The test: Create loops of tape to hang a poster for two weeks; take it down. What sealed the deal: The poster stayed up and never sagged. The tape peeled off easily without ripping the poster, and it was the only one that “didn’t leave a gummy residue behind,” said a staffer. To buy: $2.50, staples.com.
2 of 6 Boyle & Gardner
Best Double-Sided Tape
The test: Attach snapshots to paper pages in a scrapbook; remove. What sealed the deal: Some were too sticky (and thus hard to un-roll); others weren’t sticky enough. But this one was just right: “It came off in a snap and was great for rearranging photos or removing them for framing.” To buy: $6, amazon.com.
3 of 6 Boyle & Gardner
Best Duct Tape
The test: Affix a two-pound weight to a wall for two weeks. (Sure, it’s not something you would do every day, but this tested strength effectively.) What sealed the deal: The “strongest of the lot,” it tore evenly and went on without “bunching up or sticking to itself,” said a tester. To buy: $5, homedepot.com.
4 of 6 Boyle & Gardner
Best Transparent Tape
The test: Wrap 12 presents. What sealed the deal: Unlike other contenders, this “matte but not too frosty” tape was “nearly impossible to detect on paper.” It was the perfect thickness, too. To buy: $1, Ace Hardware stores.
5 of 6 Boyle & Gardner
Best Painter’s Tape
Painter’s Mate Green
The test: Apply the tape along a wall being painted, then remove it. What sealed the deal: A few tapes were so thin that they tore when removed, but this one “came off beautifully to reveal a straight edge.” To buy: $5, amazon.com.
6 of 6 Boyle & Gardner
Best Packing Tape
Duck EZ Start
The test: Tape 10 cardboard boxes. What sealed the deal: The dispenser’s sharp blade cut the tape with ease, “kept the sticky side from clinging to the roll, and was so much easier to maneuver than a tape gun.” To buy: $3, kmart.com.