Tape Strength: knowing what thickness to use

Whether shipping a retail product to your many customers, bundling your creative work off Etsy, or simply sending a loving gift to family — you need to pack well and pack securely or your items won’t arrive as promised.

It’s holiday package season and postal deadlines are ready to sneak up on you before you know it. In 2021, the postal and delivery systems are seeing added stress of supply chain shortages and missing workers, so its more important to get your packages ready in advance than ever before. 

Whether shipping a retail product to your many customers, bundling your creative work off Etsy, or simply sending a loving gift to family — you need to pack well and pack securely or your items won’t arrive as promised. To ensure the right packaging, it helps to start with the right tape.

Packages delivered during the holiday season.
Boxes and packages next to front door during holiday christmas season.

Polypropylene Tape

Polypropylene tape is a lengthy mouthful describing a popular style of packing tape that can be made in many different colors. Fantastic for businesses, polypropylene is strong and sturdy, but can also be printed to any design so you can add customer branding or messages with each box. When choosing your polypropylene tape you’ll want to select the right thickness for the job. 

  • 1.9 mil thick tapes are lighter weight and appropriate for sealing boxes up to 30 lbs.
  • 2.5 mil thick is a heavy-duty tape that can handle sturdier packages – appropriate for sealing boxes up to 50 lbs.
  • 2.9 mil thickness works as an extra heavy-duty sealer. Use this extra strength heavy-duty tape for packages 50 pounds or over.

PVC tape

If you’ve heard of PVC piping, you’re already familiar with the material used to create PVC tape. When thinking of packages, you can consider polypropylene similar to your clear or brown packing tape from Staples and PVC a bit more like Duct tape (although there are still many differences). This strong adhesive comes in a variety of colors and can be printed as well. Unlike traditional duct-tape, this sealant is consider the “silent tape” because it pulls off the roll very easily and quietly. When choosing your PVC tape consider the strength.

  • 2.2 mil thick is a middle-weight in strength, use this for sealing boxes up to 40 lbs.
  • 3.2 mil thick is the heavy-duty version, use this for all boxes 40 pounds and up.

Paper Tape

Paper tape may not have the flexibility of plastic or vinyl-style tapes, but it still has many benefits. Sometimes called KRAFT tape, paper tape is a paper roll strengthened with fiberglass threads. One of the main advantages of this tape is that it makes a more eco-friendly option than other synthetics, yet it can still be printed and colored to match your brand or message. Once it is on your packaging it adds an incredibly strong bond. Choose your paper tape from the following strengths:

  • Regular (240) – a lightweight tape good for sealing boxes up to 30 lbs.
  • Heavy Duty (260) – this heavy-duty tape can be used on larger items and is appropriate for sealing boxes to 55 lbs.

So choose your tape and get ready to start boxing. Beat the holiday rush with the right equipment including tape that keeps your items sealed no matter what packaging side trips your items get sent on. Create your custom look and remember too — don’t forget that tape dispenser. 

Packaged Taped and Ready to Ship

Best Uses for Packing Tape

10 Uses for Custom Packing Tape

There are many uses for custom packing tape. We’ve compiled the following list of top ten applications to illustrate the incredible versatility of these economical packaging and branding solutions. While some might be obvious, others might surprise you.

  1. Branding
  2. Sealing
  3. Wrapping
  4. Reinforcing
  5. Bundling
  6. Unitizing
  7. Masking
  8. Edging
  9. Binding
  10. Splicing

Keep reading to discover more about these uses for packing tape and which option is best for each application.

Custom Printed Packing Tape


Our favorite, obviously! You can use custom packing tape to advance your branding initiatives. Custom printed tape enhances brand exposure and impressions, serving as a cost-effective mini-billboard with your company’s logo, contact information, or promotional message.

Best choice: Any custom printed packing tape


Sealing packages is the most common use for packing tape. The right tape for your application will depend on factors such as package weight, temperature, and security requirements. The heavier your packages, the thicker and stronger your packing tape should. You want a strong bond that protects your goods.

Best choice: Polypropylene, PVC, paper, or hi-tack freezer packing tape.


Wrapping is another use for custom packing tape that helps hold items in place and adds a layer of protection from outside elements, such as dirt and moisture. For large wrapping jobs, consider longer-length rolls to reduce the frequency of reorders.

Best choice: Polypropylene, PVC, paper, or hi-tack freezer packing tape.


