Which Packing Tape Should You Use?

Which Packing Tape Should You Use?

Pick the right packing tape for your package

It feels like there are so many packing tapes to choose from when it comes time to seal your package! I completely understand and I'm here to help you break your options down.

There are two main choices: Acrylic Packing Tape and WAT Paper Packing Tape. These can both go by many names, so get familiar with WAT Paper Packing Tape and Acrylic Packing Tape in these two blogs.

Here are the top packages used for shipping and which tape you should consider

Cardboard Box

These are single layered, thin, light-weight, fiber pulp constructed boxes more likely used to hold a product than used for mailing. A more common use for a cardboard box would be gift boxes that might have an ornament or something light-weight inside. 

  • Acrylic Packing Tape - YES
  • Paper Packing Tape - YES

    Corrugated Box

    The most widely used boxes for shipping are corrugated boxes due to their durability during shipping. Corrugated boxes have a lightly textured paper fiber surface allowing any tape to bond for a secure seal.
    • Acrylic Packing Tape - YES
    • Paper Packing Tape - YES

      Glossy Corrugated Box

      Semi-gloss or glossy boxes have an additional layer applied over the cardboard surface and are offered in a variety of colors or patterns. These absolutely make a package standout from all the rest, but only acrylic tapes can be used! Water-activated paper tapes rely on the tapes adhesive to penetrate through the fibers of the cardboard to create the strong bond. The glossy surface of these boxes doesn't allow for this bond. 

      • Acrylic Packing Tape - YES
      • Paper Packing Tape - NO, water-activated adhesives require a fibrous surface

        Recycled Corrugated Box

        Corrugated boxes made from recycled materials are often more fibrous than their counterparts. This creates a bonding issue for acrylic tapes that require a clean surface for proper sealing. Water-activated paper tapes have a huge advantage here because they can bond with dusty, dirty, and fibrous surfaces.

        • Acrylic Packing Tape - NO, excessive paper fibers don't allow the adhesive to bond
        • Paper Packing Tape - YES


          These do have a fold over, self-sealing flap to contain its contents, but this is also the weakest part of the package. Adding acrylic tape over the top and sides of the flap will provide additional support during shipping. The other advantage of poly-mailers is your ability to make them smaller by folding over the top to create a tight wrap around the item. This creates an easy opportunity for thieves to slip their hand through the open sides and right into the top opening. With the same thought this also creates an opportunity for your product to accidentally fall out due to the open top and gaping sides. To ensure this never happens to you, apply acrylic tape on each of the open sides. This practice also eliminates the chance of the package catching during shipping and ripping open. 

          • Acrylic Packing Tape - YES
          • Paper Packing Tape - NO, water-activated adhesives require a fibrous surface


            The same issues that businesses face with poly-mailers can also be found with bubble-mailers. Bubble-mailers have a weak top, gaping due to folded over sides, and catch hazards from being folded over. Adding acrylic tape at the top or sides will increase the chance that your package will make it to its intended destination!  

            • Acrylic tape - YES
            • Paper tape - NO, water-activated adhesives require a fibrous surface

              It's time to choose and start taping!

              The trend you'll notice throughout all these different package-to-tape options breaks down to two simple things to remember. Acrylic tapes can be used on non-fibrous or lightly fibrous surfaces and paper tapes can be used on any level of fibrous surfaces!

              Hot Pawz Decorative Packing Tape Which packing tape should you choose

              *Note about packaging: All packages are not created equally to handle all weights. Look for the box's burst rating, also known as edge-crush test (ECT). If this isn't available, determine if the box is cardboard, corrugated, double-walled corrugated, or triple-walled corrugated to understand if it can withstand the weight of the items you intend to ship. If you're using poly-mailers or bubble-mailers these also have ratings based on the thickness of the materials used to construct them.

              **Note about boxes: There is a big difference between cardboard boxes and corrugated boxes! This is easily overlooked when shopping for boxes, unfortunately this can cause you to waste money if you're not aware of the terms. For boxes the difference lies with their construction. This will determine if your box is guaranteed to fail when shipping heavy/bulky items. Cardboard boxes are made of paper stock or paper pulp in a single flat layer. Corrugated boxes have a flute (the wavy part inside) between 1 or more layers of cardboard. Cardboard boxes are flimsy, light-weight, and budget friendly, often only used for product packaging. Corrugated boxes have the internal integrity to hold heavier items, but are heavier themselves and more expensive. 

              YouTube: How To Choose The Right Packing Tape

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