Professional Tool Reviews for Pros


Ideal Wire Armour Electrical Tape

Ideal Wire Armour Electrical Tape

For a product that most Pros carry and electricians use every day, electrical tape isn’t the most exciting topic of conversation. You just need it to work. Despite the possibility that it might be bland, I got my hands on the new Ideal Wire Armour Heavy Duty Electrical Tape to see if it offers something more than the standard stuff.


Pros

  • High stretch
  • Strong hold
  • Performs well at high temperatures
  • Flame retardant
  • Heavy-duty 8.5 mil available

Cons

  • Expensive

Recommendation

We like the results we’re seeing from Wire Armour and we think you will, too. The premium price is something you definitely want to consider, but give a couple of rolls a shot and see how it compares to what you’re currently using.

Electrical tape’s flagship characteristic is the ability to hold tight after you stretch it. The cheap stuff does fine sometimes, but when you have to consider not-so-friendly environments, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows.

Ideal Wire Armour comes in premium professional 7 mil, 7 mil color-coded, and heavy-duty 8.5 mil styles. I did some environmental and comparative testing in-house. I also sent some out to our resident electrician, Ben Parker, who used it on a variety of standard applications and performed plenty of drop testing.

Spoiler alert: Ideal Wire Armour Electrical Tape survived Ben’s drop tests with flying colors.

Ideal Wire Armour Electrical Tape

Stretch and Tensile Strength

The vinyl in electrical tape is what enables its stretching characteristics. The UL minimum is 150%. Ideal claims 200% on their color-coded tape, 260% on their standard, and 300% on their heavy-duty Wire Armour.

Ideal Wire Armour Electrical Tape

Each of the tapes, including the $0.88 stuff, exceeds the 150% mark easily before breaking. What’s interesting is that Ideal Wire Armour Electrical Tape in all three forms stretches to a significantly greater level. Unsurprisingly, the heavy-duty tape is well ahead of all the others.

What also became evident is that Ideal’s tape has a higher tensile (breaking) strength than the cheap tape. Again, there’s a significant increase in the heavy-duty tape.

Environmental Testing

In order to see how the tape holds up to an outdoor climate, I wrapped 4 different types tightly around PVC and let them sit out in the hot, humid, and rainy conditions that Florida offers in the summer.


The cheap stuff (top) is flagging but still holding on. Ideal’s yellow tape is also flagging, but not quite as much. Red (same makeup as yellow, but a different color) is holding tight along with the heavy-duty on the bottom.

Ideal Wire Armour Electrical Tape

Temperature is a possible difference maker, so I took my thermal camera out to get a shot. Both black tapes are running 107° – 108° at 1:00 PM while the yellow and red are both sitting at 97°. That doesn’t explain why yellow is flagging and red isn’t. It does show that the heavy-duty is holding up better when things heat up, though.

For just a few weeks in the outdoors, it’s clear that the heavy-duty is holding up better than the cheap tape. Ideal’s color-coded tape gives us mixed results but is still in better shape than our baseline.

Report from the Field

In the field, the true measure of electrical tape is whether it stays stuck in the heat and while being pulled/fished. If a tape peels under these conditions, you know that it will fail you either during the job or worse, after you’ve left. Using it for some attic wiring work he had lined up, Ben reported back that the tape holds up exceptionally well under both conditions.
He gives it two thumbs up for all standard electrical tape uses.
Ideal Wire Armour Electrical Tape

Pricing

Not many retailers have this in stock at the moment. From what we’re seeing, prices are around $3.93 for the 7 mil black and color-coded tapes and $4.18 for the heavy-duty. That’s a big premium to pay over the standard tape that you get for less than $1. However, it’s right in line with other premium tapes like Scotch.

The nice thing about a consumable product at this kind of price point is that you can give a roll or two a shot before deciding if it’s the best bet for your tool bag. I’m hoping that we’ll see some bulk pricing available to bring the per roll price down a little more.

The Bottom Line

Ideal Wire Armour Electrical Tape is without a doubt superior to the cheap stuff you get at your local big box store. It competes well with premium tape, but you’ll pay a little bit more for it.

Ideal Wire Armour Electrical Tape Options

Ideal Wire Armour Heavy-Duty

  • Model: Wire Armour 46-88
  • Thickness: 8.5 mil
  • Temperature Range: 0° – 221° F
  • Flame Retardant: Yes
  • Adhesion Strength: 20 oz/in
  • Elongation Rating: 300%
  • Tensile Strength: 20 lb/in
  • Dielectric Strength: 10,000V
  • Price: $9.29

Ideal Wire Armour Black

  • Model: Wire Armour 46-33
  • Thickness: 7 mil
  • Temperature Range: 0° – 221° F
  • Flame Retardant: Yes
  • Adhesion Strength: 20 oz/in
  • Elongation Rating: 260%
  • Tensile Strength: 17 lb/in
  • Dielectric Strength: 9000V
  • Price:  TBA

Ideal Wire Armour Color-Coded

  • Model: Wire Armour 46-35
  • Colors: Orange, blue, red, yellow, green, brown, gray, white, purple
  • Thickness: 7 mil
  • Temperature Range: 32° – 221° F
  • Flame Retardant: Yes
  • Adhesion Strength: 20 oz/in
  • Elongation Rating: 200%
  • Tensile Strength: 17 lb/in
  • Dielectric Strength: 7500V
  • Price: $14.46

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Pat Maurice

40 years experience in heavy commercial/industrial electrical field. 3M tape is the gold standard by far.

Roger Martin

I’d like to see how it compare to the quality of 3M 33+, as electricians 3M is all we use especially for the tough jobs like wire pulling.

Mikey

And where is it made? It’s gotten very hard to find non-slave-labor electrical tape (and yes china is a slave nation, only the wealthiest people aren’t slaves over there). I don’t know why I’m wasting my time here, I’ve never gotten an answer.

David Aldis

It’s 7mm thick? The spec sheet says 7 mil, which is 7/1000″..not quite the same thing!!

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