Modern desks, whether at home or at work, are understandably centered around the computer. The fixtures of yesteryear that revolved around paper output like staplers, in and out boxes, and filing cabinets are increasingly relegated only to certain industries.
That being said, these implements still have their place, of course. You have your pen holder where you stash your many rollerballs and ballpoints. Despite never being more than five feet from my smartphone, I still have a calculator on my desk for quick things — this one, to be exact. Last but not least, you might have the venerable Scotch tape dispenser.
While it’s true that Washi tape has been the coolest of the tape variations for a hot minute (especially in the notebook planner communities), the absolute ubiquity and usefulness of Scotch tape ensures its place on our desks and in our hearts.
At the very lest, you’ll likely need Scotch tape to wrap gifts of all kinds, especially at Christmas. Beyond that, though, there are plenty of uses for the stuff such that it makes sense to keep it on hand. Stylecaster offers 12 uses, including keyboard cleaner and emergency lint roller. (If you’re in need of the latter, though, consider our list of the best here.) A post on The Secret Yumiverse offers a cute, cartoony rendering of uses for you to consider.
Whatever you decide to do with the tape, if it will take up space on your desk, you’ll want to get a cool dispenser for it. Sure, you could go with the plastic, disposable dispenser that comes with it. But consider this: co-workers and family members are liable to walk off with this, whereupon it will disappear forever. There’s also the standard Scotch black dispenser, which could be spiced up a little by choosing the pink or teal versions, but where’s the fun in that?
No matter what you choose on our list, you’ll want to pick up some refills of the tape itself. The classic Scotch Magic Tape is available in packages ranging from one to 24 rolls. The Staples variant is just a bit cheaper and comes in packs of 12 or 24.
In order to honor the significant role of this humble utility player, here’s our list of the top 15 best Scotch tape dispensers.
1. Acrimet Tape Dispenser
We start with a subtle variation on the classic tape dispenser. This one looks a bit more designed and contemporary. Fits perfectly on the modern desk. It’s on the light side for a weighted-base dispenser, but does have the requisite anti-skid base for one-handed operation. If the white doesn’t do it for you, it also comes in red, silver, blue, and pink.
2. NPW-USA Unicorn Tape Dispenser
For something a bit more whimsical, what could be better than a unicorn? This six-inch unicorn will charm anyone coming to grab a length of tape from your desk. Speaking of, this ships with two rolls of the fantastic pictured rainbow tape, after which you can continue using standard Scotch tape refills. One possible downside is that it’s made of plastic and therefore pretty light, so one-handed operation might be out. Perhaps an assist from Magic Tape’s brother double-sided tape could affix it in place?
3. Blanche Butt Station
Continuing on the whimsical theme, this one is worthy of inclusion on our novelty gifts post. This tape dispenser is totally ridiculous, so it makes a good gag gift or complement to a light-hearted office. It’s not just a tape dispenser, either, as there’s a spot for a pen, memo pad or index cards, and paper clips. In addition to the blue and green versions, there’s a purple version. It’s goofy but useful.
Price: $9.88 (62 percent off MSRP)
4. Cat Pack Post-it Cat Figure Pop-up Note Dispenser and Scotch Kitty Dispenser with Scotch Magic Tape
First featured in our gifts for cat lovers post, this set will appeal to anyone who loves cats and cat things. Both are heavy enough for one-handed operation, and both come with one pack of their respective materials to dispense. When the Post-Its run out, remember to refill with pop-up pads, rather than the standard Post-Its.
Buy the Cat Pack Post-it Cat Figure Pop-up Note Dispenser and Scotch Kitty Dispenser with Scotch Magic Tape here.
5. U Brands Copper Wire Tape Dispenser
For a sense of sophistication, try this attractive copper wire piece. It combines a kind of weightlessness with the high end polished metallic finish, which is actually a little closer to rose gold. The spindle that holds the tape is a clear piece of solid acrylic. Unlike the next option on our list, this fine piece won’t cost you very much, either, although tape is not included in the package. U Brands has a whole set to go along with it that includes a file organizer, letter sorter, letter tray, and pencil cup. You could extend the set with an HBlife stapler, Post-It dispenser, and Duobey paper clip holder.
