Duct tape is a long-lasting adhesive tape that can be conveniently torn off by hand. Meanwhile, a Gaffer’s tape is a flexible, durable and fabric-backed tape, mostly cotton fabric. Duct tape is used to tape up anything that needs to be taped permanently. A gaffers tape, however, is usually used in tape up things temporarily. It is mostly used in theaters and film making sets.

Most people argue the need to have a Gaffers tape when Duct tape seems to fit into almost every situation conveniently. Moreover, Gaffers tape is much more expensive as compared to duct tape. So the main question that arises here is to which one among the both of them should be chosen?

Most of the people worldwide mistakenly interchange duct tape and gaffers tape. However, the differences between the two are relatively uncanny. First off, their production methods differ with each other. Duct tape is constructed with the use of polyethylene cloth backing. This makes the tape waterproof. Also, due to this material, the surface of the tape is shiny and reflective. Furthermore, duct tape has a rubber base adhesion system due to which it can adhere to various surfaces. This strong adhesion, however, leaves residue behind when removed.

Meanwhile, a Gaffers tape is made with a coated cloth back and has a synthetic rubber based adhesion system. As its back is made of fabric and not with a waterproof Polyethylene material, a gaffers tape is not water resistant. Thus this is not particularly reliant in use humid and moist environments. Its cloth back also makes it matte and opposed to light reflections.

As compared to duct tapes, gaffers tape is designed for temporary adhesion and thus can be removed from a surface with much ease, without leaving any residue behind. While looking at the "long-lasting" nature of both the tapes, duct tape is known to hold on to taped up things for a more extended period as compared to gaffers tape. Duct tapes are known for their versatile nature and strength. This is because duct tapes are waterproof and have a robust aggressive adhesion system, while gaffers tape's cloth back makes it vulnerable in moist atmospheres. This is why duct tapes are preferably used in military aerospace packaging and other high profile packaging. Gaffers tape due to their weak nature is more suitable to be used in holding stage light cords and cable ties together.

Apart from that, in the matter of flexibility, duct tape is known to be much more flexible as compared to gaffers tape. This is because gaffers tape is made of cloth and thus has strongly bonded fibers while duct tape is made of polyethylene and therefore its fibers are stretchable. This is why duct tapes are ideal for fitting into irregular surfaces or contours. Whereas, the less flexible nature of gaffer’s tape makes it useful in tight fit and less critical situations.