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Duct tape has a multitude of uses, from repairing tool handles and pipes to creating water-resistant bonds on tarpaulins and inflatables. Duct tape is an essential addition to any toolbox, whether it is for professional purposes or simply as part of a household kit. However, it is important that the duct tape you choose is fit for the purpose, easy to use, and resilient. With so many brands, styles, and colors of duct tape to choose from it can be difficult to know where to start. To give you a helping hand, our team of tool and equipment experts has put together a list of the best duct tapes on the market.
The Best Duct Tape
Described as ‘duct tape on steroids’, Gorilla Tape Black Duct Tape is ideal for a whole host of uses, both indoors and outdoors. The double thick tape can stick to uneven, rough surfaces such as brick, stucco, plaster, stone, and wood. While it is tough with a double thick adhesive grip and tightly weaved, reinforced backing, the tape can still be ripped by hand, making it easy to use in any situation. The black duct tape has a weather-resistant shell that can withstand extreme temperatures, UV rays, and moisture.
Double thick adhesive
Tough reinforced backing
Rugged, weather resistant shell
Suitable for use on uneven surfaces
Suitable for use in and outdoors
- Weight1.65 pounds
The 3M All-Weather Duct Tape contains a powerful adhesive that creates long-lasting bonds as soon as it makes contact with a surface. The tape is ideal for use outdoors and can be used for making outdoor repairs and reinforcing tools. The strong and durable tape can be used effectively for long-term and permanent repairs, and its flexible design creates a tight seal, making it ideal for patching. 3M Duct Tape is resistant to drying, cracking, and peeling, heat, sunlight, moisture, and cold.
Contains a powerful adhesive
Strong and durable
Flexible, weather-resistant design
Suitable for patching and permanent repairs
Suitable for use in and outdoors
- Weight1.15 pounds
Duck Brand Max Strength Duct Tape provides maximum strength, adhesion, and flexibility. It has a high tensile and tear strength and tears with superb conformity. The adhesive is natural rubber based, and the polyethylene backing is pliable and weather resistant. The tape is designed for industrial and heavy-duty applications and is suitable for use both indoor and outdoors.
High tensile and tear strength
Natural rubber based adhesive
Pliable, weather-resistant polyethylene backing
Suitable for use in and outdoors
Flexible and strong
- Weight0.16 ounces
Five rolls included
Easy to tear by hand
- Weight4.15 pounds
The Professional Grade Duct Tape by Tape King is a cloth-backed adhesive tape that is suitable for a wide range of jobs. The strong, waterproof tape can be used for crafts, construction, and repair jobs. It can be used on concrete, plastic, and metal surfaces, as well as on a host of other uneven and flat surfaces. It is easy to remove and doesn’t leave any residue behind. The professional grade tape keeps moisture out of the areas where it is used and can resist wear and tear for an extended period of time. While very strong, the duct tape is still easy to tear by hand, making it simple and easy to use.
Professional grade, cloth backed tape
Strong and durable
Can be used on uneven surfaces
Water and weather resistant
Leaves area residue-free when removed
- BrandTape King
- Weight2.76 pounds
The Nashua 357 Polyethylene Coated Premium Grade Duct Tape is ideal for patching and covering seams in underlying materials and heavy polyethylene sheeting. Its natural rubber adhesive forms exceptionally strong bonds, even on the roughest surfaces. The premium-grade duct tape can be used for a range of applications, including heavy-duty packaging, making waterproof repairs, plastering applications, bundling, and media-blast protection. The duct tape is also resistant to chemicals, moisture, punctures, solvents, and abrasions. Suitable for indoor and outdoor use, it can work effectively in temperatures as low as 40-degrees Fahrenheit and as high as 200-degrees Fahrenheit.
Premium grade cloth duct tape
Temperature rating 40 – 200 degrees Fahrenheit
Suitable for indoor and outdoor use
Resistant to water, moisture, solvents, chemicals, and abrasions
- Weight2.08 pounds
Duck Brand Color Duct Tape is great for making quick fixes and for craft projects. The tape is easy to tear by hand and does not curl. It conforms to uneven surfaces and adheres to a wide range of surfaces, including metal, plastic, laminates, vinyl, leather, and cloth. The strong, durable, and flexible colored duct tape can be used for color coding and auto-repairs as well as general household repairs.
