Shrink Ratio: The shrink ratio is the approximate maximum amount that heatshrink tubing will shrink relative to the unshrunk diameter. For example, 2:1 heatshrink shrinks to half of its original diameter ( 1” shrinks to ½”). If your wiring harness has large connectors or plugs that you would like to shrink over this must be taken into consideration when determining shrink ratio. Larger obstacles will need a higher shrink ratio in order to allow the tube to slide over while still allowing it to shrink into a tight fit for your cables.
Material: As discussed above, heat shrink tubing is available in a variety of different materials geared to specific applications, locations, and temperature ranges. Knowing the circumstances for your specific project allows you to determine if any of the customized protections provided by different materials are beneficial to you.
Shrink Temperature: The minimum amount of heat required for shrink tubing to begin the shrinking process is referred to as the material’s Shrink Temp. This temperature can vary due to material, wall thickness, or other factors. While choosing your heatshrink be sure to reference the shrink temp listed to ensure you have the tools required to reach the specified temperature. Heat shrink tubing with lower shrink temps can often be applied using a hair dryer, while materials with a higher temp require an industrial strength heat gun.
Environment: Where will your completed heat shrink project be located? Will it be exposed to weather, abrasion, UV, or chemicals? The final location of your wire harness will help you narrow down the amount of protection your heat shrink needs to provide. Harsh outdoor environments would likely need a fabric shrink, while applications that come into frequent contact with automotive fluids can be protected with Diesel Resistant Shrink. Be sure to read the protective qualities of your chosen heat shrink to ensure it aligns with your project's requirements.
Color & Aesthetics: Is the primary goal of your heat shrinking project aesthetic appeal over protection? Standard 2:1 or 3:1 Polyolefin heat shrink is available in the largest selection of colors and is the go to choice for those interested in using shrink tubing to color code or identify wiring. We even offer a yellow/green ground ID shrink tubing for easy identification of ground lines. If you are interested in taking your labeling to the next level, consider trying out our Heat Shrink Printing service where we can print your text, logos, and designs directly onto the tubing for you!