About Tough Tape
Inspired by military 100 MPH tape, Tough Tape claims it can handle just about anything you throw its way. This includes supporting up to 200 pounds without tearing, creating an airtight and watertight seal that can hold up under pressure, and even using its textured top layer to serve as a handy grip for tools or sports equipment.
In fact, the commercial tells us that this kind of tape was used to fix helicopter rotor blades during the Vietnam War because of the wind speeds it could withstand (hence its 100 MPH nickname). Together, we’re told it’s useful for just about anything, from quick, temporary fixes to more lasting solutions.
Despite all of these benefits, the company tells us that Tough Tape works just as well indoors as outdoors, and can even be used for delicate work, since it comes off easily and won’t leave behind any sticky residue.
What’s the deal here? Is Tough Tape legit, or is it just an overhyped, overpriced product you could find at your local hardware store? Before handing over your hard-earned money, you deserve to know all the relevant facts.
That’s exactly what we’ll help you accomplish in this article, starting with the million dollar question.
What Exactly Is Tough Tape & How Does It Work?
The Tough Tape website offers curiously few specifics about what you’re getting for your money, although we are provided with a couple of clues that might be able to add some insight. Like what?
The detailed version: Remember how the website references 100 MPH tape created by the military several times?
AllAboutTape tells us it was originally developed during World War II for sealing ammunition canisters and preventing moisture penetration. However, soldiers soon learned that it had thousands of other uses, which colloquially became known as ‘duck tape’ (likely due to its water repellent ability).
And because it was said to remain in place at 100 MPH, it was often referred to as 100MPH tape. In fact, another clue mentioned on the Tough Tape website is that there are reports of it being used to repair helicopter rotors during the Vietnam War.
Once these service members returned home, they found yet another use for ‘duck’ tape—as an adhesive for HVAC ductwork. Hence, it became generically known as ‘duct’ tape.
But what is that, exactly? MadeHow.com tells us it’s a “cloth tape coated with a polyethylene resin on one side and very sticky rubber-based adhesive on the other. Unlike other tapes, the fabric backing gives duct tape strength yet allows it to be easily torn. Duct tape is also very malleable and can adhere to a wide variety of surfaces."
The short version: Based on the clues provide on the website and in the commercial, Tough Tape appears to be duct tape.
For more information, we reached out to the customer service number listed below, and our only option was to leave a voicemail. We hadn’t received a response at the time of publishing.
What’s the Price for a Roll of Tough Tape?
Two standard rolls (30’ each) of Tough Tape, along with two bonus on-the-go rolls, are priced at $19.99, plus $11.98 S&H. You’ll be able to choose between Tactical Black or Desert Tan colors.
All orders come with a 30-day refund policy, less S&H. In order to request one, you can call Paragon Products customer support at 866-871-0171. As noted in the previous section, we reached out for additional information, and our only option was to leave a voicemail.
Is There Really ‘Nothing Like Tough Tape on the Market Today’?
While the website emphasizes that Tough Tape is a unique product, if it is indeed duct tape, it’s literally up against thousands of potential competitors. Many duct tape options are available at local hardware stores and home improvement retailers, which could also help you save on S&H.
Even then, we found multiple options online priced as low as $3 for a 60' roll, which is twice the length of a Tough Tape roll and less than half the per-roll price.
In fact, it’ not even the only product that uses the exact sales pitch and pricing structure. To see what we mean, take a look at the TacTape site and compare it to Tough Tape’s, and you’ll find that—outside of the commercial’s host and site design details—they’re functionally identical (we didn’t test either product to provide firsthand feedback).
Regardless, what should you look for when buying duct tape?
Menards recommends that a basic- or original-strength duct tape can work great for quick fixes and temporary applications, since it often “features great flexibility and conformability to hold tightly around corners, bends, and curves.” However, if you need something with extra holding power or shear strength, an industrial or extra-strength version might work better.
Home Depot also notes that strong adhesion provided by duct tape means that it can be used for virtually any project, so its application is really only limited by your imagination. The emphasize that many third-party companies manufacture duct tape in a variety of colors, too, so you’re not just stuck with silver, black, or tan.
Outside of this, it largely comes down to your needs and preferences, such as roll length, tape width, and budget.
Our Final Thoughts About Tough Tape
As with TacTape above, we’re left with a lot of important unanswered questions when it comes to Tough Tape:
- Is it duct tape?
- What’s the width of each roll?
- What materials is it made from?
- What differentiates its construction from standard (or even industrial-strength) duct tape?
- What’s its tensile strength?
Once again, we called the toll-free number listed above, and our only option was to leave a voicemail. We hadn't heard back yet, but we'll update this article as soon as we do so that you can make a more empowered purchasing decision.
The bottom line is that Tough Tape’s manufacturer (Paragon Products, based out of Oceanside, NY) has been in business for 25 years and seems to stand behind the product with a 30-day return policy, although you’ll lose close to $12 in non-refundable S&H charges if you’re dissatisfied, plus whatever it’ll cost to send the tape back to the company.