Gaffers Tape vs. Duct Tape

Have you ever wondered why gaffers tape is more expensive than duct tape? We explain what makes gaffers tape special and why it is the preferred product for theater, events and audio/visual applications.

What is Gaffers Tape?

Gaffers tape, also known as gaffer tape, gaff tape or spike tape for narrow, colored gaffer tape, is a heavy-duty vinyl coated, cloth pressure-sensitive tape. Gaff tape is typically extremely flexible, non-reflective (low-gloss) and has clean removal adhesive (no-residue). Duct tape is a polyethylene coated, cloth pressure-sensitive tape with a shinier finish than gaff tape and is not residue free.

Non-reflective or low-gloss can be important if you are filming or staging a theatre production and want to minimize the light reflection. Polyken 510 Premium Grade Gaffers Tape has a non-reflective matte cloth backing that is very low gloss and waterproof so it is ideal for outdoors or anywhere weather and temperature are factors.

Main Differences

The primary difference between gaffer tape and duct tape is the adhesive residue left behind when the tape is removed. Gaffers tape is designed to be removed residue free to the cord and flooring it was adhered too. Duct tape will leave a sticky (adhesive) residue when it is removed.

Tape Width Advice

If you are adhering a thicker cable, i.e. monitor cable, it is best to use a 3-inch to 4-inch width tape to allow more tape surface area with your flooring. If you are working with thinner cables, a 1-inch to 2-inch gaff tape may work for your project.

Zone-Coated or Wire-Line Cable Tape

Zone-coated or wire-line tape has a smooth, non-adhesive center section which allows for a cable to freely pass through the tape, only the edges of the tape have adhesive. The Pro Tapes Cable-Path tape and JVCC Wire-Line Cable Cover tape are ideal for wire concealment in film, television, conventions, tradeshows, audio/visual and entertainment applications.

FindTape offers gaff tapes in a large array of colors, widths, lengths and types for all your event and project needs. Reach Customer Service at for technical questions. Please subscribe to our YouTube Channel and watch more videos here. Best prices, easy shopping and fast shipping.

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