Carton Sealing Solutions

Manual Vs. Electric Tape Dispenser: Which Is Better?

[fa icon="calendar"] Mar 10, 2017 2:54:18 PM / by Better Packages

Better Packages

People often ask which water-activated tape dispenser is better, electric or manual? The more relevant question to consider is which dispenser best meets your packaging needs? Once you have a clear understanding of your company’s packing situation and the features that are available on various dispensers, you'll have a better understanding of what style gummed paper tape dispenser will work best for you.

On the most basic level, you want to decide if you need a manual tape dispenser or an electric tape dispenser. This blog will help you differentiate between the two types of water-activated tape dispensers so you can choose the one that works best for your application.

Manual Tape Dispenser 

A manual water-activated tape dispenser does not require electricity and therefore can be used in multiple packaging environments where electricity is not available. There are several varieties of manual dispensers from which to choose. The most basic model requires the packer to pull the tape over a wet brush and then manually tear the tape using the blade.


Other manual gummed paper tape dispensers, such as the one pictured above, called the Better Pack 333, have an adjustable numbered scale and a lever that you pull to have the tape wet and cut. With this, you simply choose the desire length and pull the lever to get the length of tape you need. These dispensers often also have a feature in which allows the machine to dispense an unlimited amount of tape. A manual tape dispenser is a lower cost option than an electric. These dispensers are desirable when transportability is necessary or the packing station is without access to electricity.

Electric Tape Dispenser

Electric tape dispensers come in a variety of configurations and different features and benefits. They are easy to use and have keypads that indicate that length of tape from which you can choose. To dispense the tape, you simply press a button and the tape dispenses immediately for high productivity.


The best machines are durable, safe and perform efficiently in demanding or harsh working environments, such as the Better Pack 555 shown above. Differentiating features among machines depend on whether it is certified or built to the specifications of a certification company like Underwriters’ Laboratory, the tape’s speed of being dispensed, the length and the width of the tape that the machine can accommodate and how many length buttons are on the keypad.

Factors To Help You Decide 

Variables to consider when making a decision between purchasing a manual versus and electric water-activated tape dispenser include:

  • The number of cartons you are sealing per day. A rule of thumb is if you are packing more than 30 to 50 cartons per day, you will want the ease and productivity that an electric WAT dispenser offers.
  • Do you have electricity near the pack station? If you don’t, a manual is the right choice.

If you have a high volume carton shipping department, an electric tape dispenser is the way to go.

Better Packages | Packaging Tape Dispenser

Are you interested in deciding what type of WAT dispenser is right for your company’s application? Better Packages' WAT tape dispensing machines are sold internationally through a global network of distributors and through a variety of industrial catalogs.  Contact Us to find a variety of Authorized Sources.

To help you decide which dispenser is right for you, click below and we’ll provide you with dispenser recommendations based upon your situation.

New Call-to-action

Topics: Tape Dispensers

Better Packages

Written by Better Packages

Founded in 1917, Better Packages is a leading manufacturer of tabletop water-activated tape (WAT) dispensers used in carton sealing. Better Packages’ product line includes auto-dispensing electric machines that are used in high volume fulfillment centers, as well as manual dispensers. In the U.S., Better Packages sells through multiple channels that include industrial and packaging distributors and catalog wholesalers, as well as direct to end-user customers. Its distribution network consists of over 160 authorized distributors including Tier 1 shipping and packaging. Better Packages also has another 50 international distributors that service over 70 countries. Better Packages is a wholly owned subsidiary of Intertape Polymer Group (IPG), an acknowledged leader in the packaging industry. IPG sells a full line of Central® water-activated tape, as well as many other premier packaging products.