Open box with wrapped items, adhesive tape, scissors, paper and bubble wrap on wooden table, flat lay overlay
Posted in Moving Tips&Tricks on November 4, 2022
Milly Andrews

Born and raised in Portland, Milly has had a lot of experience moving and writing about the relocation process.

Bubble Wrap vs. Packing Paper – What’s the Best Choice for Packing?

Packing is an important part of each move, but it can also be a daunting task. After all, figuring out what to pack everything in and how to pack it can seem like a huge challenge. That being said, bubble wrap vs. packing paper is the dilemma many of those planning the move face. So, which one is the best choice for you? Read on to find out!

Both packing paper and bubble wrap have their pros and cons. Bubble wrap provides a cushion of air around your items and offers added protection against impacts. However, it can be bulky and takes up more space in boxes. Packing paper, on the other hand, is a good alternative to bubble wrap. It is lightweight and can be molded around objects for a snug fit. But it may not offer as much protection against impacts or rough handling. In any case, it’s always a good idea to combine both materials for added protection.

What Is Packing Paper?

Packing paper is a special kind of paper used for packing electronics, books, paintings, and other items that can be found on a household inventory list. It differs from standard printer paper since it’s somewhat softer and thicker. Additionally, packing paper is typically available in huge sheets of light beige color.

What Are the Advantages of Packing Paper?

This packing material comes with a lot of benefits, and here are some of the most important ones:

  • Its smooth, supple surface makes for great wrapping of all kinds of objects, so it can be used even for packing fragile items,
  • It cannot scratch, smudge, stain, or leave residue on the object’s exterior, so it will not cause damage,
  • It fits any object shape well and shields the edges from damage,
  • Compared to other filling materials, it will take up significantly less space,
  • When packing dishes and similar stuff that can be stocked up, it’s a great option for storing them together,
  • It is the way to go if you wish to use an environmental-friendly material because it can be recycled easily,
  • It is easy to find, which is very important if you have a last-minute move,
  • It is highly absorbent, so if something spills during the move, the packing paper will soak it up and prevent it from damaging your belongings.

Another, perhaps the most significant advantage of this material is that it’s relatively inexpensive. Compared to other options like bubble wrap, packing paper is much more budget-friendly. This makes it a great option if you have a tight relocation budget and are looking to save money on relocation costs.

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What’s the Best Way to Use This Material?

If you don’t plan on getting professional packing services from white glove movers, then gathering all the necessary supplies and packing will be on you. Therefore, you must know in which situation and for which items is best to use certain materials – so what’s the best usage of packing paper?

You can use it as an initial layer of protection for your things because of its supple texture. Packing paper is ideal as the first layer of defense for practically all objects, even if you plan on packing glasses or some other delicate items. However, you can also use it to fill in the empty space in boxes because it is very easy to crumple and bend. Keep in mind that something might get broken if belongings in boxes are not immobilized.

What to Wrap With Packing Paper?

This versatile material can be used to wrap just about anything, and it will protect your belongings from getting damaged during transport. As mentioned above, packing paper is great for wrapping up dishes and other breakables. Simply place a sheet of packing paper on the bottom of a box, wrap each plate with one or two sheets, place them vertically, and then fill any gaps with more packing paper. This will prevent your dishes from shifting around during transportation and breaking. The same goes for packing kitchen items, in general.

Still, you can use this material for more than just kitchen supplies. For example, delicate lampshades can be packed this way easily – just remove the shade from the lamp base, wrap it in packing paper, and then place it in a box. The paper will easily adapt to any shape lamps may have and will keep the shades safe until you’re ready to reassemble them at your new home.

Of course, that is not all. This material is a good solution for pictures, mirrors, valuable books, glass furniture parts, and so on.

What Is Bubble Wrap?

In essence, bubble wrap is a plastic sheet with tiny air pockets all over it, which serve as protection for any object wrapped with it. These pockets can range in size, but the larger they are, the more protection they are able to provide (since they contain more air). Bubble wrap is available in rolls, big sheets, and envelopes.

What Are the Advantages of Using Bubble Wrap?

There are many upsides you can meet if you decide to use this type of material when relocating to a new home. Here are just a few you should consider:

  • When planning a move to another city, it provides unrivaled safety since air bubbles represent the finest defense against damage,
  • It is the best option for the secure transport of objects with unusual shapes,
  • Bubble sizes vary, allowing you to pick the ones which best meet your requirements,
  • Since it’s quite a lightweight material, it won’t raise the weight of your shipment and the cost of your white glove moving service,
  • It’s pretty durable, so you can use it more than once if you want to save the environment.

