5 Best HVAC Duct Tapes That You Can Trust

Josh Mitchell

Written By

Josh Mitchell

Expert Reviewed By

Holly Curell

Last Updated On

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Sealing up HVAC duct system cracks, misalignments, or just a system in general might seem easy for any type of duct tape, but sadly, that couldn't be farther from the truth.

For starters, regular duct tape, even a heavy-duty one, is not made for sealing HVAC systems and will fail, leak, or outright peel off in months, if not weeks.

Here are the 5 best HVAC duct tapes that I use to get the job done right.

Quick Glance - My Recommendations

Professional Grade Aluminum Foil Tape - 2...

Tape Plus

Editor’s Choice

Shurtape SF 686 UL ShurMASTIC Butyl Foil...

Shurtape SF 686

Professional Grade HVAC Tape

PowerScale Aluminum Foil Duct Tape Heavy Duty...

PowerScale

Multilayered Insulation Tape

5 Top Rated Duct Tapes That HVAC Contractors Need

Here’s the best HVAC tape for ducts you need in your toolbox.

1. Tape Plus

4.9

Overall Score


Ease of Use

5.0

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Effectivity

4.75

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Value For Money

5.0

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Who is the product best for?

The Tape Plus is the best overall in terms of price, adhesive strength and tack. Hence it is excellent for those seeking best value for money.

Pros
  • Ideal for flexible ducts and flex-to-rigid connections
  • Strong adhesive and tack guarantees decades of lifespan
  • Can stretch and “warp” to easily adhere to curves and bends
  • Offers best-in-class value for money
CONS
  • Not UL-listed

For flexible ducts or flex ducts to metal connections, I like to use regular aluminum foil duct tape, and my go-to is Tape Plus's HVAC Aluminum Duct Tape.

The reason why I prefer Tape Plus HVAC tape as my top choice is simple - the tape is super high-quality.

It has excellent adhesive power, but it doesn't latch on instantly due to medium-high tack, so I can easily readjust it if I misalign it initially.

It is 3.6 mil, so it conforms around corners and bends flawlessly.

Tape Plus is also a bit stretchy, giving me more freedom when working, especially if the crack is not in my direct line of sight.

Also, I don't need a squeegee for this one, as I can just use my hands.

This HVAC aluminum tape is water, mold, and temperature-resistant, just like the SF 686 mastic tape from Shurtape (next up), and every other pick on my list.

Another major advantage for me is the variety of options and the price.

I have this one in all three sizes - 2, 3, and 4 inches - depending on what I'm working on, with the 2" tape definitely being the one primarily used.

As for pricing, it's extraordinary. You get 70 yards of tape for under $18, which is nearly 50% more than the industry standard.

If you decide to get a 6-pack bundle, that turns into 420 yards for less than $70, which is just beyond remarkable.

The only "downside" is that this isn't a UL-listed foil tape (even though it could be one), so use it cautiously if there's a chance for inspection.

Feature

Details

Best used for?

Flex-to-metal connections, flexible ducts

Roll Dimensions

2,3,4” x 70 yards

Resistant to?

Mold, water, chemicals, UV rays, weather, extreme temperatures

UL Listed

None

Temperature Range

-4-250°F


2. Shurtape SF 686

4.8

Overall Score


Ease of Use

4.75

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Effectivity

5.0

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Value For Money

4.75

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Who is the product best for?

The Shurtape SF 686 is best for those seeking long lasting processional grade UL listed HVAC tape.

Pros
  • Sticks to a variety of surfaces almost instantly
  • Will last for decades
  • In line with all compliances and regulations
  • Suitable for all sorts of HVAC applications
CONS
  • It is more expensive compared to other mastic tapes
  • Can be a bit hard to tear off with hands

On more significant jobs, I like to use mastic tape.

Mastic tape like Shurtape 686 is a butyl foil tape, which is a fancy way of saying it has a ton of adhesive and tack power and will stick to any surface immediately.

It has all the bells and whistles you want in a professional-grade HVAC tape like a UL 181B-FX listing, so you won’t ever have to worry about inspections.

It is 3 inches wide, which is more than enough to cover the corners and attachment points without any gaps.

I love that it is also mold and mildew-resistant, can be used indoors and outdoors, and can withstand temperatures anywhere from -20 to 200 degrees.

I use SF 686 duct mastic tape for most metal-on-metal transitions, duct connections, and hard ducts to ensure a tight grip and an air-tight seal that will last decades without deteriorating, regardless of the temperature and the conditions.

