Tape comes in all different shapes, sizes, colors and applications, from double-sided packing tape to heat-resistant fiberglass cloth tape. It’s a timeless choice for connecting things together because it is easy to apply, efficient to store and versatile enough for a range of jobs. Vinyl electrical tape in particular is a key part of any electrician’s toolkit. The three primary uses are insulating, splicing and marking. Insulating applications include wrapping split bolt connectors or other tapes to form an insulated outer barrier. Splicing wires together can be made easier and safer with proper use of tape. Lastly, the standardized range of colors across the industry allow for phase marking wires and maintaining a clear workspace.
How do you Choose the Right Tape?
Every electrician or contractor should carry electrical tape, but what performance factors help determine which tape to choose? The big three factors to consider are adhesion, breaking strength, and elasticity.
Adhesion is one of the first things that comes to mind when thinking of tape. For professionals who want a high-performance tape, there are actually multiple types of adhesion to consider:
- To backing
- To the tape
- To surfaces
Vinyl electrical tapes are typically made of two layers – the rubber-based adhesive and the insulating backing material – and these two layers adhere to each other internally. Cheap tapes may slide apart under stress, leaving behind a sticky residue but no insulating layer. WarriorWrap stays strong.
Next, electrical tapes should be specially designed to adhere to the outside of their own backing material, so that when wrapping a cable or connector, the tape forms a secure bond with itself. Anytime the tape overlaps the adhesive and backing material, you want a tape formulated to stay attached to itself.
Finally, the most obvious type of adhesion to consider is adhesion to a surface. Any competent electrical tape can wrap around a cable and maintain a secure grip, but only excellent tapes can find that grip when wrapped into more unusual shapes or on irregular bumpy surfaces.
More than Just Sticky
The next key performance metric is breaking strength. Depending on the application, electrical tape can be weight-bearing, such as when used in harnessing or bundling. Even if the tape isn’t holding weight, the act of securing a tight wrap can tear weak tapes. WarriorWrap has exceptional strength, with high-performance options designed for demanding outdoor applications.
Finally, the elasticity of a tape plays a surprisingly large role in how well it performs. The ability to stretch and flex with motion is critical to maintaining a secure bundle, and the better the stretch, the better the seal. Better elasticity also means that the tape retracts after being stretched, forming a tight weatherproof seal. There’s no denying how useful electrical tape can be to a contractor, but choosing the right tape can make all the difference in the field. We recommend WarriorWrap—next-generation professional tape with a comprehensive lineup to get the job done right the first time, every time.