The Best Packing Tapes of 2023

Not all packing tapes are created equal. Here’s how you can choose the right one for shipping, mailing, or storage.

By Timothy Dale | Updated Feb 28, 2023 2:15 PM

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Best Packing Tapes Options


If you have ever grabbed a stray roll of packing tape and used it to secure a box or container that holds dishes, clothes, lamps, and other valuable items, only to have it give way and wind up damaging or destroying what’s inside, you may know the importance of good packaging tape. You can avoid similar scenarios when you use the right kind of packing tape for different jobs, and even climates.

Packaging tape is made specifically to secure boxes for moving and storage needs, and there are various types with different adhesives and activators.

Consider some of the best packing tapes available and discover one that is right for your needs.

  1. BEST OVERALL: Scotch Heavy Duty Shipping Packaging Tape
  2. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Tape King Clear Packing Tape
  3. BEST HEAVY-DUTY: Gorilla Heavy Duty Packing Tape
  4. BEST MASKING: Lichamp General Purpose Masking Tape
  5. BEST CARTON-SEALING: Pro Tapes Pro 184HD High Tensile Carton Sealing Tape
  6. BEST WATER-ACTIVATED: Phyxology Supply Ultra Durable Water-Activated Tape
  7. BEST STRAPPING: Scotch Reinforced Strength Shipping Strapping Tape
  8. BEST WITH DISPENSER: Gorilla Heavy Duty Packing Tape With Dispenser
Best Packing Tapes Options


How We Chose the Best Packing Tape

Packing tape secures boxes that hold valuable items for storage or when moving from one location to another. The best packing tape has a strong adhesive, can withstand the jolts and jostles that accompany moving, can resist extreme temperature fluctuations, and will protect the box and its contents.

To determine the best packing tape on the market, we focused on various types of packing tape, such as carton-sealing, cold temperature, water-activated, strapping, and masking tape. These different types of packing tape work in specific situations and should be used according to your own moving and storage circumstances. Our top picks for the best packing tape will make boxing up your belongings for moving or storage less of a hassle.

Our Top Picks

We gave the products listed below top ratings for quality, price, and customer satisfaction. Here are some of the best packing tapes on the market today.

Best Overall

The Best Packing Tape Option: Scotch Heavy Duty Shipping Packaging Tape

If you’ve struggled to seal boxes, especially those made from 100 percent recycled material, consider Scotch heavy-duty shipping packaging tape. This impressive carton sealing tape uses a solvent-free hot melt adhesive to provide a heavy-duty seal on all box types. This item contains six rolls of the tape, each with an integrated dispenser. The dispensers have fall-back tabs that prevent the tape from rolling backward on the roll. The clear tape also has a coating to protect it from splitting and tearing as it unwinds. Each roll is 1.88 inches in width and, depending on size, has between 25.6 and 65.6 yards of tape wrapped around a 1.5-inch core. The smaller rolls in a larger multipack make this an excellent product for an apartment move.

Product Specs

  • Type: Carton sealing
  • Adhesive strength: Strong
  • Integrated dispenser: Yes


  • Strong seal on all box types; suitable for taping boxes, moving blankets, and sheets
  • Durable, solvent-free, hot-melt adhesive guarantees strong sealing and holding power
  • Resists slivering, splitting, and tearing; suitable for shipping items and boxes


  • Some users report that this tape does not rip evenly when using the dispenser

Get the Scotch heavy-duty packaging tape at Ace Hardware, Amazon (6-pack with dispenser), or The Home Depot (6-pack, roll only).

Best Bang for the Buck

The Best Packing Tape Option: Tape King Clear Packing Tape

Shoppers who regularly use bulk amounts of tape, are planning a major household move, or just want a cost-effective way to stock up will want to consider the Tape King 12-pack of heavy-duty packing tape. It has a total of 720 yards of heavy-duty tape between 12 rolls. Each roll is 2 inches wide and has 60 yards of tape wrapped around the core, making it easy to use directly from the roll or with a similarly-sized dispenser. Tape King says that their clear packing tape is 10 times stronger than any other regular tape, and the clear liner will not yellow with age like lower-quality products. The tape does not come with an integrated dispenser.