What’s the Best Usage for This Material?

How to use plastic wrap? Bubble wrap can be used for wrapping any kind of item, including the most delicate ones. However, to avoid plastic sticking to the porcelain and wood and leaving stains that are difficult to remove, don’t use it as the first layer with these objects. The ideal scenario is to combine different packing materials and utilize air bubbles in combination with packing paper.

At the same time, note that the bottom object inside of the box is exposed to possible damage the most. However, if you cover the inside of a box with a sheet or two of bubble wrap, the air pockets will come quite handy in shielding the content of the box.

In the end, it can be used to fill empty gaps in your boxes, similar to packing paper – fill the gaps between the pieces using bubble wrap to prevent them from colliding.

Person cutting bubble wrap before long-distance moving
Bubble wrap is the safest packing material you can use when relocating

What to Pack With Bubble Wrap?

Although bubble wrap can be used to cover anything, several of your household items may actually require air-filled material to get to your new home undamaged. First of all, objects that are incredibly fragile, such as stemmed glasses, china, vases, and lamps, need the maximum protection this material guarantees.

Just make sure to put some plastic wrap inside your breakable cups, bowls, and other hollow spots for added support. You should also insert some of this material between an item’s handle and body to protect the entire fragile item. Good packing tape should be used to hold the protective barrier in place.

Packing TV and other electronics, electrical equipment, exquisite furnishings, and other delicate objects can also be done with the help of this material. Still, when it comes to protecting electronic equipment from the effects of static-induced electric charges, anti-static air bubbles are your best bet. At the same time, if you wish to pack toys, accessories, protruding furniture parts, and other oddly-shaped items, note that any shape can be accommodated with bubble wrap.

TV set up after long-distance moving
Your electronic will do best with the anti-static bubble wrap

Bubble Wrap vs. Packing Paper – Is Really One Better Than the Other?

As you can see, the decision between bubble wrap and packing paper is more complicated than you initially thought. Still, the bottom line is – for the best protection, you really need both materials. Therefore, when organizing a move, make sure you have enough of each of them. Both materials will safeguard your priceless and delicate items.

Divided, both of them have their own set of benefits and drawbacks. If you are on a budget, packing paper might be the way to go for most of your belongings. However, don’t neglect the extra protection that bubble wrap provides. However, if you decide to combine them, you will be able to use the best of both worlds.

Of course, keep in mind that you can leave it to professionals to choose between these two types if you opt for getting white glove moving services – simply let long-distance movers deal with the packing and focus on some other important relocation tasks.

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What Are Other Types of Packing Materials You Can Use When Relocating?


The most important packing material you’ll need is boxes. Boxes come in many different sizes, so it’s important to choose the right size box for the items you’re packing. You can decide to buy new boxes or visit websites such as Freecycle, where you can find used boxes in good condition for free.


Tape is yet another of the relocation essentials. It will help you seal your boxes so that nothing falls out during transportation. Be sure to use heavy-duty tape so that it can withstand the relocation process. Keep in mind that quality tape is an investment that will pay out in the long run.


Labeling your boxes is crucial for keeping track of what’s inside each one. Be sure to label each box with its contents and which room it belongs in at your new home. This will make unpacking after the move much easier and more efficient.

Relocation blankets

The blankest are used when packing furniture in order to protect them during a move. They typically have a quilted design and come in various sizes to accommodate different types of items. Using relocation blankets can help prevent scratches, dents, and other damage to your belongings during the transport process.

Additionally, if you don’t plan on getting long-distance moving services, don’t forget about the equipment you should rent, such as dollies. You will find it extremely difficult to move furniture and other large items by yourself. Using specialized dollies or even lifting straps will make your move easier.

A mover using a dolly before cross-country moving
You can save on relocation equipment if you decide on renting instead of buying

With the Right Materials, Relocation Will Go Smoothly

Researching what materials you will need for the move is essential to avoid any stressful surprises along the way. After all, with a little bit of preparation, your items can be protected, and your relocation can go stress-free. Of course, if you find choosing packing materials and then packaging your entire household to be too much, don’t hesitate to contact a reliable white glove moving company and ask for help. Leave professionals to do what they know best while you take care of other vital tasks on your to-do list.

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