Price: $5.22 (42 percent off MSRP)
6. Kate Spade New York Tape Dispenser and Stapler
If you really want something sophisticated, this Kate Spade set will bring a designer touch to your work environment. These pieces are made of acrylic with gold accents. Admittedly, these are a bit more for show, as the stapler isn’t the world’s best. If you only need it for light use and love the look, these could be a great fit for you. As with the above, you can extend the set with a file organizer, letter tray, note holder, magazine holder, pencil holder, and the For Good Measure set, which includes a ruler, staple remover, and scissors. If the price and reviews worry you, OfficeGoods has a similar line for much less, albeit without the designer cachet.
7. Cute Bunny Desk Tape Dispenser
Maybe cute is more your speed. In that case, maybe you’d like to be served tape by this little bunny. The dispenser isn’t weighted, but the base is stable enough that one-handed operation should be no problem. To augment this, you can get the bunny desk organizer, whose ears are made of scissors and who holds a carrot full of paper clips. Both the tape dispenser and desk organizer are available in black, as well.
8. Areaware Concrete Tape Dispenser
Designed by London-based designer Magnus Pettersen, this concrete tape dispenser is another minimalist, modern piece perfect for a certain aesthetic. It ships with a spindle meant for tape with a three-inch core, but you can switch that for a normal Scotch tape core easily. Like the ones above, you can turn this into a full set with a cement pencil cup and a concrete desktop planter, available in large or small.
9. Cosa Nova Wood Print Tape Dispenser
While not made of real wood, this dispenser features a wood grain pattern on the outside that might fit in natural finish offices, both at work and at home. The bottoms is weighted for easy one-hand operation and is made of durable plastic. You could also opt to buy this in a set with a stapler and staple remover. They also make one in a marble print.
10. Scotch Globe Tape Dispenser
No, not that sort of Scotch globe. Not to be outdone, Scotch has its own entry in the world of cool tape dispenser with this miniature globe. Perfect for schools and travel agencies, buy this to inspire a sense of adventure with each adhesive strip.
11. Hacoa MT-tile Wooden Tape Dispenser
Okay, it’s true — this isn’t a Scotch tape dispenser. But, given the extreme popularity of Washi at the moment, we felt it was appropriate to include a dispenser aimed at the printed tape. Sized to fit the standard MT Washi tapes, this excellent, compact dispenser should more than meet your needs when it comes to taping things. The cutting surface is made out of grooves in the wood. Introduce a little fun into your taping chores.
12. j-me Cassette Tape Dispenser
For anyone who spent hours making mixed tapes, this tape dispenser will recall a simpler time. It’s also the answer to a Before and After round on Wheel of Fortune. This dispenser includes both the weighted base and non-slip rubber bottom to ensure one-handed operation. Red and black appear to be available at the time of this writing.
13. ArtsOnDesk Modern Art Tape Dispenser
Returning briefly to ultra-modern, high-end looks, this stainless steel tape dispenser looks like it belongs outside a museum for modern art. It’ll accompany just about any decor, and is finely crafted to withstand many years of use. The use of steel makes this more than heavy enough for one-handed use. ArtsOnDesk makes a matching business card holder, phone stand, and paper clip holder. Blomus makes a few pieces that will match, as well, including a pencil holder, filing tray, and notepaper holder.
14. Scotch Black Scotch Tape Dispenser by Karim
Since they make the most popular version of the stuff, it makes sense that Scotch itself would have a few offerings in the game. Our last two options come straight from the source. This minimalist design comes courtesy of Karim Rashid and offers a contemporary counterpoint to the plain black standard tape dispenser. Weighted enough for one-handed operation and understated for modern design sensibilities.
15. Scotch Silvertech Desktop Tape Dispenser
The number one best-selling tape dispenser on Amazon is an updated take on the company’s standard dispenser, though not in the same direction as Karim’s. If you want something absolutely reliable and purpose-built for the task, albeit a little livelier than the bog-standard option, this is the one for you. This price doesn’t include any tape, but for a little over $16, they’ll throw in six rolls.