When getting ready to move, it’s vital to choose the best tape for packing moving boxes. By not choosing the best tape for your moving boxes, you leave your items vulnerable. The use of the wrong tape can cause boxes to collapse or unfold during moving. To avoid this, make sure to do your research into the different types of tape to find the best fit for you. If you plan to have a standard move, you’ll likely use clear packing tape, but there are plenty of other options to choose from. Properly packing your moving boxes can also influence the effectiveness of your packing tape. The following are the different types of tape you will likely run into when deciding the best tape for packing your moving boxes.
Before exploring the different types of tape, there are a few factors to keep in mind.
Packing Tape Factors:
Width – In general, you will want a tape with a width of 2-3 inches. The wider tape is stronger and will be able to hold more weight. Thin tape may come in handy for combining items inside of the boxes or for labeling boxes.
Adhesive – When moving, you will want a tape with strong adhesive. This usually means choosing a tape with hot melt adhesive or acrylic adhesive. Weaker adhesives, like scotch tape, will not adhere to cardboard boxes.
Temperature – Keep in mind the temperatures your boxes (and packing tape) will endure. If you are using storage, they may experience various temperatures over a long length of time. You should also think about the temperature during your move. If you are moving on a hot day, you’ll want a tape that can withstand heat without losing its adhesion.
Shipping tape is likely the tape that comes to mind when thinking of tape for boxes. It is the thin, clear tape that makes the loud ripping noise when you pull it out of the roll. Shipping tape uses a hot melt adhesive, which should hold your boxes together during any short-term move. To make packing boxes easier, purchase a handheld tape dispenser, or tape gun, for easy packing. Most shipping tape is between 2-3”, which is the ideal width for packing tape.
Storage tape is similar to shipping tape in look and size. The difference between the two packing tapes is the length of adhesion. Storage tape is made with acrylic adhesive, which is designed to be more long-lasting for boxes that will be in storage. This tape should last up to 10 years and adhere in all temperatures and humidity. If you plan to put your boxes in a storage unit, this will be the ideal tape to use.
Brown paper packing tape is a popular tape for packing boxes. Because it does not have a waterproof backing, the tape is easy to use and tear. However, the lack of backing leaves the tape vulnerable to moisture and tears during moving. This tape works well for lightweight boxes, but you will want to opt for stronger packing tape for the majority of your moving boxes.
If you will be packing very heavy items, you may want to look into getting filament packing tape. Unlike standard packing tape, filament packing tape is categorized by the weight it holds. The packing tape is lined with fiberglass strips that add support to help strengthen your boxes. Filament packing tape generally ranges in weight support from 100 to almost 400 pounds.
Gummed paper tape has a similar look to brown paper packing tape. You’ve likely seen this tape used on boxes you receive from retailers when you order online. When activated by water, this tape creates a strong adhesion to your boxes. This is perfect for heavy boxes, as the tape holds up very well against weight. Unless you will be moving a very far distance or packing heavy boxes, this packing tape is not advised. Activating the tape is a huge hassle, and the reinforced lines that go through the tape will make unpacking boxes more difficult.
The Worst Tape for Packing
Masking tape is a thin, easily breakable tape. It is not advised to use masking tape, as it does not have a strong adhesive and will not be able to hold your boxes together. Instead, use masking tape to wrap items in bubble wrap or packing paper. It can also be used to label items and boxes, as it comes off easily without leaving any residue.
While duct tape works for just about everything, it is not advised as a packing tape alternative. Unlike standard shipping tape, duct tape uses a rubber adhesive. This adhesive leaves a sticky residue and makes unpacking boxes a nightmare. Duct tape generally doesn’t adhere well to cardboard and can be very expensive compared to other packing tapes. You can use it for labeling boxes, but otherwise, look elsewhere for packing tape.
Washi tape is not a viable option for packing boxes. Since it is craft tape, washi tape does not have the adhesive quality, nor the width to seal your moving boxes. That being said, it can be a cheap and easy tool for organizing boxes. Choose a few different washi tapes and designate them to different rooms. Use the tape on the outside of your moving boxes to label the boxes based on which rooms they belong to.
Electrical Tape/Insulation Tape
While electrical tape is not strong enough to seal moving boxes, it is a great tool for grouping cords, wires, and chargers together. The tape can easily be removed and reused to combine different groupings of items. Different colors of electrical tape can also be used to color-code your moving boxes.
Because it is one of the weaker adhesive tapes, scotch tape is not advised for packing boxes. Instead, you should use it to attach cords to their electronics or to secure bubble wrap and packing paper.
Now that you know the different tape for packing boxes, you should be able to make a decision on the best moving tape for you. All situations are different, so keep in mind what is right for your specific move. Think about things like the length of time your items will be in boxes, the temperatures they will endure, and how heavy your boxes will be. From there, you can determine the best packaging tape for your needs. For more tips on moving and storage, sign up for our monthly newsletter.