1. Which reflective tape do I need for my application?
Answer – We carry a wide variety of reflective tapes. They vary in brightness, flexibility, color and cuttability. The brightest tape is not always the best tape for your specific situation. For example, the brightest tape, SOLAS, would not work for a traffic cone because it will not stretch.
The first consideration should be the type of surface the tape will be applied to. If you have a flat and smooth you can use any of the tapes we sell. If your surface has compound curves, tight radiuses, an uneven surface or a flexible surface (traffic cone) then you need to use either our flexible engineer grade or flexible high intensity grade tape. For slightly uneven surfaces you can also use our V98 Conformable Prismatic. For example, if you wanted to wrap a very tight radius like a small tube or a fiberglass rod you would want either a flexible engineer grade or a flexible high intensity tape because both are thin, stretchable and will not lift at the edges when placed on tight curves. Of these two tapes, the flexible high intensity is the brightest.
For close up applications a glass bead tape tends to light up quicker because it disperses light out at a wider arc. Our flexible high intensity or standard high intensity tapes are especially bright at close distances. (within 200 feet) So for an application where a car may round a corner and need to see bollards or a gate that is 200 feet away, a high intensity or engineer grade tape would be ideal. Glass bead tapes are also less expensive.
For long distance applications, where viewers are over 500 feet away, a prismatic tape works best. Prismatic tapes shine light back to the light source in a tighter arc so the light goes farther much like a spotlight. Glass bead tape reflects back at a wider arc so it is easier to see close up but does not shine as far out. Much like a flood light. We carry several types of prismatic tapes. All work well on flat, smooth surfaces. Our V98 tapes also work well on slightly uneven surfaces since it will conform to a degree. V98 is what you would see on the back of a fire truck. SOLAS tape is for marine applications but can be used for other purposes. V92 is our affordable prismatic and V82 is a brighter version.
Your specific application will have a huge bearing over which tape you use. How close will the viewer be to the tape when they need to see it? Is the surface the tape will go on smooth, uneven, round, etc..? What color tape will send the correct message to the viewer? This link will take you to a chart that shows the different types of tapes and their characteristics. This link has more information about tape brightness.