Gaffer Tape vs Duct Tape
   07/27/2018 11:35:00    0 Comments

Gaffer Tape vs Duct Tape

Two things that can be found in most homes are gaffer tape and duct tape. Many of us use both fairly regularly and are sure we always have them on hand to use when needed.

Uses for these products include tying or binding things together, such as wires and cables, and fixing anything that is broken down and needs to be mended.

But it’s important to note the different uses for gaffer tape vs duct tape and there are actually many differences between them. One is good in some situations, while the other is preferable in others.

Let’s describe the two and look at some of the differences...

Gaffer tape

Gaffer tape, also known as gaffing tape, gaffer's tape or simply gaff tape, is a tough and strong pressure sensitive tape made from cotton cloth. It has strong adhesive properties and is normally used in theater, television and film productions.

Gaffer tape may also be used during live performances, or for any other kind of stage work. This tape is sometimes referred to as a production expendable, as it’s discarded once used and then has to be re-ordered. White gaffers tape is primarily used with white backgrounds or against white ceiling paint. 

Gaffer tape is named after the gaffer, or the Chief Lighting Technician (CLT), on the film crew. The process commonly referred to as gaffing on sets is one that involves the taping down of cables on a stage or any other surface. This is done as a safety measure, or merely to keep the cables out of camera  view, or audience view in the case of theater performances. This is known as “gaffing the cables.”

Duct tape

Duct tape, which is also sometimes referred to as duck tape, is also a pressure sensitive tape that is coated with polyethylene. It is cloth or scrim backed.

The making of this type of tape has variations in construction, one of them being the use of different adhesives and workings. Another one is the use of gaffer tape that can be cleanly removed.

Duct tape, however, cannot be cleanly removed.

Furthermore, one variation is to use a heat resistant form of duct tape that is useful for sealing various ducts such as heating, ventilation and air conditioning. These are especially produced because normal duct tapes fail in conditions such as extreme heat. The color of duct tape is usually black or gray, but it can also be found in many other colors.


One of the most significant differences with gaffer tape vs duct tape is that only the former can be removed cleanly. This is because gaffer tape does not use a natural rubber adhesive, but rather uses a synthetic adhesive that is petroleum based.

Duct tape, on the other hand, does not remove cleanly and, as mentioned above, a certain duct tape is especially prepared to be like gaffer tape so that it can be removed cleanly. while most duct tape is commonly silver, black gaffer tape is the most commonly used in the industry. 

There is a variety of uses in which these two types of tapes are used, and some of them are very different. Gaffer tape’s most common use is to secure cables to the stage floor. Moreover, camera assistants also make use of gaffer tape to lay blocking markers for actors and other personnel. In this regard, they use short strips of gaffer tape that are different colors.

Duct tape is used more in situations that demand a tape that is sticky, strong and flexible. Some duct tape is especially made to have a long-lasting adhesive, as well as resistance to weathering.

Duct tape has been used for decades in motorsports for the repairing of fiberglass bodywork, in addition to other uses. Duct tape also has a lot of uses in spaceflight, military and many other industries.

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