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What is a Tape Dispenser?

B. Miller
B. Miller

A tape dispenser is a helpful item for your desk to make it easier to grab tape with one hand. They may be disposable or refillable, and they come in different sizes to accommodate different types of sticky tape. Tape dispensers can be found in office supply stores, discount stores, or ordered online singly or in bulk for an entire office.

The first type of tape dispenser is a disposable tape dispenser. These are usually small plastic dispensers purchased in the craft supplies section of stores, which hold one small roll of tape. When the tape is used, the dispenser is thrown away. Some of these small dispensers are specially designed for use with one hand, such as when wrapping presents. Usually, though, you will need to hold the dispenser with one hand and pull the tape with another, which makes them a little less convenient for everyday use.

Many types of tape come in a disposable dispenser.
Many types of tape come in a disposable dispenser.

The second type of tape dispenser is a refillable tape dispenser. These are sometimes weighted, to stay in one place on a desk or table. They also come in different designs and kitschy shapes to add personality to a desk or cubicle at work. A larger, refillable tape dispenser might also be good for wrapping presents, because it is easier to keep track of. Different tape dispensers exist for different uses.

A tape gun is a type of dispenser that might be used for packing tape when closing a box. You might also use different types of tape dispensers for duct tape or electrical tape, or for any of your particular needs at work. Automatic tape dispensers are also helpful for some work environments, because they will dispense a pre-measured piece of tape that does not need to be cut.

If you are concerned about the environment, using a refillable tape dispenser is more eco-friendly than purchasing and throwing away a tape dispenser whenever it is used up. In general, disposable tape dispensers cannot be recycled.

A set of office supplies might make a good gift for a recent graduate or one who just got a new job. You might include a nice set of pens, some personalized stationary, and maybe a pencil sharpener and a tape dispenser. If you make it creative and fun, and throw in some unique and different office supplies, it can be a very thoughtful gift that the recipient can get a lot of use out of. A set like this would also make a nice gift for a new teacher.

Discussion Comments


There is only one tape dispenser in my office, and we often fight over it playfully. We try to keep it in a central location, but someone always ends up moving it to their desk and forgetting to put it back.

Losing the tape dispenser creates a bit of panic in my office, and everyone searches until we find it. We do a lot of taping of documents, and having to do this without a dispenser that frees up one hand is difficult and time-consuming.

When you are holding tape in your hand, the hardest part is cutting it. The hand held kind aren't usually very sharp, and this creates a struggle. That's why we all love the weighted desk tape dispenser. One quick movement with two fingers is all it takes to free up that tape.


I usually buy the hand held disposable tape dispensers. They are the cheapest kind you can get, and since I don't use a lot of tape, this is my best option.

I generally only need to use the tape dispenser when someone in my family has a birthday and at Christmas. I can deal with having to hold the tape with one hand while maneuvering the wrapping paper with the other, because it isn't something that I have to do on a regular basis.

I'm sure that if I had to deal with tape often, I would invest in a weighted dispenser. For now, I'm getting by with the cheap kind.


@shell4life – Packing tape dispensers are one of my favorite inventions of all time. I despise dealing with super sticky tape on my fingers, and with this type of dispenser, I don't have to touch the stuff.

I work in the shipping department of a warehouse, so I have to tape a lot of boxes. On my first day at work, someone had misplaced the tape dispenser, so I had to tape things all by hand. I wasted a lot of tape and got my hands stuck to several things that day.

I was so glad when someone found the dispenser the following day. I got through with my work in less than half the time it had taken me to do it by hand, and my hands stayed clean.


I didn't know there was such a thing as an automatic tape dispenser before reading this article. That seems like it would be a really handy tool.

I have used a packaging tape dispenser before, and this is also called a tape gun. I use it to seal boxes of Christmas decorations before putting them in storage. I even keep my artificial Christmas tree in a box sealed with tape to keep spiders and mice out of it.

To use the dispenser, I just put the starting edge of the tape sticky-side-down on the box. Then, I hold the dispenser by the handle and pull it across the crack that I'm sealing shut until I've reached the end. I push the tape down with the flat edge of the dispenser and cut it with the sharp blade.

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    • Many types of tape come in a disposable dispenser.
      By: Marjan Veljanoski
      Many types of tape come in a disposable dispenser.