Move over, duct tape, there’s another tape that has nearly as many uses. Double-sided tape can be used to adhere any two surfaces you want to stick together tightly—without the need for glue or nails—in crafting, household, industrial, or manufacturing applications.
With so many products to choose from, it can be hard to select the best double-sided tape for your projects. We’ve done the legwork for you and came up with this comprehensive review to help you make the right purchase.
- BEST OVERALL: Gorilla Tough & Clear Double Sided Mounting Tape
- BEST HEAVY DUTY: HitLights Double Sided Tape
- BEST REMOVABLE: Scotch Double Sided Tape
- BEST FOR CARPET: XFasten Double Sided Carpet Tape
- BEST FOR FABRIC: Scotch Essentials Wardrobe Tape Strips
- BEST FOR PAINTED WALLS: Scotch Indoor Mounting Tape
- BEST FOR CRAFTS: AJ Sign World Permanent Double-Sided Tape
- ALSO CONSIDER: Phinus Double Sided Tape
What to Look for When Choosing the Best Double-Sided Tape
Double-sided tape is a versatile, economical alternative to glue. It has pressure-sensitive adhesive exposed on both sides of the tape which allows two items to be bonded together. The adhesive lies on top of a carrier material, which can range from film as thin as a fraction of a millimeter up to a thick foam several millimeters thick.
Unlike single-side tape, double-sided tape creates an invisible bond between two objects. Moreover, there’s little time required for the bond to form—you just peel and stick. The tape is often used to hang signs or temporary displays, attach foam to wall panels or flooring underlayment to floors, secure and hold carpets in place for major events or trade shows, and much more. The type of double-sided tape you need depends on the application.
When shopping for double-sided tape, you’ll want to consider the tape type, adhesive level, thickness, width, application setting, and other factors. Below are some common characteristics to take into account when picking the right double-sided tape for your project.
There are several types of double-sided tape with various carrier materials, each serving a specific purpose. Double-sided tape types fall into one of the below categories:
- Tissue tape is the most common type used for light bonding tasks. It’s mostly used for stationery, art, crafting projects, office, and general applications. Double-sided tissue tape is easy to tear, and is thin enough that it can adhere to irregular surfaces. It’s also inexpensive and a good alternative to glue.
- Acrylic tape is primarily used in industrial environments. It’s stronger than tissue tape and is weather-resistant, making it ideal for both indoor and outdoor use. Acrylic double-sided tape should only be used when permanent bonding is needed.
- Polyethylene tape, also known as foam double-sided tape, provides thick cushioning and insulation. Double-sided polyethylene tape is well-suited for uneven surfaces.
- Floor tape is used on floor surfaces, like carpet, to hold items like area rugs or runners in place. They have medium adhesion, which allows for removal without residue.
- Double-sided tape has either acrylic or rubber adhesives. Acrylic adhesives are stronger but more expensive and rubber adhesives are generally cheaper but less suited for long-term applications. Acrylic adhesive is also more heat- and light-resistant than rubber.
Thickness and Width
Double-sided tape has either thick or thin bonding systems. Tapes with thick bonding systems adhere well to unusual, non-uniform, or highly patterned and textured surfaces. This type of tape usually has a foam carrier layer. Thin bonding systems are significantly thinner. Sometimes the carrier layer is so thin that they are pretty much an adhesive on top of a silicone liner. These tapes are best suited for light adhesion applications.
Width varies quite a bit with double-sided tape. Rolls are available in widths less than 1/4-inch to several inches wide. Each type of tape will have several width options to suit your project.
The right double-sided tape for your project depends on the surface of the two objects you’re trying to stick together. Surface energy is the degree of attraction or repulsion force a material exerts on another material. Double-sided tape works best on surfaces with a high surface energy, like glass, glazed tile, and bare metals. The surface energy of plastic can vary quite a bit, but in general, it’s best to use a stronger tape. Then there’s silicone, which has such low surface energy that conventional adhesives won’t stick to it. Silicone needs a very tacky adhesive, or one specially formulated to adhere to it.
For flat and smooth surfaces like glass, aluminum, and PVC, you can use thinner tape. For rougher surfaces like wood, cement, brick, and stucco, thicker tapes work best. Painted or coated surfaces need thicker, stronger tape as well.
The environment plays an important role in the adhesion of double-sided tape. Is the tape for indoor or outdoor use? Some tapes are not designed to hold up in outdoor environments.
For outdoor tapes, the weather impacts adhesion quality. The cooler the temperatures, the weaker the resulting bond will be. But high heat isn’t good for adhesion either—it can cause the adhesive to melt and loosen the bond.
Dust, grease, or moisture can also compromise the bond between two surfaces. Cleaning the surface with rubbing alcohol and making sure it’s completely dry before application will guarantee a stronger bond.
Double-sided tapes are rated by the maximum load they can hold. In general, thicker tapes hold more weight. Additionally, tapes with acrylic-based glue will hold more weight. However, the strength of the bond depends on the surface and weight of the object.
The load capacity is determined by the tape’s adhesive viscosity. Adhesive viscosity is similar to liquid viscosity— if it flows easily, it has low viscosity; if it does not, it has high viscosity. However, the viscosity rating for double-sided tape basically determines how well it binds to uneven surfaces. For rough surfaces, a viscous tape is preferable because it will spread into all the nooks and crannies of the uneven surface. Smooth surfaces do not need tape that is as viscous.
In some tapes, viscosity increases as the tape cures on the surface, strengthening the bond.
Pick a tape that best matches the surface energy of your items and consider the maximum load rate.
