Sometimes, substituting one tool for another makes sense – however that’s not the instance when it pertains to electrical work. You could be tempted to use duct ice if you’ve run out of electrical tape, yet you really shouldn’t. I’ve excellent a the majority of wiring and re-wiring in my time together a DIYer (I ran every solitary outlet and tons of brand-new lights in our kitchen renovation, which you can read much more about here), and also while I’d periodically feel comfortable substituting tools (like using a nipper hammer instead of a prybar) once it comes to electrical work, it’s far better safe 보다 sorry.

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Never use duct tape instead of electrical tape. Tape used in electric work should have high adhesion, resistance come corrosion, be flame retardant, have the ability to withstand up to 600 volts, and should insulate and also protect against the elements. At sight 33+ electrical tape has all of these properties, and also duct tape has actually none.
Contents1 What wake up If You use Duct Tape instead of electric Tape?2 What room The Differences between Electrical Tape and Duct Tape?2.1 Adhesion2.2 Colors2.3 Materials2.4 Durability, heat Resistance, and also Moisture Resistance2.5 Strength2.6 Price3 Can electric Tape catch Fire?4 Which electrical Tape is Best?4.1 33+ vs 88+5 exactly how To appropriately Use electrical Tape5.1 do You need to Use wire Nuts, Or Is electrical Tape Enough?6 alternatives to electric Tape6.1 warmth Shrink Tubing6.2 cable Nuts6.3 Scotch Tape, Masking Tape, and also Other Tapes
There are a couple of other things you’ll want to be conscious of once considering making use of duct tape rather of electric – consisting of what would take place if girlfriend did, what every the differences between electrical tape and also duct ice are, which electrical tape is best, just how to correctly use electrical tape, and options to electric tape.
Can You use Duct Tape instead of electrical Tape In A Pinch? 1

What happens If You usage Duct Tape rather of electric Tape?

Let’s to speak you ignore every one of the warnings and use duct tape instead of electrical tape – what would happen? Immediately, more than likely nothing. But an extremely shortly after, you’d be able to feel heat start to develop up native the electricity, and might notification the adhesive begin to melt and also get gummy. If left lengthy enough, the fibers duct tape provides for toughness would eventually record fire. If you’re even considering utilizing duct tape rather of electrical tape, don’t do it. It merely isn’t safe.Duct tape is not electrically insulating and also offers no protection versus live currents, no matter just how small. It is flammable and also degrades conveniently under adverse conditions.

What are The Differences in between Electrical Tape and Duct Tape?


Duct ice is designed come adhere come a huge selection of products – it will stick on nearly everything from lumber to brick. Electrical tape, ~ above the various other hand, is designed to stretch and stick to itself, which girlfriend probably recognize too fine if you’ve ever lost manage when make the efforts to cut it. That sticks incredibly well come insulated wiring, i beg your pardon is it’s main application.


Duct tape comes in nice much any color you could ever desire – ns actually supplied a bunch of different colors to label relocating boxes once we moved from Texas to Kentucky, and also they were super helpful! but duct ice colors are cosmetic, not functional.Electrical tape, top top the various other hand, is usually black. If you are able to discover other colors, know that they typically correspond to traditional wire colors: white is neutral, green is ground, etc. RS contents has a yes, really interesting post on electric tape colors- consider giving the a read if you’d choose to recognize more!
Can You usage Duct Tape rather of electric Tape In A Pinch? 2


Electrical ice is make of stretchy vinyl or PVC, and duct tape is usually made the a slim polyethylene-coated towel with yarn interspersed to do it easy to tear without tools and aid with strength.

Durability, warmth Resistance, and also Moisture Resistance

Duct Tape, though solid at first, deserve to degrade quite quickly, specifically if it’s exposed come water or heat. Electrical tape, ~ above the other hand, is extremely durable and can withstand both water and also heat (though the is not thought about waterproof). The shelf life of electric tape is around 5 years, yet your mileage may vary – you’ll know it’s no good anymore if it seems brittle or as well gummy.


This is pretty much the only category where duct ice wins – the fibers the are integrated into the tape do it really strong…but that’s not normally a problem when working on electric projects. Electric tape doesn’t need to be strong against tensile stress, because its job is come insulate, not adhere.