I wouldn't use this one for a flexible air duct or in tight corners (I'd use my top choice, Tape Plus aluminum foil tape), mostly because this one's 17 mils and is a bit rigid, so it wouldn't fit right.

Also, use a squeegee with this one to ensure a tight grip and get that adhesive sticking to the entire surface.

I can see the price being a bit of an issue for some, but considering the application, you wouldn't need more than a few feet of Shurtape SF 686 per project, so I wouldn't stress about it.

Feature

Details

Best used for?

Metal-to-metal connections, rigid ducts

Roll Dimensions

3” x 33.3 yards

Resistant to?

Mold, water, chemicals, UV rays, weather, extreme temperatures

UL Listed

UL 181B-FX

Temperature Range

-20-200°F


3. PowerScale Aluminum Foil FSK Insulation Tape

4.7

Overall Score


Ease of Use

5.0

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Effectivity

4.25

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Value For Money

5.0

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Who is the product best for?

The PowerScale Aluminum Foil FSK Tape is excellent for those who want to seal up duct vents with an easy to use powerful tape.

Pros
  • Excellent value for money
  • Adheres perfectly to every insulation material, even without a squeegee
  • Easy to peel and cut
  • Versatile application outside of HVAC projects
CONS
  • No UL listing
  • Could benefit from an extra inch in width

The third HVAC duct tape in my tape arsenal is this FSK or Foil/Scrim/Kraft tape from Power Scale.

Now, Foil/Scrim/Kraft sounds like something scary if you’re new to HVAC or home repairs,  but it really isn’t - it’s just a way to describe the three layers that comprise the tape.

Those layers themselves are the "key" to why I use this particular tape to seal up the duct vent insulation or do some minor fixes and keep it in place.

Due to its 3-layer construction and material choices, PowerScale's FSK tape has brilliant strength and tear resistance, remarkable temperature resistance (especially when it comes to low temperatures), and every other notable metric that HVAC duct tape should have.

Of course, it will easily handle humidity and condensation (common with HVAC ducts).

And yes, it perfectly latches on to soft and uneven surfaces such as duct reflective insulation.

The only genuine downside of this FSK tape from PowerScale is its width. It is only 2 inches wide and doesn't have multiple options like the Tape Plus.

While 2" gives me more than enough coverage area when sealing duct insulation, I feel like 3 inches would give you more freedom or wiggle room when taping.

On a side note, I’ve also used this tape to do temporary repairs of piping leaks, and even seal seams and edges when I redid the roof on my house, so having this one in the toolbox might come in handy in various situations.

Feature

Details

Best used for?

Duct insulation sealing

Roll Dimensions

2” x 50 yards

Resistant to?

Mold, water, chemicals, UV rays, weather, extreme temperatures

UL Listed

None

Temperature Range

-20-200°F


4. 3M Aluminum Foil Tape 3340

4.7

Overall Score


Ease of Use

4.25

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Effectivity

5.0

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Value For Money

5.0

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Who is the product best for?

The 3M Aluminum Foil Tape 3340 is best for professionals who deal with both rigid and flexible ductwork. 

Pros
  • Can be used for sealing joints, rigid, fiberglass, and flexible ductwork
  • Features both UL listings
  • Industry-leading temperature resistance
  • Will last more than a decade
CONS
  • Not the easiest to tear with bare hands

Whether you need a vapor seal tape for duct closure or just a reliable tape to seal up the flexible and rigid ducts - 3M Aluminum Foil Tape 3340 is the right tape for the job.

3M Talc is a big player in the HVAC tape (or just tape) industry, and for a very good reason. Their products are top-of-the-line quality and performance-wise.

3340 is resistant to UV rays, moisture resistant, and sports industry-leading temperature resistance spanning from negative 40 to 460 degrees Fahrenheit.

It also has excellent adhesion power and medium tack and is 4 mm thick.

I actually spent a ton of time debating whether to put this or Tape Plus's tape as my favorite choice for aluminum foil tapes, but in the end, the price difference prevailed, and TP won. Other than that, these two are very much neck-and-neck.

In fact, 3M's 3340 foil tape for HVAC is UL-listed to seam, seal, and join both rigid and flexible ductwork, so if you end up working a commercial job where passing inspection is paramount - I'd go with 3340.

The only "bone" I have to pick with this one is the lack of width variety, but that's just my preference, and it doesn't affect performance in any meaningful way.

Feature

Details

Best used for?

Flexible and rigid ducts

Roll Dimensions

2.5” x 50 yards

Resistant to?

