Vinyl Electrical Tape Buyer’s Guide

What does vinyl electrical tape do? What is vinyl electrical tape made of? 

Vinyl electrical tape is used mainly for insulating and repairing damaged or cut cables and wires. It’s used in many applications, from home DIY to commercial wiring installations and repairs. 

When choosing the right vinyl electrical tape for the job, there are several things you need to consider. 


Read on to find out more about the different types of vinyl electrical tape, how to use it and more.  

What does vinyl electrical tape do?

Vinyl electrical tape insulates wires to stop them from conducting electricity, prevent electric shocks and reduce fire hazards. It protects cables and wires from the elements to stop abrasion, corrosion and UV damage. It also provides protection from chemicals including acids and alkalis.  

It’s also used to keep wires and cables tidy, organized and easily identifiable. It’s most commonly used by electricians. 

What is vinyl electrical tape made of?

Vinyl electrical tape is made of PVC (polyvinyl chloride), a highly versatile polymer that does not conduct electricity. It is also very flexible, which makes it ideal for use in vinyl electrical tape when wrapping around cables. 

Why is it called vinyl electrical tape?

The full, technically accurate name for vinyl electrical tape is PVC electrical insulation tape. It was given this name because of its material and how it’s used. 

When was vinyl electrical tape invented?

Vinyl electrical tape was invented more than 75 years ago by American inventors Snell, Oace, and Eastwold from The 3M Company. Before they created PVC vinyl electrical tape, electricians were using tape made of cotton, which was weak and unreliable for the job it needed to do.  

What is vinyl electrical tape used for?

Electricians use PVC insulation tape when adding new installations, or for making repairs.  

It’s mainly used for: 

  • Protective jacketing
  • Insulating wires, cables, connections and connectors to stop them from conducting electricity
  • Making repairs to damaged cable sheathing
  • Harnessing and bundling cables together
  • Sealing and marking cables for identification

Some quirky uses for vinyl electrical tape 

There are some surprising and unusual uses for vinyl electrical tape, including: 

  • Soccer teams use vinyl electrical tape to hold up their socks and keep shin pads in place
  • To protect hockey sticks from moisture build-up
  • Making drumsticks more durable, to prevent slippage and splinters
  • For repairing holes in tents when camping
  • Marking where actors should stand in theatre and film productions
  • Arts and crafts projects

Is vinyl tape waterproof?

PVC electrical insulation tape is not waterproof but it does provide some protection against moisture. Vinyl electrical tape can’t be fully waterproof because its sticky surface would lose adhesion if it became too wet.  

Can vinyl electrical tape be used outdoors?

You can use vinyl electrical tape outdoors because it is durable, robust and designed to withstand the elements. But it is not guaranteed to keep water out over the long term because it is water-resistant, not waterproof.  

What are the different types of vinyl electrical tape?

Vinyl electrical tape comes in a variety of colors, lengths and widths.  

The different colors of vinyl electrical tape are related to the voltage and phasing of the wires, and their usage depends on the standards of the country. 

The table below shows the features, technical information and usage of each tape.  

Tape Color US usage UK usage Technical Information
Black Used for the insulation of wires & connections
  • UL approved
  • CSA listed
  • Color: Black
  • Quantity: 10 Rolls
  • Moisture and UV-resistant
  • Total thickness: 7 mil (0.18mm)
  • Suitable for use up to 600V 176°F (80°C)
White Low voltage, Neutral External applications involving white cordage
Blue Low voltage, Phase C
Green Earth Ground Earth
Brown High Voltage, Phase A Low Voltage, Phase A
Yellow Low Voltage, Phase C Low Voltage, Phase B
Red Low Voltage, Phase B Low Voltage, Phase A
Gray High voltage, Neutral Low Voltage, Phase C
Orange High Voltage, Phase B  
Purple High Voltage, Phase B  

We also sell 2in wide electrical insulation tape for jobs where you need extra width. 

Is vinyl tape strong?

PVC vinyl electrical tape has a tensile strength of 22 N/10mm and a dielectric strength of 40kV/mm. It can also stretch to 125% of its length.  

How do you apply vinyl tape?

Use at least two layers of half-lapped tape to insulate low-voltage components.


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When wrapping cables, stretch the tape as you go to help it stick better. Use enough tension when applying the tape to make sure it conforms evenly to the surface of the cable. This will provide better insulation than if there is any slack in the tape. Trim the tape and press down the end to avoid the tape lifting.