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.