June 29, 2021

Guide to the Best Kinds of Tape for Moving and Packing Boxes

If you think all packing tape is created equal, then you’re in for a big surprise. There are many kinds of tape available, and they each serve a unique purpose. Some tapes are thick and durable for sealing heavy items, while others are thin and less sticky, better suited for creating labels.

Because there are so many kinds of tape, you don’t want to just pick up any old roll when building and sealing your cardboard boxes on moving day. You want to go with the moving tape that has the right combination of qualities to keep your belongings secure.

So what is the best tape for cardboard boxes? We’re glad you asked. We’ve created a guide to the best tape for moving boxes, outlining the different aspects of tape and the specific kinds of tape that are best for moving and packing boxes.

Before we address the specific kinds of moving tape, let’s break down the three key features you’ll need to keep in mind:

  • Adhesive: This refers to the stickiness of the tape. And for cardboard boxes, the stickier, the better!
  • Tensile Strength: How much force can your tape withstand? The tape’s tensile strength will tell you. Tensile strength is measured in pounds per one inch of tape, so look for a tape for boxes with a tensile strength of 20 pounds or more.
  • Thickness: The thicker the tape, the stronger it will be. Thinner tapes are usually around 1.9 mil, while heavy-duty tape tends to be around 3.1 mil.

Option #1: Shipping Tape

What is the best tape for moving boxes? Our vote is for shipping tape. It typically has a hot-melt adhesive, making it the perfect amount of sticky for keeping your boxes intact. In addition, shipping tape does not have a cloth backing, making it easier to peel back the tape when you want to open your boxes. It also has a solid width, generally between two and three inches, which helps it seal your boxes nice and tight.

Option #2: Storage Tape

Storage tape is another solid tape for moving boxes. While shipping tape is great for temporarily storing your belongings, storage tape is the better option if you’re looking for something long-term. Storage tape looks like shipping tape, but it has a stronger and heavier adhesive, making it the more durable option of the two.

Person Packing Boxes with Packing Tape

Option #3: Brown Packing Tape

Brown packing tape works well for cardboard boxes because it’s easy to use and tear, but with that ease comes limitations. It lacks a waterproof backing, making it vulnerable to moisture. It’s also not as strong as the other options, so we recommend only using it for short-term use on lightweight boxes.

Tapes to Avoid

There are probably some other tapes that you have in your kitchen drawer that didn’t make our list. For example, masking tape, duct tape, and scotch tape are all best left out of your packing adventures.

While masking tape is great for sealing packing tape or bubble wrap around your belongings, it’s not going to do the trick when it comes to your cardboard boxes. It’s not thick or sticky enough to keep your boxes closed. The last thing you want is for your boxes to pop open during your move or in your storage unit.

Now, can you use duct tape for moving boxes? Technically you can, but we don’t recommend it. Duct tape does not stick to cardboard very well, and it can leave a sticky, messy residue behind on other surfaces. Not to mention, it’s one of the more expensive tapes. If you have your heart set on using it, save it for labeling your boxes. So when it comes to duct tape vs. packing tape, we definitely suggest going the packing tape route.

What about scotch tape? Unfortunately, scotch tape does not hold up to the other tapes on our list. It doesn’t have a strong enough adhesive to keep your boxes sealed. When it comes to duct tape vs. scotch tape, these two are similar in that you can use them both to label your boxes, but we don’t recommend them for securing your cardboard boxes on moving and packing day.

Now that you have an idea of what kind of tape to look for, be sure to check our list of other moving and packing supplies to determine what else you need.

Learn More About Moving With Stor-It

Here at Stor-It, moving and storing is our bread and butter. We are the largest and oldest storage facility in Idaho, which means we have all the pro tips and tricks for all things storage. Whether you need advice on specific kinds of moving boxes and packing tape or want to know how to tape moving boxes, we have you covered. We even provide you with all the moving supplies you need, from cardboard boxes to tape dispensers. Explore our handy moving checklist to ensure you’re ready for your big day, and contact us for when you’re ready to reserve a storage unit in the Gem State.