If you’re sealing a heavy or awkward package, reinforcing it with a strong custom packing tape can enhance package integrity and security. Go for a paper tape with reinforced fiberglass threads or a utility-grade strapping tape for this application.

Best choice: Paper or filament packing tape


Bundling packages is yet another use for custom packing tape. For the best results, look for a utility-grade strapping tape with a synthetic rubber adhesive for a long-lasting bond, moisture- and solvent-resistant properties, and a split- and crack-resistant backing.

Best choice: Filament packing tape


You can also use certain types of packing tape for unitizing pallets, making it easier to transport them into carrier vehicles to maximize shipping productivity. If you’re looking to unitize your packages, look for strapping packing tape with reinforced fibers.

Best choice: Filament packing tape


Some types of packing tape can also take on your heavy-duty masking applications. If you have a masking job that requires a stronger solution than traditional masking tape, look for a robust flatback packing tape with low-tack adhesive properties.

Best choice: Flatback packing tape


You can use specialized types of packing tape for your edging jobs, too. Like for masking applications, go for a flatback solution with low-tack adhesive properties that allow you to apply and remove without leaving residue behind.

Best choice: Flatback packing tape


Binding packages or goods is another optimal use for specialty types of packing tape, like flatback tape. This easy-to-use product is easy to dispense and tear and features low-tack adhesive properties, leaving no residue.

Best choice: Flatback packing tape


Splicing is another use for packing tape, where you can make manufacturing processes continual by joining the end of a web or roll of material with another. A splicing tape that’s easy to dispense and tear can produce the best results.

Best choice: Flatback packing tape

No matter your use for packing tape, our experts can help you select the ideal solution for any application. Contact our knowledgeable sales and design team to get started today.

Phoenix tape and supply

Custom Packing Tape Production & Shipping Lead Times FAQs

From appliances and furniture to cars and lumber, nearly every supply chain sector has felt the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The upheaval has especially rocked the manufacturing and shipping industries, triggering unprecedented supply shortages and delivery delays that have left buyers and suppliers at a loss for words.

Over the last year and a half, we have seen and felt the supply fluctuations featured in headlines across the globe. We used to produce and ship orders within 3 weeks before the pandemic struck, but now it takes longer. While our production capabilities are currently up and running smoothly and consistently, our lead times are being affected by supply chain disruptions. However, we’re optimistic that a dash of preparation and a sprinkle of patience will bring cooler and calmer waters in the months ahead. Until then, let’s navigate this momentary storm together.

In this article, we’ll break down what to expect when ordering custom packing tape in today’s ever-changing landscape, answering your most frequently asked questions to help you stay informed.


What are the current lead times?

Currently, standard grade polypropylene and PVC custom printed packing tapes take approximately 4 weeks, and paper tape takes about 4 to 4 ½ weeks. The higher grade tapes, such as the 2.5 mil and 2.9 mil polypropylene are a bit longer.  However, these lead times are merely estimates and can change at any time. Because the situation is fluid, it’s best to contact us for the most updated turnaround estimates for your order.

When should I order packing tape for the Fall/Winter 2021 season?

If you’re planning to order custom packing tape for the upcoming fall and winter season, it’s best to plan ahead because we expect longer lead times than in past years. We recommend placing your order as early as September 2021 to reduce the chances of delivery delays, giving you a competitive advantage.

Browse our products and use our easy-to-order online system or reach out to our sales and design team for personalized product selection advice.

What is causing the delays?

Last year, COVID-19 safety precautions and physical distancing protocols used to be the primary cause of shipping delays, but that has changed. Now, material shortages and lags are to blame, adding to the time it takes for us to print and ship your custom packing tape.  Our production capabilities are operating smoothly so once we receive in our supplies we can quickly print and ship out orders.

Shipping Product
Shipping Product

How long will the supply issues last?

Estimating how long the production and shipping delays will last is a little like telling the future using a crystal ball – no one can be 100% sure. However, indicators give us optimism that it’s possible to get back to usual lead times by the end of 2021. We hope to see some relief mid-to-late 4th quarter, allowing our lead times to move back to the traditional 3 weeks for all products. We will continue to monitor the situation and update these estimates as necessary.

What can I do to ensure I get my order on time?

While there are no guarantees, these helpful hints can boost the odds of receiving your order on time:

Order Early
  • Order early

    The number one piece of advice we can offer is: place your order early. For instance, if you usually order in October or November for the winter season, place your order in September instead. While we will do our best to accommodate your deadlines, ordering early is the best way to prevent headaches downstream.

