Pressure Versus Water-Activated Tape: Which to Choose?

If you do a lot of business by mail, are you using the strongest, most durable, and convenient-to-use packing tape? Your two primary choices boil down to pressure versus water-activated tape. Both have their benefits, and it may well be that having both at hand in case of unexpected events as the best choice. But when it comes down to specific jobs, it’s worth reviewing which is best for what sort of jobs. So, pressure vs. water-activated tape: which to choose?

Pressure Tape: Quick, Cheap, and Efficient

Pressure tape’s function is all in the name. This tape is an adhesive-backed by cloth, plastic, paper, foil, or another substance and is secured by applying pressure to the non-sticky backing. There are numerous forms of pressure tape available, including masking tape for painting, non-conductive vinyl electrical tape for working with wires and electricity, duct tape for numerous uses, and too many more to list here. For the purposes of this article, we’ll discuss packing tape, also known as box-sealing tape. Packing tape is made of polypropylene or polyester film and provides a strong seal on packages. The tape comes in various adhesion strengths and colors and can be applied swiftly with a tape gun. In general, it’s also cheaper.

Water-Activated Tape

Water-activated tape, also known as gummed tape or gummed kraft tape, is also what it sounds like: an adhesive tape that needs water to become sticky. (The kraft refers to the kind of stiff brown paper used in creating the tape and has no relation to the widely known food conglomerate.) Kraft paper also comes in various styles, but always provides a strong hold on light to heavy-duty packages. Water-activated tape is applied by using a special dispenser that wets the adhesive before you apply it to the package.

Pros and Cons

Now let’s address the debate at hand: pressure vs. water-activated tape: which to choose? Packing tape, as mentioned, is easily applied with a tape gun. It’s often see-through, so it can be placed over writing on a package, names, and addresses, and so on. It’s cheaper than gummed tape and comes in handy when sealing stored packages that need to be easily opened. As for the cons, packing tape’s cheapness shows in how easily it is removed or peels when exposed to humid or wet conditions.

Water-activated tape, however—while pricier than packing tape—has a far stronger seal that ensures the contents of a package are safe and secure. It requires a dispenser, but this is easily mastered and easier to use than a handheld tape gun. Also, while packing tape is cheap, it may take several strips of it to secure a box compared to a single strip of gummed tape. Finally, it’s obvious when gummed tape is disturbed by thieves or snoops–making it a crime deterrent.