Double-sided tape is either removable or permanent. The removable variety is meant for temporary use and is easily removed. Permanent tapes are used mostly in industrial manufacturing, but strong tapes are also available for home use. These tapes are typically used in lieu of glue or nails to permanently hold two objects together.
The longevity of the bond depends on how strong the adhesive is, as well as the environment. In climate-controlled environments, most double-sided tapes will hold a bond until you remove it. In outdoor environments, the bond is subjected to heat, cold, and moisture, which will eventually cause the bond to deteriorate.
There may come a time when you need to remove double-sided tape. Thankfully, for most of them, a little heat will cause the adhesive to melt and break the bond. You can use a blow dryer or a heat gun to warm the surface and slightly melt the adhesive. Sometimes the tape will release from one side, but hold fast to the other. Apply more heat to break the bond.
If heat does not remove the adhesive, try commercial residue cleaners. These products work by dissolving the sticky adhesive on the tape, making it easier to remove. Pour some of it on the tape and let it soak in for a few minutes, then scrape it off.
Our Top Picks
Double-sided tape can work in a variety of scenarios if you start with the right option. The ones listed here were selected for their quality and price to help you find the best one suited for the project at hand.
Gorilla’s double-sided tape is great for projects where traditional fasteners won’t work. The tape works on a variety of surfaces, including stone, concrete, glass, metal, bricks, tile, plastic, and wood. However, because it’s a permanent tape and features a strong adhesive, it’s not recommended for delicate surfaces such as painted drywall.
This mounting tape holds 1 pound per 4 inches of tape, and it can hold up to 15 pounds maximum. It’s good for both indoor and outdoor applications and it won’t yellow over time. The tape is moisture- and heat-resistant up to 194 degrees Fahrenheit.
This tape offers a wide range of mounting, repairing, and bonding applications. If you need a permanent tape that mounts in an instant with a long-lasting, weatherproof bond, Gorilla’s product is a solid choice.
This industrial-strength, high-bond acrylic foam tape is rated to hold up to 90 pounds per inch. Suitable for most applications, including outdoor use, the tape works on a variety of materials, including aluminum, steel, glass, and plastics.
HitLights tape grabs a firm hold immediately, its viscosity increases if it’s allowed to “cure” for 24 hours. Meaning, the bond created by this permanent tape actually strengthens over time, and the product truly shines in cases where waterproof adhesion is required.
This removable tape features a unique adhesive that holds paper securely but is easy to reposition or remove if needed or desired. This ability makes Scotch’s tape a terrific option to use in small projects, such as photo albums and scrapbooks. (The tape is acid-free and archival, so it will not yellow or damage either photographs or papers.)
For light-duty mounting needs, this double-sided tape is a fine option, not least because it comes in an easy-to-use dispenser that allows the tape to glide off the roll smoothly.
XFasten’s durable carpet tape is a top solution for keeping area rugs and runners firmly in place. If you want to move the rug later, no worries—the tape can be removed easily by hand without leaving a sticky residue behind.
Surfaces must be dry and free of debris before application, but the tape is safe for use on hardwood, vinyl, and tile, as well as on carpeting of all types.
Wardrobe malfunctions always seem to happen at the worst possible time. Whether you lose a button or the hem on your skirt, Scotch’s wardrobe tape strips offer a temporary, no-sew solution. Use them to secure necklines, blouse gaps, hems, and more. In a pinch, the product also works as a lint remover.
The double-sided tape strips are precut and come in a small portable container that fits easily into a pocket or purse.
Not all double-sided tapes like to adhere to painted surfaces, but Scotch’s foam mounting tape delivers a strong, permanent bond in 30 seconds flat and is able to hold 1 pound per 3 inches of tape.
This product is ideal for mounting pictures and decorations, not least because it can be used on most types of walls, including ceramic tile and wood surfaces that are clean, dry, and smooth. However, this tape is not recommended for use on wallpaper or delicate surfaces. For the best results, apply when the temperature is between 50 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
AJ Sign’s acid-free tissue tape excels in all types of arts and crafts applications. It’s easy to tear by hand—no scissors required—and it’s transparent, which makes the tape more versatile. It’s also extremely thin, measuring only 0.9mm thick. Because of its thinness, this AJ Sign tape is only suited for use on smooth surfaces. Note also that this is a permanent tape. Once it’s on, it’s on for good.
A budget-friendly option, this double-sided tape by Phinus works best on smooth surfaces, such as glass, metal, plastic, ceramic tile, and marble. Because it has a strong acrylic adhesive base, it’s not suitable for delicate surfaces such as wallpaper, painted surfaces, or broken walls.
The tape is flexible and leaves no residue when removed from proper surfaces. It has a cold/heat resistance of -4 to 160 degrees Fahrenheit and is resistant to moisture and solvents, making it useful outdoors as well as inside the home.
FAQs About Your New Double-Sided Tape
Now that you have read through the characteristics of double-sided tape, you may still have a few questions. Read on to see some of the commonly asked questions about double-sided tape.
Q. How do you prepare a surface for tape application?
The surface must be free from dust, dirt, and oil, and be completely dry before application. Use rubbing alcohol to wash away any residue and dry with a tack cloth before applying the tape.
Q. What is the ideal temperature for applying double-sided tape?
The ideal temperature for both the surface and the tape is 65 degrees Fahrenheit, or 18 degrees Celsius.
Q. What is the strongest double-sided tape?
VHB tape, such as the HitLights Double Sided Tape, is the strongest double-sided tape available for consumers.
Q. Can double-sided tape be removed?
Yes. Typically applying heat to the surface will cause the adhesive to melt and release the bond.