How To Select The Right Strap For Different Applications

Date of post: April 6, 2023By: LINC Systems


Looking to re-evaluate the strapping materials you use in your packaging operations?

Industrial strapping, also known as banding, secures and bundles products and packages to ensure safe and damage-free transportation and storage. But how do you know what strapping option is right for your business — and what’s overkill?

We explore the various types of strapping materials and how they’re used, plus deliver hand-picked advice from one of our top manufacturers.

Advantages of Using Steel vs Polyester vs Polypropylene Strapping

Businesses tend to stick with what they believe are their “tried-and-true” packaging solutions. However, over the years, newer solutions have come to market which may provide greater benefits to the company and its employees.

Are you looking for:

  • Heavy-duty holding power?
  • Fewer worker injuries and ergonomic solutions?
  • Strapping that can stand up to extreme conditions?
  • Lightweight and recyclable strapping material?
  • Stretch capability?

We can walk you through the process.
Connect with a packaging expert today.


How Do You Choose Packaging Strap?

There are a lot of factors to consider when selecting strap – load size, shape, composition, transportation methods, environmental conditions and more. Fortunately, strapping comes in several different materials to suit your needs. Let’s explore:

Steel Strapping

Steel is the oldest type of strapping on the market. You may recall seeing this type of strapping on flatbeds traveling down the highways, often carrying very heavy and large loads. It has high-tensile strength and durability, UV-resistance and is available in many widths and thicknesses to accommodate almost any application and stress requirement.

Steel strapping material is most often used when high strength and minimal stretch are required.

Steel strapping materials are ideal in applications such as transporting extremely heavy and stable loads like sheet metals and pipes, and can be used in hazardous environments and hot temperatures.

The downside of steel strap is that it is heavy, sharp and hard to handle, store and dispose of.

Composite Strapping

In some cases, composite strapping is considered safer than steel strap because it’s less likely to cause bodily harm when removed or discarded. Unlike steel strapping — which is heavy, sharp and can recoil — composite strapping has a softer construction and is lightweight, making it a safer option for employees.

Composite strapping can conform around irregular edges and corners, unlike steel which is more bulky and rigid and takes up more storage space. Additionally, composite strap is weather-proof and does not rust or corrode.

Composite Cord Strapping

Cord composite strap is made from vertically-oriented polyester fibers that are then coated with polypropylene. This coating allows for greater wear resistance but is stiffer than polypropylene and polyester strap, and doesn’t allow for much stretch.

Composite cord strapping is non-abrasive, non-staining and strong, ideal for protecting and sealing delicate or irregular packages during transport.

Plastic Strapping

Plastic strapping is an economical, high-tensile strength banding material used in various packaging applications including carton closing, bundling and unitizing materials for in-plant movement. Plastic strapping is moisture-resistant and can typically be used in a wide range of temperatures. Be sure to consider elongation and recovery needs when working with plastic strap.

Different types of plastic strapping include polypropylene, woven polyester strapping and polyethylene strapping.


Polypropylene is economical and made from a plastic resin blend and does not offer the same strength as steel or polyester. Like other strapping materials, it is available in many widths, thicknesses, and polymer variations and is often used in arch strappers or tabletop strapping applications. Polypropylene strapping material has some level of elongation, meaning the material can stretch some, but has irrecoverable dead stretch and does not recover as well as polyester.

Polypropylene strapping materials are ideal in light to medium applications such as unitizing, palletizing, and bundling.

  • Mail bundling
  • Securing coil wires
  • Furniture
  • Food and beverage
  • Cartons

Woven Strapping

Woven strapping is made from high-tenacity polyester cording, tightly woven to provide superior tensile strength while remaining lightweight. Woven strapping can be used for heavy shipments, railroad shipments or long-term outdoor storage. Ideal for use in:

  • Securing bulk pallet loads
  • Heavy automotive pallets
  • Lumber and building materials

The benefits of using woven strapping include:

  • More cost-effective than steel strapping
  • No sharp edges to cause injuries or tire damage
  • Strong as steel, but weighs 50-75% less
  • Easily applied and can be re-tensioned
  • Will not rust
  • Chemical-resistant
  • Weather-resistant
  • Lightweight and portable

Learn more about the cost benefits of using woven strap.

Polyethylene Strapping

Polyethylene strapping is strong, lightweight and does not have a sharp edge, making it safer to apply and remove than steel strap. Polyethylene strapping is 100% recyclable, making it an ideal choice for companies looking to improve sustainability initiatives.


  • Safe to use
  • Strong and lightweight
  • Shockproof
  • Recyclable

Assess Strapping Material for Each Application

Strapping materials are not created equal and neither are your packaging needs. To choose the right strap for your packaging needs, consider the following:

  1. Product Size and Weight
  2. Load Value and Dimensions
  3. Mode of Transportation and Shipping Requirements
  4. Easily applied and can be re-tensioned
  5. Environmental Conditions and Storage Needs
  6. Application Method and Safety Hazards
  7. Strap Gauge and Width Requirements
  8. Annual Strap and Seal Costs

Comparison of Strap Properties:

*Chart provided by Samuel Strapping Systems.

Comparison of Load Types:

*Chart provided by Samuel Strapping Systems.

Are you currently using steel strap and considering switching to woven polyester? Ask your sales representative to evaluate your current end-to-end costs and provide a cost breakdown.


Want to consolidate your strapping spend, save money and create a safer work environment for your team? Learn how this LINC customer saved a projected 42% on strapping costs and improved worker safety.
Read full case study.


Want more detailed information on strap properties, break strengths, terminology and more?
Download The Science of Strap Selection – A Handbook by Samuel Strapping Systems


Expert Tool Tips for Securing Steel and Plastic Strapping

Strapping can be applied using a variety of tools, including manual, battery-operated and fully automatic strapping tools. LINC Systems offers strapping tools, which can include tensioners, seals and buckles — depending on the type/material of strap you’ll be using.

Combination strapping tools can be used to speed up the process by combining the job of a tensioner and sealer in one. However, the weakest part of any strap is at the seal and even the best strapping material will fail when used with a poor seal.

That’s why we work closely with our supply partners to deliver the expert advice you need for optimum production.

Encore Packaging is a leading manufacturer in packaging tools and equipment. They’re always ready to lend a helping hand and explain how to get the most out of your strapping and packaging tools. Check out their helpful videos:

How to Use Steel Strapping Tensioners and Buckles

When securing a load using steel strap, Encore Packaging offers several options for various sizes of steel strap and application needs.

Learn more about Encore Packaging Steel Strapping Tensioners and how to use feed-wheel tensioners:

Using Buckles

We carry galvanized, phosphate and plastic buckles from Encore Packaging. Galvanized buckles are ideal for polypropylene and composite cord strap. Phosphate wire buckles are ideal for woven cord strap. Note: Plastic buckles should only be used with polypropylene strap.

Learn how to use Encore Packaging Buckles in your strapping applications:

For packaging, fastening and industrial supply, we are your total solution.


LINC Systems is proud to carry a variety of fasteners, industrial supply and packaging products from top-rated brands like Encore Packaging, BOSS, Fromm, Polychem, Signode and ACME. We also have the services you need to manage your operations more efficiently. If you would like to consolidate your supply needs and start saving time and money, contact us today by calling 800.252.5894 or visit

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