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Suitable for indoor or outdoor use. Rubber tape withstands up to 194 degrees. Durable yet flexible. Tape smoothly conforms to surfaces. The tape is 3/4 inches wide. Can block light.
This tape may leave some adhesive behind if removed.
Flexible vinyl electrical tape measures 1/2 inches wide. Pieces can be torn by hand. Comes in various colors. Flame-resistant and water-resistant.
Some users found this tape doesn’t stick as well in lower temperatures.
Vinyl electrical tape is 3/4 inches wide. Strong adhesion. Water and flame-resistant. Suitable for up to 600 volts. Designed for use between 14-176 degrees.
This electrical tape is not as stretchy or flexible because of its heavy construction.
UL-listed electrical tape designed for professional and DIY projects. Insulated and protective. Suitable for use between 0-176 degrees. Rated up to 600 volts.
A few consumers noted a slight chemical smell to this tape.
Includes 6 rolls of UL-listed, professional-grade, lead-free electrical tape. Flame-resistant. Resistant to UV, water, and oil. Temperature rated between 14-176 degrees.
The adhesion of this product is not as strong as other brands.
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Although electrical tape may not be as well-known or versatile as duct tape, it still remains one of the most important types of tape. It insulates wires and other electric-conducting materials. Electricians rely heavily on electrical tape, as it performs tasks that other tapes simply can’t do safely.
This type of tape works to insulate wires, separate wires, secure wires, or repair minor damage to wires. When you need to color-code certain wires at a junction box or light switch, you can apply a ring of colored electrical tape near the end of the wire.
Beyond electrical uses, some people use this tape for arts and crafts or on sporting equipment because of the different colors available and because of the natural flex that it has.
Shopping for the right type of electrical tape can be a bit of a challenge for the non-professional since so many options are available. Learning more about the types available and having product recommendations ensures you end up with the best tape for the job you have at hand.
Vinyl electrical tape is the most common type of tape in use for a wide range of projects. Vinyl is a durable and long-lasting tape. It has adhesive on one side to attach to the object or electrical wire.
It’s a highly flexible type of tape, which makes it easier to apply the tape tightly to the desired surface. It’s waterproof, but it doesn’t perform well in low temperatures.
PVC (polyvinyl chloride) tape is very similar to vinyl electrical tape in that it has plenty of flexibility and uses adhesive. It works well for outdoor applications, as it can withstand low temperatures.
Some people refer to vinyl and PVC tape as the same type of tape, even though they differ in how they operate in cold weather.
Rubber electrical tape typically doesn’t have any adhesive on one side. Instead, it uses its own elastic tension to hold itself in place.
You wrap the rubber tape around a wire, taking care to overlap the tape so that it touches itself. By keeping the tape taut while applying it, it creates the tension needed to install it.
Rubber tape offers water resistance, which is helpful when the tape may have exposure to high-humidity environments.
Mastic electrical tape uses a soft or spongy layer that sits between the adhesive and the backing. This gives mastic tape impressive flexibility for use in tight spaces.
The backing on mastic tape can consist of vinyl or rubber, but some versions of mastic tape have no backing.
Mastic tape is resistant to moisture and to UV rays, so it works well for outdoor applications.
Although black is the most common color for electrical tape, several other colors are available. Unlike duct tape, where the colors and patterns are for fun or for matching the item where you’re applying the tape, electrical tape colors signify different features. (The colors and usage requirements listed here fit standards for the United States).
Higher-quality electrical tape costs more than lower-quality tape. Depending on the type of application and on the needs of the project, purchasing a higher-quality tape may be necessary.
A tape that includes better materials increases its performance and longevity. Higher-quality tape also can create a tighter seal and can resist corrosion better than lower-quality tape.
When using electrical tape for a particular project that requires permits and that must match building codes, select tape that fits the requirements of the code. A cheap, off-brand roll of tape may not be up to code, for example.
At the very least, the majority of codes require that the tape contains UL and CSA logos, which ensure quality.
3M developed the modern version of electric tape using vinyl plastic, applying for a patent in 1946.
When comparing the cost of electrical tape rolls, it’s important to look at a couple of things. Most importantly, study the linear length of tape on the roll. Some rolls are 20 feet in length, while others may be 100 feet. An average roll of tape measures about 50 feet in length. Calculating the cost of electrical tape by linear foot is a good way to compare different products.
Wider tape and thicker tape cost more than narrower and thinner tape. Specialty rolls of tape often have a higher cost than a typical roll of black tape.
The least expensive tape costs two to five cents per linear foot. This may be a non-name brand tape. Some non-black tapes, such as white, have properties that allow them to fit in this price range.
An average roll of tape costs five to 12 cents per linear foot. This is a common price for a roll of brand-name black electrical tape. For thicker rolls of black tape, you may need to purchase multiple rolls to receive a price at the low end of this range.
You may be able to find some sets of multiple rolls of electric tape in different colors that fit in this price range too. For someone who does electrical work that requires different types of tape, a “rainbow set” of tape may be a good choice in this price range.
The priciest tape costs 12 to 50 cents per linear foot. Buying a single roll of brand-name black tape can fall into the lower end of this price range. Certain types of specialty tape also fit in this price range, such as brown tape.
Because electrical tape has a design made specifically for use around electrical wiring, you may believe its design is perfectly safe for any use case. However, you need to follow a few steps to make using the tape as safe as possible.
A. For Scotch brand electrical tape from 3M, Super 33+ tape measures seven millimeters in thickness (or about 0.007 inches), while Super 88 tape measures about eight-and-a-half millimeters (or about 0.0085 inches).
A. The materials and design of the tape make a difference in whether you can use it safely around electricity and electrical components. Non-electric tape doesn’t have insulating or thermal properties that keep it safe around electricity. This could lead to a fire or a failure of the wiring.
A. Although some DIYers may put together two pieces of wire with electric tape when installing a ceiling fan or light switch, this is not a safe choice. Most of the time, splicing two wires for low-voltage systems requires the use of a wire nut for maximum safety. Some people then use tape to hold the wire nut in place by taping the edges of the nut to the insulated wire.
A. Electric tape likely won’t catch fire like other types of tape may. However, the materials that make up the tape may become soft. The roll then may lose its shape and protective qualities under excessive heat. A PVC model of tape can survive temperatures up to about 175°F, while rubber tape may begin to show signs of degrading at around 220°F.
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