What is the Difference Between A Masking Tape and Painter’s Tape?


Masking Tape vs Painter’s Tape

Between the two, there is not much difference. But does it matter when using either of the two? It depends on the project you are planning to do.

Aside from its name, both tapes had crepe paper backing, have almost similar weights, and both can be used for the same jobs. In fairness, they came from the same family. In reality, though, all painter’s tapes are considered masking tapes, but not all masking tapes are painter’s tapes. The primary difference between the two lies in the adhesives. A masking tape is extra sticky and does not come off easily while a painter’s tape has low tack that makes it easier to remove after painting.

The Masking Tape

Though masking tape is also used for paint jobs, it goes with certain consequences. Such as the common bit of paint to bleed through the edges. As well as some paint unexpectedly come up with the tape as it is removed. Nevertheless, it is a cheaper substitute for a painter's tape. However, when used carefully and removed quickly after a paint job, the results are still satisfactory.

The masking tape is recognizable for its off-white color. It is relatively lightweight and is somewhat more versatile. And since it has a stronger adhesive on its surface, it is good for several things. It is good for making labels and fixing lightweight, small items. A significant downside of the masking tape is its adhesive strength. Often when removed from any surface, it leaves behind a residue. The residue builds up quickly that can result in frustrations in cleaning up. 

The Painter’s Tape

Why the painter's tape is distinctively colored blue or green? The answer to that question is that it is just a branding strategy. The color blue or green was chosen to create brand identification. It helps in differentiating the painter’s tape from all the other tapes in the market. Additionally, it helps to stand out against most paint colors during application.

Moreover, this tape is equally valued by do-it-yourselfers and professionals for its ability to create crisp, clean paint lines. It also prevents any likelihood of paint bleeding or seeping past the edges. Furthermore, the painter’s tape has a water repellant surface to prevent crinkling that may ruin the quality of the line edge of the painting job when a painter is using water-based paint.

And since the adhesives on the painter’s tape are not as strong or sticky as regular masking tape, it peels off residue-free leaving a clean paint line. The downside is, it is more expensive compared to masking tape. However, it is worth considering the headache and precious time you would save from not doing any touch-up and cleaning off the leftover residue.


Masking tape and painter's tape might look and feel practically alike. But their differences are a given and usually evident on a paint job. There is no question that masking tape certainly works, but when you are after that professional finish and creating less clean-up, consider investing in a roll or two of painter's tape.