Mold, water, chemicals, UV rays, weather, extreme temperatures

UL Listed

UL181A-P & UL181B-FX

Temperature Range

-40F-300F


5. ETERART Aluminum Foil Duct Tape

4.4

Overall Score


Ease of Use

4.5

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Effectivity

4.75

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Value For Money

4.0

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Who is the product best for?

The ETERART Aluminum Foil Duct Tape is best for DIY enthusiasts looking for a convenient tape for temporary fixes.

Pros
  • Excellent molding ability, ideal for flexible ductwork
  • Can be used both indoors and outdoors
  • Medium-tack and strong adhesion
  • Can be easily ripped with hands
CONS
  • It is more expensive compared to other foil tapes
  • No UL-listing
  • Only 20 yards long

At number 5, I have this fan-favorite aluminum foil metal tape that over 2000 people have bought off Amazon in the past month - probably by DIY enthusiasts.

I have used this one a few times, mostly because it is a convenient, easy-to-tear tape ideal for quick fixes before finding a more permanent solution, especially when it comes to insulation and pipe sealing.

It's also helpful in fixing nicks and tears and sealing ducts, as it is 3.9 mm thin and can bend and warp easily, unlike thicker foil.

It's a high-quality product, that's for sure, but there are just better options out there.

That said, I have even seen some people use this tape to insulate the piping to prevent mishaps during the winter.

Seeing how there are no official temperature resistance numbers I can reference,

I can only assume it can handle anywhere from negative 10 to 220 degrees, so I can see how it would be useful as insulation for piping.

My biggest issue with ETERART aluminum tape has to be the price.

While $10 is appealing to the eye, what many miss is that you're only getting 20 yards, putting its price-per-yard below only Shuretape's 686 mastic tape.

Also, there’s no UL listing, so code compliance could be an issue.

Feature

Details

Best used for?

Flexible ducts and insulation

Roll Dimensions

2” x 20 yards

Resistant to?

Mold, water, chemicals, UV rays, weather, temperature fluctuations

UL Listed

None

Temperature Range

Not specified


HVAC Duct Tapes Compared

Preview

Name

Rating

Best used for?

Resistant to?

Price

Professional Grade Aluminum Foil Tape - 2...

Tape Plus

4.9

Flex-to-metal connections, flexible ducts

Mold, water, chemicals, UV rays, weather, extreme temperatures

Shurtape SF 686 UL ShurMASTIC Butyl Foil...

Shurtape SF 686

4.8

Metal-to-metal connections, rigid ducts

Mold, water, chemicals, UV rays, weather, extreme temperatures

PowerScale Aluminum Foil Duct Tape Heavy Duty...

PowerScale Aluminum Foil FSK

4.7

Duct insulation sealing

Mold, water, chemicals, UV rays, weather, extreme temperatures

3M Aluminum Foil Tape 3340, 2.5' x 50 yd, 4.0...

3M Aluminum Foil Tape 3340

4.7

Flexible and rigid ducts

Mold, water, chemicals, UV rays, weather, extreme temperatures

ETERART Aluminum Foil Duct Tape Heavy...

ETERART Aluminum Foil Duct Tape

4.4

Flexible ducts and insulation

Mold, water, chemicals, UV rays, weather, temperature fluctuations


How to Choose a Quality Tape For HVAC Issues

Knowing which HVAC tape to choose is a difference maker between a permanent solution and a temporary fix.

Type of Backing and Adhesive Used

The backing material provides the tape with its structural integrity and determines its suitability for various applications.

That said, foil-backed and aluminum tapes like TapePlus HVAC tape are popular due to their durability and resistance to moisture, temperature fluctuations, and UV exposure.

They provide excellent thermal conductivity, making them suitable for sealing ductwork and insulating HVAC components.

They often come with a strong acrylic adhesive that forms a tight seal, preventing air leakage and enhancing HVAC system efficiency.

Fiberglass-backed tapes are essentially fiberglass-enforced aluminum tapes that offer superior strength and tear resistance, making them suitable for applications requiring added durability.

I use them sparingly as they're often too much for regular HVAC work.

As for adhesives used in HVAC tapes, the common ones include acrylic, rubber, and silicone.

Acrylic adhesives offer excellent initial tack and adhesion to a wide range of surfaces, making them ideal for general-purpose sealing and insulation, and are usually what you would get.

TL;DR: HVAC tapes come with different backing materials and adhesive types all giving different strength, tack, and flexibility. You must choose one that conforms to your needs.

