Packing may seem straightforward, but in reality, it’s anything but. The tape you use for packaging requires a lot of consideration since it’s an important packaging component that protects and reinforces your packages. 

Here’s what you need to know about the different types of packing tape available and how to choose the right type for your packaging and contents: 

The Basics of Packaging Tape

Before we dive into packaging tape, it’s a good idea to first go over some basic terms and concepts since the odds are you’re not exactly a tape expert. 

The good news is that we here at Box Genie are tape and packaging experts — and we are here to help you.

  • Tensile strength: How much force is required to get a tape to break — measured in pounds
  • Backing material: What the tape adhesive is applied to — common backing materials include vinyl, cloth, and polypropylene 
  • Elongation: How far a tape can stretch before it breaks — measured in a percentage of stretch ranging from 0 to 100%
  • Core size: How long the diameter is of the inside roll of a tape
  • Length: How long the tape is on a roll — measured in meters, yards, or feet
  • Width: How wide the tape is on a roll — measured in millimeters or inches
  • Thickness: How thick the tape is — measured in milli-inches or mils, which is equal to one-thousandth of an inch

Different Types of Packaging Tape to Consider

It’s time to take these terms and apply them to different types of packaging tape so that you can learn about the different options available: 

  • Carton-sealing tape: The most popular type of packaging type available, carton-sealing tape can be used for just about anything — from sealing boxes to grouping packed boxes together. If you have basic packaging and shipping needs, this will likely be your best option. 
  • Cold temperature tape: This type of packaging tape is ideal for cold temperatures and wet weather conditions. This is because the adhesive on carton-sealing tape can be affected by low temperatures and high moisture levels, rendering it ineffective. 
  • Water-activated tape: This type of packaging tape provides an extra level of security to packages. This is because the adhesive on this tape is only activated once it’s wet and creates a strong bond with the corrugated cardboard once it’s dry. This bond is so strong that it cannot be removed without damaging the tape — making it a tamper-evident and theft-deterrent option. 
  • Custom-printed tape: This type of tape can be used to help your brand stand out from the boring and plain packages of your competitors. You can easily add your brand name, colors, font, logo, etc., to custom-printed tape. 
  • Strapping tape: This type of tape is particularly strong thanks to reinforcing glass filaments that are able to add more strength and sealing power. So if your basic carton-sealing tape doesn’t work and you don’t want to deal with the extra steps that come with water-activated tape, you might want to consider strapping tape. 

How to Choose the Right Type of Packaging Tape

There are many different factors to consider when choosing your packaging tape. Here are some different considerations to keep in mind and help you make an informed decision: 

1. Consider the Weight of the Package

The heavier your package is, the stronger the tape needs to be. 

  • For packages weighing less than 15 pounds, Scotch 371 packing tape or Tartan 302 packing tape is recommended. 
  • For packages from 15 to 40 pounds, Scotch 372 packing tape is recommended. 
  • For packages over 40 pounds, Scotch packing tape is recommended. 

2. Consider the Stability of the Package Contents

If the contents of your package are constantly shifting around, this will cause more stress on the tape — necessitating a stronger and wider option.

  • For a stable package with no shifting, Scotch 371 packing tape is recommended. 
  • For a normal package with minimal shifting, Scotch 372 packing tape is recommended. 
  • For an unstable package with excessive shifting, Scotch 372 packing tape is recommended. 

3. Consider the Value of the Package Contents

The more expensive the contents of your package are, the more secure and strong your tape needs to be to protect from damage and theft

  • For inexpensive contents, Scotch 371 packing tape is recommended. 
  • For moderately expensive contents, Scotch 372 packing tape is recommended. 
  • For expensive contents, Scotch 375 packing tape is recommended. 

4. Consider the Length and Width of the Package

Long packages with heavy contents require wider and stronger tapes. 

  • If the length of the package is less than 30 inches, Scotch 372 tape is recommended. 
  • If the length of the package is greater than 30 inches, Scotch 375 packing tape is recommended. 

Wide packages with heavy contents and sharp edges require wider and stronger tapes. 

  • If the width of the package is less than 22 inches, Scotch 371 or 372 packing tape is recommended. 
  • If the width of the package is greater than 22 inches, Scotch 375 packing tape is recommended. 

5. Consider the Strength of the Package

Stronger packages put more pressure on the tape seal — necessitating thicker and stronger tape. Box strength is commonly measured in an edge crush test and is measured in ECT based on how much weight a corrugated board can withstand per square inch before crushing. 

  • Packages with an ECT under 32 should use Scotch 371 packing tape. 
  • Packages with an ECT slightly over 32 should use Scotch 372 packing tape. 
  • Packages with an ECT well over 32 should use Scotch 372 packing tape. 

6. Consider the Shipping Method

Different packing tapes are ideal for different shipping methods based on temperatures, pressure, sunlight, and moisture. 

  • For import or export shipping, Scotch 375 packing tape is recommended. 
  • For palletized load shipping, Scotch 371 packing tape is recommended. 
  • For palletized, then individualized shipping, Scotch 371 packing tape is recommended. 
  • For individual packages, Scotch 373 packing tape is recommended. 

How to Properly Use Tape to Assemble Your Packages

After choosing the right tape, you’ll need to learn how to use this tape to assemble your packages

  1. You should work with a tape dispenser for starters to make the entire sealing process easier and more efficient. 
  2. From there, you need to assemble the box. For the open ends of the box, take your tape dispenser and mark an “H” on that side by placing the tape along the open edges. Make sure that you leave an overhang of tape of about a few inches. 
  3. If you have a particularly heavy or fragile package, you may want to use tape to reinforce the package further. 
  4. Place tape on all of the corners to add extra protection. 
  5. Add another layer of tape to the edges to reinforce those flaps. 
  6. Then, add appropriate labels and guidance to the package like “FRAGILE,” DO NOT BEND,” or “THIS SIDE UP.” 

Wrap Up on Packaging Tape

For more information on packaging components and methods, check out our blog. If you have any specific questions, feel free to reach out to Box Genie today for personalized packaging guidance. 

 

Sources:

  1. 6 Ways To Make Your Packaging Stand Out | Business Partner Magazine
  2. How to Keep Packages From Being Stolen | Consumer Reports
  3. How to Pack | FedEx

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