Not all clear heat shrink tubing is created equal. Despite the color name, many types and brands of “clear” heat shrink don’t wind up that way at all once they finally have been shrunk.
Often, the tubing will become yellow or cloudy after heat is applied, and that can defeat the purpose entirely, especially if it gets too opaque. Unlike many other brands, Buy Heat Shrink’s clear tubing is all exactly that: “water clear,” which means that it’s crystal clear, even after being heated.
Why is clarity so important? The entire purpose of clear heat shrink tubing is that you can see through it. This is great for protecting labels that have been applied to wiring, or being able to read information already printed on the wires.
If you’ve used paper, polyester, or vinyl labels on wiring, you’ll find that they have many drawbacks. They can fade, peel or fall off, and can easily be removed or altered. Clear heat shrink tubing offers a layer of protection that keeps the label visible and in-place, and heat shrink is not easy to remove, so it’s a lot more tamper-proof.
If you need to shrink-wrap a long section of cables or wires, or to keep a bunch together, then a clear color can allow you to see the individual colors in the bunch. This is also useful if you have to wrap the entire visible length of a cable or wire that’s an unusual or non-traditional color or pattern, or in which one or more of them has special markings.
Clear heat shrink is also useful for braided cables, like the kind you’d find in bicycle handbrake lines or motorcycle clutch lines. The wrap protects them from abrasion, the elements, and other damage. Meanwhile, with clear heat shrink, you can easily see the condition of the cable without leaving it vulnerable.
There’s another use for clear heat shrink that you probably see and handle frequently without even realizing it. This is in the form of perforated heat shrink bands used on bottle caps and lids to assure a customer that an item has not been tampered with.
It works exactly the same way as other heat shrink tubing. Determine the size you need, place it over the cap and container properly, and apply heat. The transparency means that whatever is printed on the cap is still readable.
The only drawback to clear heat shrink is that it is not flame resistant. This is a side effect of keeping it clear. The additives necessary to give it fire retardant properties would make it cloud up. Otherwise, though, it can be used at all the same temperature ranges and for all the same purposes as any color of heat shrink. Of course, it also won’t fade in direct sunlight, because there’s nothing to fade.
Clear heat shrink tubing is available in both 2:1 and 3:1 shrink ratios, with 3:1 available in both single-layer and adhesive-layer. All of our 2:1 polyolefin tubing except for ultra-thin wall is available in clear. The 3:1 polyolefin is available in clear in every type except for medium wall. Adhesive-lined heat shrink is available in clear in the 3:1 thin-walled variety only.
Although heat shrink tubing comes in many different colors, sometimes transparency is clearly the best option.