Cutting-in while painting is a painstaking process that requires mastery and a steady hand, but with a painter’s tape, you needn’t worry about it. Many people tend to paint their homes themselves and if you’re one of them, you know how important but difficult it is to give a nice finish. Glass panes fixed inside doors, window frames, or the junction between walls and ceilings often end up being ruined in the process. When it comes to a paint finish prep is very important and using the right masking tape makes a huge difference. With a painter’s tape, you can save tricky spots, and paint on without fear.
- Painter’s Tape Comparison Table
- 1. Scotch #2093 – Best Multi-Surface Painter’s Tape
- 2. FrogTape CF120 – Best Painter’s Tape for Crisp Lines
- 3. Duck Clean Release – Best Painter’s Masking Tape
- 4. Scotch #2060 – Best Painter’s Tape for Rough Textured Surfaces
- 5. Scotch #2080 – Best Painter’s Tape for Delicate Surface
- Buyer’s Guide: How To Choose a Painters Tape?
- Video Tutorial: When Should You Remove Masking Tape?
- What is a painter's tape?
- What tape do professional painters use?
- When is the best time to take off a painter's tape?
- How to remove a painter’s tape?
- What should I consider while buying a painter’s tape?
- Final Thoughts
Yellow tape, white tape, green tape, blue tape, black tape…If you haven’t done this stuff for a living you might have a few questions about why there are so many different colored tapes and which one do you need for your surface. Painter’s masking tapes come in all sizes and shapes but serve one purpose: to help you paint. They can be easily peeled off after use and do not leave behind any messy residue.
Since every product has its utility and features, it is easy to become intimidated when having to choose one. Fret not, because we bring you a well-researched rundown of our top picks and buyers guide to help you make an informed choice. In this review, we will dissect these claims and help you choose the painter’s tape best suited to your needs. We made comparisons from the vast amount of masking tapes available and have highlighted our best picks. These tapes serve various needs. Hang tight and let’s get started.
Painter’s Tape Comparison Table
|Scotch #2093 – Multi-Surface Painter’s Tape||
|FrogTape CF120 – Painter’s Tape for Crisp Lines||
|Duck – Painter’s Masking Tape||
|Scotch #2060 – Painter’s Tape for Rough Textured Surfaces||
Best for DIY
|Scotch #2080 – Painter’s Tape for Delicate Surface||
1. Scotch #2093 – Best Multi-Surface Painter’s Tape
Scotch 3M is a reputed manufacturer of painter’s tapes. This product is a multi-surface adhesive with the iconic edge-lock technology. This assures that the paint is sealed perfectly and once you remove the tape, you’ll leave behind a perfect paint line.
You do see contractors using blue tape a lot especially when they’re painting the outside of your house there’s a reason for it. The basic reason for using the blue tape is that it’s usable in direct sunlight. If you put yellow tape on anything out in the sun it’s going to bake it onto the surface and you’ll have a really difficult time getting it off. You may have to scrape it off with a razor or use an alcohol-based tape remover.
So in other words you can use blue tape on the outside leave it in the direct sun for up to 21 days and it will still come off cleanly. Scotch Sharp Lines is a multi-purpose adhesive, suited for multiple surfaces. The tape is a medium adhesive meaning that it will not be suited for pre-painted walls and wooden structures.
If you want to save your window railings or glass panes embedded in walls or doors, this is the product for you. Scotch #2093 is suitable for most surfaces and does equally well outdoors. The tape also outshines conventional alternatives by not leaving behind any residue.
- Size: 0.94 inches in width and 60 yards in length
- Adhesion level: Medium
- Surfaces: Mostly smooth and sturdy ones like metal and glass
- UV resistant: Yes
- Outdoor use: Yes
- Clean removal: Yes, guaranteed within 21 days of application
- “Edge-lock” technology.
- Scotch #2093 can be peeled off, without leaving behind any residue, within 21 days of use.
- The tape is suited for outdoor usage as well, due to its UV resistance.
- Scotch Ultra Sharp Lines does not adhere equally well to all surfaces.
2. FrogTape CF120 – Best Painter’s Tape for Crisp Lines
This FrogTape is the most expensive product which we tested. The manufacturer also claims to be the only tape with paint block technology. Have to say it impressive. It keeps paint from reaching restricted parts and provides a flawless finishing with its exclusive Paint-Block Technology. This masking tape belongs to the professional tier and has been widely recommended.
