What is Packing Foam

Source: Pixabay

One of the most common media for package cushioning, packing foam, comes in various forms, is made with different materials, and is used in different packaging settings. This post will go through how packing foam is still an important moving material, especially for large and sensitive packages that need special attention.


In contrast with how foams are light and soft, this guide will be a solid one, comprehensive with every topic you need about this packaging material. We hope that we can get you to choose the best foam packaging you need, whether for your growing e-commerce business, moving furniture, or simply wrapping up some gifts. -commerce business, moving furniture, or simply wrapping up some gifts. 

Why Is Foam Used in Packaging?


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The use of foam in packaging is ideal for various solutions. Foam is a top-rated packaging material for the following reasons: 

  • Aside from cushioning, foam can protect from abrasion/ scratches as well.
  • Foam is a versatile material, unlike plastic sheets or paper. Packaging foam can come in rolls, blocks, sheets, peanuts, and bags. 
  • Foam is moisture-proof, preventing packaged items from getting wet in the rain during transportation. 
  • Foam has a soft surface, perfect for polished items such as glass, ceramics, polished wood, etc. 
  • Foam is the best material to package items needed for a snug fit. Specifically, foam-in-bag and foam-in-place packing foams are designed to keep the items secured in place while cushioned against impact during transport. 
  • Foam, i.e., blocks, can be easily handled. It can be cut to the desired size.
  • Foam packaging provides a professional and clean look, presenting packages with high-quality. 

Which Should You Choose: Bubble vs Foam Packaging

Bubble vs Foam Packaging

Source: Pixabay

When it comes to choosing bubble wraps or foam packaging, generally, bubble wraps are more for general use, while foam packaging is best for packing items that need protection from scratches. 

Bubble wrap is cheaper, making it even better as an all-around packaging solution. There are many options in terms of bubble size when it comes to selection. 

Foam packaging provides good cushioning while taking up less space and weight than bubble wraps. We all know that volume and weight can be substantial factors in the cost of shipping. It is especially true for large and heavy items since they would need reliable cushioning without being wrapped repeatedly, which is how bubble wraps are meant to be used.

What Is Packing Foam Made Of?

Not all packing foam is made with the same materials. Packaging foams are manufactured using different materials, which are discussed below:




Polyurethane (PU) is a common material used in creating foam for furniture sets, automobile seats, mattress pads, and others. For packaging, polyurethane is very effective for lightweight yet sensitive items, and this material is also good to dampen vibrations. Polyurethane is used for custom packaging as it is easy to work with and modify. 

Packaging applications:

    • Custom foam packaging
    • Foam-in-place
    • Foam-in-bag




Polyethylene (PE) is a non-absorbent material that is highly resistant to chemicals and rot or molds. This material is ideal for low fragile items but can also be used with more delicate packages, depending on the correct design and specifications of the foam. 

PE for packaging is available with varying densities and thicknesses, depending on the requirement. 

Packaging applications:

    • Furniture packaging
    • Anti-static packing


Expanded Polystyrene (EPS)

Expanded Polystyrene

Among the materials listed, expanded polystyrene is the cheapest and most versatile. This material is very popularly known as “Styrofoam.” EPS is a very cost-effective material and is used to provide durable and thermal insulating packaging without contributing very little to the weight. 

However, please note that EPS may not be good against shock because of its rigidity and brittleness when subjected to sudden forces.

Packaging applications:

    • Styrofoam
    • Packing Peanuts


Cross-Linked Polyethylene (XLPE)

Cross-linked polyethylene is a foam material known for its compact structure and chemical and water resistance. XLPE has similar properties to polyethylene, including its non-abrasive quality. This material is commonly used in medical-grade tools and equipment packaging for its strong resistance against high temperatures, abrasion, and chemicals.

Packaging applications:

    • Medical device packaging
    • Anti-static packaging


Expanded Polyethylene/ Polypropylene (EPE/EPP)

Both of these materials are better-cushioning materials as compared to Polystyrene. Expanded polypropylene (EPP) handles impact very well, with low stiffness. 

On the other hand, Expanded Polyethylene is a material having properties in between EPS and Polyurethane. 

Both EPP and EPE are widely used in the packaging industry for their durability. Both materials have low compression creep, meaning they can return to their original shape even after experiencing impact and shock.

Types of Packaging Foam

Packaging foam can come in various forms and applications, as seen below:

Type of Packaging Foam
  • Continuous sheets of foam
  • Cut to any size and shape
  • Prevent scratch and abrasion for glass, ceramics
  • Cushioning, and coating for small items packed together to prevent from rubbing each other
  • Pre-cut foam sheets
  • Available in various sizes and thickness
  • Wrapping for glass and chinawares
  • Protection for furniture’s corner edges or legs. 
  • Used for packaging electronic items 
  • Dedicated to package small items 
  • Foam packaging formed into small poaches or bag
  • Also available in different sizes
  • Ready to use, no need for cutting, and shaping
  • Perfect for packing individual items
  • Ideal for packaging small items for your lightweight products

Foam Tubing

  • Foam packaging made into tubes that can contain long and sensitive items
  • Used to reduce vibration and moisture
  • For long and fragile items
  • Glass tubing, pipes, rods

Foam Blocks

  • Thick and rigid foam material 
  • Used for keeping items snug and secure
  • Can be available in standard sizes (600 x 600 mm, 300 x 200 mm) or custom cut
  • Shipment for electronic devices/ appliances
  • Perfect for separating and securing stacked items packaged into a single box

Foam Liners

  • Recognizeable for the “egg crate” look
  • Has raised and curved formations to provide vibration dampening
  • Common in electronics items packaging
  • Anti-static applications (comes in pink for easy identification)

Foam Liners

  • Loose-fill packaging material 
  • Used to fill spaces in boxes to keep items snug inside boxes
  • Used in transporting fragile items and utensils
  • Easily reusable especially when moving

Wrapping Up

We hope this guide has helped you clear up your knowledge of packing foam. The diversity of packing foams can be confusing, but choosing the right one for your application can provide affordable, secure, and more efficient packaging. 


You can check out enKo Products for affordable yet high-quality offerings for foam wraps, rolls, and pouches! Good for both product packaging and moving, our foam packing products will deliver your goods safely to your destination. 


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