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Electrical Tape vs. Duct Tape

When it comes to having a go-to tape, there are two types that are a must-have in a trade’s toolbox. Both electrical and duct tape are extremely versatile and often come in handy. Although both can be used for a variety of applications, each tape has its distinct purposes and are not interchangeable. From their chemical make-up to everyday applications, we’ve compiled the four main differences between electrical and duct tape.

1. Material

The primary difference between electrical and duct tape is their composition and material. Electrical tape is made from plastic vinyl or PVC, giving it a smooth and stretchy texture. Electrical tape is heat resistant and designed specifically for safely insulating electrical wires and materials that conduct electricity

On the other hand, duct tape is a cloth-backed pressure-sensitive tape made of a thin polyethylene-coated cloth with fibers and a rubber-based adhesive on the other. This composition makes duct tape extremely durable, water-resistant, and great for a wide range of applications.

2. Adhesive Tape Strength

Electrical tape is designed to provide a secure bond but is easily removable and residue free. Duct tape is exceptionally sticky due to its adhesive composition. The rubber-based adhesive allows duct tape to bond with various surfaces for long periods of time. Because of its extreme stickiness, residue sometimes is left behind.

3. Temperature Resistance

Electrical tape is designed to adhere to wires, its tolerance for higher temperatures is a bit more resilient when compared to duct tape. Duct tape loses its stickiness and adhesive strength when exposed to high temperatures for a long time. If left long enough, the fibers duct tape uses for strength would eventually catch fire.

4. Versatility and Applications

Electrical tape has a niche in electrical work. Its stretchy properties and specific installation recommendations limit its versatility. Duct tape, however, is extremely versatile when temperature is not an underlying obstacle. It works great on metal, wood, glass, or plastic surfaces for applications including:

  • Patching up leaks
  • Securing objects
  • Bundling items together
  • Impromptu repairs

Choosing the Best Type of Tape for the Job

Whether you’re an electrician or are just working on a job site, it’s important to know the differences between different types of tape. Electrical tape is best suited for electrical insulation and securing electrical connections, ensuring safety when dealing with electrical components. On the other hand, duct tape thrives in its versatility and strength, making it an excellent choice for general repairs. As always, we recommend testing tape before use, and adhering to all manufacturer guidelines. Explore Surface Shield’s full line of tape options.


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