CF120 is a medium adhesive masking tape. It is suitable for almost all surfaces. Be it pre-painted walls, wooden panels, glass panels, or metal, FrogTape CF120 will adhere to any surface. Despite such utilities, the tape is not UV resistant, hence unsuitable for outdoor settings.
FrogTape is a perfect all-in-one indoor option and gives you flawless crisp lines. It also comes with a 21-days clean release system, allowing you to peel the layer off without any residue. There is one thing though, it is a bit hard to tear off, hence, be extra careful while doing so.
- Size: 0.94 inches in width and 45 yards in length
- Adhesion level: Medium
- Surfaces: Almost any indoor surface
- UV resistant: No
- Outdoor use: Not recommended
- Clean removal: Yes, within 21 days
- Exclusive Paint-Block technology.
- For indoor surfaces.
- Leaves no residue behind if taken off within 21 days.
- Tape does not have resistance to UV rays, hence not recommended for outdoor use.
- Tearing off is a bit hard.
3. Duck Clean Release – Best Painter’s Masking Tape
Duck is another reputable brand in the painter’s masking tape arena. It is a multi-surface adhering product, suitable for most materials. It can easily stick to glass, metal, wood, and pre-painted walls, and also comes off clean.
The tape is a medium adhesive and can be peeled off cleanly within 14 days of application. Duck Clean Release painter’s tape is UV resistant, meaning that it is suitable for both indoor and outdoor applications.
The product is available in multiple sizes and offers almost all the features you could want in a painter’s masking tape. It does lag in area, and that is its clean removal period, which is less than those of competing brands. However, it is still a decent option with a good mix of qualities.
- Size: Variable, available in many sizes
- Adhesion level: Medium
- Surfaces: Almost all indoor and outdoor surfaces
- UV resistant: Yes, but not very strongly
- Outdoor use: Yes
- Clean removal: Yes, but only within 14 days of application
- For indoor and outdoor use.
- UV resistance makes it extra useful in multiple contexts.
- Easy-peel-off, medium level adhesive.
- Duck Tape lacks any exclusive features.
- The clean removal time is lower than rival brands.
4. Scotch #2060 – Best Painter’s Tape for Rough Textured Surfaces
Scotch #2060 is an ideal option for rough surfaces. It excels where others are ineffective, it is the number one choice for textured surfaces. Green tape is mainly used for masking off brick walls, stonework or rough wooden panels, but the surface must have lacquer coating. Although it is a strong adhesive, it peels off effortlessly and cleanly.
It is a string option for all extreme needs and comes in an attractive green color. I don’t know exactly what they do with this type of tape but it does stick to brick and stonework much better than other tapes. Scotch #2060 forms a strong bond with the surface. It also offers a 5 days clean removal limit, which is decent for strong painter’s masking tapes.
Scotch Rough Surface is excellent for outdoor use but has one limitation. Since it is a very strong adhesive, it will leave a tiny bit of residue behind. The tape has been designed to minimize this problem but it is unavoidable with strong adhesives.
- Size: 1.41 inches is standard, however, other widths are available too. 60 yards long
- Adhesion level: Very strong
- Surfaces: Lacquer coated rough surfaces
- Outdoor use: Ideal, but for the short term
- Clean removal: Almost clean, within 5 days of application
- Perfectly for rough surfaces.
- Strong adhesive.
- Scotch #2060 leaves behind some traces of residue, no matter how carefully you take it off.
- A bit pricey in comparison to other products and is not suitable for general use.
5. Scotch #2080 – Best Painter’s Tape for Delicate Surface
This painter’s tape from Scotch 3M is the exact opposite of the previous entry. Designed for use on delicate surfaces. Scotch #2080 is perfect for all DIY operations and is affordable too, however, the tape is smaller than others on the list.
Scotch Delicate Surface also boasts the famous “edge-lock” feature to ensure a perfect paint crease once the tape is taken off. It is very easy to peel off and comes off cleanly. It is ideal for both indoors and outdoors and is the only gentle adhesive on the list.
Suitable surfaces include all the delicately built materials which may be damaged by a regular painter’s tape. UV resistance makes it effective outdoors as well, however, the tape is not meant for professional-grade use. But its price tag and utility make it a decent option.
