Choosing the right packing / shipping tape for boxes

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There are several key considerations in choosing a packing / shipping tape for your packages; adhesive, width, thickness, and color.  This guide will help you to choose the proper packaging tape so that your packages are protected and arrive safely to your customer.

Adhesive - If you are shipping boxes then you should select a tape with a hot melt adhesive because it has high initial tack and superior holding power. Boxes in transit are typically subjected to rough handling, so you need a tape that will not delaminate from the package.  You can be sure that your boxes will stay sealed when you use hot-melt adhesive packaging tapes. Hot-melt adhesive packaging tapes are also a great solution when you need to strap boxes together.  Please note that the term "hot-melt" does not mean you need to apply heat in order to use this tape. 

When you need to store items in boxes,  it is best to use packaging tape with acrylic adhesive. You can use acrylic adhesive in storage areas with a range of temperatures and conditions. Packaging tapes with acrylic adhesives can keep boxes sealed for several years.

Width - Typical widths for packing tapes are 2" (48 mm) and 3" (72 mm).  For lightweight, small - medium sized boxes a 2" tape is usually adequate.  If you have a large box, then a 3" tape will provide better adhesion and security.  The majority of shipping applications utilize 2" tape.

Thickness - The thickness of a packaging tape is measured in "mils" or thousandths of an inch.  Most packaging tapes are between 1.6 mils and 3.0 mils total or 0.0016" - 0.0003".  For light weight packages (approx. 10 lbs and under) a 1.6 mil tape is adequate.  For 10 - 20 lb packages, use a 1.9 mil tape.  For anything over 20 lbs, use a 3.0 mil tape.

Color - Packaging tapes are made in almost any color, but the most popular tape is clear.  Clear tape is also the most economical.

Packaging tapes are typically sold by the case.  There are 36 rolls in a case for 2" tape and 24 roll per case for 3".  Cutting Edge also sells packing tape in smaller quantities of 6 roll, 12 roll packages.  However, your best pricing is available on full case quantities. 

When purchasing packaging tape you must pay very close attention to the roll lengths.  Most tapes designed for hand held dispensers come in roll lengths of 50 Meters (55 yards) or 100 Meters (110 yards).  Also, brand name tapes, such as 3M and Intertape, are stronger and provide better adhesion than generic tapes or imports.  3M Scotch tape is the best selling packing tape in the world because the quality is second to none.

Links to some popular tapes on eBay:

3M #369, 2", 1.6 mil clear tape, 6 rolls

3M #371, 2", 1.9 mil clear tape, 6 rolls

Intertape #1100, 2", 3.0 mil clear tape, 6 rolls


If you have questions, please contact us through eBay and we will be glad to help you determine the right tape for your application.



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