What are the Width, Thickness, and Tensile Strength

The width of the tape is very straightforward, and the minimum width is 1.88 inches.

Depending on the tape type and application, you can find 2, 3, or 4-inch wide HVAC tapes (like Tape Plus).

I prefer 3-inch tape over both 2 and 4-inch ones, as 4 inches is too much in most situations.

Thickness influences durability and sealing effectiveness, typically ranging from thin tapes (2-4 mil) for flexible duct applications to thicker options (15+ mil) for added strength when dealing with metal-to-metal connections.

Finally, tensile strength indicates the tape's ability to withstand pulling forces without breaking, which I find extremely important when dealing with flexible ducts or tight corners.

TL;DR: Width ranges between 1.88 to 4 inches. Thickness ranges between 2 mil to 15+ mil; higher the thickness, higher the durability. Tensile strength relates to how well it can withstand pulling forces before it snaps.

Tack Rating and Its Relation to Strength

The tack rating measures the adhesive's ability to adhere instantly. The higher the tack, the faster the adhesion.

In most cases, you wouldn’t want to go for the highest tack possible but rather a medium (like all five tapes I recommended do), as there’s a great chance you’ll need to reposition the tape from time to time, and with high tack, that just wouldn’t be possible.

ACLAB Tip:

While a high tack rating ensures quick adhesion, it doesn't necessarily correlate with long-term strength.

Strength refers to the tape's ability to maintain its bond over time, resisting forces like tension and shear, and is greatly influenced by the adhesive used.

TL;DR: You must choose the tack rating carefully because it indicates how quickly it adheres to the surface. Lower tack gives you more flexibility to reposition it. Higher tack is good for serious leaks.

Durability and Bonding Duration Needed

As a general rule, if you need a permanent seal to stand the test of time, you should go with mastic tape, like Shurtape 686.

These kinds of tapes can last 10-20 years without you ever needing to intervene.

That said, any of the mentioned aluminum foil tapes will last years when applied properly, unlike regular duct tape that would fall off in days or weeks if you're lucky.

TL;DR: While all HVAC tapes can last for a long time, for a more permanent solution mastic tapes are recommended.

Does It Have a Low Permeability Rating?

While none of the tapes will have a “permeability rating” per se, you will want to choose mastic or aluminum foil for any direct connections when sealing ductwork as they, by default, have excellent permeability.

They won’t let any moisture, dirt, or other contaminants in or out of HVAC ducts, ensuring smooth operation for years on end, unlike regular, black duct tape you can get at Walmart.

TL;DR: Both mastic and aluminum foil HVAC tapes have low permeability allowing them to stop moisture and dirt from entering.

What is Its Temperature and Conductivity Rating?

Once again, while you won’t necessarily see a number rating on the packaging, thinking about the temperature and conductivity of the tape is quite vital.

Firstly, tapes must withstand extreme heat or cold without losing their adhesive properties or structural integrity.

For instance, in a scenario where ductwork is exposed to high temperatures near a furnace or boiler, using tape with a high-temperature rating tape like 3M’s 3340 HVAC tape ensures that seals remain intact, preventing air leakage and energy loss.

Conductivity rating is equally vital as it determines how effectively the tape can transfer or resist heat.

In HVAC systems, where efficient thermal management is essential for maintaining indoor comfort, tapes with low thermal conductivity help prevent heat transfer or loss through ductwork or insulation.

For example, in HVAC in commercial settings, where precise temperature control is vital for sensitive equipment or processes, using tapes with optimal conductivity ratings helps maintain stable environmental conditions, ensuring operational efficiency and cost savings over time.

TL;DR: Depending upon where you want to use the tape and how hot/cold the environment is, you must choose the right temperature and conductivity rating.

How Is Its Conformability to Uneven Surfaces?

Generally speaking, thin aluminum alloy foil (up to 4 mils, like 3M or ETERART foil tapes) will offer the best results when conforming and adhering to irregular surfaces, such as flexible ducts or even insulation.

They’re easily stretched, have a high tear resistance, and are commonly very pressure-sensitive, allowing you to use your fingers to secure a strong grip.

Mastic tapes, on the other hand, aren't as great when it comes to conforming to uneven surfaces, as they require a squeegee to get an optimal grip and are usually much thicker and more rigid than aluminum foil tapes.

TL;DR: Some tapes are better suited for irregular surfaces than others. Choose the one that suits the surface you wish to use it on.

Additional Factors Consider

Water resistance is paramount, especially in applications where exposure to moisture is inevitable, such as ductwork in humid environments or outdoor installations.

