packing plates using bubble wrap overlay

Bubble Wrap vs. Packing Paper – Which One Is a Supreme Packing Material?

Posted in Moving Essentials on May 27, 2022

When you start planning a relocation, wrapping your belongings and putting them in a box becomes the center of your thoughts. Still, before you get to the actual packing part, you have to get all the necessary supplies – which leads us to the bubble wrap vs. packing paper dilemma. Which one is the ultimate best material for protecting your belongings?

When it comes to supplies, there are many factors you should consider when choosing your favorite – from pricing to efficiency, and we mustn’t forget the environmental impact as well. If you don’t know where to even begin solving the supplies issue, you’re in the right place. We will explain everything you need to know on materials for moving – your stuff will be safely packed on a relocation truck and transported by long-distance movers.

Bubble Wrap vs. Packing Paper – Which One Should You Use When Moving Across the Country?

We all know how tough it can be to protect everything you own for relocating (unless this is your first time moving out – in that case, you will learn this soon enough) and not worry about stuff breaking in the relocation truck, especially fragile items. The real question here is this – what do you need to pack your belongings? Is bubble wrap or paper better for packing?

This is more complicated than just picking one material, and we will break everything down for you down below – once you’re done reading, you will know how to handle every step of the wrapping process and what to use. You will see that it doesn’t take much to organize an efficient move – you just have to be patient and persistent. Add a few relocation hacks to that mix, and your long-distance move with reliable moving service will be a piece of cake.

Ready to move with us? Get A Free Quote

Both Bubble Wrap and Packing Paper Are Excellent – You’ll Likely Be Using Both to Pack Your Things

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that both of these materials are excellent for relocation. Now, you must be wondering – can you use paper instead of bubble wrap or vice versa? Maybe you can, depending on the thing you’re trying to cover, but we must tell you that avoiding one of these supplies is never a wise idea – one of our key relocation tips is to buy both. The chances that you won’t buy one of these are slight to none, and the reason for that is simple – they are required for wrapping different items. Make sure you write in your to-do list that you have to buy these when you go looking for supplies.

Be Sure to Gather Your Supplies on Time and That You Have Enough of Everything to Fill All Boxes

One of the important pieces of information that should be in your relocation binder is this one – supplies need to be bought on time, a few weeks before the move. This is pretty obvious, considering that it will take you a few weeks to pack everything from your household inventory list. Still, it’s good to mention it just to make sure you don’t forget this because you’re experiencing a lot of anxiety about the move.

We must also mention that you shouldn’t buy supplies before you declutter your home and get rid of stuff you won’t require in your new place – this is one of the relocation essentials. After decluttering, you will have an approximate idea of how much packing paper, bubbles, boxes, and other supplies you should purchase.

Pros and Cons of These Two Types of Packing Materials

So, we’ve established that you will require both. Still, we have to explain the advantages and disadvantages of using paper and bubbles. This will help you figure out what to pack particular items in. Let’s take a look at the qualities of these materials.

The Benefits and Disadvantages of Using Bubbles

The best thing about these tiny air-filled bubbles is that they provide 100% protection for just about anything. The chances your fragile items will break when wrapped in bubbles are very slim because they will absorb all the hits and vibrations during transport when you’re relocating to a new city. Also, this material can be used for wrapping basically everything, even if it has a strange or irregular shape. Not even sharp edges can destroy it, which can’t be said for most papers.

Less important information for the wrapping process but good for your relocation budgetbubbles are more affordable than similar quality supplies, like foam sheets. They weigh very little and thus won’t add to the weight of a box, and you can pop bubbles when you unpack after the move. There’s not much that we can hold against this material, but it’s not exactly perfect – here’s what we mean by that:

  • Bubbles are not as delicate as most papers, so they shouldn’t be placed directly on some sensitive surfaces (for example, when you pack electronics, you should never put bubbles directly on electronic devices).
  • It takes a bit of space in the box, so it might make you get more boxes than you initially thought you’d need.
  • It’s not nature’s best friend – bubble wrapping is not as easily degradable as its counterpart.

