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Jeremiah Bell
Jeremiah Bell

Where Can I Buy Duct Tape

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where can i buy duct tape

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We put seven of the top-selling brands (plus two intriguing plastic tapes) through a series of lab tests to determine which was strongest, most durable, most waterproof, and easiest to work with. We got wet and dirty while we were doing it, but we got some answers, too.

Sometimes a classic can be improved upon. While Duck Tape-brand Classic duct tape fell short in our testing, the heavier-gauge Duck Tape MAX proved to be a powerful yet affordable alternative to Gorilla Tape.

It's strong enough for light-to-moderate tasks (the adhesion strength was only average compared to other tapes in this roundup) but it's considerably weather-resistant, making it a good choice for small outdoor jobs. We also really liked how it handled. You can rip a piece off easily, but it's not flimsy and doesn't leave loose edges.

Our tests verified that claim. It was a full 30% stronger in our adhesion tests than the next best competitor. Only the Fiber Fix beat it (but since that's not really duct tape we're putting it in a separate category). Powersteel was very close to Gorilla Tape in our scoring, but proved to be harder to tear off from the roll. It also didn't last as long as Gorilla in our garden hose leak test.

IPG's tape proved to be average in most respects, which is of course, perfectly suitable for most uses. But it's not the strongest, the easiest to work with, or the most weather resistant. And it failed the leaky garden hose test in less than a minute. It's a fine product, but you don't have to spend much more to get something substantially better.

In addition to this, we found that the tape tended to tear along the length of its roll, much like celluloid packing tape can. And, when we ripped a strip off of the roll, it would drag pieces from the rest of the roll along with it, leaving strings of its fabric in its wake.

For this is the second iteration of this guide, we retested the six different brands of duct tape featured in our first guide. Doing this was important as, this time out, we added two new brands of tape into the mix.

We took a garden hose and drilled nine 1/16th-inch, evenly spaced holes down the length. A six-inch length of tape was wrapped around each hole, which allowed for about three layers of tape. We then put a spray head on the end of the hose and turned on the faucet. Performance was measured in how long the tape could hold back the water without leaking.

Weather resistanceA three-foot length of each tape was put on a sheet of plywood and left outside to endure high heat, humidity, and torrential downpours for four weeks. If it wasn't already falling off after that time, we tested how much adhesion strength remained.

Ease of useHandling tape has to count for something, so we scored how easy and cleanly the tape was to rip. Points were lost for ragged bits of string or excessive difficulty in pulling a piece off the roll. We also scored how easily a three-foot length of tape twisted and stuck to itself when waved around.

Duct tape is great for small jobs like securing your bumper to your car until you can get it into the shop for repair or holding pieces of wood together until you sort out a more permanent solution with glue or nails. Musicians use it on stage to keep cables from becoming a trip hazard. If you need a quick, temporary fix, in most situations, reaching for a roll of duct tape is the way to go.

You should never use duct tape on your own skin or clothing: it is stronger than both, so you might end up tearing your skin or your clothes when you remove it. And that, believe me, is even less fun than it sounds.

David Kender oversees content at Reviewed as the Editor in Chief. He served as managing editor and editor in chief of Reviewed's ancestor,, helping to grow the company from a tiny staff to one of the most influential online review resources. In his time at Reviewed, David has helped to launch over 100 product categories and written too many articles to count.

Factories in North Carolina and Kentucky shifted into high gear Wednesday to try to meet the sudden demand spike after U.S. Fire Administrator David Paulison's statements earlier this week that Americans should buy duct tape and plastic sheeting to be prepared to protect themselves and their homes in the event of a biological, chemical or radiological attack.

Industry statistics show that chain home centers, such as Home Depot Inc. (HD: Research, Estimates) and Lowe's Companies Inc. (LOW: Research, Estimates), sell about $75 million of duct tape annually, about a quarter of their total tape sales. Mass market retailers such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT: Research, Estimates) sell another $20 million among them, with about $5 million of additional consumer sales scattered among other retailers. Executives said consumers looking for duct tape amid shortages should check with plumbing supply and other traditional business-to-business suppliers.

