Electrical tape Vs duct tape Vs heat shrink insulation tape

Electrical tape Vs duct tape Vs heat shrink insulation tape

When working with wires and cables, there are generally three types of tape that can be used. Here, we look at the features and applications of electrical tape, duct tape and heat shrink insulation tape.

What is electrical tape?

Electrical tape is the generic term given to adhesive tapes that are used in electrical phasing and wiring to protect and insulate wires and cables that carry electricity. Electrical tape can be manufactured in a variety of materials such as rubber, vinyl and even cloth.

What is PVC insulation tape?

PVC (polyvinyl chloride) is just one of the materials that electrical tape can be manufactured from, so PVC tape is a type of electrical tape. At cableties-online, we stock PVC tape in a range of industry recognised colours.

Features of PVC insulation tape

PVC tape withstands temperatures as low as -45°C (-50°F) and, coupled with its weather resistance, is the perfect choice for outdoor applications in adverse conditions.

What is duct tape?

Duct tape is a cloth backed, adhesive tape constructed from three layers – a top layer of polythene and a bottom layer of rubber-based glue sandwich a middle layer of fabric. The polythene layer not only protects the fabric layer from moisture and erosion, but is flexible enough that the tape will stick to uneven surfaces. The fabric layer gives the tape its strength but still allows it to be torn by hand.

Features of duct tape

Duct tape is durable, strong and water resistant, but NOT waterproof. While it is stronger than electrical tape, it is not a suitable alternative as it does not offer the same level of fire resistance or conductive properties; it does not envelop wires closely enough and the cloth content is a potential fire hazard.  As a general purpose tape, duct tape is better used for general sealing and repair jobs.

What is heat shrink insulation tape?

Similar to electrical tape, heat shrink insulation tape is used to protect wires and cables but will shrink to form a tight fit around cables when heat is applied.

Features of heat shrink insulation tape

Heat shrink insulation tape is durable and offers a working temperature range to -55°C (-67°F). When heat is applied with a glue gun, the adhesive lining melts to form a watertight seal. Heat shrink insulation tape works almost instantly but is a permanent solution and cannot be undone if mistakes are made in its application.

Electrical supplies from cableties-online

As well as duct tape and PVC insulation tape, we always carry buoyant stock levels in a wide choice of other tapes.  Our adhesive heat shrink tubing is a viable alternative to heat shrink insulation tape for protecting cables and our article Adhesive heat shrink tubing discusses how it can be used.

If you are unsure of the best tape for your forthcoming project, our staff is available to answer any questions, and our price promise means that if ever you find comparable products elsewhere, we will match the price and return the difference to you. We can be contacted by phone on 01623 412160 or via email at sales@cableties-online.co.uk