Three Things to Consider Before Buying Duct Tape

Strong and sticky, duct tape is one of the most popular tools for temporary fixes.

Banana duct taped to wall
When you need to “fix” something, reach for a roll of duct tape.Lucas van Oort

Originally designed with a layer of durable “duck cloth” backing, duct tapes have evolved and morphed into a wide variety of products. The standard tapes have a shiny aluminum-like finish created with a powdered pigment, though now you can buy duct tape in dozens of colors. Known for sticking it out in tough, wet conditions, duct tape has fixed everything from busted canoes to ripped cocktail dresses and even a fender on a lunar rover. But standard duct tape received some serious upgrades, so here are three things you should know before you choose a roll.

Gorilla Waterproof Patch & Seal Tape 4" x 10' Black, (Pack of 1)
This product sticks with a near-permanent bond.Gorilla

The term “duct tape” can refer to products as varied as the standard silver tape to versions designed for underwater use, and even oversized tapes tough enough to patch pool liners and low-pressure hoses. You don’t want to overdo it, so be sure you’re buying a tape suited for your job.

3M 2979 Multi-Use Duct Tape, Silver, 1.88 in x 60 yd x 7 mil, 1 Pack, Temporary Repair, Patching, Tabbing, Capping Pipe, Marking, Labeling
This commercial-grade roll has a bit of stretch coupled with high-tensile strength.3M

A standard roll of duct tape should be in every toolbox and every vehicle. A polyethylene-backed roll of duct tape has a firm hold, comes off the roll easily, and tears in a straight line. There aren’t many jobs it can’t handle, from joining ripped fabrics to hanging plastic sheeting to bundling up a cardboard box.

Gorilla Black Duct Tape, 1.88" x 35 yd, Black, (Pack of 1)
This heavy-duty roll peels off in thick strips for tough jobs.Gorilla

Some modern duct tapes have incredible properties like double-thick adhesive layers that grip uneven surfaces like rusty metal, masonry, and lightly furrowed tree bark. The tape fabric is twice as thick as standard duct tape, with offset textile patterns that can make it up to 145 percent stronger than common duct tape. But beware: these turbo-charged tapes might not stretch, and they can be difficult to tear with your hands.

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