How Much Tape Do Moving Boxes Need? (Less than you think)

How Much Tape Do Moving Boxes Need

Have you ever wondered how much tape you actually need on the bottom of you moving boxes?

I have.

I’ve taped boxes with three strips of tape across the bottom and have even taped the edge seams along with the main seam – what some refer to as the “H” pattern.

But, is all this tape really necessary or is the fear of the bottom of a box busting open and all of our precious belongings falling to the ground causing us to put way too much tape on our moving boxes?

I tested three different box taping styles and it turns out that just one strip of tape on the bottom of the box performed just as well as the other methods that required more tape.

In this article, I’m going to go through the exact taping methods I tried out, how I put those taping methods to the test and ultimately how you can save time and money by using less tape than you think you might need.

Table of Contents

Box Taping Methods

For this test I used three regular medium sized boxes from Lowe’s. I say regular because they now make “Heavy-Duty” boxes, but I stuck with the regular boxes here.

I used a different taping method for each box.

Single Strip

Single Strip of Tape on Moving Box
It’s a little hard to see the tape so I added a black dotted line to help.

Box number 1 got a single strip of packing tape.

I went about 3 inches up the side of the box on each side, but no extra tape or support of any kind.

Double Strip


Double Strip of Tape on Moving Box

For box number 2 I used two strips of tape. A single strip as I did on the first box and then a second strip running diagonally across the first strip.

To be honest, I had never even used this method before today, but this guy on youtube suggested it and he seemed like he knew what he was talking about so I gave it a try.

The “H” Method

H Method Taping on Moving Box

Finally, I used what many people refer to as the ‘H Method’ of taping a box.

This was a strip across the main seam along the bottom, then a strip of tape across both edges of the flaps and then another piece of tape diagonally across the main seam.

Something similar to this has always been Jen’s go-to method for taping boxes. (although she calls it the “I” method which actually seems more fitting)

The Box Taping Test

Can a Moving Box Hold 160 Pounds

So how did I put the taping methods to the test?

Well, I continued to load more and more weight into each box.

For each load, I picked each box up and put it down multiple times, then I’d carry it a few laps around my garage. I’d also swing it around a little bit (until the boxes got too heavy to swing). Basically, I was actively trying to see if I could try to get the tape to give way.

If you’d like to see the full test of how I figured out how much weight a moving box can hold, then I encourage you to check out that link.

To sum it up, I kept adding weight until I ended up with 160 pounds – a 45 pound plate, 25 pound plate, 50 pound dumbbell and a 40 pound dumbbell.

Did it visibly stress the box? Absolutely. Did it feel like the box was going to cut off my fingers when I got that heavy? Pretty much.

But, the point is – even the single piece of tape held all that weight.

The other two methods, as you would expect given that one piece of tape held, performed great as well.

Box Taping Test Number 2

50 Pound Dumbbell in a Moving Box

I wanted to do a second test because I started wondering if the fact that the plate on the bottom of box, because it is flat, was somehow distributing weight evenly across the box and taking stress off the tape.

There may be some engineers out there laughing at me for thinking that, but I thought I’d test out my theory regardless.

To test it, I put a 50 pound dumbbell right along the seam where the tape was.

Result? Stressed, but still held. All three taping methods including the single strip of tape.

So, what’s this all mean?

How Much Tape To Put On Moving Boxes

My takeaway from this experiment was that I (as have most of us I’m guessing) have been putting way more tape than necessary on my moving boxes.

It may not seem like much, but when you’re moving a large home and you have dozens of moving boxes, a few extra strips of tape on each one could be costing you a ton of time and some extra money.

Going forward I’ll be putting one strip of tape on the bottom of most of my moving boxes.

Heavier items, like books, or fragile items like glassware will probably still get a second strip if for nothing more than a little extra peace of mind, but that’s it. No more putting 5 strips of tape all over the bottom of my boxes.

And, up to this point, I’ve not even mentioned the top of the moving box. There is no chance the top of any of my moving boxes will ever see more than one strip of tape ever again.

I hope this article, along with my little experiment helped you decide exactly how much tape you’ll be putting on the bottom of your moving boxes.

Good luck with your move!


I've been a college coach for going on 20 years now and that career has led Jen and I on quite the journey. We've lived in 7 different states and have moved a dozen different times. We've learned A LOT over the course of all those moves and we want to pass on our knowledge to help others going through the moving process.

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