Last updated: August 6, 2021

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Insulating tapes can serve as a real all-round talent in the household. Since they are not electrically conductive, they are also often used to insulate, seal and mark electrical cables. Insulating tape is available in different colours, widths and lengths.

Mostly, electrical insulating tapes are made on a PVC basis (polyvinyl chloride). In addition, high-quality products can be recognised by a specified test mark such as the IEC standard. The VDE certificate also stands for safety when used for live cables.

Thanks to their good adhesive strength, insulating tapes can also be used again and again in the home. For example, to repair broken hoover hoses or to bundle several cables together. Here, safety features play a much smaller role.




Summary

  • Insulating tape is a self-adhesive tape and is often used to insulate and mark electrical cables and connections.
  • A distinction is made, for example, between electrical insulating tapes made of PVC, insulating tapes made of rubber and insulating tapes made of mastic (rubber resin).
  • Insulating tapes are usually not very expensive. Some also have a very good temperature resistance of up to +240 C°.

The Best Insulting Tape: Our Choices

Buying and evaluation criteria for insulating tapes

We have looked at some criteria for you to consider when buying an insulating tape. You might want to consider the following criteria when making your choice:

To help you make the decision to buy an insulating tape, we will explain the individual criteria in more detail in the following section. They should give you an objective overview of what you should look for when buying.

Self-welding

Self-welding insulating tapes stick together so tightly and firmly after wrapping that the individual layers can no longer be separated from each other. They are very tight and robust and offer good sealing protection.

Waterproof

Good, high-quality insulation tapes are considered waterproof and can be used both indoors and outdoors. They offer protection against moisture and humidity and also protect against short circuits and electric shocks.

Heat resistant

When buying your insulating tape, check how heat-resistant it needs to be for your application. You will probably find this information on the product packaging or in the product description. There are insulating tapes, for example, that are only heat-resistant up to 70 C°, but there are also insulating adhesive tapes with a temperature resistance of up to +240 C°. These are very suitable, for example, for sealing and insulating the engine compartment of your vehicle.

Wide

You will find both wider and narrower insulating tapes. Depending on what you want to seal or insulate, you can choose the width of the tape. For example, insulating tapes are available with a width of 15 mm, but also with a width of 50 mm.

Guide: Frequently asked questions about insulating tape answered in detail

To give you a better insight into insulating tapes, this section tells you, among other things, what types of insulating tapes there are, how much they can cost and how you can tell how heat-resistant your insulating tape is.

What is insulating tape and what is it used for?

Insulating tape is a self-adhesive tape and is often used to insulate and mark electrical wires and connections. It is available in different colours and different widths. It is usually made on the basis of PVC. The insulating tape is therefore not electrically conductive.

What types of insulating tapes are there?

Insulating tapes primarily fall under the category of adhesive tapes. However, a distinction can then be made between, for example, electrical insulating tapes made of PVC, insulating tapes made of rubber and insulating tapes made of mastic (rubber resin).

Electrical insulating tapes made of PVC provide a safe and durable sheathing for electrical cables. The prerequisite for protection is at least two overlapping layers of the bonded insulating tape. The last layer, however, should be stuck on less tightly to prevent the insulating tape from peeling off.

A rubber insulating tape is used for electrical insulation and waterproofing. This insulating tape should be wrapped and glued particularly tightly to guarantee waterproofing. Then, in most cases, the tape is additionally wrapped with a PVC insulating tape.

Insulating tapes made of rubber resin combine electrical insulation with mechanical padding and also provide a moisture seal. To further increase weather resistance, the tape is also wrapped with a PVC insulating tape.

What is a self-sealing insulating tape?

If the insulating tape is labelled as self-welding, it means that after the tape has been applied, it bonds itself so tightly and firmly that it is no longer possible to separate the individual layers later.

How much does insulating tape cost?

Good insulating tapes are not particularly expensive. However, we have prepared a short table for you to give you an overview of the prices you can expect when buying insulating tape.

Price range Available products
Low-priced (1 - 5 €) Mostly up to 10 m, may not be particularly heat-resistant
Medium-priced (5 - 10 €) Self-welding, sets, 10 m or longer
High-priced (from 10 €) Self-welding, sets, good sealing and temperature resistance, VDE-certified

Often the price also depends on the width and length of the insulating tape. Often several rolls in different colours are offered as a set. It is worth investing in high-quality products, as they often come with a safety certificate.

How heat-resistant are insulating tapes?

A good and high-quality PVC-based insulating tape must have a VDE, UL or CSA certificate. These test marks guarantee the safety of the product with regard to, for example, electrical, thermal or mechanical hazards.

The heat resistance of your insulating tape should be stated in the product description. Insulating tapes can be resistant to temperatures up to +240 C°.

How is the insulating tape applied correctly?

First and foremost, you should always make sure that you use the right insulating tape for the conditions. So make sure which tape is certified for which temperature and application range.

To ensure long-term and safe insulation using electrical insulating tape, the tape should be applied with sufficient stretch and tightly. Only the last 5 cm or so should be applied without stretching to prevent the insulation tape from coming off or unrolling.

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It is advisable to always cut the insulating tape with scissors or a knife. (Image source: MIH83 / pixabay

Sharp edges on mechanical connectors should first be padded with rubber or mastic insulating tape before wrapping them with electrical insulating tape. Tapered shapes are also most likely to be wrapped from the narrowest to the widest point. It is also advisable to always cut the insulating tape with scissors or a knife.

Conclusion

Insulating tapes with good sealing properties and a high temperature resistance are usually not particularly expensive. Since they are not only suitable for insulating and marking electrical cables, but can also be a very useful tool in the household, insulating tapes in different colours should not be missing from one's tool repertoire.

Before applying the tape, it should be ensured that it is definitely suitable for the respective area of application. In addition, the tape should be applied with sufficient stretch and tightly to ensure long-term and safe insulation. Some insulating tapes are also very temperature-resistant, which means that they can also be used in the automotive sector - for example in the engine compartment.

(Cover photo: Jo Szczepanska / unsplash)

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