What Type of Packing Tape to Use When Moving

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Packing tape is an item you probably don’t give much thought to until you really need it, after which it’s the only thing that really seems to matter.

If you’re painting a room, you’ll want to find the perfect painter’s tape to get the job done right. If you’re in the midst of moving your “to buy” list probably includes boxes, moving blankets, packing material, and yes, packing tape!

But what type of packing tape is best to use when moving?

It depends on what you are taping, so first you need to know a couple of things.

After moving lots ourselves, we’ve concluded that not all tape is created equal. Some tapes are not right for moving boxes and will make packing a heck of a lot harder. Not only that, but only having one type of tape won’t work well for each step in your moving process.

So knowing what we know now, let’s chat about how the tapes you’ll find at the store are actually different…

Tape Factors

There are lots of factors that differentiate each type of tape. Here are things to keep in mind when choosing the right tape for your packing needs.

  • Temperature: Some tapes are better than others when it comes to standing up to certain temperatures and humidity levels. You’ll want to take the environment into account when deciding on a tape so it stays sealed even in a humid storage unit or on a chilly moving truck.
  • Grade: The grade is a fancy word for the stickiness and strength of the tape. The higher the grade, the thicker and stronger the tape.
  • Adhesive: There are a few different kinds of adhesives for different stuff you’re sticking together. Most notably, hot melt adhesive and acrylic adhesive.
  • Width and Color: How wide is the tape, and is it wide enough to cover the gap in your boxes? What color is it? Color is something to think about when it comes time to organize and sort all of your boxes during the unpack.

Okay now that we got the technical jargon out of the way, let’s figure out what tape is best for you and your move!

Best Tapes for Moving

#1: Shipping Tape

Shipping tape is going to be your best bet for your move. This tape is often a hot melt adhesive and thus is strong enough to withstand the handling of your moving boxes as you get from point A to B. You’ll also want to grab a handheld tape dispenser so it’s easy to cut and apply to boxes quickly. (Plus, this makes you feel pretty cool knocking out boxes like a pro.)

You can buy this tape and the tape “gun” at any home improvement, office, or moving store—it’s often clear and comes in 2-3 inch widths. Shipping tape also lacks a cloth backing, so it’s easy to undo from your boxes when it’s time to unpack.

Use For: Building and sealing moving boxes.

#2: Storage Tape

This special tape should be used for boxes that are going into your storage unit with no plan to get them out any time soon. We’re looking at you boxes of beanie babies from 2nd grade. Because it’s a heavier acrylic adhesive, this stuff can last up to 10 years in any type of temperature or humidity. So you can leave those boxes in your storage unit knowing that they’ll stay tightly closed.

Use For: Boxes going into storage for the long-haul

#3: Masking Tape

Most of us have used masking tape … it’s that thin beige tape that you may use for random tasks around the house. While this tape comes in handy during the moving process, it shouldn’t ever be used for sealing. It’s really just not that good at it. But it’s still a worthwhile tape to pick up when packing because you can use it to bundle kitchen utensils or even label boxes.

Of course, it’s really great tape to write on, so grab that permanent marker and start labeling, baby!

Use For: Labeling and bundling packing items

#4: Washi Tape

Washi tape is quite possibly our favorite tape on the list because it has so much personality. Plus, it’s way cuter than tapes #1-3. You used to only be able to find this tape at craft stores, but now it’s popping up all over the place because people can’t seem to get enough of the cute patterns and colors. This tape comes in handy if you want to have an organized move and color code all of your boxes.

We especially love this idea to make sure your boxes stay organized by room and end up in the right place on moving day!

Best For: Organizing boxes

Tapes You Shouldn’t Use for Moving

If you stick to our top four tapes for your move, then you should be good to go. But just to make sure you stay on track, we want to mention the tapes that you should avoid for moving.

  • Electrical Tape
  • Plumber’s Tape
  • Medical Tape
  • Cellophane Tape (aka Scotch tape)

Time to Get Taping!

So are you feeling a bit more informed about your taping needs for your upcoming move? Who knew there were so many varieties to choose from? But if choosing the perfect tape for your move makes the process a tiny bit less stressful, then we think it’s worthwhile to spend the time buying the right stuff to get the job done! Go on that tape shopping spree and load up your cart with all of your taping needs.

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