The nation's two major duct tape makers, Tyco International (TYC: Research, Estimates) unit Tyco Adhesives and privately-held Shurtape Technologies, were scrambling Tuesday and Wednesday to rush shipments to retailers, as well as crank up production to meet increased demand. Tyco and Shurtape make much of the tape sold by other companies under other brands, although consumer products maker 3M Co. (MMM: Research, Estimates) started making its own tape about a year ago after relying on other producers in the past.

"There's plenty of safety stock to cover a one-day peak like that we saw Tuesday," said Shurtape CEO Jim Shuford, whose 250-employee plant in Stony Point, N.C., began increasing production Wednesday. "The question is, does today look like yesterday? If it's just a couple of days' demand, then outside of a few key regions, there should be enough material."

"We're pretty familiar with what's going on. We're putting the same tactic into place to respond," said Bill Kahl, executive vice president of marketing for Henkel Consumer Adhesives, which is supplied by Shurtape and is one of the largest companies selling to the consumer duct tape market.

"Hopefully they won't need it for homeland security, but I can tell you its useful to have around the house for anyone for general fix-it jobs," he said. "We've always said we think duct tape is America's most useful tool. That's being reinforced by what's coming out in the press."

Demand for duct tape by U.S. businesses outstrips consumer demand by an estimated three or four to one, with uses for everything from heating and air conditioner work (thus the "duct" in the name) to construction to taping electrical wires in place..

Tyco's prime duct tape plant is a 500,000 square foot, 800-employee facility in Franklin, Ky. Tyco also produces duct tape at two Italian plants as well as one in South Korea, but imports very little to the U.S. market, due partly to its relatively heavy weight. Industry executives said that in no other market do consumers embrace the use of duct tape as do Americans, nor do they demand the same strength and durability of the product.

"The product is very much an American icon, but it's not widely known in consumer channels outside the United States," Henkel's Kahl said. "If you go into Europe and say, 'I need duct tape,' you'd get blank stares."

I spent a considerable time tramping through the Italian (and American) countryside looking for and evaluating cultural artifacts as an archaeologist. That was years ago. I do the same these days as a homeowner over at Brico, the do-it-yourself stores scattered throughout Italy. You can make cultural connections anywhere if you look hard enough.

For example, do you know what Italians call duct tape? You know, the tape that prevents air ducts from leaking, that keeps bashed fiberglass bodies of racing cars together, and has a million uses, even in outer space?

In writing this guide, we dug deep into the fascinating world of duct tape. We spoke with representatives from four major duct tape manufacturers, including Polymer Group, Shurtape (manufacturers of Duck brand), Scotch, Berry Plastics (manufacturers of Nashua and Polyken), and Tesa. We also corresponded with Tim Nyberg, one of The Duct Tape Guys, a performance art duo devoted to all things duct tape and co-author of The Duct Tape Book.

Duct tape is for everyone. Duct tape is the essential fill-in-the-cracks patching, sealing, and hanging item. Currently at my own house, I have duct tape in the following places: holding together the blown-out corner of a board game box, covering the exposed end of an exterior electrical conduit, wrapped around an opened bag of tile grout, covering the crack at the bottom of a plastic storage bin, patching a tarp, covering the split in the finger of a torn work glove, wrapped around an old floppy-soled work book, creating some padding on the handle of a 5-gallon bucket, and reinforcing the bottoms of a few reused cardboard boxes.

Through our research, and backed up by our firsthand testing, we found that a good general use duct tape should be around 11 milli-inches (mil) thick, use a natural rubber-based adhesive, and be made using a co-extrusion process.

Another way to visually tell the difference is that laminated tapes (at least the two that we tested) have a wrinkled texture. On one tape, the ridges were so extreme that we were unable to get it to sit flat against any surface for more than a day or so. Co-extruded tapes have a nice smooth finish.

We really thumped on these tapes in order to decide on the best. We did this through a battery of structured and unstructured tests that measured adhesive strength, material strength, heat resistance, flexibility, and conformability. We then tested the long-term durability of the tapes by abandoning four sample boards in a south-facing New England field for seven months. 041b061a72


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