Comparing Acrylic & Hot Melt Packing Tape

Packaging tape is a key component to the packaging process.  It can mean the difference between your shipment arriving to you recipient, or not.   There are a number of different types of packaging tapes as well as many different specifications and performance features to consider when selecting the right packaging tape for your needs.  The decision-making process can be overwhelming and stressful.  We’ve compiled some helpful information and tips to assist you in selecting the right packaging tape.

Which Mil Should I Use?

Mil is a unit of thickness equal to one thousandth of an inch (.001 inch).  Packing tapes are generally measured in terms of their mil thickness.  The table below helps to determine the appropriate mil thickness based upon the weight and overall dimensions of the box being shipped.  

Which Type of Tape Should I Use?

  • Acrylic Tape (water-based acrylic) – Often used during long-term storage or environments with extreme temperatures such as high humidity or refrigeration.  Recommended for use in lightweight box sealing.
  • Hot Melt Tape (synthetic rubber) – Typically used in most sealing and shipping situations because it has higher adhesion than acrylic.  Hot Melt Tape is also more flexible and provides a more consistent seal.

Tape Selection Tips

  • Tip #1:  Seal boxes with one strip of tape instead of multiple.  If you are using two strips of 2” tape, switch to a 3” tape or thicker Mil tape to save time and money.
  • Tip #2:  Use 2” wide tape for boxes 15” wide or less.  Use 3” wide tape for boxes over 16” wide and for underfilled or overstuffed boxes.
  • Tip #3:  Consider tape grade when choosing a tape for your application.  Tape grade refers to the thickness of the tape backing and the level of adhesion applied.  Lower grades of tape are thinner with a weaker tackiness.  Higher grades of tape are thicker and have more adhesive.   Higher grade tapes are recommended for heavy-duty sealing applications.
  • Tip #4: Invest in good quality tape.  High tensile strength tapes with a high elongation percentage are less likely to break or tear, allowing for a more productive taping process.  Tensile strength is the force, or load, required to break a tape.   Elongation is the percentage that tape can be stretched just before breaking.  

SupplyLand offers a wide range of packing tapes in both acrylic and hot melt.  If you need additional assistance selecting a packing tape that will work for your application, please reach out to us at [email protected] for more assistance.  

The information contained in this article is for information, educational and promotional purposes only and is based on the information available as of the initial date of publication.  It is the reader’s responsibility to ensure compliance with all applicable laws, rules, codes and regulations.  If there is any question or doubt in regards to any element contained in this article, please consult a licensed professional.  Under no circumstances will SupplyLand be liable for any loss or damage caused by your reliance on this article.