While a common misconception is that heat shrink tubing and electrical tape are interchangeable for any application, this is not always the case depending on the ideal finished product you may be looking for. Read now to learn more about the similarities and differences between heat shrink tubing and electrical tape from the experts!
A common misconception when determining the ideal method for wire bundling or insulation is that heat shrink tubing and electrical tape are virtually interchangeable for any application. While heat shrink tubing and electrical tape have been used interchangeably for certain applications in the past, this is not the case with every project, requirement or finished product.
Heat Shrink Tubing
Heat shrink tubing is a type of tubing that, when heated, shrinks to the size of the substrate it is placed over to create a custom fit for various applications. Heat shrink tubing comes in a variety of shrink ratios, colors, and sizes. Various material formulations including PVC, neoprene, Kynar®, Teflon®, and many more are available depending on the specific requirements of the application. Additionally, heat shrink tubing comes in a variety of military specifications (MILSPEC) that meet the most stringent of requirements for military standards and applications. Heat shrink tubing comes with a broad range of benefits, including:
- Wire Insulation
- Resistance to abrasion, extreme temperatures, and other environmental factors
- Protection from dust, moisture, and solvents
- Electrical component protection
- Repair for the insulation of wires
Heat shrink tubing also provides a more “finished” look than typical tape wrapping at a typically lower total cost of installation in the application.
Electrical tape is a pressure sensitive tape that is typically applied to a joint or small portion of the wire to electrically insulate or environmentally protect the wire’s conductor(s). Electrical tape can also be referred to as friction tape or insulating tape. A colored electrical tape is typically used to help identify certain wires in applications. Typically, electrical tape is not as durable as heat shrink tubing. It does, however, help to maintain electrical continuity, cover exposed wires, and connect multiple wire types.