Last year we were very lucky to get a sample of an number of different styles of the material Dycem. We’ve kept in contact with the company and when they said they had a new product we were eager to get a look. Dycem is a non-slip rubber-like material that has been used and recommended by OT’s for a number of years. It’s traditionally come in rolls that can be cut up and placed on whatever it is you want to get more stable. We’ve used it on trays, the car dashboard, in strips to hold down my mousemat (and the Doxie scanner I’m currently using) and in a number of other places.
The new product is called Dycem Super Grip tape. Take a piece of Dycem and cut it into inch wide strips and put a little padding on the back followed by a line of tape. What you end up with is a product that can be stuck around and onto surfaces or solid handles to improve their grip. Dycem show it being attached to a walking frame and give examples of it being used on cutlery, wheelchair arms and sticks.
The tape comes in packs of either red, blue or black. Each pack contains two lengths of tape each measuring 110cm length and 2.5cm wide and which are around 3mm thick. I got a pack of black tape which gave me a couple of metres to play with.
So where can it be useful? The recommended use is wrapped around something to give a padded yet slightly sticky grip and I was able to follow their directions with a knife and fork set and get a much larger and more grippy handle.
The padding is enough to feel but not enough to make it difficult to get it around tight angles while the glue was strong and water resistant enough to hold up to a sink wash. I would recommend letting the glue dry completely and I would not judge it dishwasher or weather secure for a long time.
I also tried strips of it on the back of items to give better grip with good results. Perhaps the best was the couple of strips on the back of my old Nexus 7 tablet which made it very grippy to hold and on the silicon cover on my OnePlus 2. The tape does have Dycem’s normal drawback – as a slightly sticky substance it attracts dust and dirt very easily. A quick wash with water fixes the issue but obviously this can be somewhat problematic if it is glued to electronics.
About Manufacturer: Dycem
Dycem began in the 1960s when Bristol engineer David Cecil Mills discovered the Dycem polymer and realised its potential. He started selling non-slip trays and coat hangers but was able to expand into the therapy market of which it is now a staple. The company supports numerous charities including Help for Heroes and Arthritis Care.
The Ergohacks Evaluation
Dycem super-grip tape is versatile and leans itself to a variety of uses, users, situations and changing circumstances.
It takes a somewhat steady hand to get it perfectly stuck although if you get it lined up incorrectly you can remove it quickly before the glue dries and it can also be chipped off with a blunt knife. Once attached it makes things more accessible rather than less.
Dycem the company do not say specifically what temperatures the tape can handle but standard Dycem can handle up to 50 degrees celsius and down to minus 20 so it is likely the tape can handle similar temperatures. The surface of the tape is waterproof but the glue is only somewhat – it will handle some water but if left permanently underwater will unravel. This means washing it is fine as are most outdoor applications but putting it to soak in the sink will damage it.
At its base the tape is designed to make things more ergonomic and if you are careful about where you put it it succeeds well. Ideally you want it somewhere you want to get a firm and unmoving grip and probably somewhere which you will hold for a while.
The tape handles sweat surprisingly well and rather than get more slippy seems to get more sticky.
Environment & People
Dycem is a material with a unique and patented formulation. It is a plasticised rubber which the company are eager to list what it does not do or have – no heavy metals, no solvent based inks, no phthalates, no carcinogens, no formaldehyde, no PCP, no silicon, later or outgassing. It is however difficult to impossible to recycle and whilst it can be use as a sterile surface is not recommended for direct food use.
The very short version is that it’s fine on the outside of your bowl but you’re probably better off not eating from it directly.
The company runs a number of social initiatives and directly supports two UK based charities.
The tape costs £8 for 2.2 metres. I found that enough to wrap several handles, try it on a couple of grips and still have enough to add to my Nexus case. I’ve had them attached for around a month and none are yet showing significant ageing. It is cost effective
The most similar product on the market I could locate is Tennis Grip – also a tape that improves grip used to tennis rackets but one which is sweat absorbent if less grippy. This tennis tape is a very similar cost metre for metre.
Thickness: Approx 3mm
Colours: Black, Red, Blue
The tape needs a good solid surface to bond to and ideally a few minutes at least to dry and secure.
Dycem is a well respected and useful material that has become a staple recommended by OT’s everywhere. It’s ideal for increasing the grip between two objects such as on a tray. With the grip tape they’ve taken this and tried to apply it to object to hand. The tape is designed to add padding and increase gripability of handles and the result is successful. Dycem’s typical achilles heel – it’s dust collection remains an issue but in the right situation it’s useful.
The review is based on the Dycem non-slip super grip tape kindly provided by Dycem. This post contains affiliate links. First published on 4 January 2016.