Electrical tape operation from $0.03/ft because that a super-budget alternative to $0.07/ft for professional-grade tape. Duct tape operation from $0.12/ft native craft-style duct tape come $0/19/ft because that super challenging and vast (but not HVAC approved) duct tape.As you can see, the price difference between an off-brand, untested electric tape and a solid, brand-name one is small – I always go for the great stuff. It’s worth the tranquility of mind.Duct TapeElectrical TapeElectrically Insulated?NoYesFire Resistant?NoYesDurable in disadvantage Conditions?NoYes
Can You usage Duct Tape rather of electric Tape In A Pinch? 3

Can electrical Tape capture Fire?

Anything can catch fire if boil up sufficient – including electric tape. Most of today’s electrical tapes go as much as 80 levels Celsius or roughly 220 degrees Fahrenheit. Practically all home electrical applications are never going to reach those temperatures, for this reason you’re safe using any kind of of the dependable brand name of electric tape.

Which electric Tape is Best?

The short answer is Scotch brand at sight 33+ electric tape – the a bestseller because that a reason, and it’s what I usage in practically every single DIY electric application (which you can see by my very small leftover it is provided below!). If you’re wondering if it’ll work in your specific case, read on.

Can You usage Duct Tape rather of electrical Tape In A Pinch? 4

33+ vs 88+

There room two main species of electrical tape – super 33+ and also Super 88, v Super 88 gift the much more robust of the two.The main difference in between Super 33+ electric tape and Super 88 electric tape is the thickness. Supervisor 33+ is 7 millimeters, while Super 88 is 8.5 millimeters. 3M actually has a pretty stellar comparison graph that could be valuable if you trying to decide.For many people and most applications, super 33+ is plenty, and it’s no worth upgrading come Super 88.

How To properly Use electrical Tape

To use electric tape properly, it need to be provided in addition to cable nuts and other electrical-specific fasteners. It’s great for adding secondary layer that protection, however should never be supplied to ‘hold in’ wires right into a cable nut – the wire nut itself must do all of the holding. If it won’t hold, you most likely need a various size cable nut – it have to grab on securely and also not traction out.Think of electrical tape together a non-permanent patch. The a good band-aid, but should never be provided to make major repairs – it just isn’t enough. You must never use electrical tape to make long-term connections between two wires, choose in a light switch or junction box.When using electric tape, I favor to begin by testing my wire cap, checking because that a strong grip top top the stripped wires, and then ns wrap the wires together, being certain to overlap my tape. I save a medium-strong traction on the ice cream at all times come make certain it’s wrapping tightly.

Do You have to Use wire Nuts, Or Is electric Tape Enough?

Wire nuts space necessary, not only from a safety and security standpoint however likely also from a neighborhood building and electrical password standpoint, too. It is never acceptable come twist two wires together and cover them in electric tape – wire nuts are needed. Plus, if friend have any type of inspections on your work, her inspector will certainly fail girlfriend if you have actually connections made through just electrical tape.

Can You usage Duct Tape instead of electrical Tape In A Pinch? 5

Alternatives to electric Tape

Heat Shrink Tubing

If you’re quick on electrical tape yet happen to have heat shrink pipe around, she in luck! It’s one of the couple of items the you have the right to use instead of electric tape. The being said, warmth shrink pipe is normally used in bigger applications v thicker gauge wire, and you’ll need a warm gun to properly shrink it.

Just mental – connections in wiring have to only ever be made in ~ an electrical box. In other words, you can not just heat shrink 2 pieces of wire together, drywall over it, and call it a day…every electrical connection MUST be in an electric box.

Can You use Duct Tape instead of electrical Tape In A Pinch? 6

Wire Nuts

The same can be said for the other alternate to electric tape – cable nuts. Wire nuts are insulated caps the twist top top the finish of a stripped wire, and there are various sizes. I tend to save a bunch of sizes with me for any electrical job I’m functioning on due to the fact that depending ~ above the wire you’re functioning with, some wire nut sizes ‘bite’ the stripped wire far better than others.

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Scotch Tape, Masking Tape, and also Other Tapes

You have to NEVER usage scotch tape, masking tape, or any type of tape other than electric tape in an electrical application. Other tapes don’t have the important coatings, insulation, etc. To stand up to an electric application.