How To Buy Heat Shrink Tubing

Heat shrink tubing is available in a wide array of materials and options. The amount of choices can seem overwhelming, but with the right knowledge, tools and measurements, purchasing heat shrink tubing can be a breeze.

Today, heat shrink tubing is manufactured by a variety of companies, each offering a range of prices and material options. Doing your research before purchase is a must. Industry leaders will be able to provide you with access to a range of the finest grade shrink tubing on the market.

Heat shrink tubing can be purchased as a one off for the hobbyist or in bulk for your business. Read this guide to find out how to purchase, and what to look for before you buy.

Different types of heat shrink

A lot has changed since heat shrink was first invented, it has been perfected with added value properties like specialized treatments and features to fit the unique and wide array of purposes and applications it serves.

Before you buy, it’s important to evaluate why you need heat shrink tubing and the location of application.

For example, you can now purchase tubing in a wide variety of colors to allow end users to color code connections. Some heat shrink tubing options feature UV blocking compounds to help protect for outdoor applications. A wide array of tubing is also available with heat-activated adhesive lining. The adhesive lining melts as the tubing shrinks, forming a watertight seal. Perfect for wiring that will be near water or out in the elements. Conductive lining is also an added feature in some heat shrink tubing. Like the adhesive lining, the conductive helps to produce connections without the need for soldering. Finally, manufacturers can also now custom print heat shrink tubing so that users can identify connections.

How to measure your heat shrink tubing

Measuring for your heat shrink tubing is critical before purchasing. Tubing that is too wide will remain loose around your connection and tubing too tight could damage your wiring.

First and foremost, the maximum diameter of your cable bundle and the temperature range required by your application are both important factors to consider when choosing heat shrink tubing.

Shrink Ratios

When measuring for heat shrink tubing, you have to consider how much the tubing will shrink when heated, this is called shrink ratio. Heat shrink tubing comes in a variety of different shrink ratios that inform consumers how much the tube will shrink in diameter when heated. The most common shrink ratios are 2:1, 3:1, and 4:1. For example, if you purchase heat shrink tubing with a 2:1 ratio, the diameter of the tube will shrink 50% from its original size.

When heated, heat shrink tubing not only shrinks in diameter but also length. This measurement is referred to as "longitudinal shrinkage" on the tubing specification, but isn't always provided for all heat shrinkable tubing products. That is why, when purchasing heat shrink tubing you should add extra length to the sizing you order and purchase. It is always better to have too much heat shrink tubing then not enough.

With shrinking in mind, choosing the right heat shrinkable tubing size is all about taking the right measurements. Use a caliper or a ruler to measure the diameters of the smallest and largest parts you will be covering with the tubing. Choose heat shrinkable tubing that is 20-30% larger than your largest measurement. This will allow room to slide the expanded tubing over the largest part.

You next have to measure your smallest diameter. Check to make sure that the heat shrinkable tubing has a high enough shrink ratio to get a snug fit on the smallest part you wish to cover.

Choosing the correct heat shrink tubing size for the application rests solely on being able to make the right measurements.

Want to know more about heat shrink tubing?

At BuyHeatShrink, we specialize in sales to distributors and medium to large OEM’s (Original Equipment Manufacturers). Among our largest customers are Electrical Distributors and car, truck, boat and airplane manufacturers.

Hopefully, this guide has helped you understand all you need to know on how to purchase the best type of heat shrink tubing for your application. Set up an account or log in to put in an order.

If you have additional questions, visit our learning center or FAQs. Or you can contact us here with questions or to receive a sample.

How To Buy Heat Shrink Tubing