Is PVC tape the same as electrical tape?

Is PVC tape the same as electrical tape?

What is PVC tape? And what is it used for? Is PVC tape the same thing as electrical tape? If you are unsure about how to use PVC tape, our handy guide has lots of answers for you.

What is electrical tape?

Electrical tape is an adhesive tape that is used specifically for electrical phasing and wiring jobs. Used as a safety measure, electrical tape is applied to any wires or cables which will conduct electricity, to protect and insulate them.  Electrical tape is available in different types, depending on the material it is made from, including cloth electrical tape, mastic electrical tape, vinyl electrical tape, rubber electrical tape, and PVC electrical tape.

What is PVC tape?

PVC tape is one variety of electrical tape, as mentioned above. Functional and durable, PVC (polyvinyl chloride) tape is considered a ‘balanced’ plastic tape and is used in similar situations to vinyl electrical tape. However, PVC tape copes well with environmental factors and is often used for outdoor applications.

PVC electrical tape Vs vinyl electrical tape – what’s the difference?

PVC electrical tape and vinyl electrical tape are the two main types of cold-weather tape used for insulating wiring. The conditions in which they will be used may dictate which type you use as follows:

Low temperatures – vinyl electrical tape is effective at temperatures between -10°C and 80°C (15°F-175°F), whereas PVC electrical tape is capable of withstanding temperatures as low as -45°C (-50°F). For this reason, PVC tape is the preferred choice for outdoor tasks in cold weather situations.

Weather resistance – in addition to withstanding low temperatures, PVC tape is resistant to harsh weather conditions thanks to its PVC coating. The tough, outer layer will cope well with metal corrosion and bad weather.

Corrosion resistance – the dielectric strength of electrical tape is a measure of its electrical strength as an insulator. Vinyl electrical tape is available with differing dielectric strength making it ideal to use for insulating high-voltage wires over extended periods of time. By comparison, PVC electrical tape can be used in similar situations but care should be taken that its dielectric strength is sufficient to insulate active wires.

PVC insulation tape uses

PVC insulation tape is ideal for low voltage applications. It has various uses which include: insulation, sealing, maintenance, protection, fixing and colour-coding.  Our PVC Insulation Tape is available in an assortment of colours to facilitate colour-coding for safety and identification purposes.

What are the alternatives to electrical tape?

Alternatives to electrical tape include heat shrink tubing and wire connectors. Heat shrink tubing is usually used for applications with lower gauge wiring, such as smaller electrical circuits, and wire connectors are used at the ends of stripped wires. Other types of adhesive tape should not be used as a substitute for electrical tape as they will not have the thermal efficiency of a dedicated electrical tape and can therefore be unsafe to use in such situations.

In addition to our wide selection of tapes, at cableties-online we stock a range of electrical accessories, including heat shrink tubing and wire connectors. If you are unsure which type of tape your project needs, our staff is on hand to advise. Call us on 01623 706241 or alternatively send us an email at with your query and we will be happy to help.