Why Is Paper Great and What’s Not So Good About It

Basic clean papers are unavoidable for relocating. The material is quite universal – you can pack a lot with it. It’s soft, which makes it perfect for items like fragile china or anything made of glass. On the other hand, you can form bundles with it, which are extra durable and firm. The delicate surface is excellent for the protection of electronics – it is often used as an initial layer. If you wondered whether you could substitute brand-new sheets with old newspapers, you forgot about one key trait of this supply – the sheets are clean and won’t stain your items. They are also cheap and lightweight. Of course, the material has some flaws – here they are:

  • It can tear easily, which can’t be said for the bubbles.
  • Moisture will destroy it quickly.
  • It isn’t enough for the protection of some things and has to be combined with different materials.
A man holding boxes
There are pros and cons to every material

Here’s What to Pack in Which Material When Long-Distance Moving

Now that you know about the traits of these supplies, you are probably wondering how to use plastic wrap bubbles and papers. Sure, you can go with your instinct when it comes to material choice, but there are some common rules that might be better than improvising it. Remember, long-distance relocation tips exist for a reason. First, let’s see what’s good to pack in papers.

  • Kitchen dishes,
  • Delicate china,
  • Hardcover books,
  • Jewelry,
  • Vases,
  • Lamps,
  • Wooden furniture.

When it comes to bubbles, we’ve mentioned that they are excellent for anything, but some stuff requires this material specifically. We suggest using bubbles when wrapping a TV, laptop, and other electronic devices – but keep in mind that you require anti-static ones for this job. Also, the papers have to be put as an initial layer to protect the delicate surface of your devices. Bubbles are excellent for irregular objects such as figurines or decorative pieces. Artwork, picture frames, and mirrors will also benefit from this kind of protection for obvious reasons.

Bubble wrap, paper, and tape on the table
Keep your fragile belongings safe with these supplies when relocating to a new home

Make Sure to Think About the Environment by Using Eco-Friendly Materials

When relocating, we can’t just think about how to fill all those boxes – we also have to consider the environmental impact of endless piles of supplies we’ve purchased. Obviously, papers don’t pose much of an issue – they are nature’s best friend when it comes to biodegradable materials. But what about our other important supply – is bubble wrap a good packing material for the environment? Sadly, not so much.

Bubbles and Their Environmental Impact

Bubbles are known as a type of plastic called plastic film. This material can be recycled, but it’s not routinely done. You can’t put it with the rest of your recyclable plastic, unfortunately. Still, the good news is that it can be used many times, so you don’t have to totally replace it with some alternative to bubble wrap if you want to be eco-friendly – just don’t throw it away when you unpack in your new home.

Instead of torturing your head by thinking, “what can I use instead of bubble wrap for packing?” simply find a new purpose for the bubbles you moved with your boxes. Luckily, there are many extraordinary uses for bubble wrapping, so you will surely figure out how to utilize it in the best way possible.

Bubble wrap in a package
Think about recycling when filling the space in all those boxes before the move

Pro Tip – Put Both Materials for Extra Protection When Wrapping Valuables

We have said that wrapping electronics requires both of these materials, but that doesn’t mean you have to limit the double wrapping to your devices. Whatever you believe is fragile enough to be at risk for breaking in transport can be wrapped in two layers – first, cover the item with a paper sheet and then place the bubbles on top. That should provide you with an outstanding cover that can’t be destroyed in any way. You will be able to have a stress-free move thanks to this little trick – your stuff will be packed like you had a professional packing service by your side.

You Can Also Use These as a Padding Material to Fill a Box

You are probably aware of the fact that no box should have any residual space when you pack it. If you leave even the tiniest amount of space, things will tumble during transport, which leads to higher chances of breaking, especially for fragile stuff. The simple solution for this is putting padding materials to fill all the voids. There are specialized padding supplies such as foam peanuts, and you can even find biodegradable ones. However, you can take the rest of the bubbles or papers and fill the residual space with them. This way, you don’t have to buy actual padding supplies.

Packages with Cross Country Movers logo
Packages should always be filled with padding materials, so nothing inside can move

Moving Cross Country Can’t Go Well Without Excellent Cross-Country Moving Services

When you want to relocate to a home in a beautiful city across the country, there’s nothing you require more than quality relocation services. They are the key to every successful move – good cross-country movers can transform even the most complex relocation into a pleasant memory. They can ensure that everything goes smoothly and that your belongings stay intact during transport.

You don’t even have to worry about gathering all the supplies for wrapping because your relocation company can provide them for you. However, the important thing is to book a reputable company on time – all the great ones will always be booked weeks in advance, so hurry to get your quote.

Hannah Michaelson

Hannah is a freelance relocation writer from NYC that has become an expert on packing and unpacking.

    Choose locations, date and size.
    Tell Us About Yourself

      Choose locations, date and size.
      Tell Us About Yourself
      Need to move your car/automobile?
      Get a Free Estimate 800-611-0502