Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Tape – And More

 By Nicole Tinkham

When we say “tape”, what comes to mind first? It could be Scotch tape, or maybe you thought of shipping tape. No matter what your first thought was we bet you’d be surprised to know that there are numerous kinds of tape available. Let this post open your eyes to the wonderful world of tape as we discover each type beginning with common office tape.


Pictured: Scotch Magic Tape 6 Pack

We’re going to start off with office, or Scotch tape. This is the kind that sits in a dispenser on top of your desk or in a drawer and is typically used to hold paper documents together. When you’re in the market for tape, keep an eye out for value packs- they’ll save you money and sometimes they come with a free dispenser. Who doesn’t like FREE? You can either purchase office tape in plastic disposable dispensers or by the roll if you already have a dispenser. You may not have to think too hard when making a tape purchase but you do have a few options.

Invisible Tape: Invisible tape (or Scotch Magic Tape) disappears on contact. This is a very popular choice as it’s writable with a ballpoint pen. Also available in the Universal brand.

Transparent Tape: This is a clear tape with a glossy finish. One of the benefits of this tape is the long lasting holding power, making it great for label protection.

Greener Tape: This tape made by Scotch is available in both invisible and transparent types. Being made with 65% plant based or recycled materials, this is the greener choice.

Double Sided Tape: This tape is sticky on both sides making it ideal for presentation purposes. It serves as a quick no-mess alternative to glue for light-weight tasks.

Removable Tape: This tape is able to securely hold documents while providing the option to reposition the tape as many times as you want. Like invisible tape, removable tape can also be written on.

Pop-Up Tape and Dispenser: This takes taping to a whole new level of easy. The Pop-Up Tape is 2” pre-cut tape strips that are dispensed one at a time.


When choosing a size for office tape, look at the width of the roll. You have a few different options here: ½”, ¾”, and 1”. You will also notice a core measurement of either 1” or 3”. This indicates the size of the center of the roll. Pay attention to sizing as not all will work with your dispenser. Most dispensers have a 1” core and will take tape with up to a ¾” width.


Pictured: Scotch Sure Start Packaging Tape

Shipping (or packaging) tape is used for securing packages for delivery. It’s often confused with storage tape which is used to secure packages to be stored for long periods of time. The difference between the two lies in the adhesive. Shipping tape uses a hot melt adhesive which provides strong holding power. Like office tape, shipping tape comes either in disposable dispensers or rolls to put on a dispenser. Look for value packs as they are available as well. There are many types of shipping tape available, each with unique features to make your life easier.

Heavy Duty: This shipping tape is 20 times stronger than storage tape. Being split, burst, and moisture-resistant, this one is made for long-lasting performance.

Recycled: This commercial grade tape comes in a greener option made with over 50% recycled materials.

Commercial Grade: This tape provides superior performance and is able to secure heavy boxes in a wide range of environments.

Envelope/Package Sealing Tape Strips: These are pre-cut strips of tape (2” x 6”) used to seal envelopes and small packages conveniently.

Sure Start: Ever get your tape stuck to the roll and have an impossible time peeling it off? Well, Sure Start shipping tape prevents this from happening. It’s easy to start every time and it’s easy to unwind, ideal for quiet office settings.

Decorative: As mentioned in our Coolest Office Supply blog, Scotch tape has a line of decorative tape which includes designs like polka dots, leaves, and diamonds.  These allow you to express yourself while sealing boxes securely.

Tear by hand: No dispenser (or scissors) needed for these rolls! Simply tear with hands in a straight line. It may be easy to tear but don’t let that fool you,  its super strong adhesive seals boxes securely.

General Purpose: When heavy duty isn’t necessary, use the general purpose tape. It’s designed to seal lighter weight boxes.

Color Coding: These commercial grade tape rolls come in blue, green, red, and yellow which allow for color coding inventory.


There are 3 measurements to focus on when sizing shipping tape: width, core, and thickness. The width of the roll is almost always 1.88” across the board. The core, or center of the roll ranges from 1 ½” to 3” and the thickness of the tape itself is anywhere from 1.7 mil to 3.1 mil. Heavier duty tape will have a higher mil while lighter weight tape will have a lower mil. Pay attention to what size tape your dispenser takes before making your purchase.


