How to Choose the Right Packaging Tape

It may seem like a cliché, but first impressions count. Whether you’re sending your resume to a prospective employer, heading out on a first date, or wrapping a gift for a loved one, your initial presentation will make a lasting impression. In addition to every other aspect of our lives, first impressions are also very important for ecommerce packaging. When your customer initially views the box or mailer that holds their new purchase, they should be pleased with both the presentation and security of it, which is why it’s so important to know how to choose the right packaging tape. Essentially, your product packaging should be perfect and packaging tape goes a long way in making it so.  

Packaging Presentation 

You put a lot of effort into making your product presentation flawless. You want your customers to be excited to open their box and delve inside, from the very first moment they see it sitting on their doorstep or in their mailbox. This means you’ll focus on every single aspect of your packaging design, like what colors and images you use, where your logo is located, and what kind of container your goods are placed into. When you put so much work into the packaging design, the tape used to seal that package should be just as important.  

The Necessity of Packaging Tape 

Packaging tape provides durable, long-lasting closures that allow your goods to stay safe within their containers throughout the entire shipping and handling process. For many, tape is a last-minute thought, but ignoring your tape and its application can quickly result in damaged products, loose seals, and packages that are easy to tamper with. Additionally, UPS states that improper tape application is the leading cause of box closure failures during transit. If your packages arrive damaged or the products are stolen before they can ever reach the buyer, you run the risk of bad reviews, loss of return business, and expensive product replacements or refunds. Thankfully, knowing which kind of packaging tape to utilize saves you time, money, and helps to keep your customers very happy.  

Important Factors to Consider 

There are a variety of conditions, some due to the environment and others due to the packaging material itself, that affect your tape. Understanding these elements will help you determine the best type of packaging tape for your specific application. These factors can include anything from the surface of your box or container and the way your tape is placed onto it to the temperature and humidity levels of the truck or ship that transports your goods to your customers. Let’s take a look at the five most important factors you need to consider when selecting your packaging tape. 

Tape Grade 

The grade of a tape refers to how thick the film is and to just how much adhesive it utilizes. Different grades allow you to determine whether or not you have the necessary amount of holding power and tensile strength after applying them to your boxes. Lower grades mean the backing is thinner and they also have lower adhesive levels, making them a great choice for sealing lightweight cartons. Tapes with higher grades come equipped with thicker backings and more adhesives, which means they are an ideal option for heavy-duty boxes or products that require extra secure seals.  

The Outside Environment 

The locations where your items are boxed, shipped, received, and everywhere in between are a critical factor in deciding which materials you should use to package them, especially when it comes to tape. External elements like humidity and the average temperature each have various impacts on your packaging tape and will affect different tape grades in different ways. Specifically, the actual adhesion properties of your tape can be damaged by extreme outside conditions, like excessive cold or extreme humidity. When packaging tape is exposed to these environmental factors, it can quickly lose its adhesion capability, which leads to possible contamination or theft of your products. 

Container and Box Surfaces 

The type of surface on which you apply your packaging tape can make or break your seals – literally. Keep in mind that different cartons offer different adhesion properties. Boxes made up of recycled corrugated material are very popular with many retailers due to their environmentally friendly nature, but all of those recycled components often make it difficult for tape to adhere to the surface. In cartons with high amounts of recycled materials, more fillers and smaller fibers are used, which makes it hard for packaging tape to stick. This means that if you use recycled cartons, you’ll need stronger packaging tapes for secure closures. 

How You Apply Your Tape 

Most times, packaging tape is applied to boxes and other surfaces by hand or with an automated case sealing machine. If you’re a smaller operation and generally apply tape manually, you’ll want to ensure you look for packaging tape that unwinds easily, offers good tack for quick and secure adhesion, and is equipped with a strong film as the backing. These qualities allow durable closures and less breakage, especially when you don’t have the benefit of the high-quality, high-strength seals that are provided by automatic case sealers. 

Tape Quality 

While it may seem obvious, you should always consider the quality of your packaging tape. If you’ve been ordering the same tape for a while, make sure to take note of the consistency of the tape’s film thickness, backings, coatings, and adhesives. High-quality packaging tapes are consistent in all of those elements and will help your workflow move faster and more efficiently. If you find any inconsistencies in these factors between different lots, you’ll likely also notice lower quality seals and more frequently damaged products. 

Choose What’s Best for You 

Every packaging and shipping operation has different needs. Whether you ship out twenty boxes a day or two hundred boxes an hour, there’s a packaging tape that’s right for you. The right tape will allow you to protect your items throughout their entire supply chain, while also enhancing a beautiful product presentation to your customer upon arrival at their doorstep.