- Size: 0.94 inches in width and 45 yards in length
- Adhesion level: Gentle
- Surfaces: Ideal for delicate surfaces
- UV resistant: Yes
- Outdoor use: Yes
- Clean removal: Yes, clean and easy
- One of the most affordable options on the market.
- Scotch #2080 features the edge-lock ability, giving you an ideal finishing.
- UV resistant and ideal for outdoors.
- Since it is a gentle adhesive, it will not adhere strongly.
- Shorter than other competitors.
Buyer’s Guide: How To Choose a Painters Tape?
One of the most common things I see homeowners do is they go right for the blue tape but it’s not always the right tape for the job. There are several factors to consider while choosing the best painter’s tape. Since people have their preferences and goals, it is best to research products that suit your requirements.
Fortunately, this buyer’s guide will help you make the right choice. We’re not going to get real scientific here. We’re going to talk about the main features and differences.
There are multiple size options for tapes. Small-sized tapes are ideal for covering tricky spots while broader tapes cover more area. It depends on your preference and the circumstances. For instance, if you wish to cover the edges of window panes, a smaller tape, like the FrogTape CF120, would be good.
The total yardage is also an important factor to consider. Most tapes come with 60 yards long strips which is enough for medium use. However, others, such as the delicate Scotch #2080 tape, come at 45 yards long. This makes the tape a good fit for DIY but not for professional use.
Tapes may be gently adhesive, medium, or strongly sticky. There is no good or bad when it comes to adhesion strength, all levels are useful in their context. A gentle adhesive, such as Scotch #2080 delicate surface tape, is ideal for DIY workers.
Medium adhesives are exemplified by most of the entries on this list, such as Scotch #2093, FrogTape CF120, and Duck Tape. These tapes are useful on multiple surfaces and provide the versatility of operation. Although gentle adhesives may come advertised suitable for outdoor use, a medium adhesive is more suitable for the job.
Strong adhesives, such as Scotch #2060, are meant for rough surfaces. They require lacquer coated surfaces to adhere properly. Although they serve in areas where others can’t, it comes at the price of residue. Strong adhesives can leave residue marks behind upon removal.
Not all surfaces are equal. While some are smooth and sturdy, others may be rough, while others may be delicate. Glass and metal are smooth and allow almost any painter’s tape to adhere closely to it. Wood and pre-painted walls are rough surfaces that require a more versatile product. Surfaces like concrete, brick-walls, or rough wooden panels require strong adhesives. Delicate surfaces, which may be damaged by pulling off the tape hardly, require a gentle adhesive.
Scotch #2093 is ideal for most surfaces but will not work effectively on pre-painted walls or wood. In this case, FrogTape would be a better choice, given that the work is indoors only. Scotch has produced tapes for textured surfaces and delicate surfaces.
The whole point behind using a painter’s masking tape is to preserve the look of objects. Most masking tapes have flawless, residue-free, clean removal. This feature is timed and will only work perfectly if the tape is removed within the said time.
In most cases, such as Scotch #2093 and FrogTape, the time is 21 days. It is better to remove the tape before this period, but only when the paint has dried up completely. Duck Clean Release masking tape comes with a 14 days clean removal period, which is comparatively lower but it makes up for it by its versatility. Strong adhesives, however, have a much lower clean removal duration.
There are a few things that determine whether a tape is useful outdoors or not. These factors include the level of adhesion, surface compatibility, size, and UV resistance. Only medium to strong adhesives can “hang-tight” outdoors, a gentle tape may peel off prematurely.
Surface compatibility, as discussed earlier, determines the usability of a painter’s tape. If the outside surface is a brick wall, then a strong adhesive is needed. Outdoor tapes should also be bigger, i.e. Duck and Scotch #2093.
Ultraviolet radiation from the Sun is an ever-present threat to tapes placed outside or in a sun-lit interior portion of the house. These rays denature the tape and disrupt its integrity. They may cause it to peel off or to leave behind visible residue.
Only UV resistant tapes like Scotch #2093 or Duck can be used outdoors without fear. Other products like FrogTape, although versatile in their action, are not UV resistant and hence restricted to indoor use. Never attempt to use an indoor-oriented tape outdoors, it will destroy the paint job.
Video Tutorial: When Should You Remove Masking Tape?
