or machine being used with the strapping. 
  • Thickness - this is the physical thickness of the strap, measured in fractions of an inch, such as .020"
  • Width - the physical width of the strap, it must correspond with the tools or machine being used to apply the strap
  • Color - the color of the strap is completely subjective and has no impact on the performance of the strap
  • Embossing - the diamond-shaped textured pattern applied to most polypropylene strapping. It enhances split resistance, improves stiffness characteristics, and increases joint efficiency.
  • AAR Approved - AAR is the American Association of Railroads and AAR approved strapping is strapping that has been approved by AAR and bears their seal for safely transporting bundled material on rail cars

Have a question? Don't hesitate to contact us.

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