Product Specs

  • Type: Carton sealing
  • Adhesive strength: Strong
  • Integrated dispenser: No


  • Pack contains 12 rolls of tape; suitable for commercial and residential moves
  • Manufacturer claims this tape is 10 times stronger than competing brands
  • Clear liner will not yellow or discolor with age like other tapes available


  • No dispenser included with purchase; may need to be purchased separately

Get the Tape King packing tape at Amazon.

Best Heavy-Duty

The Best Packing Tape Option: Gorilla Heavy Duty Packing Tape

Heavy-duty, carton-sealing tape comes with a stronger adhesive than regular carton-sealing tape, which makes it ideal for high-stress situations, such as moving, storage, and shipment. The clear tape is resistant to splits and tears and has an extra thick liner to provide additional support. You can pack more substantial items in a carton, such as books, and know the tape will adhere. The large core of the tape roll makes it easy to grab and control without a dispenser, but you can use this heavy-duty packing tape from Gorilla with a standard-size packing tape dispenser. The pack comes with two rolls of clear packing tape. Each core has 40 yards of tape that measures 1.88 inches wide. The tape is both moisture- and temperature-resistant but is not advisable for extremely low temperatures.

Product Specs

  • Type: Carton sealing
  • Adhesive strength: Strong
  • Integrated dispenser: No


  • Extra-thick construction is perfect for shipping, moving, and storing items
  • 1.88 inches wide; split- and tear-resistant design is perfect for high-stress moving
  • Water- and temperature-resistant design is perfect for storage units located outside


  • Not recommended for extremely low temperatures; may weaken the adhesive

Get the Gorilla packing tape at Amazon or Ace Hardware.

Best Masking

The Best Packing Tapes Option: Lichamp General Purpose Masking Tape

When you want to protect surfaces during painting projects or seal light packages for storage or a move, consider this masking tape from Lichamp. It has a crepe- paper backing that makes it easy to tear and apply, with a pressure-reliant adhesive that sticks to a wide variety of surfaces. You can easily remove the tape, and it doesn’t leave a sticky residue behind like some other tapes. The pack has a total length of 550 yards of tape, separated into ten rolls with a beige-white liner. Each roll is 0.75 inches wide and comes with 55 yards of tape. The tape’s back side has a specialized surface that allows the tape to unwind without tearing, yet also provides enough resistance for controlled use so you don’t have to worry about unraveling more tape than you need.

Product Specs

  • Type: Masking
  • Adhesive strength: Light
  • Integrated dispenser: No


  • Can be easily removed with no residue left behind; suitable for light-duty taping
  • Crepe paper backing for easy tearing; suitable for taping wrapping paper to dishes and glassware
  • This tape’s premium adhesive can withstand light-duty storage, moving, and shipping


  • While this masking tape is considered painter’s tape, its adhesive may leave residue on walls

Get the Lichamp packing tape at Amazon.

Best Carton-Sealing

The Best Packing Tapes Option: Pro Tapes Pro 184HD High Tensile Carton Sealing Tape

The thick paper line on the Pro Tapes Pro 184HD carton sealing tape is dark brown and provides excellent tensile strength, but it is also easy to tear so that you can quickly take what you need. The tape is made with a rubber resin to increase its resistance to high and fluctuating temperatures and physical shock, which can occur when a package slides or falls. This roll of carton-sealing tape wins high points for binding box flaps. The adhesive bonds well to most types of cardboard, which makes it especially suited to boxes you plan to move or store for short periods. One caveat: You must apply the tape at room temperature for the adhesive to have the best effect.

