Last updated: August 13, 2021

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This time we will talk about a tool that turns out to be quite simple, but without which many businesses would not be able to operate on a daily basis: the adhesive. Adhesives are quite simple, but also quite important and powerful. That's why we took it upon ourselves to introduce them to you.

Stickers are essential tools in the office and at home. The best thing about adhesives is that they are specialised and there are many different types, each with a specific purpose. Gluing, insulating, helping to paint, sealing? there's an adhesive for these and many more tasks!

We know that not all tasks are the same, and that's why we want you to be able to identify each type of adhesive so you know which one to use in each situation. With this in mind, we have created this guide in which we will show you the best adhesives on the market and explain what you should consider to choose the most appropriate one.




The most important

  • Adhesive tape is a tool for joining, mending and fixing objects. There are different types, each with a specific purpose for the home, office or industry. They come in rolls of different sizes and are made of different materials.
  • There are countless types of tapes for different purposes. However, the most common are transparent tape (known as diurex), maskin tape, cinnamon tape, insulating tape and gaffer tape. The latter is very similar and often considered the same as duct tape.
  • In order to choose the most appropriate tape for each task and situation, it is necessary to consider the level of adhesion desired, the material to be worked with, the performance of the roll and the residue the tape might leave behind when removed.

The Best Adhesives: Our Picks

Buying guide: What you need to know about adhesives

Now that you know the three most effective adhesive tapes on the market, we'll show you how to identify the right one for every occasion and how to distinguish them from each other. Read on to learn more about this simple but useful and indispensable tool.

For fixing wires or working with electrical installations, insulating tape is essential (Photo: freepik / freepik.com)

What is adhesive tape and what are its advantages?

Adhesive tape is a tool for fixing and bonding surfaces by adhesion. They usually come in rolls of certain lengths, and can be made of different types of materials, each with a specific purpose. The level of adhesion also varies from one to another, ranging from low to very high.

The vast majority of them are very affordable and readily available. Their use is very common in the home, office and industry. For industrial cases, there are tapes with higher adhesion levels, which can meet more specific needs and require higher adhesion strength.

Advantages
  • Variable level of adhesion
  • Very affordable and readily available
  • Can be used with dispenser/dispenser
  • Wide variety of options
Disadvantages
  • May leave residue
  • Potential risk if adhered to skin
  • Easily lost
  • Some are difficult to cut

Transparent, cinnamon, masking, gaffer and insulating tape - what to look out for?

Adhesive tapes are essential in the home, in the office and in various types of industry. However, not all of them are suitable for all cases. It is important to differentiate between them in order to know which one to use in which situation and to avoid mediocre results.

Transparent. Commonly known as "diurex". It is the most accessible and common of all, and its size is perfect for home and office use. It is designed to adhere to paper. It often comes with dispensers that allow it to be cut with precision. Unless they have a matte finish, they cannot be written on.

Cinnamon. This semi-transparent brown tape offers the ideal balance between strength and ease of cutting. It works particularly well with cardboard, and is very popular for wrapping objects and sealing boxes.

Masking tape. An ideal choice for marking objects and boxes for identification. Masking tape is made of paper, has low tack and is not designed for bonding objects, but for lettering. It is one of the most affordable adhesives on the market.

Gaffer. Popular in the audiovisual, theatre and stage production industry. It is made of cotton fabric and has a high tack, but can be removed very easily. Often used to hold cables and other work items. It comes in black and bright colours that stand out in dark work areas.

Insulating. It is made of non-conductive PVC, so it is very common for insulating cables and working with electrical installations. It is the same size as a roll of transparent tape. It is also quite flexible and is available in a variety of colours.

Transparent Tan Cinnamon Masking Gaffer Insulating
Ideal for Office & Home Packaging Signage Audiovisual & Entertainment Production Cables & Electrical Installation
Material Plastic Polypropylene Paper Cotton Cloth PVC
Adhesion Low Medium Low High Medium

How much do adhesives cost?

Adhesives are very affordable. A roll of clear diurex can cost as little as 20 MXN. The price of a roll of tan tape is usually just as low, but a higher quality tape can cost as much as MXN 40. Masking tape can also be obtained for around MXN 20, although the price of blue tape can double.

