What is the difference between clamshell and blister packaging?
The biggest difference between clamshell packaging and blister packaging (or blister packs) is that clamshell packaging typically features a front and back side of plastic that are hinged together while blister packaging typically features only one piece of clear plastic that is adhered onto a blister card, affixed within a two-sided card (trapped blister) or slid onto a card as shown below.
Both clamshell and blister packaging are often specified due to the advantages that clear plastic packaging has over many other forms of packaging. Read more about the advantages of clear plastic packaging.
Blister packaging is typically limited to hanging on a wall or in some type of display. Clamshells can often be designed to be hung, set on a shelf, or placed in a display.
Product Size & Weight
Generally speaking, blister packaging is limited to lighter weight products although “trapped blisters” can typically accommodate heavier items. Clamshell packaging can typically be used to package all but extremely heavy items.
Blisters are typically cheaper than clamshells as they have siginificantly less material, but one must also factor in the material costs of the card, minimum orders, and the labor and equipment required to seal blister packs when evaluating the overall costs.
Design & Mold Cost
Generally speaking, the costs to design and make tooling for blister packaging is typically less expensive than it is for clamshell packaging, but VisiPak also has an extensive line of stock clamshells that require no tooling or design charges.
While both blister packaging and clamshell packaging require a person, automated system or robot to place the product into the package, the differences between sealing clamshell packaging and blister packs can be significant. In general, clamshell sealing can be manual or automated while blister sealing almost always requires equipment.
Both types of packaging typically use cards or labels instead of direct printing on the package so they are very similar.
Accessibility & Security
Clamshells tend to be very flexible. Most of our standard clamshells are designed with friction fit, rail or button seal functionality, but can also be heat sealed for a more permanent solution using automated equipment or hand held clamshell sealers.
Blister packaging tends to be the least flexible option when it comes to accessibility. With the exception of slide blisters, most blister packs feature a plastic cavity sealed to a card. The only real option one has for allowing some touch would be punch a hole in the card.