There’s a general perception that you can always go with a single tape for any application. Wrong! Depending on the usage, electrical tapes come in various thicknesses and widths, different colors (for color-coding), and multiple materials for optimal performance.
In this write-up, we review the best electrical insulation tapes 2020 has to offer. Later, in the buyer’s guide portion, we look more closely at key safety features you need to consider when buying one.
1. Scotch Super 33+ Vinyl Electrical Tape
Of course, the best of the best electrical tape comes from 3M Safety. It sticks well, stretches longer, and durable enough to work for a long time. This premium-grade tape is ideal for electrical or mechanical protection and can handle the elements. We mean no exaggeration!
Though available in different sizes, the one we reviewed is ¾ inches wide and 0.18mm thick. You read that right. It is just 0.18mm thick but trust us when we say it is super strong. Besides, one roll of the tape measures around 66 feet in length. It is flame-retardant and can handle cables up to 600 volts. What’s more, super 33+ can stand up to 221 degrees Fahrenheit temperature.
The only downside of this amazing tape is the adhesive. It is so strong that it sticks to the other side when you peel it off. Thus it leaves a sticky residue, which is sometimes hard to clean.
That said, Super 33+ is overall tough to beat for such an affordable price. Miles, better than any roll you will find at the same price. You can use it for general applications, professional, or even heavy-duty purposes. PS: We recommend cutting it with scissors as the “stretch cut” can loosen the end and render it unusable.
Buy Here: Amazon
2. Duck’s Utility Vinyl Electrical Tape
Duck’s Utility vinyl electrical tape is a general-purpose insulator for long last application. If you have an electrical item that needs to be stuck with an insulator, this is for you. Wrap it around dangerous wires or cover up your power lights, so they don’t bother your sleep. Just don’t tape your blender to the microwave!
When it comes to dimensions, Duck’s utility tape is 7mm thick and ¾ inches wide, which is not much, but it does the trick. The total length of the tape is 60 feet. But it is very stretchy. You can easily extend the length to 70 feet, though stretching the tape impacts its adhesion and insulation capability.
Moreover, it is flame resistant up to a temperature of 176 degrees Fahrenheit. However, starts losing its shape once the temperatures cross that threshold. As most of the heat is above 176 degrees, this tape is not heat resistant. So be careful in applications where you expect higher temperatures.
Overall, it is thick, sticks well enough, stretches to fit many surfaces, and provides good performance at fewer than 5 dollars. Nothing can go wrong with this purchase!
Buy Here: Amazon
3. 3M Safety’s Scotch Moisture Sealing Electrical Tape (2228)
Are you afraid of moisture seeping into the wires and damaging the connections because of rust? Try this premium-grade moisture sealing mastic tape from 3M Safety. It can insulate, pad, or even seal the wires/connections when applied. Yeah, no more leaking garden hose!
Talking about dimensions, this one is 1 inch wide and 6.5mm thick, which helps properly seal off moisture. A single roll of the tape is approximately 10 feet in length. It has a 10-15 % stretch, which is not much, but hey, this is a mastic tape, not a vinyl tape. Also, it can withstand temperatures as high as 194 degrees Fahrenheit.
Unfortunately, because of the softness of the material used, it is not resistant to impact. It scratches easily and gets marred and scuffed after some time, ruining the aesthetics of a great matte taping job. You can cover it with a harder, more shiny tape to protect against shearing if you want.
All in all, 3M Safety’s moisture sealing electrical tape is thick, soft, and easy to apply. It is a bit expensive than others but totally worth the extra bucks!
Buy Here: Amazon
4. Tapix Extra Wide Vinyl Electrical Tape
In case you want extra wide tape, Tapix has got your back. This multipurpose electrical tape is 2 inches wide, giving you more than enough coverage to protect open wires or freezing water pipes during the chilly winters. Additionally, the tape’s surface is super smooth, making it a great choice to cover gym equipment.
It is 7 mil in thickness, and one roll of the tape is 66 feet long. As a Vinyl tape, it has excellent stretching characteristics, offering lasting insulation. It is also flame retardant and provides excellent resistance to various weather conditions that cause abrasion, acid, alkali, or moisture corrosion.
Although it works well on all kinds of metals, it is not very sticky. Especially under contact with water, this tape loses adhesion. Therefore we would not advise using products in applications where water may be involved.
That said, Tapix Extra Wide tape is very versatile. Its extra width can be utilized in several applications where you may need to apply more tape.
Buy Here: Amazon
5. Gardner Bender GTPC-550 Electrical Tape Pack
Behold the color coder! The Gardner Bender’s GTPC-550 Electrical Tape Pack contains five rolls of tapes in mixed colors for a complete assortment. They can help you identify phases of the wires or colorful DIY projects – whether indoor or outdoor.
The dimensions of every roll are 7 mil thickness, ½ inches width, and 20 feet in length. It can be used in electrical applications where voltage ratings rise to 600V and temperature to 176 degrees Fahrenheit. The tape is also resistant to moisture, UV rays, abrasion, and several acids. Just be sure to clean the surface before applying.
Our only complaint is that the rolls are rather smaller, which restricts application. It is about half the width of a standard roll of electrical tape. Therefore it works better only for taping smaller objects.
In general, Gardner Bender’s Colorful tape pack is an excellent purchase. The tapes are durable and adhere, like glue. It is ideal for color-coding the wires!
Buy Here: Amazon
When venturing out to purchase an electrical tape, take into account the following considerations:
Electrical tape is different from duct tape, masking tape, or even scotch tape. It is made of pressure-sensitive materials that absorb the current instead of catching fire. Electrical tape can be made of:
The most popular and well known electrical tape material is vinyl. It is durable and robust enough to stay on for a long time. At the same time, the material is so soft, stretchy, and pliable that you can cut it with bare hands.
Rubber tapes provide air-tight insulation. That’s why it is preferred in solutions dealing with cables near water sources. Mostly, rubber tape is used when working with copper or aluminum wires. It can be utilized indoors as well as outdoors.
Mastic tape can handle voltage as high as 600 Volts, making it ideal for household applications. Generally, it is wider than other types of tape and comes in a variety of styles. For instance, it can have a vinyl backing, rubber backing, or no backing at all.
Made of specialized tightly woven cotton fabric, varnished cambric tape is excellent for working with high temperatures. The woven cotton is covered in oil and varnished to further increase insulation. That’s why it can adhere even at 105 degrees.
Did you ever notice different colors within the electrical tape aisle at your local store? No, different colors aren’t to appeal to the aesthetic sense of customers. Each color has a different application. Take a look!
- Black – Low Voltage, Phase A Wire
- Red – Low Voltage, Phase B Wire
- Blue – Low Voltage, Phase C Wire
- Brown – High Voltage, Phase A Wire
- Orange – High Voltage, Phase B Wire
- Yellow – High Voltage, Phase C Wire
- Green – Grounding/Earth Wire
- Green with Yellow – Isolated Grounding Wire
Width and thickness
Select width and thickness as per your needs. In case you need to cover a large area with tape, go for a wider tape as extra width will help cover more area. In contrast, if you want better insulation as you work with higher temperatures, then go for a thicker tape. This rule isn’t always applicable, though. Some thin tapes provide better insulation. However, that depends on the material as well. As a general rule, just remember thicker the tape, the better the insulation.
The top five best electrical insulation tapes mentioned above can be utilized in a wide range of applications. Choosing a suitable electrical insulation tape can be time-consuming and tricky but rewarding nonetheless. Take into account features like endurance, ratings, efficiency, and adhesive power, among others, to filter down the list of options. All the best!