Adhesive Lined Thin and Heavy Wall Heat Shrink: What’s the Difference?

Adhesive lined heat shrink tubing isn’t the easiest product to understand. Especially when you’re trying to figure out which product is perfect for your particular project, knowing what to buy and how to use it can be challenging if you don’t know the terminology.


Even for veterans in this area, products new and old can be used for different projects that you might have never thought of. So, keeping up on industry trends can save you from a botched project, and even save you thousands of dollars. 


With that in mind, we at BuyHeatShrink, want to give you a bit of information on two products that seem fairly similar: thin and heavy wall heat shrink. While both fall under the umbrella of adhesive lined heat shrink tubing, both thin and heavy heat shrink differ in popular use cases, and their value to particular customers.


In short, we’re going to explore the differences between thin and heavy wall heat shrink tubing, and help you find the perfect product for your project.

Thin and Heavy Wall Adhesive Lined Heat Shrink Tubing

Regardless of heavy or thin walls, we’re talking about heat shrink that is adhesive lined. Briefly, adhesive lined heat shrink tubing creates a tighter, more secure seal. When heated, the adhesive that lines the tubing melts, forming around the inside and the edges of the tubing, creating better insulation and waterproofing for the cables or other materials inside. 


That being said, there is a difference between thin and heavy walled adhesive lined heat shrink tubing. 

Thin Wall Adhesive Lined Heat Shrink Tubing

While still lined with a protective adhesive, thin wall adhesive lined heat shrink tubing is much more fine and flexible. The outer tubing itself is thinner, hence the name, making it much easier to manipulate around and between tight areas. While less resistant to environmental factors and damage, thin wall adhesive lined heat shrink tubing is still a very secure, yet somewhat flexible option.


Now, you can probably guess what the difference between thin and heavy wall heat shrink tubing is at this point. But, there’s more to it than you think.

Heavy Wall Adhesive Lined Heat Shrink Tubing

Heavy wall adhesive lined heat shrink tubing is exactly what it sounds like. Equipped with a thicker outer coating and lined with adhesive, heavy wall heat shrink is much more resistant to damage than its thin walled counterpart. This extra insulation helps protect cables and wires from environmental damage, and higher voltage, as well as any other unforeseen destruction.


Though the differences seem minimal, thin and heavy wall adhesive lined heat shrink have very different use cases.

When should I use thin wall adhesive lined heat shrink tubing? 

Being much more flexible than heavy wall heat shrink, thin wall heat shrink is often used on projects with tight quarters and that require some elasticity upon being installed. 


Some examples include marine craft and boating projects, motorcycle work, and home office cable management. The adhesive lining will help the tubing stay secure, while adding a waterproofing layer to protect water sensitive components. So, there’s no need to worry about damaging wires or cables. However, heavy wall heat shrink tubing does offer a more robust, secure seal for industrial and extreme environment projects. 

When should I use heavy wall adhesive lined heat shrink tubing?

Heavy wall adhesive lined heat shrink tubing, being thicker than thin walled, is often used where flexibility is not necessary. Areas like large industrial equipment, aerospace, and other commercial projects are where heavy wall adhesive lined heat shrink tubing is very popular. It is also used for direct burial (i.e. burial without the use of conduit).


Where thin wall adhesive lined heat shrink tubing can still protect cables from environmental damage, the heavy wall option takes it a step further. As it is more robust, heavy wall heat shrink can be submerged and buried if the project calls for it. Commercial electrical applications are great examples of this use case.


To sum it up, thin and heavy wall adhesive lined heat shrink will both protect your cables from environmental damage and insulate your cable providing electrical protection. But, if you need a little more flexibility, or a little more strength, now you know which product will work best for you.


For more information, visit our Resource Center.


If you’re ready to get your project started, you can buy both of these products from BuyHeatShrink by clicking here.