The more you dig into the word of packaging, the more you realize just how specialized you can get in your choices of supplies. You can choose packaging that simply protects your products, or use packaging that protects your products from specific problems. The entirety of the tape category reflects this in just how many types of packing tape there are. Which, of course, can make it difficult to choose.

If you’re wondering what kind of packing tape your project needs, here’s five that cover the most common shipping situations you’re likely to encounter.

Carton Sealing Packing Tape

Consisting of a clear (or translucent) liner and a layer of adhesive, carton sealing tape is an absolute packaging workhorse. Used to bundle products, seal boxes, and group packed boxes together on a skid, it’s easy to see why it’s the most popular version of all the different types of packing tape out there.

If you’re simply packaging shipments and customer orders and don’t have special considerations like temperature variations or elevated threat of theft, carton sealing tape will be your go-to packing tape.

Cold Temperature Packing Tape

The adhesive on carton sealing tape is designed to stick during expected shipping conditions (such as normal daytime temperatures and the occasional exposure to rain). But when temperatures drop too low, the adhesive can be rendered inert and it won’t keep boxes properly sealed. That’s a problem if you’re shipping to northern locations during the coldest parts of winter.

Cold temperature tape uses the same liner as regular carton sealing tape, but its adhesive is specially formulated to stay sticky even when it’s frigid out. It’s also a good choice for sealing cooler air inside insulated shipments.

Water Activated Packing Tape

Regular carton sealing tape is never a bad choice, but it isn’t always the best one. If you’re looking for added security for your shipments, water activated tape is right for you. It’s made from kraft paper and an adhesive that only activates once it’s wet.

Once dry, it bonds to corrugated board and creates a seal that can’t be removed without damaging the tape. This makes it both tamper-evident and more likely to deter theft. Some styles of WAT are also reinforced, built as two layers of kraft paper with a layer of fiberglass between them, which adds extra strength to your shipments.

Custom Printed Packing Tape

Do you sell some sweet products but feel like your packaging isn’t on its level? Want to stand out from every other kraft shipping box out there, but don’t have the budget for a full suite of custom packaging?

Custom printed packing tape is perfect for you. It pulls double duty, not only as carton sealing tape, but as branding for your business and its products as well. Two strips of packaging tape adorned with your logo and other design motifs in rich, vibrant color is guaranteed to grab attention (and up your packaging game, as they say).

Create your own custom packing tape in our custom shop. Our online packaging designer lets you add colors, text, stock art and uploaded graphics easily and quickly. We can’t wait to see what kind of packing tape you come up with.

Strapping Packing Tape

During a project, you may discover standard carton sealing tape isn’t your best option. Your shipping carton may be too heavy for it handle, and using water activated tape adds another step to the packing process that you don’t want to deal with. Strapping tape uses glass filaments to reinforce its liner, providing considerably more strength and sealing power. It’s a cost-effective alternative to steel and poly strapping, and is used to secure double wall boxes and even small pallets.

Bonus: Packing Tape Dispensers

You know what makes your packing efforts easier, no matter what types of packing tape you’re using? That’s right, tape dispensers. They’ll help you pack and seal customer orders faster and waste less tape, which will help you save time, money and headaches.

Hand tape dispensers (also known as tape guns) are manually-powered, as they’re operated by hand and allow you to dictate just how much tape you apply before cutting it. They’re used by anyone handling high volume packing projects, whether that’s employees in a warehouse or a family packing up their home. These kinds of tape dispensers are best used with carton sealing or cold temperature tape (due to their ease of application), but there are also dispensers specifically made for applying strapping tape as well.

Even when you’re just looking to seal a shipping carton, there are so many types of packing tape to choose from. Are you looking for tape that provides a quick and reliable seal, one that helps deter theft, or one that has the strength to stand up to heavy products and long shipping times? We think you’ve got all the info you need to find what you’re looking for. Be sure to stop by our tape category and explore what carton sealing tape is right for your projects.