Heavy-duty cotton mesh reinforced duct tape
Creates a weather-proof bond
Durable, flexible, and versatile
Tears easily by hand without curling
Conforms to uneven surfaces
- Weight6.4 ounces
If you are looking for a duct tape with a high tensile construction, then T-REX Ferociously Strong White Duct Tape is what you need. The premium adhesive white duct tape is made with UV-resistant materials, so UV rays are blocked and do not weaken the adhesive. The duct tape can be used both indoors and outdoors and adheres to a wide range of surfaces, including vinyl, painted and non-painted wood, concrete, brick, and shingles. The heavy-duty knit cloth combines with a durable waterproof backing to create a long-lasting hold that is secure from extreme temperatures and water.
Double thick adhesive
High tensile woven scrim
Suitable for use indoors and outdoors
Adheres to a wide range of surfaces, including uneven surfaces
- Weight1.4 pounds
The 3M Scotch Medium Utility Duct Tape is suitable for light-duty bundling, temporary repairs, and marking. The natural rubber adhesive on the silver duct tape sticks well to a host of surfaces, including concrete, metal, and plastic. It is easy to remove, and the silver polyethylene backing easily accepts permanent marker. The backing is also moisture resistant, allowing the tape to be used in humid and moist environments without losing adhesion.
Ideal for uses where a thinner tape is required
Sticks immediately and removes cleanly
Conforms to irregular surfaces
Suitable for indoor and outdoor uses
- Weight14.4 ounces
If you are looking for a tape that can bear some weight, then the FiberFix 10x Tape might be just what you need. The tape is designed to be 10 times stronger than average duct tapes and can be used to repair, tears, breaks, and cracks. The heavy-duty tape won’t give, break, or tear. It can be used to repair anything from tarps and tents to garden tools and farm equipment.
Can hold up to 150lbs
Stretch resistant under pressure
Water resistant with an anti-moisture laminate layer
Durable and long lasting
A wide range of applications
- Weight7.7 ounces
Best Duct Tape Buying Guide & FAQ
Duct tape enables you to make quick, lasting repairs in a host of different situations. Its versatility means it is an essential piece of kit for professionals and DIYers alike. Buying the right duct tape to fit your needs is essential. Getting it wrong could leave you with a larger problem than you started with. In this section of the buying guide, we explore what you need to look for in good duct tape, the typical signs of bad duct tape, and discuss what duct tape is made from. We also compare duct tape to gaffer tape and answer some of the most frequently asked questions about duct tape.
What to Look for in a Good Duct Tape
Duct tape was first manufactured in 1942 for military uses. Originally it was used to keep moisture out of ammunition cases, but it was not long before military personnel discovered that it could be used to fix almost anything from aircraft to jeeps, and even guns, After the war the tape become an essential element in the housing industry, being used to connect air conditioning and heating ducts. From its humble beginnings, duct tape soon became a staple in every store and every home in the US and across much of the world. But, how do you know you are buying the right duct tape for your needs? Here are the key elements to look for in good duct tape.
- Easy to tear
While you want your duct tape to hold fast once it is in place, you also want it to tear off easily from the rest of the roll. The fibers in duct tape are designed to work this way. If you need scissors to cut the tape from the roll, there is an increased likelihood that the tape will stretch once it is placed under any stress. While it should stretch a little, excessive stretching reduces its effectiveness and its strength.
High-quality duct tape is thick, it should be visibly thicker than other forms of tape such as sellotape, masking tape, and electrical tape. If you struggle to find the edge of the tape, then chances are it is a poor-quality tape. Similarly, if once you tear the tape it begins to curl at the ends, this is a clear indication that it is too thin.
The same goes for weight; duct tape should be heavier than masking tape, electrical tape, or sellotape. This is because of its multiple layers. If it is a similar weight, then it is unlikely that these layers are either missing or substandard, meaning it is unlikely to be strong enough for its intended purposes.
The weight and thickness of duct tape are due to its multiple layers. The bottom layer is the adhesive layer that allows it to stick to a host of different surfaces. The middle layer is a fabric layer that provides strength and the fibers that improving its tearing ability. The top layer is weather resistant and in the best duct tapes, it is also resistant to other elements such as heat, chemicals, and oil. Polyethylene is a good material choice for this outer layer.
It goes without saying that good duct tape should adhere to the majority of surfaces, regardless of how uneven. The best duct tapes use graded natural rubber-based adhesive to provide the strongest bond. While duct tape tends to leave behind a residue when removed, the best tapes leave minimal residue, and some are specifically designed to leave none at all.
