How much of an improvement in insulation or other important factors does it offer?
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3 replies and no-one's stated the blindingly obvious idea that insulating tape is (or should be) specifically designed with electrical insulation properties, and exposure to voltage in mind.
Other tapes may or may not behave nicely in that application - some materials (both tapes & adhesives) can become conductive or worse over time.
I would also like to add that it seems a lot of people believe electrical tape is a suitable long-term / permanent solution in various applications. As far as I'm concerned it's not, ever. Heat-shrink sleeving, spiral wrap, flexible conduit, self-amalgamating tape, rubber sleeves, junction boxes, table ties/clips, grommets, cable markers, etc. are all better solutions for almost any given use of electrical tape other than to temporarily hold, bundle, insulate, or mark a cable.
I've not seen it specified as a permanent or proper solution to anything in the commercial/industrial/telecomms/electrical world.
From personal experience, tape WILL go brittle, shift, fall off, fail to hold and/or leave a nasty sticky residue all over whatever you stuck it to after a while.
Edit to add: The case for "proper" electrical tape is similar to "proper" VDE rated insulated tools, most screwdrivers you buy will have a plastic handle that insulates you from voltage but only VDE rated ones come with an actual guarantee of safety with a rated voltage (1000v usually).
The big difference between electrical tape and "regular" adhesive tape is that electrical tape is stretchy. This allows the tape to wrap around a wire junction and still grab the insulation to either side. This helps keep the tape in place. Regular tape is likely to get stiff, lose adhesion, and slide away from the joint, leaving it exposed.
Other factors is that the material choice also minimizes pinholes and in some cases the tape is tested to be be pinhole free. Kinda important not to find a pinhole when you are expecting to be dealing with an insulator.
The electrical tape is able to withstand much more heat and like the others said the adhesive is better and it can stretch 200 percent.
protected by Community♦ May 1 at 21:01
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