Tape Dispenser

Which Tape Dispenser do I Need?

You know you need a hand-held tape dispenser but when you look at the different types available it can be confusing. Here’s a few features you may encounter and what their benefits are:

Adjustable brake

Tapes differ in how easily they release from the roll depending on factors such as the type of adhesive. The tension may even vary as the outer diameter reduces.

Excessive tension causes tape breakages and distortion, carton damage and operator fatigue. Insufficient tension causes the tape to overrun. This may prevent the carton from being properly sealed. It also causes the tape to stick to itself or become entangled in the dispenser.

Most pistol-grip type hand-held tape dispensers will have a thumbwheel on the tape spindle that can be turned to increase or decrease the tension as needed. For example, the HPG50B is a heavy duty, metal framed handheld dispenser with a metal brake.

Coarse-toothed blade

A coarse-toothed blade is frequently used on polycoated cloth (duct) and filament reinforced (monoweave and crossweave) tape dispensers, as these tapes are harder to cut through.

A standard blade is usually sufficient for plastic packaging tapes. However, extra care must be taken with a coarse-toothed blade as it can easily cause injury and damage.

Double side frame

The strain placed on the side frame of a pistol-grip type hand-held dispenser is considerably increased if the dispenser is designed to take wider rolls. This, and rugged use, can cause frame distortion, leading to the tape veering to one side or the other as it passes through the dispenser mechanism.

If this distortion is significant the tape may even tangle with the dispenser or extend beyond the width of the blade. The increased stability of a double side frame helps to prevent this from happening.

Enclosed carton sealer

An enclosed carton sealer is characterised by its hollow centred teardrop shape and two interlocking sides that entirely surround the tape roll. The chief benefit of this type of dispenser is that the roll of tape – particularly the sensitive edges – are protected from damage and contamination.

The tape is fed through the apex of the teardrop, where a blade cuts the tape as the sealer is rotated forwards.

This type of sealer does not have an adjustable brake. Tension is applied and controlled by hand pressure on the sides of the sealer.

High capacity tape rolls

Conventional packing tapes are wound onto a cardboard roll with a 75mm internal diameter, but more tape can be wound onto the roll without increasing storage space if a core with a narrower internal diameter is used. This may be 25 or 38mm, increasing the roll length from 132 metres to 150 or even 200 metres.

More tape on the roll means less storage space and fewer roll changes.

High volume tapes need to be used with dispensers specially designed for them, such as the Pacplus® BT50B pistol grip dispenser which is compatible with all Umax high capacity tapes.

Noise reducing

Tape releasing from a roll can be surprisingly noisy, and disruptive in a quieter environment such as an office or shop. Some packing tapes offer a noise-reducing adhesive, but this can also be controlled by the design of the dispenser, such as using a spring-loaded core. Our Pacplus PD705 low noise pistol dispenser also offers comfortable hand grip.

Pistol grip

Most hand-held tape dispensers have what is frequently called a pistol grip. This is a handle extending below the dispenser frame, allowing the user to hold it at a right angle to the tape roll. The pistol grip is generally shaped to provide a comfortable and sure grip and may even have a rubberised coating for additional comfort.

Retractable blade

Blade safety is an important feature on a tape dispenser, not only to prevent injury but also to protects the blade from damage. Thus producing optimal longevity of the product

A retractable blade is concealed within the construction of the dispenser until pressure is applied. When pressure is released, the blade once again retracts. For example, the Pacplus HSD50B is a heavy duty metal framed hand held dispenser with retractable blade.

Safety blade cap

On non-retractable blades, a hinged safety cap provides blade safety. This is made of plastic and is swung upwards away from the blade while the dispenser is in use. After use the cap is dropped over the blade again to keep it safe.

Spring loaded core

A tape dispenser with a spring loaded core doesn’t have the central spindle and core of a conventional dispenser. Instead, it grips the tape between two outer rollers and one inner spring-loaded roller that maintains constant pressure on the tape.

This design reduces the noise generated by the tape separating from the roll.

Tape grip

Hand-held tape dispensers  can encounter issues when the loose end of the tape is free to flap around. It will therefore often stick to itself or to the dispenser, rather than remain next to the roller.

A tape grip uses a naturally-generated static charge or suction to hold the tape against the roller until it adheres to the carton and can be applied.


Another way to ensure blade safety is for it to be activated by a trigger located in front of the pistol grip handle. The blade remains retracted until the trigger is operated, even if pressure is applied with the front of the dispenser.

Some popular tape dispensers include:

  • Pacplus® 50mm Pistol Grip Dispenser with Rubber Roller- PD712
  • Pacplus® Dual Tape Dispenser – BD50
  • Umax™ Pistol Grip Dispenser – BT50B
  • Pacplus® 75mm Pistol Grip Filament Tape Dispenser – PDFT75
  • Pacplus® 50mm Pistol Grip Dispenser with reversible blade – PG50B
  • Bonus® Noise Reducing Pistol Grip Dispenser – SBTD50
  • Pacplus® 2 Core 50mm Pistol Grip Dispenser – ET50B
  • Budget Pull & Tear Gummed Paper Tape Dispenser – EPS80
  • Kinetix® 25mm/75mm Tape Dispenser, Black – PD32640

Pacplus® offers a wide range of hand-held and bench-mounted dispensers for packing, bag neck sealing and double-sided tapes, all available exclusively from Southgate® and its network of approved distributors throughout the UK and across Europe. For more information contact sales@southgate.eu.com.

Scroll to Top