  • Increase your order quantity

    Ordering at least a 6-month supply of custom packing tape can help ensure you don’t run out when supplies are short. Increasing your order quantity comes with a financial bonus, too – you’ll pay less per roll when you advance to a higher quantity bracket.

    Concerned about how long your tape will last? Follow the storage guidelines in this article to extend the life of our tape for up to two years.

  • Consider different colors

    If your favorite tape is out of stock for the foreseeable future, consider switching to another color that may have a shorter lead time. With many of our tapes available in several color options, the chances are good that you’ll find an excellent substitute. No matter which color you choose, we’ll ensure you have a great looking custom tape.

Why should I work with Phoenix Tape?

When you choose us, you have the benefit of our vast experience and strong supplier partnerships. We are working tirelessly with our raw material suppliers to increase product flow. To demonstrate the value of our customer commitments, we also provide excellent communication and a relationship-centered level of service that you’re hard-pressed to find elsewhere. Through thick and thin, we’ll be here for you.

As we all learn the value of patience and kindness in these testing times, we hope that you’ll consider partnering with our expert team. We’re on top of this ever-changing situation and look forward to the opportunity to show you why we’ve been a customer favorite for custom printed packing tape since 1985. Contact us to learn more.

Phoenix Tape and Supply
Phoenix Tape and Supply

What Kind of Packaging Tape is Best for Shipping?

Packaging tape is a fundamental component in the shipping industry. Using the right packaging tape for shipping is crucial to preventing damage, loss, and pilferage of goods. When choosing the perfect shipping tape, some primary aspects that you should consider include the tape’s grade, quality, material, application substrate, and environmental considerations. Other key factors you should take into account are elongation percent at break, tensile strength, thickness, and adhesion. Tape is available in a wide variety of materials and can be applied manually or using a machine.

Packing Tape on Shipped Box

Factors to Consider When Choosing Packaging Tape

1. Grade

The grade of packaging tape refers to the thickness and strength of the adhesive material. When choosing the right tape, you should factor in the weight of the contents, package size, and the kind of shipping environment where it will be used. Lower-grade packaging tape is thinner and has weak tackiness, and should only be used for lightweight packages. High-grade packaging tape has a strong adhesive to provide maximum tensile strength and holding power that’s perfect for heavy-duty sealing. 

2. Tape Quality

The quality of packaging tape is critical to the safety of the goods being shipped. Excellent tape has good tensile strength and elongation percent at break. Quality tape is less likely to tear or break hence ensuring the safety of goods being shipped. Poor quality tape can cause serious and costly shipping setbacks. Always ensure that the tape you use maintains good adhesion, is easy to unwind, and delivers the right strength and durability during the shipping process.

3. Packaging Material or Substrate

This refers to the adhesion surface where the tape is applied. The material of the package you are sealing determines the kind of packaging tape you should use. For instance, the carton you are shipping in may be corrugated, waxed, or recycled. If it’s waxed or has a high content of recycled material, a polypropylene tape with acrylic adhesive is most suitable. On the other hand, polypropylene tape with hot melt adhesive is best suited for corrugated boxes. Remember, you can also design your unique custom packaging tape that’s tailored to your packaging needs.

4. Application Method

The mode of application determines the kind of tape you require and is also an important factor to consider when ordering custom tape. Will it be applied using an automatic case sealer, hand-held dispenser, or by hand? Manually applied tapes are easy to unwind and have great tack when applied to a surface. Tapes applied using an automated mechanism adhere to surfaces instantly. It’s important to note that polypropylene tape can be applied either by use of a hand-held dispenser or a machine, while PVC is only applied by a hand-held dispenser. Water-activated paper tape requires a paper tape dispenser.

What’s the best packaging tape for your specific needs? Tapes are designed for different purposes. As you decide on the best tape for your shipping requirements, remember it may need to stay in place for days or even months, withstand heat, humidity, and other extreme weather conditions. Long-term storage, rough handling, and impact are other aspects it may need hold up to.

Phoenix Tape and Supply is dedicated to supplying you with the best quality tape for your unique needs. We understand that choosing the wrong tape can result to a costly packaging disaster. This guide will help you make the right decision to avert a host packaging problems. Give us a call today for the best tape for your packaging needs. 

Custom Packing Tape

Packing Tape or Duct Tape: Each wins the gold in their own applications.

Packing tape and duct tape share some similarities, as well as differences that have an impact on your usage. When you are preparing packages for moving or shipping, you want to make sure you’ve made the right choice. Seeing everything arrive at its location safely is a benefit that everyone will enjoy.

