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What are the different types of Gummed Paper Tape Machines? Which is best for you?

What are the different types of Gummed Paper Tape Machines? Which is best for you?

By: Hadyn Oliver

4 Minute Read

You’re here because you’ve made the decision to go fully sustainable? Or you just doing your research? Or maybe even bought some gummed tape and looking for a dispenser. 

If you’re considering gummed tape, it’s a good fully sustainable tape solution. Not only made of natural renewable resources, but it’s 100% recyclable. 

But that’s not what we are here to talk about, it’s the water-activated tape machines.

This short guide will cover the pros and cons of automatic and manual dispenser and which one is best for you.

What are the different types of dispensers?

There are 2 types of gummed paper tape machines, automatic or manual.

Now, which one is better? It’s a common question, but there is no certain answer. It all depends on what, why, and where, and who is using it.

Before we go further, if you didn’t already know, water-activated tape is the same as gummed paper tape and is often referred to as WAT.

Manual Tape Dispensers.

The answer is in the name really, MANUAL. It doesn’t require electricity but assists the packer by wettingManual Tape Gummed Dispenser the tape and cutting it to the desired length.

There are several variations around, but the most basic model requires the packer to pull the tape over a wet brush, then manually tearing the tape by pulling it against the blade. This is a very simple design and model.

Other variations are easier too use. The more advanced options have a lever that the packer can pull to wet the tape and cut to the desired length by the machine. All this requires is for the user to set the needed length of tape and then at a pull of a lever, you get the correct length tape quickly, effortlessly, and efficiently.


All products have good and bad parts, but lets start with a positive note.

  1. The manual tape dispenser is lower costing than electric
  2. They save on electricity bills due to not requiring any electricity
  3. Require little to no operator training
  4. Easy, simple to use
  5. Increases efficiency for packing and shipping processes
  6. Cuts down on tape waste as cuts to exact measurements

There isn’t actually a lot of bad points about this product.

  1. It does require minimal manual effort by the packer
  2. It’s bulkier than a self-adhesive tape dispenser.
Who would use a manual dispenser?

You may wonder, why not go for an automatic version; then it’s all done at the click of a button.

The manual machine is great for any business who requires a mobile machine. Due to it not being plugged in, it can be moved anywhere on a packing station and doesn’t need to be anywhere near a socket.

If you are only sending out a small number of orders per day, the manual dispenser would be a good choice for you.

Electric Tape Dispenser

A great way to improve efficiency, reduce waste, and reduce your environmental impact.

The electric water-activated tape dispenser is powered by electricity, it wets, cuts and dispenses the tapeAutomatic Tape Dispenser for gummed tape to your required length with minimum effort for the operator.

All you need to do is click a button. Well probably 2 or 3 but what I’m trying to say is it requires no effort.

The pre-set lengths and options to customise the length make it easy for the user to operate and get the exact length needed. Thus, saving tape waste and cost.

Again, there are several different versions of tape machines out there. But most are durable, safe and create an efficient way to pack parcels in a busy, fast environment.

  1. Extremely efficient for picking, packing, and shipping orders
  2. Durable for demanding environments
  3. Requires very little operator training
  4. Reduces tape waste and cuts cots
  5. Reduces employee risk
  1. It does come at a cost. These dispensers are higher priced than manuals
  2. It requires electricity to work so has to remain plugged in

Who would use an automatic dispenser?

Anyone who ships out a large number of orders a day would definitely benefit from using an automatic WAT dispenser.

Although the initial investment is higher, in the long-term, it is more cost-effective. With less effort required, more time is saved. And with tape being cut to exact measurements, you waste no tape and reduce costs.

What should I use?

Ok, great. We’ve covered the good, the bad and a bit more. But maybe you’re still puzzling over which one to choose?

We’ve put these few questions together to help you.

  1. Do you have electricity near your packing station?
  2. Do you need to be able to move your packing machine around?
  3. How many parcels do you pack a day.

We’ve estimated, if you are packing more than 50 cartons a day, the automatic machine is a better choice. But that doesn’t stop you choosing one if you pack less, it’s still a good choice.

And there you have it, the differences between automatic and manual gummed paper tape dispensers.

If you’re still uncertain and need some advice from our packaging experts, get in touch and we can happily discuss the options with you.


One Comment

  1. Luke Smith

    It’s nice that you talked about how gummed tape is not only made of natural renewable resources, but it’s 100% recyclable. I was watching a video about how a packaging company was packing boxes and I saw how they used gummed tape. From what I’ve seen, they were also using Better Pack 333 PLUS, which seems pretty convenient.

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