XLPE vs PE vs EPE Foam: Which One is Better?


When choosing a foam for your packaging application, we often get the question: ok, but which one is the best?

“Best” is subjective of course, and it also depends on your specific application. However, there’s always an answer. Today, we’ll compare the three most popular types of foam used in packaging - XPLE, PE, and EPE - and answer the question of which one is the best choice.

XPLE vs PE vs EPE Foam

Cost High Very Low Low
Durability High Medium Low
Color Options Many Many Many
Recyclability None Recyclable  Limited


What is XPLE Foam?

Cross–Linked Polyethylene (XLPE) Foam is the marriage of unparalleled durability and unlimited aesthetics. XLPE is extremely durable and rigid to keep merchandise safe, yet doesn’t scratch painted surfaces. While it has a variety of applications, it’s extremely well-suited for influencer kits and other marketing materials where safe delivery, the unboxing experience, and display are all critical.

► Related Content: Benefits of Cross–Linked Polyethylene Foam in Packaging

What is PE Foam?

Polyethylene (PE) Foam is low cost, resilient to chemicals and water, and industrially recyclable. It’s suited for a wide variety of applications - end caps, case inserts, and other common types of packaging.

► Related Content: Benefits of Polyethylene Foam in Packaging

What is EPE Foam?

Expanded Polyethylene (EPE) Foam is made with expanded beads that form a shape. It’s ideal for applications where flexibility in design but rigidity in form is crucial.

► Related Content: Benefits of Expanded Polyethylene Foam in Packaging

Which Type of Foam is the Best for Packaging?

This is the question we get the most, and it’s the hardest to answer generally because it depends on what your product is, your budget, how it will be shipped, if it will be displayed after, etc. 

However, for a vast majority of applications, our recommendation is usually Polyethylene (PE) Foam. There are a couple reasons:

  • It has decent durability, is water-resistant, and chemical-resistant. This makes it well-suited for protecting most products.
  • It’s very low-cost compared to other foam options, which makes it an excellent choice for case inserts and other applications where a design will be re-used multiple times.
  • It’s over 100% circular. This means that we can re-use every piece of PE foam to create a new application without losing performance. We also recycle other companies PE scrap as well.

► Related Content: How to Choose the Right Foam for Your Custom Case Insert

Find Your Best Option with a Packaging Expert

As a leader in the packaging industry, Foam Industries has set the bar with an unwavering commitment to quality, exceptional client service, and constant innovation. Through our extensive inventory of endlessly customizable products, we ensure you find exactly what you’re looking for.

Contact a Packaging Expert

Foam Industries is a custom protective packaging company specializing in foam – with additional wood and plastic fabrication services. Our custom foam fabrication services are ideal for any type of packaging, display, or support service needed – from design to finished product.

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