Galvanized vs. baling wire

How is galvanized wire different from baling wire? The two terms share a lot of overlap. Galvanized wire is any wire that has undergone the galvanization process. Baling wire is wire specifically designed for baling applications. Some baling wire is galvanized, but not all galvanized wire is suitable for baling.

What is baling wire?

Baling wire is made of iron or steel, and it is most commonly used by the recycling industry. It is known for its general workability, strength, and cost-efficiency. Its smooth surface helps it feed into automatic baling machines, and its longevity is sufficient for blazing recyclable materials for transportation and short-term storage.

During the manufacturing process, some baling wire is galvanized, annealed, or both to alter the wire’s mechanical and chemical properties, tailoring it to specific applications. For example, annealed wire is more ductile and stretchable than regular baler wire.

What is galvanized wire?

Galvanized wire has been coated in zinc. Galvanized wire’s primary benefit is improved resistance to corrosion and abrasion. It is used to bale recyclables that will be stored outside such as plastic, aluminum cans, and tires. The galvanization process can leave the wire more coarse, making it unsuitable for certain types of balers.

Some recycling and packaging applications don’t require long-term corrosion protection, making regular uncoated wire the more economical choice. For example, our double loop bale ties are available in a bright (raw) finish.

The galvanization process

Here is how we perform hot-dip galvanization:

  1. Surface preparation. The wire is cleaned to remove any impurities from the surface of the metal.
  2. Pickling. The wire is then immersed in an acid solution to remove any remaining oxides and scale, preparing the surface for galvanization by creating a clean substrate.
  3. Fluxing. The wire is then immersed in zinc ammonium chloride, which helps to prevent oxidation and promotes a uniform application of the zinc coating.
  4. Galvanizing bath. Next, the wire is dipped into a bath of molten zinc at a temperature of around 450°C (850°F).
  5. Alloy formation. While immersed in the molten zinc, a metallurgical reaction occurs between the iron in the wire and the zinc, resulting in the formation of a series of zinc-iron alloy layers.
  6. Withdrawal. The wire is then slowly withdrawn from the zinc bath to allow excess zinc to drain off and ensure the final product has an even coating.
  7. Quenching. The coated wire is then quenched in water or a quenching solution to cool it rapidly. This process solidifies the protective coating and completes the galvanizing process.

This multifaceted process creates a durable and corrosion-resistant coating that protects against the elements.

We offer Class 1 and Class 3 galvanization on our galvanized products. While Class 1 wire receives a basic zinc coat and is more cost-efficient in the short term, Class 3 galvanization features a zinc coat roughly three times thicker, effectively quadrupling the wire’s lifespan.

We sell both galvanized stem wire and galvanized bale ties.

Pros and cons of galvanized and uncoated baling wire

The best wire for the job depends primarily on environmental factors and the duration for which it will be used.

Pros and cons

Uncoated baling wire

Galvanized baling wire


Lower initial cost

Enhanced resistance to rust and corrosion

Suitable for indoor use

Extended lifespan

Feeds smoothly through vertical and horizontal balers

Ideal choice for outdoor use

Reduced maintenance costs


Prone to rust and corrosion, especially in outdoor environments

Higher initial cost

May require more frequent replacement

Potential for zinc poisoning if ingested or inhaled

Higher maintenance costs

Common uses for galvanized and uncoated baling wire

Regular, uncoated baling wire is most commonly used:

  • To bind recyclable materials and waste for transport and storage.
  • To bind materials that will be stored indoors.
  • To bind materials for shorter periods.

Galvanized wire is most commonly used:

  • To bale materials that will be stored outside.
  • To bale materials that are corrosive.
  • For fencing, construction or repairs.
  • As trellising and tree support on vineyards and orchards.

Is galvanized wire stronger?

Galvanized wire is typically more durable and abrasion-resistant than regular baling wire. In terms of tensile strength, galvanized wire can be stronger or slightly weaker depending on the galvanization process. For example, hot-dip galvanized wire tends to be stronger than uncoated wire. Conversely, some estimates claim baling wire loses roughly 10% of its tensile strength during galvanization. 

In addition to our regular galvanized stem wire, we also manufacture high-tensile galvanized wire which features a tensile strength of 145,000–175,000 psi and a load strength of 1640–1832 lbs, far exceeding the strength of regular baling wire.

Baling wire products we offer

Baling Wire Direct sells the following high-quality baling wire products.

Baling Wire FAQ

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