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Why Is Gaffers Tape More Expensive Than Duct Tape?

I'm often asked what the difference is between gaffers tape and duct tape. After all, gaffers is more expensive, and duct tape seems to be adequate for many types of jobs. Duct tape is a good option for projects that require tape to permanently hold something in place. But if the tape is only intended to be in place temporarily, gaffers may be the better choice.

Gaffers tape is preferred by people in the theater, event, and audio/visual industries because it can be removed without leaving behind an adhesive residue, but another benefit is that it doesn't reflect light.

Some applications for gaffers tapes – such as the Polyken 510 Premium Grade Gaffers Tape – include protecting and anchoring wiring in the photography and film industry; bookbinding; vinyl school bus seat repair; wrapping or bundling of wire, metals, and plastics; protecting and anchoring electrical wiring; and moisture and dust-proof sealing of equipment cases and film canisters. This is a high-tack tape that works well in both low and high temperature applications, and has a clean removal adhesive.

Other gaffers tapes, such as the Pro Tapes Cable-Path Tape or the JVCC Wire-Line Cable Cover Tape, have an adhesive-free zone in the center of the tape which allows for cable and wire to be easily pulled through – and there’s no adhesive left behind after removal. This tape is perfect for events and productions where you need to tack running wires onto floors and need the flexibility of adjusting length.

Duct tape is well known for its versatility and strength. It will hold together almost everything, making it a very reliable tape to use when you want to be sure that your project doesn't fall apart. Polyken 231 Military Grade Duct Tape is used for military and aerospace packaging and other demanding applications. Nashua 357 Premium Grade Duct Tape is the duct tape professional contractors choose when they require a consistent, trouble-free product. Its uses include HVAC (heating, ventilating, air conditioning) and refrigeration applications, the sealing of seams and joints in metal air handling systems, and the manufacture of flexible duct equipped with metal collars – among many others.

The high adhesion properties of duct tape means it typically will leave behind residue, so it's not the best choice when you need to remove the tape once your job, event or project is over.

Watch the video below and I’ll show you the difference in adhesive residue left behind by each tape.

Uses for Gaffers Tape

gaffers tapeGaffers tape, which is also referred to as gaffer tape, is a form of adhesive tape that has numerous uses. Gaffers tape can be purchased in rolls that come in varying lengths as well as widths. The traditional color of this tape is a matte black but you can find them in several other colors such as blue, white, burgundy, gray, fluorescent pink and so on.

Gaffers tape is quite similar to duct tape in the sense that it can be useful in an array of applications. However, unlike duct tape, this tape will not leave any adhesive residue when it is peeled off a surface plus it offers a matte finish.

So, what are some of the numerous uses of gaffers tape?

Mark Positions
A common use for gaffers tape is in positional marking. It is commonly used in the theater industry to mark positions on the surface of the floor that will indicate where props are supposed to go. It is often used in the theater and TV industries to mark actors' starting positions. What’s great about this tape is its durability. It won’t easily wear down due to foot traffic. In addition to marking starting positions, it can also be used to coordinate props since it comes in a wide variety of colors.

Manage Cables
Production studios, and convention halls also use gaffers tape to manage cables. Many cables in one area can prove to be a hazard as people could easily trip over them and have a nasty fall. With this tape the cables can be firmly affixed to the floor thus lowering the chances of any accidents happening. And when it is time to remove the cables and wires the tape will not leave them sticky like a duct tape would.

Bus Seat Repairs
Since this adhesive tape is a vinyl-coated cloth product it pairs nicely when covering tears and rips in vinyl seating like on buses. It comes in wide widths like 3 and 4 inches wide and in colors such as burgundy and dark green which works great for matching common bus seat colors and making repairs.

Book Binding
Gaffers tape is also widely used when binding books since its matte appearance is preferable to the shinny look you would get back with a duct tape. Its cloth backing also makes it very conformable so as to wrap nicely around a book binding. Typically a high tensile strength gaffers with good adhesion is used for book binding applications such as Shurtape Professional Grade (P-672) gaff.

Other Uses
Gaffer tape is not only used for positional marking in the theater industry, it can be used in plenty of other places. For example, it can be used to mark a hazard area, an incline, flights of stairs, and so on. FindTape.com sells gaffers tape in all its varieties.