Which is Better, Foam Sheets or Bubble Wrap?
Professional movers will tell you, improper packing is the most common cause of breakage and damage when moving. From moving blankets and foam sheets to bubble wrap and mattress covers, there is a wide variety of packing materials to choose from.
But when it comes to breakable items like dishes and framed photos, which is better? Bubble wrap or foam sheets? We’ll break down the advantages and disadvantages of each to help you decide which is the right choice for your move.
What is the Difference Between Bubble Wrap and Foam Sheets?
Bubble wrap and foam packing materials share similar characteristics— they’re both lightweight, flexible, and more costly than paper packing materials. Knowing when to use each one can save you time and materials during the packing process.
If you’re fortunate enough to hire professional movers, talk about their preferences and best packing practices.
Of course, if you’re doing a DIY move, avoiding the temptation to pop bubbles on the bubble wrap is an irresistible temptation! And our advice here is to pop away and relieve some of that pandemic moving stress.
Bubble Wrap Packaging
There is an interesting story behind the invention of bubble wrap. It turns out two designers were trying to make a fashion statement with a new type of washable wallpaper. However, the public didn’t catch on, so it was soon discovered for another purpose: protective packing material.
Bubble wrap is also known as bubble cushion and is made by trapping air in circular cells between two plastic layers. This process gives this packing material excellent shock-absorbing properties as well as limited protection against moisture.
There are three sizes of air cells available in bubble wrap. A 3/16″ bubble cushion is one of the most popular dimensions used for packing fragile household items during a move. The next size up, 5/16″, is also used frequently to package fragile household items.
It comes down to your personal preference as to what size works best, but you can think of the small cell size as more flexible for wrapping wine glasses, coffee cups, and ideal for small ceramic or glass figurines.
When to Choose Bubble Wrap
We’ll be the first to admit; it’s nearly impossible to pick up a sheet of bubble wrap without popping a few (okay, several) bubbles before getting down to work.
Bubble wrap comes in small and large rolls and pre-cut sheets, making it easy to find the right shape and size to protect and prepare your household items for transport easily.
Rolls are best used to wrap large items like TVs, framed photos, and large, fragile pieces of artwork or appliances because you’ll need to use a box cutter or scissors to cut the pieces.
Bubble wrap sheets perforated rolls and pre-sized, making their use somewhat limited to things like plates, glassware, bowls, and small pieces of artwork for framed photos. It’s worth noting that the perforation is sometimes a challenge to locate, and the sheets don’t always tear easily.
However, if you’re willing to pre-tear the sheets from the rolls and make a pile, it will make wrapping and packing much more efficient.
When to Choose Foam Sheets
Foam is a dense but lightweight material that is made from a variety of synthetic materials. This product’s thin width and density make it ideal for wrapping it around all types of household items.
Foam sheets are pre-cut, making them ideal for packing dishes, fine china, hard drives, wine glasses, picture frames, and mirrors. Foam packaging is thinner than bubble rolls, which means you’ll be able to fit more into your moving box (but don’t be tempted to overpack your fragile items!).
Foam rolls and pre-cut sheets are ideal for surface protection and cushioning of valuables. It’s super easy to place foam sheets between stacked plates, dinnerware. Foam sheets make wrapping picture frames, collectibles a breeze.
Professional movers utilize foam for wrapping furniture legs to prevent any surface damage during transport. Foam sheets are easy to work with too. Their lightweight and super flexible making them less bulky than small bubble wrap.
Can I recycle Bubble Wrap?
When it comes to being eco-friendly, get creative to reuse your old packing materials. Stretch the money you spent on foam sheets during your move by reusing the sheets to wrap and store holiday ornaments. If you’ve got kids in college, keep an extra moving box full of bubble wrap to have on hand for care shipments.