Here are the considerations you need to keep in mind when buying tape:

Packing Tape’s Differences from Duct Tape in Packing

Packing tape is very different from other types, including duct tape. The type of tape used for packing serves a vastly different function from other types. This tape is pressure-sensitive, designed to hold boxes firmly closed and prevent the items inside from loss or damage.  Most often polypropylene tape is used for sealing cardboard boxes as well as PVC tape.

Duct tape, on the other hand, is more suited to offering a temporary repair than keeping a box sealed. This type of tape tears very easily in comparison to its counterpart used in packaging. Using duct tape to close a box is likely to result in the box opening up during transit.

Custom Packing Tape – Phoenix Tape

The Differences in Applying These Tapes

One of the advantages of using tape designed for packing is that it is easily dispensed with a tape gun. When you opt to use hand-held dispenser, your tape dispenses smoothly. It’s also very easy to get this tape started with minimal hassle or time spent looking for the start of the roll.

Duct tape, on the other hand, is only intended to be pulled directly from the roll. When applying this tape type, everything does not always go smoothly. Duct tape has a tendency to wad and bunch up, making it different from tape used for packing. 

Different Thicknesses for Different Needs

When using packing tape, you are likely to require it for boxes of varying sizes and weights. One of the advantages that packing tape offers is its availability in different thicknesses. For example, polypropylene tape comes in 1.9 mil, 2.5 mil and 2.9 mil so you can choose the best option for your packages. PVC tape comes in 2.2 mil and 3.2 mil.  By using the strongest tape best suited for your shipping needs you won’t have to worry about packages coming apart in transit.

Duct tape, on the other hand, is usually in one thickness that may or may not meet your needs. Although usually sturdy, this tape can tear when used on overpacked boxes. Wrapping a box or package with extra duct tape may make the container more difficult to open.

A Variety of Widths and Lengths for Different Needs

Packing tape can come in different widths and lengths that are suitable for boxes and containers of different sizes. Everything in the boxes or containers will stay more secure with tape that fits the shape more accurately. You will reduce the chance of damage much more easily.  Packing tape is most often available in 2 and 3 inch widths.  The wider the tape, the more adhesion holds the box together.

Duct tape usually comes in a uniform width, although the length may vary. However, this type of tape may be somewhat more difficult to fit to some boxes in unusual sizes or shapes. You may find the security of your items at risk with badly-fitting tape. 
Duct Tape

A Better Overall Fit for All Seasons

When using tape for packing, you can feel confident that the adhesive will hold up to a range of temperature extremes, including some heat and cold. The adhesive needs to stay firmly anchored, regardless. The temperature range of packing tape covers a wider variety of temperatures than other tapes.

Duct tape has a weaker adhesive in comparison. You may find duct take losing some of its adhesion during times of hot or cold weather.

When you’re getting ready to ship packages, the right tape makes a difference. Phoenix Tape offers the tape that you want for all your packing needs and can help answer all of your questions.

Phoenix Tape – Custom Printed Tape

5 Benefits of Custom Packing Tape for Small Businesses

small businesses use custom packing tape to elevate their packaging, highlighting the benefits of this economical branding tool.

Are you a Funko Pop collector? If you’re like many pop culture enthusiasts, you are. This widely popular company designs and sells whimsical and nostalgic collectibles, accessories, and toys based on pop culture themes like Star Wars, Harry Potter, and Seinfeld – and fans go gangbusters over them. Just ask our customer, 7 Bucks a Pop (7BAP). This husband-and-wife duo of Funko Pop (“Pop”) collectors turned their passion into a business when they discovered a huge demand for previously owned Pops at reasonable prices. So, they launched an e-commerce website selling many sought-after Pops for just seven bucks. One of their first orders of business? Custom branded packing tape that popped.

In this article, we’ll tell you a little about how 7BAP and a few other small businesses use custom packing tape to elevate their packaging, highlighting the benefits of this economical branding tool.

Benefits of custom packing tape for small businesses

When 7BAP first started in 2017, they loved using custom packing tape because it was a cost-effective way to brand their packaging while also providing the much-needed security to protect these sought-after collectibles. Whether you’re a small business selling goods directly to the consumer or you ship your wares to retailers, there are many attractive benefits of choosing custom packing tape.

