How Strong Is Packing Tape?

Securing your items inside a package can be worrisome if you are unsure about the strength of the tape that you will be using. In this article, we will look into the strength of different types of packing tape and give you tips on which tape you should use for whatever purpose you may need.

Packing tapes vary in strength depending on their type. A good packaging tape that can withstand heavy packages should have at least a tensile strength of 20 pounds and higher. The tape's strength is also determined by the thickness of the tape (measured in mils) and its stickiness.

We know that there is more information to dive into about packing tapes. This is why we will be elaborating more about the different types of tape in this post! Keep reading this article because we will also talk about the best tape to use, as well as maximizing the qualities of your packing tape.

Close up of a guy's hands holding packing machine and sealing cardboard boxes with duct tape - How Strong Is Packing Tape

Types of Packing Tape [And Their Strengths]

A heap of packing tape and a masking tape on an orange background.

There are many different kinds of tape available on the market, and you might commonly see them as shipping tape and packing tape. While both types are used for boxes, packing tape is more favored over the other because of its strength and durability.

Unfortunately, some people may mix up shipping tape and packing tape because both are sometimes labeled under 'packaging tape.' If you are looking for packing tape to use for storage purposes, make sure to look for a label that states that the tape is used for moving or storing boxes.

When picking a packing tape to use, make sure to look for tape that is strong, sticky, and reliable. Good adhesion will help keep your boxes very secure, and a strong tape will ensure that it won't tear when the boxes get filled with things.

You might also notice that your packing tape will have a label describing its thickness. Tape thickness is measured in mils, or in layman's terms, a thousandth of an inch. When choosing your tape, keep in mind that thicker mils will work better for heavier loads but it will definitely be harder to cut.

A good packing tape should also seal your boxes well even in different conditions. Quality packing tapes tend to last for years at a time without losing adhesion and strength after some time. Here are some packing tapes that you can use for different occasions.

Packing Tape/Packaging Tape

Packing tape or packaging tape is pressure-sensitive tape that is typically used for sealing boxes or packages. These tapes are pretty wide and you will typically see them being used on corrugated boxes because it instantly bonds even with very little pressure.

There are different kinds of packing tape like acrylic tape and paper packing tape. Both tapes are equally strong, but they have different uses.

Acrylic Tape

Acrylic tapes have high clarity, have excellent UV resistance, and can work well in extreme temperatures. These tapes are very affordable and versatile, making them a prime choice for many users whether they need them for shipping or storing their boxes.

A strong acrylic tape is typically about 2.6 mils thick and it usually has high tensile strength. These acrylic tapes are also quite sticky, as they are meant to withstand adhesion even in extreme environments.

Check out this heavy-duty packing tape on Amazon.

Paper Packing Tape

Paper packing tapes are generally just as good as acrylic tapes, but they do have a lot of differences. For one, paper tapes can be torn by hand quite easily. But they also have their benefits. Paper tapes can be printed on and they are fully recyclable.

However, paper tapes aren't as strong as acrylic tape because they can break due to the blunt trauma that packages experience during a move. Paper packing tapes can be less than 2 mils thick and they work best with light boxes (under 30 pounds). These cannot be used for storage because of adhesion loss.

See this paper packing tape on Amazon.

Transparent Office Tape

Transparent office tape or what we commonly call "Scotch tape" is one of the most commonly used tapes in the world. It is a transparent, lightly sticky tape that is usually used for office and craft use like gift wrapping, envelope sealing, or basic labeling.

This tape is not suitable for packaging because of its poor adhesion and the tape's lack of width. They usually go only up to 3/4 inches, so the width alone will make sealing boxes a lot harder. However, you can use this tape for packing fragile items to tape on tissue paper or bubble wrap.

Check out these Scotch tape rolls on Amazon.

Masking Tape

Masking tape is a tape that is made with a paper backing and a moderately less sticky adhesive. Generally used to protect surfaces during painting, masking tape will not do well for storing and shipping boxes.

However, you can use it to tape paper wrappers for fragile items during packing. This tape also does well as a labeling tape that you can put on your boxes during a move.

Get this making tape on Amazon.

Strapping Tape

Strapping tape or filament tape has fiberglass strands that are designed to give support to your packages, bundles, and pallets that can be jostled during transport. This tape stands well against the hot and cold temperatures that your packages may experience during transit.

This tape comes in a variety of grades to determine the weight it can hold. General-purpose strapping tape can hold about 100 pounds and heavy-duty strapping tapes can hold items up to 380 pounds.

Check out this strapping tape on Amazon.

What Are The Sizes of Packing Tape?

Packing tape comes in many different sizes. However, most packing tapes come in widths of about 2 or 3 inches. These sizes are generally used for packing boxes without having to use multiple layers.

If you are packing a box that is about 15 inches wide or less, a 2-inch wide packing tape should be good enough to seal the box. Bigger boxes that measure about 16 inches wide, or if they are overstuffed or underfilled should use a 3-inch wide packing tape.

How Long Do Packing Tapes Last?

Young woman sealing a box with tape. Preparing for moving. Packing, selling online, shipping, moving and lifestyle concept

Unused packing tape generally lasts for 12 months or more, as long as it is properly stored. This means that the packing tapes should be kept in their packaging in a cool, dry area between 40 to 80°F. The relative humidity of the storage should be about 40-50% to prevent the adhesive from weakening.

Packing tapes that are already used for storage last much longer. Depending on the brand and quality of your packing tapes, they can last anywhere from 5 to 10 years, depending on the storage temperature and humidity.

Is Packing Tape Waterproof?

Standard packing tape is not waterproof. However, it is water-resistant and it can withstand getting a little wet if the conditions are not favorable. Packing tape should not be exposed to water because it will tend to lose adhesion and it will weaken its hold.

If you are looking to use packing tape to make your parcel waterproof, it would be best to wrap the package in a few layers of plastic before securing it with packing tape. It will not ensure complete waterproofing, but it will protect your package from getting extremely wet.

How Do You Remove Tape Residue From Packing Tape?

packing tape and wine glass on top of a table

One of the problems you might face after unpacking and moving is the excess residue from all that tape that was used. Here are some tips on how you can remove tape residue from your items:

  • Use a hairdryer to melt and loosen the adhesive. This is a good way to remove adhesive from fragile items like wood and other porous materials.
  • Soak a rag in warm, soapy water and allow it to soak the area completely for up to 15 minutes. Slowly rub the rag back and forth until the adhesive loosens.
  • Remove as much tape as you can by scraping it well and using an adhesive remover to further remove the residue.

Get this adhesive remover on Amazon.

Final Thoughts

Close up of a guy's hands holding packing machine and sealing cardboard boxes with duct tape

Storing items in boxes will require you to use lots and lots of packing tapes to secure them. Fortunately, these tapes are meant to last for a very long time, so make sure to look for good quality packing tapes to ensure that everything will be well-kept and secure.

Are you looking for other storage ideas? We've got a couple of articles that you might find interesting:

Types Of Storage Bins, Boxes, And Containers [20 Versatile Options!]

What To Do With Old Storage Bins [15 Exceptional Ideas!]