Gummed kraft paper tape is fantastic stuff, but it’s also one of the messiest tapes around. A parcel tape dispenser helps control some of the mess. They come in different forms, from ones reminiscent of office tape dispensers, to ones that feed a wet strip of tape out of a box.
Low End Manual Gummed Paper Tape Dispensers
Lower cost dispensers have a hopper to hold the roll, and feed it past a sponge, which wets the tape. There’s a blade to cut the tape, but it won’t cut through reinforced tape – use scissors instead. It works like you’d expect a tape dispenser to. A couple models are the Excell ET-377, the Packer EPS80.
Midrange Manual Tape Dispensers with a Lever and Blade
These have a hand crank on the side to pull out the tape, and a blade inside that automatically cuts the tape. A setting on the lever controls the length of the tape.
This is a whole other level of automation, and it’s also a whole lot more expensive, with prices ranging from around $300 to $600. The prcing is based on features, but also seem quite arbitrary because the photos appear to show the same or similar machine, just rebranded by a value-added reseller.
Premium Automatic Gummed Tape Dispensers
These are like the hand cranked units, but without the crank. They have buttons to dispense the different lengths.
Prices range from $900 to $1500 or so. I won’t even get into models, because they’re out of my range. I could see the automation being useful if you’re pulling that crank fifty times a day. You’re there to build boxes, not to work out one arm on a rowing machine!