One of my pet peeves is the improper sealing of packages, so this article on the topic of package sealing is one that I wish everybody in the shipping industry would read. As someone who is on the delivery side of the trip that your package makes, there are things that I see as I deliver your package that you should know about.

Since you have taken great care to select the right package and packing material for your shipment, let us talk about the best option to seal your package. There are some people that are not going to like me for saying this, but here it goes anyway. In my opinion, paper tape is never a good option, specifically water-activated adhesive paper tape reinforced with fiberglass yarns. 

This paper tape sounds like a great choice for sealing packages when you look at the features it has to offer. Put a roll into a special tape dispenser made specifically for paper tape, add a little water, make adjustments for the length of tape you want, and just pull the handle on the tape dispenser. The tape comes out in the exact length you want with the glue side wet. All you have to do is put the tape on the package and press down for a second or so until it sticks. The fiberglass yarns are incorporated into the paper for added strength and reinforcement. A person could practically seal a package almost as fast as he could pull the handle of the tape dispenser.

However, there is a downside of using paper tape. First, the price of table dispensers range from a couple of hundred dollars to approximately a thousand dollars. Second, the glue only sticks to clean cardboard. Finally, there is always going to be movement within the box structure during transit no matter how securely the box is packed and sealed. Boxes sealed using this method are prone to damage and fall outs because the tape tears and the fiberglass yarns break due to the movement within the box.

The best solution for your package sealing is clear pressure sensitive carton sealing tape, which is available in many widths from less than two inches to over four inches with thicknesses of 1.6 ml to 3.5 ml. Side load dispensers (tape guns) range in price from $10-20. Usually a case purchase of clear carton sealing tape will come with a free tape dispenser. The cost per foot of the “economy” clear tape compared to paper tape is approximately the same. Examples of this clear tape include the following: polypropylene with acrylic adhesive for strong economic sealing; solvent acrylic adhesive tape for quiet applications; PVC film backing with natural rubber adhesive for strong backing, less stretch, and quiet application; and polypropylene with hot melt adhesive for economical light to moderate duty applications. Additional varieties are available. As a general rule, the acrylic adhesive tapes are the best for most applications because they can be applied in a wider temperature range (32o F to 150oF), they have a higher tolerance for low and high humidity conditions, they are cheaper than rubber or hot melt adhesives, and they just stick better to packages.

Benefits of using clear carton sealing tape:
• Will not tear like paper tape
• Withstands box structural movement during transit
• Wraps easily around irregular sized boxes or containers
• Sticks to most surfaces such as cardboard, wood, plastic, fabric, and metal
• Can apply over address labels and packing slips and still be able to read through the tape
• Has superior adhesive capability compared to water activated paper tape
• Provides various types for the different applications you may have

As you can see, I am a huge proponent of clear package sealing tape. I see too many packages that are sealed with paper tape which have rips and tears in the tape allowing the contents to fall out. If you want to be confident that your package will stay sealed during transit please use clear package sealing tape and avoid using paper tape. 

Jay F. Perdue is passionate about packaging because he handles other people’s packages all day and every day. He is a driver for UPS for 26 years and is in the top four percent of drivers with 26 years of safe driving. Contact him at