Why Is Bubble Paper a Good Insulator?

Hunker may earn compensation through affiliate links in this story. Learn more about our affiliate and product review process here.
Image Credit: Douglas Sacha/Moment/GettyImages

Bubble paper, bubble wrap, blister pack, and Reflectix are a few names for a product with such great versatility and cheap reuse. The versatility ranges from packing material to insulation. It is lightweight while still giving great insulating properties, and the best part is that it does this without all the itchy stuff inherent in other types of insulation.



The multiuse of bubble paper makes it not only a 4.2 R-value insulator but also a great staple to keep around the home for some little DIY projects or even for stress relief.

Versatility of Bubble Wrap

If nothing else, bubble paper is great entertainment for all ages. Popping two sheets gives the popper a higher level of calmness, so in a way, it can be an insulator from stress. It can also be used to pack boxes for shipping or when moving to protect your belongings from breakage.


Video of the Day

Another use for this great product is in your car. Some sun shield manufacturers use a form of bubble paper with a barrier that reflects the sun's rays away from your vehicle's dashboard. You can easily make your own with some simple DIY skills.

However, its use as a building product is what is most valuable. It can help save money on energy consumption and various functions within the building industry. It can be cut into strips and wrapped around piping to insulate them from sweating or freezing.


HVAC Duct Wrap

Many HVAC ductwork installers use bubble wrap that is more formally known as Reflectix. The base thickness of this insulation air with a double reflective backing is about 3/8 inch and has an R value of 4.2 and up to 6.0 with proper installation. The R value is one that measures how well a two-dimensional barrier resists the conductive flow of heat. The higher the R value, the better the insulation.


Radiant Floor Heat Barrier

A great way to heat a home is with radiant heat. This heat is typically in the floor and gives the home a warmer feeling. After the radiant heat is installed, an insulation company may use a bubble-paper-type product like Reflectix to serve as insulation from the elements as well as a means to reflect the heat back toward the floor. This type of product has a reflective barrier on both sides of what looks like bubble paper similar to that used for packing material, and it has R values as high as R-21 with proper installation.


Insulation Air and Low R Value Windows

One way that many people use bubble paper is for odd-shaped windows. For instance, older homes, RVs, and mobile homes may have a low R value or odd-shaped windows. Insulating bubble wrap can provide nice insulation against either extreme heat in the summer or low temperatures in the winter. This little bit of insulation can create comfort from the elements and can save energy.



There are other alternatives to insulating windows that will maintain the home's open feel while still giving a good energy-efficient insulation air gap. Although these products allow great views through the window, the lack of reuse may be a problem.

Reuse of Bubble Paper

One of the pros of bubble paper is its ability to be repurposed and reused. As long as you can contain yourself and others from popping it and you can keep it in good shape, then it can be reused. If you get a package in the mail that uses bubble paper and you need to insulate a window, this would be a fantastic way for a cheap reuse (and vice versa). Protecting fragile items for transport is another reuse. If you find yourself without a cooler after a quick last-minute grocery store run, the bubble wrap used for your windshield can also serve as an insulator for frozen foods on the trip home.


If the weather forecast calls for an overnight frost, you can protect your plants by wrapping them with bubble wrap. Another handy use is as a knee pad while checking your tire pressure or maybe to line your toolbox and keep your tools from rattling around. No matter what you call it or how you use it, bubble paper is quite the versatile product.




Report an Issue

screenshot of the current page

Screenshot loading...