Anatomy of Electrical Tape

Vinyl electrical tape is versatile. Its main job is to insulate, but a good tape will form a tight seal that resists corrosive contaminants.


In vinyl tape selection, there are six key factors to consider: dielectric strength, elasticity, elongation, temperature rating, adhesion and thickness.


Performance Comparisons for Vinyl Electrical Tape

You have a wide array of choices. This easy to read chart will give you performance ratings in a glance.

The case for a jacket

While PVC-backed ‘vinyl’ tapes are the primary insulator in low voltage situations; they are also highly regarded to replace and reinforce cable jackets in low, medium and high voltage applications. Here are many ways vinyl tape helps protect.

Roll with the Pros.

Why do professional electricians prefer premium tape?


Adhesion • Dielectric • Elongation • Temperature

Premium vinyl electrical tapes have higher values across the key components that impact performance. The stronger the adhesive and the more flexible and conforming the backing, the better the stretch and seal. If the installation is critical, a professional would rather not take risks with their job, their safety or their reputation.

Economy of Use

Critical Jobs • Industrial • Manufacturing • MRO

Electrical installations in an industrial facility require vinyl tapes that stick and stay stuck. If tape doesn’t outlast required maintenance procedures, companies spend more money on unscheduled repairs. Thicker tape creates a stronger jacket and that means greater mechanical protection in rough environments. Premium tape is less prone to flagging. It stretches well to form a tight seal, providing better resistance from corrosive contaminants. Because it has excellent stretch; electricians often use less tape to cover irregular or complex connections, terminations, and bus bars.

Extreme Environments

Hot/Cold • Moisture • Outdoor • Underground

An electrical professional faces harsh conditions on the job. This can mean making splices in freezing conditions. Only premium vinyl tapes can stick quickly in very low temperatures because their adhesive remains soft and sticky. In extreme heat, electricians want to get the job done quickly and efficiently, especially when overwrapping a mastic electrical tape which is engineered to flow when warm. If an economy vinyl tape with low adhesive strength is used in a very hot environment; over time it will curl, become brittle and crack, compromising the electrical insulation.

Peace of Mind

Safety • Reliability • Quality • Reputation

When an installation is hard to get to, like a stadium light, up in the mast of an ocean liner or down in a mineshaft; electricians like to ‘do it right the first time.’ To professionals, it makes sense to use some of the strongest, most durable products. A premium grade tape applied correctly helps reduce the risk of downtime caused by common electrical failures. Premium tapes are engineered for critical applications when you can’t afford to fail.



Highest performance ratings of the Scotch® Vinyl Electrical Tape family. Offering excellent stretch in all weather conditions and increased abrasion resistance. Made in the USA.

  • Temperature Range: 0°F to 220°F
  • Elongation: 250%
  • Adhesion: 28 oz./inch
  • UL 510 Listed
  • 1” Core, 66 ft. Length


Used for primary insulation up to 600V, harnessing and bundling cable. Medium temperature range and 6 or 7 mil thick. Made in Mexico.

  • Temperature Range: -7°C to 90°C
  • Elongation: 200%
  • Adhesion: 18 oz./inch
  • UL 510 Listed
  • 1.5” Core, 60 ft. Length

The key to selecting the right electrical tape for your application.


There are some basic rules to follow when you’re selecting electrical tape.

  • Vinyl backed tapes have a strong, flexible, abrasion resistant PVC backing which provide a barrier from moisture and corrosive elements. They are often the first and most economical choice for primary and secondary insulation.
  • Mastic tapes offer excellent adhesion and sealing characteristics to metals, rubbers, synthetic cable insulations and jackets. They provide UV resistance and are designed for outdoor conditions because they quickly and easily resist moisture.
  • Rubber tapes are designed for use in splicing and terminating wires and cables with options rated up to 69kV. They have excellent physical and electrical properties and are ideal for adding moisture protection and padding to electrical connections and cables.

This Resource Compliments of 3M

3M is a global innovation company that never stops inventing. Over the years, their innovations have improved daily life for hundreds of millions of people all over the world. 3M has made driving at night easier, made buildings safer, and made consumer electronics lighter, less energy-intensive and less harmful to the environment. They even helped put a man on the moon. Every day at 3M, one idea always leads to the next, igniting momentum to make progress possible around the world.