Plastic wrap is a kitchen staple. Anything from covering up plates of leftovers to wrapping up sandwiches can be done with a good plastic wrap.
In this article I’ll review some of the top rated plastic wraps available (and one non-plastic, reusable option!). I will also discuss some of the things to consider when picking a plastic wrap for your household. Feel free to click right to the product listings on Amazon to check the current prices by clicking in the table below, or read on for more detailed reviews!
Table of Contents
- The Best Plastic Wrap
- Using Plastic Wrap
- Shopping Considerations
- It’s a Wrap!
The Best Plastic Wrap
1. Editor’s Pick (And Budget Pick!) Kirkland Brand Stretch-tite Plastic Wrap
Any discussion of the best plastic wrap on forums and cooking blogs will bring up the name Stretch-tite. Many cooks, including professional chefs, rave about this plastic wrap, and it’s our top choice—it’s also the least expensive option!
This wrap is BPA-free and comes with an optional slide cutter, which makes it much easier to use. It is also quite economical and available in large boxes, which makes it easier to work with (although harder to store).
Cooks praise the thickness of this wrap which enables it to stretch widely across whatever it’s wrapping. Another plus is that it is indeed very clingy, and will cling to itself nicely as well. People also find it does a good job of keeping food fresh.
There is some concern that Stretch-tite has gone down in quality after coming under the Kirkland brand. Some shoppers find it to be thinner than it used to be.
But with so many people still enthusiastically recommending it, it’s our top pick!
- Comes in large rolls
- Has optional slide cutter
- Clingy and stretches well
- Good at retaining freshness
- Some people have issues with the slide cutter not working or installing properly
- Quality may have suffered under new ownership
Saran is one of those brand names that has come to define the entire category. Made by the SC Johnson company, known for all manner of household products, Saran wrap is one of the original plastic cling wraps.
Like many other household wraps, it’s made of food-safe polyethylene and is BPA-free. The manufacturer claims it can be put in the microwave. It also boasts of its superior stretch capabilities.
This is a brand with a loyal following. Many people have relied on this brand for many years. Happy consumers praise its clinginess and it’s ability to keep things fresh.
Some people, however, feel that the quality has gone down over the years. People find it’s not as clingy as it has been and that it tears easily. Another complaint is that the cutter is awkwardly placed on the box, so it makes it difficult to apply without tangling.
- Clings to many surfaces
- Made of food-safe polyethylene
- May have gone down in quality
- Can tear and shred, especially toward the end of the roll
- Cutter is awkwardly placed, making it difficult to maneuver
3. Upgrade Pick – Bee’s Wrap Reusable Storage Wrap
So this isn’t technically plastic wrap, but it’s an eco-friendly option that mostly achieves the same result but can be used many times, unlike single-use plastic wraps.
A few years back, I became increasingly conscious of how much garbage my kitchen was generating, so I began investigating waste-free options. But plastic wrap eluded me, until I discovered Bee’s Wrap.
Bee’s Wrap is a sheet of organic cotton infused with beeswax, jojoba oil, and tree resin. This mixture causes it to adhere to itself or a surface like glass or ceramic, with the help of a bit of heat from your hand. It’s just right for covering a bowl or you can wrap it around something like a sandwich in a sort of DIY envelope.
Truth be told, it’s not as convenient as plastic wrap. You’re limited to specific sizes, and it doesn’t always cling perfectly. Some people are also put off by the strong beeswax smell (although other people—myself included—find it pleasant). It’s important to note, too, that it doesn’t last forever; the coating does eventually wear off but you can compost the sheet at that point.
I admit that I still have plastic wrap in my home, even though I try to use glass “tupperware” or Bee’s Wrap as much as possible. But it is definitely a cool product and worth a try if you’re looking to reduce your impact on the environment.
• Clings to many surfaces
• Can be composted when no longer clingy
• Does not generate more plastic waste
• Limited sizes
• Not always as reliable as plastic wrap
• Some people find the beeswax smell unpleasant
4. Best Plastic Wrap for Leak Proofing – Glad Press’n Seal Wrap
Glad is well-known as a manufacturer of household plastic goods. This wrap is a bit of an innovation in the plastic wrap market, using something it calls “griptex” technology.
The difference with this wrap is that it has an adhesive on one side so that it clings when you press it to your dish or itself. The other side is textured. This novel design allows for some flexibility—you can create custom pouches or envelopes with it. It does create an air-tight and very solid seal, making it our top pick for leak-proofing.
Many consumers rave about this product. They find it really does work better than traditional wrap and offers some interesting possibilities for use.
But there are a few issues. One is that the cutting strip is plastic and seems to stop working properly—many people resort to using scissors to cut it. Another issue that some people have is the adhesive coming off on their dishes and leaving a very hard to remove residue. Given that the residue can come off, I would be nervous about it coming into direct contact with food.