Product Specs

  • Type: Carton sealing
  • Adhesive strength: Strong
  • Integrated dispenser: No


  • High tensile strength compared to similar options; made with rubber resin with a paper backing
  • Ample abrasion and temperature resistance; suitable for stressful moves and storing in outdoor storage units
  • Bonds well with most types of cardboard boxes and moving materials


  • Must be applied at room temperature for adhesive to stick well

Get the Pro Tapes packing tape at Amazon or Kmart.

Best Water-Activated

The Best Packing Tapes Option: Phyxology Supply Ultra Durable Water-Activated Tape

You cannot break the incredible bond of Phyxology Supply’s water-activated tape without damaging the cardboard underneath. When you pack boxes for a move or storage, you can consider this ultra-durable water-activated tape for packing a top choice. The tape not only holds the boxes or cartons in place but acts as a theft-deterrent because it’s difficult to remove and impossible to replace.

This tape from Phyxology Supply (formerly Nova Pro Supply) is 2.75 inches in width and comes with 450 yards of tape on the roll. The brown liner is reinforced with fiberglass and has a heavy-duty adhesive for an extra-strong bond. This tape is resistant to extreme heat, extreme cold, dust, dirt, and moisture. To apply, simply wet the tape and stick it to the surface. Adjust it before it dries for a perfect seal.

Product Specs

  • Type: Water activated
  • Adhesive strength: Very strong
  • Integrated dispenser: No


  • Very strong adhesive strength; guards against potential theft if boxes are left outside while moving
  • Comes with 450 yards of tape per roll; suitable for large moves or multiple uses
  • Reinforced with fiberglass for added strength, durability, and long-term adhesion
  • Suitable for outdoor storage units; temperature-, dust-, and moisture-resistant


  • Dispenser is not included with purchase; may need to be purchased separately
  • Very hard to remove once applied; caution advised while applying

Get the Phyxology Supply packing tape at Amazon.

Best Strapping

The Best Packing Tapes Option: Scotch Reinforced Strength Shipping Strapping Tape

Consider the Scotch reinforced strapping tape if you want a tape that you can rely on to keep your heaviest possessions safe during a move or while in storage. The extra-thick liner of this strapping tape is made with bi-directional fiberglass-reinforced fibers and features a heavy-duty hot melt adhesive that has a tensile strength of over 100 pounds per inch.

Each roll is 30 yards in length. Its 1.88-inch width means it fits on most standard-sized tape dispensers, but it doesn’t come with an integrated dispenser. However, its core gives you an easy to grip surface for simple, effective taping even without a dispenser.

Product Specs

  • Type: Strapping tape
  • Adhesive strength: Strong
  • Integrated dispenser: No


  • Hot-melt adhesive and bidirectional fiberglass reinforcement; provides 100 pounds of tensile strength per inch
  • Extra-thick construction is suitable for using on boxes; can handle heavy boxes
  • Each roll contains 30 yards of tape; suitable for big moves or multiple uses


  • Difficult to remove once applied; caution advised when applying to any surface
  • Dispenser is not included with purchase; may need to be purchased separately

Get the Scotch strapping packing tape at Amazon.

Best With Dispenser

The Best Packing Tape Option: Gorilla Heavy Duty Packing Tape With Dispenser

When you pack a large number of items, an integrated tape dispenser makes the work go faster. If you’re packing household items for a move, boxing up items for shipping, or any other packaging, consider Gorilla’s heavy-duty packing tape with dispenser. You don’t need a dispenser to use the tape on its core but if you use the integrated dispenser, you will find the job goes much easier and faster. The dispenser is easy to grip, load, and use. Its metal cutting blade and fall-back tabs allow you to quickly put tape on a package and cut it without worry that it will roll back into the dispenser and stick together.

The clear tape has an extra thick liner that is resistant to moisture and temperature fluctuations. It is split- and tear-resistant, providing additional support to the heavy-duty adhesive. Each of the six rolls measures 1.88 inches wide and 25 yards long.