Pictured: Scotch Moving & Storage Tape

Storage, or moving tape, is similar to shipping tape but is made with an acrylic adhesive making it ideal for storage purposes. This acrylic adhesive is UV-resistant and is designed to withstand a variety of temperature ranges. Scotch has two types of storage tape available: recycled and long lasting.

Long Lasting: This tape is great for long term storage and can withstand extreme temperatures.

Recycled: With the same qualities as long lasting storage tape, this is your greener option. It’s made from over 50% recycled materials.


You will notice the sizing for storage tape is very similar to that of shipping tape. Typical width runs 1.88” and with a core of 3”. The thickness ranges from 2.6 mil to 3 mil. As mentioned earlier, be aware of the sizing needed for your dispenser when making your purchase.


Aside from the typical office and shipping/storing tape, there are many specialty tapes designed for specific purposes. Here’s where you may be surprised on what’s available in the tape world. There’s tape with a printed message, painting tape, double-coated tissue tape, colored duct tape, carpet tape, and more. Let’s dive in a little deeper and learn more about these exciting specialty tapes!

Filament Tape: This fiberglass-reinforced tape is often used on corrugated boxes and bundling. Filament tape comes in a variety of grades: Premium, general purpose, medium, and light-duty. Bi-directional filament tape is reinforced with continuous glass yarn in two directions for heavy boxes. When shopping for this type of tape, look at the strength. The heaviest duty will be 380 lbs. while the lightest runs 100 lbs. Hand dispensers are also available for filament tape.

Printed Message Tape: This sealing tape has the message: “If Seal is Broken, Check Contents Before Accepting” printed in red letters on white tape.

Masking Tape: Masking tape is often used for painting. It provides clean lines and can be easily removed without destroying walls. These also come in a few options:

  • Colored masking tape comes in a pack of 8 colors (black, blue, yellow, white, red, green, orange, and pink.
  • Premium masking tape is ideal for curves and corners.
  • General-purpose tape has a strong, repositionable adhesive.
  • High performance masking tape can be easily removed from any surface.
  • Masking tape with PaintBlock Technology reacts with latex and gels to form a barrier that seals tapes edges.

Double-Coated Tissue Tape: This is a double-sided tape with a paper carrier that bonds on a variety of surfaces.

Printable Flatback Paper Tape: This specialty tape is often used for bundling, holding, and masking. It’s also handy to have for identification purposes.

Book Tape: If you are in the need to repair or protect the binding of a book, this is the tape you will need. It’s an extremely durable tape that won’t dry out or crack plus is can be marked with most permanent inks. Use this tape on books, pamphlets, magazines, and more!

Duct Tape: Duct tape has a rubber adhesive and a durable waterproof backing. With duct tape, you will notice a few different options.

  • Cloth duct tape comes in both general and industrial grades. General grade is used for temporary repairs whereas the industrial grade has a thick adhesive layer which sticks to rough surfaces.
  • Transparent duct tape disappears on contact- a feature that’s important when appearance matters.
  • Colored duct tape comes in green, black, camo, orange, pink, red, white, and yellow. You may also find your favorite college sports team flavored tape. It’s perfect for both decorating and color coding. See how you can win colorful duct tape at the end of this blog!

Tread Tape: This type of tape is used to prevent slips and falls with its skid resistant surface. Use it on ladders, walkways, and steps.

Carpet Tape: Carpet tape is double-sided to keep carpeting down on the floor. It’s moisture and mildew resistant, so it can be used in bathrooms and basements.

Our blog post on the various types of tape may have come to an end but don’t be too disappointed, there’s still tape dispensers! We’ll talk all about them in a future post! If you have further questions about the tapes mentioned in this post, feel free to stop in, give us a call (941-747-2995), or leave a comment in the box below. Remember to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest for product info, interesting articles, fun facts, tips, and techniques!

8 thoughts on “Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Tape – And More

  1. I just wanted to mention that I met Joey Long today….. She is an amazingly talented woman and I loved talking to her!!

  2. Thanks for this interesting read about tape. I actually didn’t know that measurement of the core could be important, since a lot of dispensers with a 1″ core will take tape with a 3/4″ width. I’m kind of interested to learn how the different core sizes could affect the width of the table, like if thicker ones can manage thicker tape.

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