You Have Options! – Types of Reflective Tape in the Marketplace.
Most folks only know that “the government says that you must install red and white reflective tape on trucks and trailers.” What many of them don’t know about are the options available, but the phrase “an educated consumer is the best customer” is definitely true. As a consumer of reflective tape products, you have multiple choices out there and it may be that you are overpaying or overlooking a reflective tape that it better suited for your needs.
Reflective Tape & Consumer Knowledge
First of all, this product is known by a multitude of names: Reflective tape, retro-reflective tape, DOT tape, and the winner of them all – conspicuity tape (con-spik-YOO-it-tee). Try searching for these products under all of these terms related to this and you’ll be surprised at the amount of vendors listed. However, buyer beware! The Worldwide Industry standard of a full roll of DOT tape is always 2” x 150’. You will be amazed at the full roll photos online of amazing prices of $25 each and learning within the fine print that it’s only 30’ long – or less. Always check the roll size before purchase.
Reflective Tape Composition
Reflective tape is made with either of tiny glass beads, or of tiny micro pyramid shaped prisms. Both of these units reflect light back to the viewer, which is why it’s called retro reflective tape. However, prismatic reflective tape is brighter and is generally used in upscale uses such as new trailers. Glass bead is cheaper and more likely to be sold to lower end users such as neighborhood repair shops. Let the buyer beware! – always ask the seller if your tape is glass bead or prismatic.
Metallic & Heat Sealed Reflective Tape
There are two main different types of reflective tape. Metallic and heat sealed (also known as air sealed). Metallic tape has an aluminum layer on the bottom and is very “metal” looking. It is also usually a bit darker looking than heat sealed tape is. Heat sealed reflective tape has been fabricated in two different layers of plastic without the aluminum layer. Since the metal layer isn’t there, it’s brighter in the daytime. The white and red white sections are a brighter color but at night time both kinds are equally reflective and look the same. One vendor declares that since heat sealed reflective tape is made of two layers welded together with heat, this small grid pattern allows water to drain more easily from behind the reflective tape after it’s installed. To be honest, other than daytime color, both types seem to perform equally well.
Kiss-cuts & Full Rolls of Reflective Tape
The federal government allows all DOT tape to be made with the red and white sections that can be either 11” and 7” or 6” and 6”. They also allow full rolls sold as full uncut rolls of tape or “kiss-cut” (after conspicuity tape, here’s your second vocabulary word of the day). Kiss-cut means the top tape layer is cut thru, but the bottom peel backer is not. Many installers like kiss-cut option since most sides of truck trailers do not have full reflective tape installed down the side. It’s also nice for anyone that has spent an afternoon trying to peel back that pesky backing layer off dozens of pieces of reflective tape – well, the kiss cut option is mighty attractive.
Reflective Tape Pricing Options
Pricing on reflective tape – what should you pay? There’s a lot of junk on the marketplace; a lot of cheap Chinese tape. Anything under $40 a roll is definitely suspect to poor quality. Low $40 trolls of reflective tape is okay for the repair shops, but that’s about it. A good quality manufacturer should be paying close to $60 a roll, at least. Conspicuity tape is conspicuous, and if it all falls off a $25,000 trailer, that’s what a customer remembers. Premium American made tape can be $70 or more and should be considered if you are a true premium manufacturer. Consider ordering Reflective Logo Tape, which has your logo imprinted within the tape. This is a great marketing advantage. Remember, for nearly all trucking equipment suppliers reflective DOT tape is just an add on product. Look for a qualified reflective tape supplier that carries a range of options and price points and who can assist in providing you the best option out there for your needs.
Purchase Your Reflective Conspicuity Tape Today
Briargate Supply ships reflective tape products throughout the entire continental United States. If you are interested in learning about our products, contact us today to get started! We offer a variety of reflective tape products to fit your needs.