One of the most crucial things shippers can do is select the appropriate packaging foam for their items. It can help you reduce product damage during transportation, lower your costs, improve the quality of your customer service, and significantly reduce the problems associated with returns, damaged products, reverse logistics, and other issues

When it comes to shipping a product, choosing the correct foam might make all the difference. However, there are hundreds of different varieties of foam, which begs the question, “What is the best form of foam to package my products with?”

There are several crucial variables to consider when selecting packaging foam for your items.

foam packaging boxes

Which Foam is Right For My Product?

The right foam for your product will depend on a variety of factors. As you evaluate different options, you’ll need to consider the following:

  • Is the final appearance of my product important? Class-A surfaces and other products must look their best when they arrive and may require additional protection foam.
  • >strong>How heavy is my product? A heavy product may not be suitable for foam, such as expanded polystyrene, which cracks readily.
  • How large is my product? Consider whether your product will ship alone in a large box or in multiples.
  • What is my budget? XLPE foam is excellent, but it is costly. Is it truly necessary, or would a less expensive choice suffice?
  • Should the foam be reusable? Foam that is durable can be used again. Other varieties are better for one-time use.
  • How will my product ship? Is it being delivered by truck, parcel service, plane, boat, or drone?
  • How shock-resistant is my product? Is it affected by vibration and movement? How delicate is it?
  • What should the unboxing experience be like? When your consumer (or end-user) opens the package, what do you want them to see?
  • How important is sustainability? Are you thinking about a disposable item or one that is recyclable or reusable?

What to Consider When Choosing a Type of Foam

When identifying which packaging style is best for your products, you’ll want to consider the specific qualities of the goods you need to ship. Factors to contemplate when choosing a type of protective foam include:

Your product’s weight, size, and fragility: You should consider whether your product will be shipped in the same box with other items or if they’ll have their own boxes. The foam packaging solution you choose should be appropriate for preventing multiple items packed together from becoming damaged.

If you’re shipping electronics: You’ll want to protect them with anti-static foam when shipping items like electronics. Otherwise, you could lose sales through damaged equipment or potentially shock shippers working with the boxes.

Whether your product is perishable: You should choose PU foam for its anti-microbial and anti-rot properties if you’re shipping perishable goods. This type of foam will protect your products from perishing due to environmental factors like moisture.

Conditions for handling and transport: Ensure you choose the right foam packaging solution for your products. For example, if you’re transporting products by rail, you’ll want to protect your items from vibrations with a highly shock-absorbent foam.

Base foam and lid foam: Sometimes, your base foam will be different from the foam you choose for your packaging’s lid. For example, you might consider using a denser foam like PE for the packaging base if you’re shipping an object that needs to stay in place during transport. However, the lid could be a lighter egg-crate foam.

person scanning packaging boxes

What Kind Of Foam Is Used For Packaging

Packaging foam is commonly used as cushioning material for boxes, and this packaging solution is known for its versatility and its ability to be customised. There are three main types of packing foam that are used in the shipping and packaging industries, and these include polyurethane, polyethylene, and expanded polystyrene (EPS). An overview of these three main types of packaging foam is outlined below.


This material combines the greatest qualities of plastic and rubber while avoiding the drawbacks of vinyl films. This indicates that it is not brittle and is simple to work with. It may also be easily adjusted to fit a wide range of purposes, and unique foam shapes can be manufactured. Polyurethane is most typically utilised for shock-sensitive light and tiny items.


Polyethylene foam, also known as P.E., is one of the most durable closed-cell foams available for packaging. It is well-known for its capacity to tolerate significant pressure while retaining some of its resilient cushioning capabilities. This product is often used as end caps, planks, and rolls because it is excellent at damping vibrations and absorbing stress. End caps can be wrapped around goods to keep them in place and protect them from damage during transportation. When purchasing P.E., it is frequently found in large rolls that are around 1/8 inch thick and can be utilised as void fill to provide further protection to products.

Expanded Polystyrene (EPS)

EPS is a very well-liked packaging material that is frequently chosen over the alternatives because of its adaptability and affordability. It is utilised in a number of applications where lightweight, resilient, and thermally insulating packaging is required. This closed-cell material can also be used to make package peanuts, which are often used as cushioning void fill, and it has strong insulating qualities. Sheets of EPS, on the other hand, are not a good choice for shock absorption because they are quite inflexible and can break when pushed to force. If you need a substance to absorb shock during transit, polyurethane and polyethylene are preferable possibilities.

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