Types and features of cushioning materials

Cushioning material is used to protect products, especially fragile ones from impact. It prevents products from being damaged by rubbing against each other or bumping into boxes during product delivery. There are many types of cushioning materials with different features, and they are used in different ways, such as wrapping products or filling gaps. This article will introduce the types and features of cushioning materials. Make sure to select the appropriate material for your product.

Features of bubble cushioning material (air cushion)

It is a sheet covered with small round grains filled with air. It is also commonly called ‘air cap’ or ‘puchi puchi’, and many people probably think of this when they hear the word ‘cushioning material’.

Because of its excellent cushioning properties and flexibility, it can wrap products of complex shapes, and is used for packing a wide variety of products, from light to heavy items, such as fragile CDs, glass products, home appliances, and mechanical products. Another feature is its high transparency, making it easy to see what is inside. In addition to the usual two-layer structure, there are also types with a three-layer structure for greater strength and envelope-type products with bubble cushioning material attached to the inside.

Features of foam sheets

This cushioning material is made by processing foamed polyethylene into a sheet. It is made by mixing low-density polyethylene with gas and applying pressure to vaporize the gas and create foam.

The main features of this material are that it is extremely lightweight and soft. Since it is thin and bendable, it is suitable for packing products with complicated shapes such as cups. In addition, it has excellent cushioning properties due to air bubbles, and is used not only for packing tableware, ceramics, CD cases, and precision parts, but also as a protective material for the glass surface of furniture.

Furthermore, because of its excellent heat insulation, waterproofing, and moisture-proofing properties, it is widely used as a heat insulator and buoyancy material for building curing sheets, coolants for frozen foods, and pads for agricultural products.

Features of rolled corrugated fiberboard

As the name suggests, it is a soft corrugated fiberboard in a scroll shape. Ordinary corrugated fiberboard has a three-layer structure in which the central corrugated part is sandwiched between two sheets of paper, but rolled corrugated fiberboard has a two-layer structure by omitting one of the sheets of paper, which allows it to be rolled up.

It is stronger than other cushioning materials and thinner and softer than regular corrugated fiberboards. Therefore, it is mainly used for packing large products that cannot fit into regular corrugated fiberboards. It is suitable for packing furniture when moving, and for packing paintings and lumber, etc. It is used by wrapping the object and then cutting it with a cutter, etc.

Features of air pillow type cushioning material

As the term ‘air pillow’ suggests, this cushioning material is a rectangular plastic bag filled with air. It is sometimes called an ‘air cushion’. There are some that can be used individually and others that can be separated as needed with the pillow part connected, in various sizes and shapes. Some types are pre-filled with air, while others are inflated by the user at the time of use.

The air pillow type is characterized by its high cushioning properties and is mainly used to fill gaps. By filling in the empty space left when a product is placed in a box, the product can be firmly supported. It is recommended to select the size of air pillow according to the product and the box.

Features of loose-fill cushioning material

Loose-fill cushioning materials are available in various shapes and sizes such as round and gear-shaped as well as the mainstream cocoon-shaped. It has excellent cushioning properties and is mainly used to fill gaps when products are packed in boxes. It is characterized by its ability to fit into gaps of complex shapes.

There are two main raw materials for loose-fill cushioning materials, each with different properties. Cornstarch loose-fill cushioning material is environmentally friendly and can be disposed of as combustible waste because of its low bruning calorie content and toxic gas emissions. However, it is easily crushed, so it should be used for packing lightweight products.

Loose-fill cushioning materials made of synthetic resins (polyethylene, polystyrene, etc.) are not easily crushed and can be used for packing heavy products. It is also water-resistant.

Features of paper cushioning material

Paper cushioning material is used for the purpose of packing. It is often made of recycled paper, and has been reviewed in recent years from the viewpoint of ecology and ease of disposal (can be disposed of as recyclable waste or combustible waste). It is used to wrap products by lightly crumpling them, or to fill in gaps by rolling them up.

One of the main characteristics of paper cushioning material is their low cost. It is also easy to procure because it is not bulky when stored. Paper cushioning material can be torn by hand according to the size of the product, or used to easily fill gaps in products with complicated shapes, making it easy to be handled flexibly.


When the product reaches the customer, it is a serious problem if it is damaged by any chance. Select the most suitable cushioning material according to the size, weight, shape, and material of the product you want to send, and consider whether to wrap the product or fill in the gaps, how it looks, and so on.