Heat Shrink Tubing Selection Guide

Heat shrink tubing serves as an effective method for binding wires and cables together, as well as protecting cable connections by encasing electrical wires with tubing that can shrink down in size. Because this tubing can shrink in size, it can effectively seal off the wires from outside interference or interaction with neighboring wires. Popular uses of Heat Shrink Tubing includes:

Heat Shrink Tubing Applications

  1. Environmental Sealant
  2. Electrical & Thermal Insulation
  3. Color Identification
  4. Protective coverings from cutting, chipping, peeling, denting, and different forms of abrasions.

Selecting Heat Shrink Tubing Sizes

When determining the size of the tubing you will need, it is important to use the proper shrink ratio. The ratio tells you the diameter you can expect the tubing to shrink down to. For example, tubing with a 2:1 shrink ratio will shrink down to about half their size when heated. The higher the first number, the great amount of shrinkage you can expect when the tubing is heated (5:1 will shrink to a smaller diameter that 2:1).

  1. Determine the Diameter of your Tubing
    • Begin by measuring the diameter of the thinnest part that the tube will be covering. You can do this by using a ruler, caliper, or any specialty device that you own.
  2. Determine the Shrink Ratio of Your Tubing
    • To make it easier for the tubing to slide over the cable, select tubing that has an expanded diameter that is 20 to 30 percent larger than your measurement.

Also, keep in mind the length of the tubing you will need, because the shrink ratio is also relevant to the length you can expect the tubing to shrink down to.

Selecting the Right Heat Shrink Tubing Material

When choosing your ideal heat shrink materials it is important to take into consideration the elemental factors you will need protection from, such as temperature and liquid exposure. Some materials may not be suitable for extremely hot or cold temperatures. Use the chart provided to determine the ideal tubing materials for your project specifications:

MaterialOperating Temperture
ProductShrink Ratio
PVC  -20°C to 105°C   2:1
Polyolefin  -55°C to 135°C ES221 2:1
Polyolefin  -55 °C to 135 °C ES321 3:1
Polyolefin  -55 °C to 135 °C ES421 4:1
Adhesive Lined -45 °C to 125 °C ES321AL 3:1
Adhesive Lined  -45 °C to 125 °C ES421AL 4:1
Adhesive Lined  -55 °C to 125 °C ES321ALF 3:1
Adhesive Lined  -55 °C to 125 °C ES421ALF 4:1
Teflon  up to 500°F (260°C)   Specifications
Specialty -55°C to 150°C 150°C HIGH PERFORMANCE FLEXIBLE PVDF TUBING Specifications
Specialty  -55°C to 175°C 175°C HIGH PERFORMANCE FLEXIBLE PVDF (OR KYNAR®) TUBING Specifications
Specialty  -55°C to 200°C VITON® HEAT SHRINK TUBING Specifications
Heavy Wall  -30°C to 110° CABLE SLEEVES 3:1 & 5.6:1

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