Choose The Right Packing Tape | A How-To Guide
Covid 19 Status: Fully operational and despatching as normal.

How To Choose The Right Packing Tape

By Samantha Bould-Newton  |  2 June 2020  |   6 minute read.
Packing Tape

Buying packing tape and parcel tape isn’t as simple as you first think which can make picking the right tape for your business a bit of a sticky situation. We know this because it’s a challenge that many of our customers have asked for help with before, so we’ve written this guide to help.

This guide explains which tape is best suited to a variety of uses, surfaces and environments to help you cut through the wide range of choice to the packing tape that’s best suited to your needs. Just read our guide to buying packing tapes below and you’ll be able to make an expert decision.

At A Glance

Type Surfaces It Sticks ToChoose When
EconomyVirgin paper and polythene.You need an entry level tape to seal lightweight packages.
3MRecycled board, polythene – most packaging surfaces.You want a premium packing tape that will cater for light-medium weight sealing duties.
VibacRecycled board, polythene – most packaging surfaces.You need a high-quality, cost-effective taping solution that is suitable for use in cold and damp environments.
TesaMost packaging surfaces – such as corrugated and smooth cardboard and polythene.You want great quality tape from a range that varies from light to heavy duty use.
PaperA wide range of packaging surfaces.You want an eco-friendly alternative to polypropylene tape that does not compromise on quality.
PrintedMost packaging surfaces.You want to ensure your fragile items are handled appropriately during transit.
E-TapeMost packaging surfaces.You run a large scale operation that requires long-roll reliable tape for a range of taping duties. 
ReinforcedSticks to most surfaces.You need to secure heavy packages or create long lasting repairs and seals.

Economy Packing Tape

If you need your tape to stick to polythene or virgin paper (non-recycled) on light packages, there’s no harm in saving money by choosing an Economy Packing Tape or unbranded tape. Do be clear though, this tape is entry level – low density polypropylene film with acrylic adhesive – it will not stick well to recycled board and should only be used where the conditions are dry and consistently room temperature. We’re confident our range of basic tapes do the job they’re designed to do, but expect nothing more.

Economy Packing Tape

Top tip: Keep an eye on your usage levels. You may find you’re wrapping parcels with two or three times more tape just to feel confident they will stay stuck! If so, upgrading to a branded tape might be more economical.

3M Packing Tape

3M Packing Tape

3M is a brand synonymous with quality, so if you are looking for a high-quality packing tape that won’t let you down, then look no further than 3M Tape. Perfect for everyday use for taping light to medium weight boxes, our 3M tapes bond to a variety of packaging surfaces, including recycled board and polythene. With 3 types of 3M tape to choose from, we are confident you will find one perfect for your needs.

  • 3M 369 – this tape features a hotmelt adhesive that is water resistant and can be used in cold and damp environments. 
  • 3M 371 – this tape has a hotmelt rubber resin adhesive that will stick to any surface in any conditions.
  • 3M 309 – a tape that features a low noise polypropylene adhesive that sticks to almost any surface in cold and damp conditions.

Vibac Packing Tape

Another high-quality, reliable packing tape brand is Vibac. Much like 3M tapes, our Vibac tapes are of excellent quality, meaning you often use less tape per parcel than with economy tapes; ultimately making them the more cost-effective option. 
Perfect for everyday use within offices and warehouses of all sizes, sealing light to medium weight parcels, Vibac tape has a polypropylene hotmelt adhesive that sticks to a large range of packaging surfaces including paper, cardboard and polythene. Suitable for cold and damp environments, Vibac tape is a reliable, high quality choice that won’t break the bank.

Vibac Packing Tape

Tesa Packing Tape

Tesa Packing Tape

Tesa Tape is another example of a high-quality brand that provides reliable packing tape for a range of uses. There are five different types of Tesa tape available to you, each one suitable for different tasks, surfaces and environments. 

