Choosing the right packaging tape

***Updated 9-1-18***

What’s the right packaging tape to use?

There’s numerous factors into choosing the right packaging tape for each application. Luckily we’re here to help out with some helpful packaging tape insights. Those factors include: environment, tape grade, adhesion surface, and of course quality. Let’s take a look at each first, and then compare hot melt packaging tape and acrylic packaging tape.

choosing the right tape

Environment – Be sure to pay attention to your shipping/receiving environment closely when choosing the right packaging tape. Factors include, temperature, humidity, and how long tape will be in those environments. Neglecting the environmental factors when choosing tape can lead to poorly sealed boxes and even product damage.

Tape grade – As you probably know, there’s a wide variety of packaging tape grades. Each type of tapes has multiple levels of grades depending on the levels of thickness and adhesive type. These grades relate to tensile strength, of the resistance of a material to breaking under tension. Keeping it simple – lower grades work best for light weight box sealing, and higher grades work for the heavy duty applications.

Adhesion Surface – Recycled boxes are commonly used by manufacturers and those boxes should be sealed with water activated tape. The recycled materials can affect a tape’s ability to be applied to the surface. Certain box types require the correct tape.

Quality – The quality of the packaging tape matters when it comes to your packaging performance. Using a higher quality tape will result in less product damage, ensuring your product gets to its final destination. Using a lower quality tape increases the risk of damage and hurts your overall output.

Hot Melt Packing Tape

Hot melt packaging tape has a higher adhesive character, making it ideal boxes with high amounts of recycled content.Hot melt tapes exhibit significantly better adhesive properties when compared to an acrylic packaging tape. They possess superior holding power and tensile strength with a quick tack. A hot melt tape is ideal for applications involving machine applied tapes, overstuffed boxes, or those with a high degree of recycled content. They perform well in temperatures ranging from 45*F to 120*F.

  • Can be purchased in both hand-grade rolls and machine-grade rolls
  • Provides easy unwind, as well as consistent and reliable seals
  • Higher level of flexibility allows for better performance under constant strain or stress
  • Available in clear, tan, and colored rolls; sold in “by the case” quantities
  • Ideal examples of usage: shipping, short-term storage, box/carton sealing, boxes/cartons with high recycled content
hot melt packaging tape

Acrylic Packaging Tape

Acrylic packaging tape is ideal for long-term storage because it resists yellowing because of oxidation.Acrylic packaging tapes, on the other hand, offer a wider temperature range than that of the hot melt tapes, ranging from 32*F to 140*F. An acrylic tape is ideal for applications that involve low and/or high humidity conditions, as well as long term storage. Acrylic tapes also have a stronger resistance to oxidation, allowing it to to be uninfluenced by exposure to sunlight, meaning it won’t yellow like hot melt packaging tape does.

  • Can be purchased in both hand-grade rolls and machine-grade rolls
  • Often considered more of an “economy grade” packaging tape
  • Available in clear, tan, and colored rolls; sold in “by the case” quantities
  • Examples of usage: Long-term storage in varying temperatures, lightweight carton sealing/carton closing
acrylic packaging tape

Comparison Summary

  • Hot melt tapes offer exceptional adhesion strength, flexibility, and performs well in varying applications.
  • Acrylic tapes are ideal for packaging applications involving extreme temperatures, such as refrigeration, and for sealing boxes that will be warehoused over a long period of time.
  • Hot melt tapes can yellow with age, whereas an acrylic tape is less likely to yellow over time.
  • Machine grade hot melt tapes generally perform more reliably than machine grade acrylic tapes.
  • Both acrylic packaging tape and hot melt carton sealing tapes are comparable in price, offering both premium and economical grades.

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