Product Specs

  • Type: Carton sealing
  • Adhesive strength: Strong
  • Integrated dispenser: Yes


  • Integrated dispenser is easy to use; metal cutting blade and fall-back tabs are built-in
  • Extra-thick liner resists moisture and temperature fluctuations; suitable for outdoor storage units
  • Split- and tear-resistant; suitable for heavy boxes and stressful moves
  • Available as single roll as well as packs of 4, 6, or 9


  • Some users say this tape sticks to the roll after its applied with the dispenser

Get the Gorilla packing tape with dispenser at Amazon or Lowe’s.

Jump to Our Top Picks


What to Consider When Choosing the Best Packing Tape

Before you choose the best packing tape for your moving and storage needs, consider the following shopping considerations.

Types of Packing Tape

Packing tape is available in different styles and for various jobs, including carton sealing, cold temperature adhesion, water-activated adhesion, strapping strength, and masking qualities. The best packing tapes detailed here have universal qualities that benefit every user.

Carton Sealing

Carton-sealing tape is the most common type of packing tape. It is frequently used by those who work in packaging warehouses or moving companies, but almost everyone who has moved or stored items has used it. This tape is an excellent choice if your packages are not subjected to extreme temperature variations. If you use it on hefty packages or are worried about theft, you may want to choose a different type of packing tape.

Cold Temperature

One problem with regular carton-sealing tape is that extremely low temperatures can render the adhesive ineffective. If you live in or are moving items to a cold climate, or if the items are stored or held in a refrigerated area (such as an ice cream truck or freezer), you want cold temperature tape. This tape uses the same liner as carton-sealing tape, but it has an adhesive specifically designed to hold fast when exposed to cold temperatures. However, as you might have guessed, this tape is not a great option for extremely warm temperatures.

Water Activated

When you ship items across the country or rely on movers to haul your possessions to a new location, security is an obvious concern. It’s easy to remove and reapply carton sealing tape without evidence. You should consider water-activated tape to ensure your items stay secure. This tape activates when it is wet, bonds to cardboard, and creates a seal that you must cut or tear to break. When you remove the tape there is evidence of tampering.


If your boxes are too heavy for regular carton tape to securely seal, you should consider strapping tape. Manufacturers weave glass filaments or fiberglass into this tape, reinforcing the liner for added durability, strength, and flexibility. Strapping tape is a bit more expensive than other varieties, but it holds heavy items securely inside containers.


Masking tape is a specialized tape with a pressure-sensitive adhesive that allows it to be easily applied and removed. The thin, paper liner, which is easy to tear, is designed for protecting areas like baseboards during painting. You can also use masking tape to secure light packages, but its weak adhesive means it won’t perform well on moderate to hefty packages.

Adhesion Strength

The adhesion strength of a tape determines how effectively it sticks to a surface and is a significant factor in how you should use it. How heavy are the boxes you are packing? How strong does your tape have to be to fulfill its purpose? These are important considerations because they determine the type of tape you need.

  • Masking tape is the weakest of the packing tape types, having both the lowest adhesion strength and liner strength.
  • Carton-sealing tape has strong adhesion and will serve most light packing purposes. However, weighty contents will stress and possibly break this tape.
  • Water-activated tape cannot come unstuck once activated, which makes it perfect for containers holding heavy items. Its resistance also deters thefts. However, if you pack multiple boxes, it can get frustrating to wet your tape continually.
  • Strapping tape uses the same strong adhesive as carton sealing tape, but the liner is much more robust so it provides more support and durability.

Moving & Storage Circumstances

Before you choose a packing tape, consider the moving or storage conditions. A short move to a new house in the same city won’t require tape with long-lasting adhesive, but you will want to make sure it is strong enough to support your most substantial boxed items. Alternately, storing a package for months at a time will depend heavily on the longevity of the adhesive. The liner’s strength isn’t a significant factor when the box is in long-term storage.

