Menu Close

When and How to Use Foam Products for Shipping

According to, 15 billion deliveries were completed worldwide in 2020. Of that, more than 3 billion were shipped between Thanksgiving and Christmas Day in the United States.

For retailers and consumers alike, it’s important that packages arrive with the items inside undamaged. However, when a huge volume of packages are being loaded and unloaded from one truck or plane to another while in transit, the potential for damage is high.

Foam is one of the best packaging supplies available to help keep damage to fragile, breakable, and high-value items safe throughout the shipping process. Not only does it keep items well protected, but foam also helps keep retailers from losing future sales due to damaged shipments.

There are several different types of foam that can be used for shipping. They vary in price and function and have their own unique characteristics.

Polyurethane (PU):

This foam is open-cell, soft, and easily molded to fit different items. It is considered to be one of the most versatile products and is valued for its ability to absorb shock and regain its original shape very quickly. It is mildew-resistant, has low odor, and is available in a variety of densities and colors. It will absorb water.

Some examples of this type of foam include egg crate, padding, and custom shapes to fit perfectly around your product within its box.

Polyethylene (PE):

By comparison with PU, this closed-cell foam is much more dense. It comes in a variety of thicknesses and is a great choice for heavier objects, high-sensitivity products, blocking, and bracing. It does not absorb water, is easy to clean, and is good for vibration protection.

A few examples of PE foam include pouches, sheets, tubing, die cuts, and perforated bags on a roll.

Expanded Polystyrene (EPS):

Also known as Styrofoam, this variety is a closed-cell product that is the least expensive of all foams. However, it is generally looked at negatively by many consumers because it is not recyclable. It is lightweight, rigid, can be molded, and is mainly used for blocking.

Crosslinked Polyethylene (XLPE):

This foam is the most expensive option available and is sought after for its smooth surface and density that provide superior surface protection, especially for highly polished surfaces. It will not absorb water and is available in a variety of colors.


Anti-static foam is great protection for fragile items and is most often used for protecting electronics, including computers and automotive parts. It provides excellent cushioning for delicate products and absorbs electrical charges and electro-shock static.

If you are unsure which foam product is best for your application or would like to explore other options, such as honeycomb, please give us a call at (773) 235-6060.


About Us

Pinnacle Packaging, Inc. offers our customers the best product selection and fast delivery, all at great prices. We are proud to offer over 20,000 quality products from well-known and trusted brands like 3M, Sealed Air, Tape Logic, Rubbermaid, Ivex, and many more. Our mission is to be the single source answer to all our customers’ packaging needs.

Through the years, we have established a reputation with our customers for providing fast, reliable, and professional service. Our high level of responsiveness to our customers’ needs keeps them coming back.