Plastazote, Polyurethane, Ethafoam and Stratocell – Whats the difference?

Plastazote, Ethafoam and Stratocell - What's the difference?

At PottertonPacs, four of our most frequently used materials for custom foam inserts are our Plastazote, Ethafoam and Stratocell. In this blog, we’ll discuss the differences between them and which type is best used in different applications.

Something you’re likely aware of is the problems your company might face if you frequently offer faulty items or components to your customers or if equipment arrives at its destination broken and unusable. 

The expenses to your company might be substantial. Transit damage can result in returned items, written-off stock, project delays, unhappy consumers and a negative brand reputation. 

This is why it’s important to consider using durable and high-quality foam inserts in packaging to protect your items. Selecting the right foam packaging can help cushion your products and equipment from high impact, bumps and vibrations, especially during transit. 

Plastazote Foam

Plastazote is a cross linked closed-cell foam, meaning that each individual cell is completely sealed. This makes it incredibly strong and durable. Plastazote is often used to produce inserts for use within protective cases, as well as presentation foams and point-of-sale items when aesthetics are equally as important as protection.Plastazote foam is broadly chosen by companies within the medical & healthcare, engineering and automotive industries. 

Benefits and qualities of Plastazote: 

  • Lightweight & durable
  • Good shock-absorbing qualities
  • Excellent surface protection properties
  • Wide range of thicknesses and colours
  • Waterproof and buoyant
  • Excellent chemical resistance
  • Offers excellent thermal insulation
  • Various high-performance alternatives
  • Easy to work & shape

Plastazote Applications and uses

Plastazote is used in a variety of sectors throughout the globe because of its waterproof and long-lasting properties, including the medical, electronics, military, retail, and industrial manufacturing. Some other uses include

  • Case Inserts
  • Draw or cabinet liners or trays
  • Electronics packaging – Such as lighting for events
  • Maintenance, test & repair equipment packaging
  • Protective medical equipment packaging
  • Presentation packaging for sales reps or demos kits



Ethafoam, sometimes sold under the trade name Jiffy, is a resilient, flexible medium density, closed cell non-cross-linked expanded polyethylene foam that can help provide reliable protection to just about any object as it can handle repeated shocks and impacts.

Due to the material’s stiffness and the lack of compression, this material is ideal to use for repeat packaging with its ability to maintain its shape and structure. This makes it great for offering a good level of protection and shock absorption, especially for fragile or heavier items. This material is generally used for the protection of items as opposed to presentation purposes, such as demo kits or sample cases.


Benefits and qualities of Ethafoam:

  • Can be custom-cut in any shape or size
  • Available in a variety of strengths and densities 
  • Excellent chemical resistance
  • No odour
  • Resilient under repeated impact
  • Material with high load-bearing characteristics so that it can be reused several times

Ethafoam Application and uses

The Ethafoam material is ideal for protective packaging, but it is also frequently used in many different applications as well, including automotive, and construction industries.

Stratocell Foam

The Stratocell foam is flexible non–cross linked open cell polyethene foam that also provides cushioning protection to packaging applications. The material is low-cost and sold in a variety of thicknesses to achieve the appropriate level of cushioning.

As a foam insert or set of packaging end caps, Stratocell is ideal for protecting products from the shock that occurs during transportation and handling. It provides excellent shock absorption yet is lightweight, allowing for maximum payload efficiency. It’s resistant to compression, making it useful for packaging fragile, expensive and sensitive products.

Benefits and qualities of Stratocell:

  • High tear strength and puncture resistance
  • Lightweight, non-abrasive
  • Water resistant 
  • Easy to work & shape
  • Available in a pink anti-static grade.
  • By using high-performance cushioning, you can reduce your packaging costs and provide first-class protection.
  • Cost effective repeat use packaging

Stratocell Application and uses

Stratocell foam is a lightweight material that can be used for many different packaging applications, including

  • Electrical appliances
  • Automotive parts 
  • Industrial equipment 
  • Construction equipment 
  • Household products or equipment



Polyurethane foam is a versatile material that can be used in a variety of applications. It is most commonly used in protective cases for delicate, lightweight objects, such as electronics and instruments and also for the aesthetic organisation of products. This type of foam is unique in that it provides excellent impact resistance and shock absorption while still being lightweight and flexible. It is also highly resistant to water and other liquids, making it ideal for protecting sensitive items. Additionally, it provides superior insulation, helping to prevent heat loss or gain. 


Benefits and qualities of Polyurethane:

  • Fire retardent options
  • Anti-static options
  • Lower cost
  • Lightweight – ideal packaging solution
  • Great protection and durability


So what’s the difference between Plastazote, Polyurethane, Ethafoam and Stratocell foam material?

All of the foam insert materials we offer are used to optimise the performance and the presentation of your packaging requirements. Plastazote is used for more protective presentation applications, whereas Stratocell and Ethafoam are commonly used as protective packaging inserts such as an end cap set. However, all of the foams we offer are strong and durable and are ideally suited for use as inserts for protective cases.

Using CNC routing and CAD (Computer-Aided-Create), Plastazote, Ethafoam, and Stratocell are incredibly versatile and available in a variety of densities as well as anti-static options. 

Plastazote is also available in a variety of colours to suit your branding and design, including black, white, grey, red, blue, yellow and green. Where as Ethafoam and Stratocell are only available in black, white and a pink anti-static option.

The versatility of these foam materials allows multiple design, shape and size options, making them perfect to transform into custom packaging protection and case inserts.

PottertonPacs offers one of the broadest ranges of foam or plastazote packaging inserts and packaging on the market, so we are confident that we will be able to provide a custom foam solution to suit your requirements.

To learn more about our foam cutting process and the types of custom foams we offer, please see the links below:


Foam cutting: Step by step process

A guide to custom cut foam