• Clings well to many different surfaces
• Uses less than traditional plastic wrap
• Can be used in different ways such as creating pouches
• Plastic cutter is poor quality and often fails
• Adhesive can transfer to surfaces and is difficult to remove
5. Wide Width Pick – AEP Zipsafe Sealwrap
Zipsafe is not a household name, but more of an industrial product. The difference is that this cling wrap is made of PVC plastic, as opposed to food-grade polyethylene.
Cooks praise this wrap for being very clingy without getting tangled in the process of applying it. People also appreciate the longer width of this wrap over most supermarket brands (although it is available in the standard 12” width if that is your preference). This is why it’s our “best wide width” pick; if you’re regularly wrapping large containers, such as for catering or the like, this is a great option to have on hand.
The primary complaint with this is that the box itself is very large. Another issue is that the cardboard is weak and the slider can become detached. Some people were able to tape it or reattach it somehow, but this is a bit of an annoyance.
Of course, the other issue is whether or not you want to deal with PVC. It’s good for “cling-ability” but it does come with the environmental and health concerns.
• Comes in large rolls, with options of width
• Has optional slide cutter
• Clingy and stretches well
• Some people have issues with the slide cutter not working or installing properly
• PVC may leach and have adverse health impacts
Using Plastic Wrap
Everyone has that drawer in the kitchen, right? With the tin foil, plastic baggies, maybe parchment paper, and plastic wrap.
- Plastic wrap has many kitchen uses:
- Covering bowls, containers, or plates with leftovers
- Covering dough when rising
- Wrapping fruits and vegetables that are half-cut
- Wrapping sandwiches
- Covering open packaging like blocks of cheese
- Covering serving dishes for potlucks, etc
Some people also use plastic wrap for non-food related tasks, such as wrapping hair for conditioning treatments, or wrapping up dishes for moving. It’s a pretty versatile product.
It can be a bit of a pain to use sometimes, so here are two simple tips for improving your experience!
But don’t think that all plastic wrap is created equal! There are a number of things to keep in mind when shopping.
Earlier generations of plastic wrap were typically made of PVC (polyvinyl chloride). PVC makes for especially clingy wrap. However, there are concerns about the potential health impacts of PVC as it can leach into food. You can still find some plastic wraps made of PVC, but keep in mind those health concerns.
Alternatively, most plastic wraps today are made of food-grade polyethylene. It does not leach into food, so far as we know, but it does tend to be a bit less clingy than PVC. Nevertheless, it makes a very good alternative with fewer health concerns.
Permeability and Leak-proofness
Depending on what you’re using the plastic wrap for, it may be important that it not let fridge smells or moisture through the barrier. The material and thickness of plastic wraps usually determines this—luckily polyethylene does tend to be a good moisture barrier to help keep food fresh.
As to how leak-proof a plastic wrap is, this usually comes down to how well it adheres to the container. Some wraps advertise their ability to hold liquid in a cup even as you tip it upside down, but this is not typical! Most plastic wraps well let go given enough force of gravity.
Method of Cutting
Boxes of plastic wrap usually have an edge of teeth—either metal or plastic—along one side, against which you cut the wrap to the necessary size. Some of these work better than others. Positioning, material, and the strength of the box can affect how useful these cutters are.
Other boxes have a slide cutter that runs along at track on the box’s edge. These are usually pretty good, but some are better made than others.
Most domestic use plastic wraps come in widths of about 12 inches. This is good for most plates and smaller bowls, but you may hope for something a bit wider if you’re regularly covering large dishes, casseroles, cookie sheets, etc. In this case, you can find wider width wraps that are made for commercial use, so note that they are usually a larger amount of wrap than the boxes you’re likely to find at the grocery store.
Environmental Concerns and Health Concerns
One of the biggest problems posed by plastic wrap is that it’s a single use product, meaning you’ll throw it away after using it. Most municipalities aren’t able to recycle plastic wrap, so it goes into the landfill. The manufacturing of these wraps can also have some negative environmental impacts.
Another issue with plastic wrap is the potential health concerns. PVC contains phthalates and other ingredients that are known carcinogens and environmental contaminants. Polyethylene is considered safer because it doesn’t leach, but it may contain other dangerous ingredients, such as BPA.
I recommend, then, using plastic wrap sparingly, try not to have it in direct contact with your food, and don’t leave it on a dish when microwaving, despite what the instructions say.
As an alternative, good food storage containers or lidded glass tupperware can store foods without using plastic wrap. There are also some eco-friendly alternatives, such as Bee’s Wrap, that fulfill a similar function so that you’re really only using plastic wrap when there’s no decent alternative.
It’s a Wrap!
But sometimes, you just really need to wrap something up in the kitchen and plastic wrap is the best tool for the job.
In these cases, most consumers recommend Kirkland’s Stretch-tite. I especially love that it has a slide cutter for ease of cutting.
If you’re looking for a green option that you can use multiple times, consider Bee’s Wrap. It will stick to most containers or itself, enabling you to preserve foods much as you would with plastic wrap.
What’s your favorite plastic wrap? And do you have any out-of-the-ordinary uses for it? Let us know in the comments!