Very Bright / Brightest Reflective Tape - What it is and Where to Get it.

reflective glass beads
If you have been on the interstate or any road you have probably noticed that many things in front of you light up when your automobile lights hit them. This is because many objects on the interstate or highway are overlayed with reflective tape. If you look a little closer you will see that some tapes or reflective sheeting are brighter than others. This is because there are different grades of reflective tape and sheeting and some grades are much more reflective than others. Type 5 or 9 reflective tape is the brightest tape available and reflects light via small prisms in the tape itself. When light hits the prisms they reflect back a portion of that light to the source. It is around 10 times brighter than standard reflective tapes. These very bright reflective tapes are called prismatic or crystal or diamond grade reflective tapes. Here is a rundown of the most common types of reflective tapes. First there is engineer grade or type 1 tape. It is around 75 candlepower for the white. Then there is type 3 tape or high intensity which is around 250 candlepower. Finally there is type 5 or 9 tape and it runs anywhere from 600 - 900 candlepower.


As stated before, prismatic or diamond grade tapes reflect light via small microprisms built into the tape. A company called "Reflexite" invented this type of tape several decades ago. Reflexite refers to their tapes as "Prismatic Tapes". Other manufacturers call them crystal grade or diamond grade. They are the brightest of all the tapes. These films utilize small prisms that reflect light back to the source in very high concentrations. Much higher than glass beads.

Because the tape uses man made micro prisms, the angle of reflectivity can be controlled depending on the tapes intended use. For example, "SOLAS Tape", which is the brightest of all the prismatic tapes, reflects most of its light back to the source. This makes the tape brighter but is is not as visible at sharp angles. "DOT Tape" is also prismatic but it reflects light back at greater angles thus making itself seen at sharper angles. Some other examples of prismatic tape are "School Bus Reflective Tape" and "Rail Car Reflective Tape".

Click Here for Prismatic Diamond Grade Type Tape

Click Here for Engineer and High Intensity Glass Bead Type Reflective Tapes

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Steve Cole - Owner