Insulation tape also costs around MXN 20. The most expensive is gaffer tape, which costs between MXN 250 and MXN 500 per roll. It is worth mentioning that all types of tape are sold individually, but it is also common to find them in packs. Buying them in packs reduces the price.

Buying criteria

Below is a list of the most important points to consider when choosing the adhesive tape that is right for you. None of them should be overlooked, as they all make a difference to the performance of the adhesive.

Since the purpose of the tape is to adhere, it is obvious that the level of adhesion is the first factor to consider. There is no quantitative way to measure the adhesion of a tape, so it is best to compare them.

Transparent. The adhesion is low. Although most rolls are small (approx. 2 cm wide), there are larger and wider rolls (approx. 6 cm wide) that offer more contact surface, providing a slightly higher level of adhesion.

Cinnamon. Its adhesion is medium. However, this means that it is very easy for the adhesive side to stick to itself if not handled carefully, which could lead to waste. For this reason, we recommend using it with a dispensing attachment.

Masking. Its adhesion is low and the roll is usually not very wide (approx. 2 cm), so it is not recommended for mending, but for labelling. It can be effective for temporarily joining pieces of paper together.

Gaffer. Its adhesion is high. In the entertainment industry it is known to be a reliable tool that can hold and stabilise a wide range of objects: from a set of cables to the tripod of a professional camera.

Isolating. Its adhesion is high only when used with materials similar to its composition, such as rubber, rubber and PVC. Its adhesion on different surfaces is practically nil. This is why its use is almost exclusive for wiring.

Rolls of masking tape are among the favourites of painters (Photo: Fancycrave / Unsplash.com)

Waste

One of the intentions of users when working with adhesives is that the use of adhesives should be clean. Other bonding methods and tools, such as liquid glue, can be a bit messy. However, it is possible for adhesive tapes to leave a residue.

Transparent tape and masking tape leave virtually no residue, while cinnamon, insulating tape, gaffer (or its variant, duct tape) leave more. It is worth considering the more commercial brands, as these have higher quality adhesive technologies with minimal residue.

In addition to the sticky residue, some types of tape may also break when removed, leaving small pieces stuck to the material in addition to the residue. This is more common with tan tape. If this happens, you can clean the surface with solvent, although it should be used in an environment with air circulation.

Bonding Material

Not all tapes adhere well to all materials. It is worth considering the material you are working with to choose the right tape. Some of the most common materials and the appropriate tapes to adhere to are as follows:

Paper. The best choice for paper of any colour is clear or diurex tape. Cinnamon tape also adheres well, but is not recommended because it is very showy due to its brown colour and semi-transparency, as well as having to be cut because of its larger size. In the latter case, masking tape can be used.

Cardboard. The most recommended tape is cinnamon. In addition to the fact that it adheres perfectly, the brown colour of the tape is concealed by the usually brown colour of the cardboard. The tape is wide and covers a larger area, so it is a good option if you don't have the time to apply it accurately.

Plastic. Transparent tape and cinnamon are the most suitable options. The main problem with cinnamon, however, is that it is showy and apparent. Rolls of clear diurex are available in the same size as cinnamon tape. These are the best option for gluing plastic in the most discreet way possible.

Wood. Cinnamon tape may work, but its adhesion may be insufficient depending on the porosity of the wood. A higher adhesion tape such as gaffer tape is recommended, but because this is rare, a similar tape known as duct tape can also be used, which is affordable and readily available.

Cinnamon tape is very suitable for sealing cardboard boxes (Photo: freepik / freepik.com)

Performance

Each tape has a different performance. Small tapes, such as diurex or insulating tape, have a minimum yield of about one metre. For this reason, it is worth buying them in a pack, as a single one will probably run out very quickly and will not be sufficient for the required use.

Cinnamon, gaffer and masking tapes often have yields of fifty metres. This may be more than enough for home use, so although the price is lower in a pack, we recommend purchasing a single roll. For industrial or packaging business uses it is worth buying packs.

(Featured Image Source: Sergiy Tryapitsyn/123rf.com)

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