What is a painter's tape?
A painter’s tape or painter’s masking tape is an adhesive strip placed on surfaces to guard them against paintbrush strokes. These tapes remain adhered to these surfaces and keep the paint from tainting them. Once the paint has dried out, they are peeled off to reveal the clean surface. They allow users to create better finishing with their paint job.
What tape do professional painters use?
Professional painters often employ Scotch #2093 or Duck because of their “all-in-one” features. These tapes are ideal for both indoor and outdoor settings. Both brands are highly reputed and their products are of high quality and are affordable. However, in the case of textured surfaces, Scotch #2060 strong adhesive tape is used. Other tapes like the delicate Scotch #2080, are suited for DIY operations but not professionals.
When is the best time to take off a painter's tape?
First of all, read the paint instructions carefully. Each wall painting comes with different drying periods and this is an important factor. Make sure that the paint has dried up (touch it with your finger to ensure that), and then remove it. Masking tapes also come with a time limit for clean removal. Observe this limit for clean, residue-free removal.
Generally, I always remove it the following day. The main reason for that is that if for some reason whatever you’ve been painting hasn’t turned out quite how it should you’ve always got the opportunity to repaint it. Whereas if you take the tape off straight away you come back the next morning and have a look at it and it’s not real good. And therefore you’ll have to go through and do all tapings again before you repaint it.
That’s the reason why you find a lot of professionals will leave the painter’s tape on overnight. Just for the safety factor. You can however remove it a few hours after you’ve painted. The reason for being a few hours is you don’t want to be peeling the tape off while the wall or what if you’ve taped is still wet because you do have the chance of leaking any dirt that may be on the tape onto the surface.
So you want to let the paint dry first. Normally with water-based paints, a few hours will be fine, and then remove the tape. In a lot of circumstances, it still pays to cut along between the tape line and whatever you’ve taped so it doesn’t rip any other paintwork off. Because what can happen is the paint is stuck to the wall into the tape and when you rip it off it starts to pull the paint off the wall.
How to remove a painter’s tape?
You have tape all around the edges of something to protect it from getting painted. Oftentimes you also paint to the tape. It’s unavoidable otherwise you know you wouldn’t tape. Sometimes when you remove the tape it will also peel up paint.
The first thing to do is to ensure that the paint has dried out. Touch the surface with your finger to check that the paint is dry. Once that’s done, take a blade and gentle cut out the margin crease of the tape.
But that is very very tedious and time-consuming. A faster way to remove the masking tape without worrying about the paint peeling off your wall is to simply – pull the tape away from the corner and the right angle.
Occasionally where masking tape stuck you will get ripped tape. But at least you’ll rip the tape instead of peeling it off your wall.
One important thing to remember is to remove the tape during the clean removal time limit given with every tape. This limit varies, i.e. for Scotch #2093 and FrogTape CF120, the limit is 21 days, while for Duck, it is 14 days.
What should I consider while buying a painter’s tape?
To sum it up here is a brief rundown of things to consider, or rather questions to ask yourself while buying a painter’s tape:
* Where do I intend to use the tape? Outdoors or Indoors, or both?
* On what sort of surfaces will I apply the tape?
* Do I need to cover a small area or a larger one (both width and length-wise)?
* Do I need a gentle adhesive (for delicate surfaces) or a medium one? (It is unlikely that you’d need a strong one, however, if you do, then go for it)
* Does the brand guarantee clean removal or not? And what is the duration for clean removal?
Painter’s masking tapes have gained popularity in recent decades. The reason for this is that they make our work very easy. Professionals and ordinary people use them alike, although product preference is different. The products we share with you in this rundown were selected after a painstaking research process. We assure you that they are the best on the market and that you can trust these brands for quality, excellence, and versatility.
The most important thing is to consider your needs and to remember the context in which you intend to use these products. These tapes allow us to create a better finishing and leave behind flawless paint creases. If you’re planning on painting your house or asking a professional to do so, you’ll appreciate kicking in a few bucks for a painter’s masking tape.
So if I had two semis smooth surfaces to paint I would choose Scotch Blue Sharp Lines. It provided some incredibly clean lines and did a tremendous job. Frog Tape and Duck Clean Release were very good tapes as well and I would consider using them on a smooth surface but for a semi-smooth surface, Scotch Blue is better.