Heating Gun vs. Heating Tunnel: Which is Best for Shrink Wrap?

Polyolefin shrink film is a popular choice for packaging a wide variety of products due to its superior clarity, flexibility, strength, and environmental friendliness. To achieve the desired shrinkage and seal, this film requires exposure to heat, which can be applied using either a heating gun or a heating tunnel. In this article, we’ll explore the differences between these two heating methods and help you determine which one is best suited for your specific packaging needs.
Heating Gun vs. Heating Tunnel Polyolefin Shrink Film

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Heating Gun: A Portable and Budget-Friendly Solution

A heating gun, also known as a heat gun or shrink gun, is a handheld device that blows hot air. It is often used for smaller-scale operations and is an ideal choice for businesses with limited space or budgets. Here are some of the key benefits and drawbacks of using a heating gun with polyolefin shrink film:

Heating Gun is Cost-effective 

Heating guns are generally more affordable than heating tunnels, making them a popular choice for startups, small businesses, or companies with occasional shrink-wrapping needs.

Heating Gun Portability

Since heating guns are handheld devices, they can be easily moved and used in different locations. This is especially useful when you need to package products of varying sizes or shapes.

Heating Gun Easy to Use

With minimal training, operators can quickly learn to use a heating gun to achieve consistent results with polyolefin shrink film. However, the quality of the finished product may be slightly less uniform than when using a heating tunnel.

Limited Speed of Drawbacks

A heating gun requires manual operation, which can be time-consuming, especially for large-scale packaging projects. This method may not be suitable for businesses with high production volumes.

Heating Tunnel: A High-Volume, Automated Solution

A heating tunnel, also known as a shrink tunnel, is an automated machine through which the packaged product is conveyed. As the product passes through the tunnel, it is uniformly exposed to heat, resulting in a consistent and professional finish. Here are the main advantages and disadvantages of using a heating tunnel for polyolefin shrink film applications:

Heating Tunel is High Production Speed

Heating tunnels are designed for high-volume, automated production, making them an excellent choice for businesses that need to package large quantities of products quickly and efficiently.

Heating Tunel Offers Consistent Results

The uniform heat distribution within a heating tunnel ensures that the polyolefin shrink film is evenly and consistently sealed, resulting in a more professional-looking finish.

Heating Tunel Can Customization

Heating tunnels can be tailored to accommodate specific product dimensions and packaging requirements, offering greater flexibility for businesses with diverse product lines.

Space and Cost Considerations Using Heating Tunels

Heating tunnels require a larger initial investment and can occupy significant floor space. This may not be feasible for businesses with limited budgets or facilities.

What to Consider When Choosing Heating Gun or Heating Tunnel?

When deciding between a heating gun and a heating tunnel for your polyolefin shrink film packaging needs, consider the following factors:

Production Volume

If you have high production volumes, a heating tunnel is likely the most efficient and cost-effective solution. For smaller-scale operations or occasional packaging needs, a heating gun may be more appropriate.


Factor in the cost of purchasing and maintaining the equipment, as well as the cost of labor. While a heating gun may be more affordable upfront, a heating tunnel may be more cost-effective in the long run, especially for businesses with high production volumes.

Space Constraints

Consider the available space in your facility when choosing between a heating gun and a heating tunnel. A heating gun requires less space and can be easily moved, while a heating tunnel may require a dedicated area.

Product Variety

If your business packages products of varying sizes and shapes, a heating gun may offer greater flexibility. However, a heating tunnel can be customized to accommodate specific product dimensions, allowing for a more consistent and professional finish.

Making the Right Choice for Your Shrink Packaging Business

Both heating guns and heating tunnels have their unique advantages and drawbacks when it comes to polyolefin shrink film applications. By carefully considering your business’s specific needs, production volume, budget, and available space, you can make the right choice for your packaging operations. Ultimately, the decision between a heating gun and a heating tunnel will depend on what best aligns with your company’s goals and requirements.


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