  • Tesa 4280 & Tesa 4089 – if you’re looking for a tape that is ideal for light to medium weight carton sealing duties, then the 4280 and 4089 are perfect. Featuring a hotmelt rubber adhesive, these tapes stick well to a range of packaging surfaces and can be used within cold, damp environments.
  • Tesa 4120 – for sealing medium weight consignments, the Tesa 4120 tape will be better suited to you. Featuring a PVC backing and natural rubber adhesive, this tape offers a strong adhesion that works well on both corrugated and smooth cardboard as well as a range of other packaging surfaces. 
  • Tesa 4124 – to securely seal your heavier cartons and consignments, look no further than the Tesa 4124. Featuring a PVC backing and natural rubber adhesive, this tape is perfect for heavy duty sealing duties. Offering a strong adhesion to corrugated, smooth cardboard and a range of packaging surfaces, this tape is suitable for us in cold and damp environments.
  • Tesa Recycled – made from 100% recycled materials, the Tesa Recycled tape is a stepping stone towards a more eco-conscious operation. The solvent free and UV resistant adhesive offers longevity and superior adhesion to a wide range of packaging materials whilst the low-noise application makes it a great addition to your packing process.
Paper Tape

Paper Packing Tape

Paper Packing Tapes are a great eco-friendly alternative to traditional polypropylene tapes; offering a reliable seal without the environmental damage. It is important to note that there are two types of paper packing tape and each has its own benefits.

  • Self Adhesive Paper Packing Tape – a low-cost, plastic free parcel tape that has a solvent self-adhesive backing that works in the same way as traditional polypropylene tape but without the plastic. Ideal for light to medium duty sealing tasks, this easy-tear paper tape offers a strong adhesion to a wide range of packaging surfaces.
  • Water Activated Gummed Paper Tape – if you are looking for a stronger, more reliable, permanent seal, then gummed paper tape is the packing tape for you. Featuring a gummed seal, this tape must first be activated with water to create a strong, tamper-evident adhesion that is ideal for medium-heavy duty tasks. With a high resistance to humidity and temperature, this tape is suitable for use in difficult conditions and busy warehouses. The most eco-friendly of them all, gummed paper tape is plastic free, biodegradable and can be recycled alongside the cardboard box – no need to separate!

Printed Packing Tape

If you’re sending easily breakable items, have specific handling requirements or need your parcels to arrive urgently, then why not seal your consignments with Printed Packing Tape? We stock 4 different types of printed tape to suit your needs; ‘Fragile’, ‘Fragile’ low noise, ‘Urgent’ and ‘Knifeless Opening’ tape. All printed in a bold red and white, these tapes are the perfect addition to your packing operation. Tapes can also be printed bespoke with your message and graphics – contact us for more information. 

Printed Packing Tape

E Tape


For larger scale operations, long-run packing tape, commonly known as E-Tape is the ideal choice. The 150m long rolls make for less frequent changeovers and the hotmelt adhesive ensures a reliable seal every time. Suitable for use on cardboard and most packaging surfaces, this tape is perfect for securing orders and general every day usage. Stocked in 6 roll and 36 roll bulk packs, this tape will keep your despatch operation going at full force.

Reinforced Tape

For securing much heavier packages or for lasting repairs and seals, fibreglass and cloth tapes, or Reinforced Tapes, are recommended. Cloth tapes – aka duct tape – are made from cotton and polythene film with strong adhesive; they are incredibly tough, supple and waterproof. Use them to create airtight seals and to stick over contours and edges. Fibreglass tapes – are reinforced glass fibre, with high tensile strength and abrasion, moisture and scuff resistance, they’re ideal for strapping heavy duty cartons, repairing storage boxes and bundling large items together.

Reinforced Tape

Ask The Experts

We hope the above advice gives you all the help you need to choose the right type of packing tape for your needs. eCommerce despatch operations are our speciality so if you have any unanswered questions or require further assistance then please get in touch – we’ll be more than happy to help.

Join the conversation

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Need to speak to an expert?

Fill out the following information and one of our packaging experts will be in touch.