However, moving versus storage isn’t the only consideration. How are you moving? If you hire movers, then you may want to use water-activated tape to keep your belongings safe from theft. If you plan to store boxes or cartons year-round in frigid climates or move to a frigid climate, choose cold weather tape.

There are many other considerations to keep in mind: humidity, precipitation, or even the method you use to transport your packages. For example, boxes on a boat will be subject to high moisture, while those on a truck may be subjected to shifts. Always keep in mind the travel and storage conditions when deciding on packing tape.

Required Amount of Tape

Determine the amount of tape you will need before you begin the project so that you don’t get partway through your packing and have to run to the store for more tape. Packing tape manufacturers will always list how much tape is included on a roll and bulk package. You can measure this in two ways.

First is the width of the tape, which is commonly between 0.5 inches and 4 inches. You need to know the width of the space where the tape will be applied so that you can bind the surfaces and provide an adequate seal. Second is the length of the tape on the roll. You commonly measure rolls in yards, but you can also measure them in inches or feet. If you estimate the amount of tape you need, always err on the side of caution. Get more than you need so you don’t run out half-way through. After all, extra tape around the house is never a bad thing (within reason).

Tape Roll vs. Integrated Dispenser

Tape can come by itself on a roll, or you may be able to find an integrated tape dispenser that makes it easy to quickly and efficiently apply tape to your packages.

  • Tape rolls on their own are simple and easy to use. Just find the edge of the tape and pull to unravel it from the roll. Rolls are easier to store without dispensers, and you can control the amount of tape you use more effectively.
  • Integrated dispensers can make it more challenging to have a controlled pull of the tape. You may wind up using a bit more tape, but you likely won’t miss it, especially when you have multiple boxes to pack. You can use the handle and cutting blade on a dispenser to quickly stick, pull, and cut your tape.

Ease of Use

Applying a piece of tape seems easy enough, but depending on the type you get, you may be spending a lot more time just getting your tape to stick.

  • Masking tape is relatively simple to use, but the liner and adhesive are weaker than any other packing tape. This can cause the tape to break or come detached, forcing you to reapply it.
  • Carton-sealing tape is the most common type of packing tape. Due to its popularity you can find many products with integrated dispensers that make it incredibly easy and quick to use.
  • Water-activated tape is the most challenging type to use because the adhesive does not become activated until you expose it to water. The strong bond formed in the process is incredible, but if your tape is in the wrong place when it gets wet, you will have a hard time correcting the issue.
  • Strapping tape is similar to carton-sealing tape in ease of use; however, it is less popular, so you may find it challenging to find an integrated dispenser with the strapping tape product.


Before you choose the best packing tape for your projects, consider the answers to the following commonly asked questions.

Q. What is the difference between packing tape and shipping tape?

Packing tape has a long-lasting adhesive that works in both hot and cold temperatures and works best when cartons are sealed for moves, delivery, or storage. Shipping tape manufacturers use a hot melt adhesive that makes it more durable over the short term. The adhesive is strong enough to withstand multiple touchpoints but may fail when exposed to frigid temperatures.

Q. Is duct tape stronger than packing tape?

The two types of tape have different purposes, so it is difficult to say which is stronger. Duct tape is intended to form a tight seal across air ducts and has a certain amount of built-in stretch. Packing tape is more rigid, which means that it would not stretch under the same force as duct tape. However, this same rigidity would likely prevent the packing tape from absorbing sudden force, such as if a package is dropped.

Q. How thick is packing tape?

You measure the thickness of packing tape in Mils. One Mil is equivalent to 1/1000th of an inch. On average, packing tape is between 1 to 6 Mil, though this varies by manufacturer and quality.

Q. What is the best tape to use on cardboard?

For short-term strength, such as when you mail a package, use shipping tape. However, for long-term storage, or if the cardboard is exposed to a wide range of temperatures, packing tape ensures lasting adhesion.

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