- Cloth strands
Another measure of good duct tape is the number of cloth strands per inch in the middle layer. The greater the number, the stronger and more durable this layer, and therefore the tape is. The material used here is also a good indicator of quality with poly cloth being stronger than rayon or nylon options.
Typical Signs of the Bad Duct Tape
One of the key things to watch out for when buying duct tape is counterfeit brands. If you want Gorilla duct tape, then it is essential that you ensure you are buying the real thing. Some of the key ways to tell whether a duct tape is a counterfeit brand or just really poor quality are:
- The tape has no weight or thickness to it
- It is difficult to find the end of the tape on the roll
- It doesn’t tear easily, or the tear is uneven
- Once torn the ends curl up
- It is overly stretchy
- It is not water resistant
- And, of course, it doesn’t stick
What is Duct Tape Made of?
Duct tape consists of three layers, an outer cover, fabric layer, an adhesive layer. The top layer is made from polyethylene, a type of plastic. This provides the lower layers and whatever is under the tape with protection from erosion, moisture, and UV damage. The middle fabric layer can be made from either poly cloth, rayon, or nylon. The best duct tapes use poly cloth because it is stronger and more durable. The lower layer that makes contact with surfaces is a rubber-based glue. Most of the best duct tapes use natural rubber to create this layer. The rubberized glue allows the tape to stick effectively to uneven surfaces, while the middle and outer layers provide strength, durability, and protection.
Duct Tape vs Gaffer's Tape
Both duct tape and gaffer tape are commonly found in home and professional tool kits. They are used to make repairs and tie together cables and wires, as well as having a host of other uses. However, duct tape and gaffer tape are not the same things and there are some very important differences between the two.
- Gaffer tape
This type of tape is made from cotton cloth. It is pressure sensitive, tough, and strong. It is most commonly found within film, theatre, and live stage performances for taping down cables for safety or to keep them out of the view of the audience. Gaffer tape uses a petroleum-based synthetic adhesive. This means that unlike duct tape it can be removed cleanly, leaving no residue behind. Gaffer tape has less layers than duct tape and therefore tends to be thinner and lighter.
- Duct tape
Otherwise known as duck tape, this type of tape is also pressure sensitive but is coated with polyethylene making it more resistant to moisture and corrosion. Beneath this lays a scrim or cloth layer that makes it stronger and more durable that gaffer tape. It uses a natural rubber-based adhesive. This creates a much stronger bond that the adhesive used on gaffer tape but also means that it leaves behind a residue once it is removed. Improvements in the design of duct tape mean that less residue it left behind by the best duct tapes. Duct tape is the tape of choice where greater durability and strength and a stronger adhesive bond is required.
Best Duct Tape FAQ:
Q: Can duct tape be recycled?
A: No, duct tape cannot be recycled. The rubberized glue makes it unsuitable for recycling as does the water-resistant outer layer.
Q: Can duct tape be used as electrical tape?
A: No, duct tape cannot be used as electrical tape. These are two different types of tapes, with different properties, and different applications. The main reasons that duct tape should not be used in place of electrical tape are that it is not insulated, and it is not entirely fire resistant. This means that using it puts you and others at the risk of electrical shock and creates a potential fire hazard.
Q: Can duct tape stop a water leak?
A: Yes, duct tape can be used to stop a water leak. Duct tape is not completely waterproof; however, high-quality duct tapes are extremely water resistant. Duct tape can create a sealed bond around a crack in a pipe or split in materials such as tarpaulins. The effectiveness of the bond will depend on the quality of the tape, the size of the leak, and the amount of pressure behind the incoming water.
Q: Can duct tape catch fire?
A: Yes, duct tape can catch on fire. The main component in the duct tape that is susceptible to fire in the middle mesh fabric layer. The polyethylene upper layer and the natural rubber adhesive are both fire resistant. This means that it is not considered a flammable product. However, the adhesive will be less effective in extreme hot or cold temperatures.
Our Top Pick
Out top pick is Gorilla Tape Black Duct Tape. Described as ‘duct tape on steroids’ it is ideal for a whole host of uses, both in and outdoors. The double thick tape can stick to uneven, rough surfaces such as brick, stucco, plaster, stone, and wood. While it is tough with a double thick adhesive grip and tightly weaved, reinforced backing, the tape can still be ripped by hand, making it easy to use in any situation. The tape has a weather-resistance shell that can withstand extreme temperatures, UV rays, and moisture.
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