  1. Saves money on expensive printed boxes

    When running a small business, every dollar matters. Perhaps the most significant benefit of custom packing tape is that it packs a big punch without breaking a tight budget. Our VP of sales, Matt Clarke, hears from many small – and large – businesses that have ditched printed boxes because of the expense and high minimum orders. In its place, these budget-savvy customers are choosing affordable branded packing tape because it delivers the same impact for much less.

    Learn more about the perks of swapping your printed boxes for custom packing tape on our blog.
  2. Builds brand awareness

    It’s difficult for small businesses to compete with national retailers for brand awareness. However, custom packing tape is an economical way to increase exposure and enhance recognition of your brand, no matter the size of your operation. Our sales and customer service manager Elizabeth Fish loves how our small business customer Ayla, a beauty boutique offering nontoxic, hypoallergenic products, designed its branded packing tape. She noted how the tape makes Ayla’s packaging match the branding elements on their website, Instagram feed, and other social media channels, providing a consistent look and feel for greater brand awareness.
  3. Adds a layer of package security

    Unlike larger companies with the budget to replace missing or damaged packages, small businesses often have tighter financial constraints, making a secure shipment essential for success. For 7BAP, package security is a huge priority, especially when shipping high-value and rare Pops to its customers. Compared to plain clear tape, a box wrapped in 7BAP’s branded packing tape makes it easy to detect – and deter – tampering and pilfering. They’ve also doubled down on package security with a 2.5 mil heavy-duty polypropylene tape for added thickness and peace of mind.
  4. Promotes customer loyalty

    What’s one thing you can do that will keep your customers coming back for more? Create an unforgettable unboxing experience.  As we covered in a previous blog post, an unboxing experience is the feeling you create for a customer opening their highly anticipated package. Unique packaging materials, personalized notes, samples, freebies, and of course, custom packing tape are some of the essential wow-factor elements that will give your customers a reason to look forward to receiving your shipments again and again.
  5. Expedites product placement on the retail floor

    If your small business ships to a retailer, custom packing tape makes your boxes easier to recognize and identify, expediting the time it takes for your goods to travel from the shipping dock or warehouse to the retail floor. This idea is precisely the motivation for our customer, Bakerly, to use custom packing tape. A USA producer of French-inspired crepes, brioche, and traditional pastries, Bakerly wraps its shipments in branded tape to make it easier for its retail food customers to locate, properly store and restock its baked goods.

If you’re one of the many innovative entrepreneurs or pandemic-spurred side hustlers who have turned their hobby into a new revenue stream, branded packing tape can help your small business reap these and many other benefits. Our helpful team and easy online ordering system make it easy to create packages – and revenues – that truly pop. Shop our branded packing tapes online or reach out to our experts to learn more.

Does Custom Packing Tape Expire?

Custom Packing Tape

If your stockroom or warehouse is bursting with extra rolls of custom packing tape, you may wonder whether they can expire – and the answer is yes. Just like the appeal of your favorite foods dwindles with time, most types of custom packing tape will lose their zest when they’re past their prime. While an expiration date for packing tape may sound surprising, it’s just another helpful nugget of information we love to share on our mission to help you package your goods smarter.

This post is loaded with helpful insights on the shelf life of custom packing tape, including signs that it’s expired and tips for prolonging its useful life. Let’s get started.

Continue reading “Does Custom Packing Tape Expire?”

What’s the Difference Between PVC Tape and Duct Tape?

PVC Tape Rolls

If you need strong and durable tape for your application, PVC tape and duct tape might be on your shortlist of options to consider. So, which one should you choose? The answer comes down to how you’ll use it. As we covered in a previous blog post on choosing the right tape for the job, each solution has a different purpose. Just like you wouldn’t use scotch tape to seal ductwork, you wouldn’t use duct tape to wrap holiday gifts.

This article will look at the differences – and similarities – between PVC tape and duct tape to illustrate the ideal applications for each one, helping you build a better and smarter arsenal of packaging materials.

Continue reading “What’s the Difference Between PVC Tape and Duct Tape?”

What is the Strongest Tape?

When it comes to choosing the right custom packing tape for your application, strength is often one of the first factors to consider. If your tape isn’t strong enough to seal your packages, it instantly loses its purpose and value. When our customers ask us which tape is the strongest, our response always depends on the end-use. For general use, polypropylene tape is an affordable and versatile solution that’s strong enough for most packages. However, if you’re sealing heavy or bulky boxes, you may want to go with a heavier duty PVC tape for a stronger alternative. 

In this article, we’ll break down everything you need to know about both types of custom printed tape to help you select the strongest option for your packaging needs.

Continue reading “What is the Strongest Tape?”