Tape Dispensers | Packing & Shipping Tips

Differences Between Gummed Tape Dispensers and Hand-Held Tape Guns

Better Packages

By: Better Packages on May 31st, 2017

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If companies don’t know their carton sealing tape options, they tend to default to hand-held tape guns with plastic tape. Most people are familiar with tape guns since they are readily available through a wide variety of distribution channels and are relatively inexpensive. However, with e-commerce growing rapidly and becoming an increasingly important part of company’s revenue mix, it is important to understand an alternative carton sealing approach; water-activated tape (WAT) dispensed by gummed tape dispensers. Understanding the differences between gummed tape dispensers and hand-held tape guns will help you choose the most effective approach for your company. 


Gummed Tape Dispensers

Large and small companies are switching to gummed tape dispensers and gummed tape (also known as water-activated tape, Kraft tape, paper tape, brown tape) to seal their cartons because it has so many added benefits. This carton-sealing solution provides strength and security; and it is also cost-effective. The best gummed tape dispensers are built to last for 15+ years of reliable service. Moreover, once the tape is activated with water, it provides a permanent seal with only one tape strip. You will likely save money by increasing the security of your packages and using less material. 

Gummed tape dispensers are available in two configurations: manual and electric.  Each has distinct benefits and advantages. This blog will help you learn which one is right for you.

Manual Tape Dispenser

Manual dispensers are a good choice when your business packs and ships less than 50 cartons per day.  These dispensers don't need electricity to function, so they are useful in areas lacking electrical outlets. Some manual dispenser models are portable. The simplest models have “pull-and-tear” functionality. These make sense when packing is an infrequent activity. The next level of manual dispensers includes preset tape lengths on clearly marked dials that allow you to choose the tape length required. In this case, all you do is set the length you need, pull a lever, remove the tape and seal the carton. Learn more about Better Packages Manual Water-Activated Tape Dispensers

Electric Tape Dispenser  

Electric dispensers are an ideal choice for medium-to high-volume packaging operations sealing random sized cartons.  These dispensers are fast, reliable and enhance packer productivity. To operate, a packer presses a preset length button for the tape length required and the tape will be rapidly dispensed. This ease of use means that workers don’t tire as they often do when repetitively using hand-held tape guns with plastic tape. As a result, when using an electric tape dispenser, worker productivity is enhanced and the risk of repetitive stress injury greatly reduced.

Frequently, electric water-activated tape dispenser models offer a variety of productivity-enhancing features including foot pedals for hands-free dispensing, tape aerials that simplify the dispensing of long tape lengths and an automatic tape advance feature that provides a new piece of tape once the prior one is removed. These features allow packers to get more work done in less time. Learn more about Better Packages Electric Water-Activated Tape Dispensers.

Hand-Held Tape Guns

There is a strong risk of repetitive motion injury to workers when using hand-held tape guns. Unlike, for example, a gummed tape dispenser that automatically provides the tape, hand-held tape guns with plastic tape are heavy and awkward to use over time. The wrist action used to apply the tape to the carton stresses the wrist and forearm and can lead to repetitive motion injury to workers, adding to a business’ medical costs and often taking workers off the job. Workers can be sidelined with their medical injury and the business often must bring in a replacement.

The plastic tape dispensed by hand-held tape guns does not create a permanent “bond” to the carton. This lack of bonding often translates into packers using many strips of tape to try to close the carton. However, unless the carton is “mummified” with plastic tape, carton incursion is possible and is essentially undetectable, leading to the potential for theft.

Better Packages | Gummed 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.

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About 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.