Thankfully, opting for water-resistant tape shouldn’t be too hard, as most mastic and aluminum foil tapes offer excellent performance in this area, preventing deterioration and maintaining a reliable seal even in damp conditions.

The hand-tear ability of the tape is another practical consideration, but I wouldn’t call it overly important.

In scenarios where tools may not be readily available or for quick repairs, a tape that can be easily torn by hand is convenient.

However, in most cases, you will have a knife, scissors, or a razor you can use to get a nice, clean cut.

Additionally, UV resistance safeguards against the degrading effects of sunlight, flame retardancy is crucial in areas prone to high temperatures or potential fire hazards, and chemical resistance ensures the tape remains stable when exposed to cleaning agents or substances commonly found in HVAC environments.

TL;DR: From UV and chemical resistance to how easy it is to tear, there are additional features you can look into depending upon your needs.


Should You Use Duct Tape or Mastic Sealant for HVAC

In case you don't have HVAC duct tape handy, you might have to choose between regular duct tape and mastic sealant based on your project.

Duct tape is readily available, cheap, easy to use, and offers a quick fix for small repairs. It's suitable for temporary solutions and minor sealing tasks.

However, regular duct tape will fail over time, especially in high-temperature or high-moisture environments. At best, you're looking at a few weeks of adhesion.

On the other hand, mastic sealant provides a durable and long-lasting seal, particularly for larger joints and seams in HVAC ducts.

It adheres perfectly to various materials and offers superior resistance to temperature fluctuations and moisture.

The drawbacks are that applying mastic sealant is substantially harder and dirtier than using duct tape.

You must prep the surface and account for drying time for optimal effectiveness. It's also a lot more expensive.

All that said, mastic HVAC sealant is the preferred choice almost every single time.

The only way duct tape wins is if you're just looking for a day-long fix until you go and get HVAC tape.

TL;DR: Duct tapes are far less effective in all parameters as compared to mastic HVAC sealant. Hence, whenever you require a serious fix, use mastic sealants. 

How We Review & Rank Our Product List

At Air Conditioner Lab, our team follows a similar process when evaluating all products reviews before formulating our final lists for readers.

We begin by gathering data sources directly from brands, e-commerce platforms, online retailers and press releases.

These are then added to a master file we use to compare features specifications from all HVAC accessories. You can access this HVAC Sheet Here.

Next, we narrow down all the products on the market by evaluating user reviews, ratings and feedback from a wide variety of online and in-person sources.

Our team then discusses and co-ordinates our first hand experiences using these products, as well as gather independent opinions and feedback through Youtube and customer reviews.


FAQs

Can Drywall Tape Be Used For HVAC Ducts?

Drywall tape cannot be used to seal HVAC ducts. It is not the right HVAC tape because it lacks the durability and temperature resistance needed to seal ducts and would peel off in days.

How Long Does HVAC Tape Last?

HVAC tape lifespan varies based on several factors, including environment and application, but properly applied tape should last upwards of 10 years.

Is HVAC Tape The Same As Duct Tape?

HVAC tape differs from duct tape. HVAC tape is designed for sealing and insulating air ducts and HVAC systems, is made from different materials, and utilizes different types of adhesives. In contrast, regular duct or electrical tape is used to insulate electrical wires.

Is HVAC Tape The Same As Foil Tape?

HVAC tape is not the same as foil tape, as foil tape or film tape is a type of HVAC tape that specifically features a foil backing for enhanced thermal conductivity and durability.

So, Which Tape Is The Right Choice for You?

Ultimately, I believe that every HVAC professional would agree that selecting the best HVAC duct tape depends on the specific requirements of your HVAC project.

That said, having all three  - mastic tape, aluminum foil tape, and FSK tape - will continually provide full system closure and ultimate coverage regardless of the job or issue that may arise.
  • Quick fix for a flexible duct? Foil tape.
  • Seal up a tear in the insulation? FSK tape.
  • Re-secure the metal connections? Mastic tape.
My #1 Recommendation
Tape Plus

  • Ideal for flexible ducts and flex-to-rigid connections
  • Strong adhesive and tack guarantees decades of lifespan
  • Can stretch and “warp” to easily adhere to curves and bends
  • Offers best-in-class value for money
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Josh Mitchell

Founder

Josh Mitchell
My name is Josh and I am obsessed with home appliances. From portable AC units to heaters and air purifiers, I enjoy testing, learning and using these devices to improve the air quality inside my family home.

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