December 28, 2022 4 min read

Learn More About Heat Shrinking Tubes

Heat shrink tubing is an important organizational and protective product that is applied in different electrical arrays. Also known as electrical heat tubing, this is a critical element that is applied in most electrical setups, providing an insulating element from eternal factors - including dust, couture, abrasion, and other objects that could damage electrical wires and components.

Without heat shrink tubing, you will find that your electrical components will be more susceptible to failures and shorts. Still, this isn’t all - there are different heat shrink materials available, ranging from the silicone heat shrink tubing to polyolefin heat shrink tubing and more. All of them perform specific tasks and come with their unique benefits.

With color-coded heat shrink tubing materials, you will be able to keep your wires organized and identify them easily. And in this blog post, we will look into the different heat shrink tubing materials and possible colors that will help you understand when and how each is used.

What is Heat Shrink Tubing?

As its core, heat shrink tubing is a thermoplastic tube that contracts when it is exposed to excess heat. When placed around electrical components and wire arrays, heat shrink tubing will collapse quickly to fit the contours and peculiarities of the equipment, thus creating a proper protective layer.
Heat shrink tubing might cover parts of individual wires or just combine multiple arrays together in order to protect against issues like impact and abrasion. And, there are different heat shrink materials available, all of which have their specific applications. You have a spectrum of options to choose from, ranging from PVC heat shrink tubing and viton heat shrink tubing to PTFE heat shrink tubing and FEP heat shrink tubing.

An Overview of Heat Shrink Tubing Materials

One of the primary questions that get asked when people consider heat shrink tubing is, “What are the different types of heat shrink tubing?”

Generally, heat shrink tubing is manufactured using different thermoplastic materials and can be combined with other additives to optimize specific characteristics.

Some of the common materials used in manufacturing these materials include:


Polyolefin is arguably the most popular material for manufacturing heat shrink tubing. It is especially popular due to its thermal resistance, and while it is more expensive than other materials, it easily withstands temperatures as high as 125-135°C.

Polyolefin heat shrink tubing is primarily useful for industrial, manufacturing, and mechanical applications.

Adhesive-lined Polyolefin

With the adhesive-lined polyolefin tubing, professionals can create a more secure fitting that won’t slip in the most critical conditions. It comes with an adhesive inner layer that easily melts and can adhere to the wires and components inside the tube in order to properly fill any voids and provide a much closer fit.
The adhesive layer also provides additional support and protection from moisture and other non-natural conditions.


The PVC material is known for its strength, durability, and abrasion resistance. It is also more affordable than materials like polyolefin, although it is worth noting that its temperature resistance isn’t so high.
Manufacturers can easily incorporate bright colors, clarity, and flame-retardant characteristics when using PVC. So, it provides a perfect combination of affordability and flexibility.

Some other notable materials used to produce heat shrink tubing include FEP, PTFE, silicone rubber, Viton, and elastomeric heat shrink tubing. Generally, the best material type will depend on the conditions in which the components and equipment will operate - as well as the shrink required to create the right seal.

How to Color-Code Your Heat Shrink Tubing

Build a Proper System

One of the easiest and most effective ways to color-code your system is to follow the right color codes on wires.

For instance, if you want to wire video and audio around your house, you could easily color-code the wires based on the audio and video jack colors. This way, you can easily identify which wire is which over time. And if a wire needs to be removed from the connector, you know which to remove based on the color coding.

If there’s no existing color coding, you could just build a system and write it down. It’s important to get easy access to the color coding in the future, so you can make the necessary repairs or changes when the need arises.

The Coding Process

Before the wiring is installed, it’s also important for you to decide if you’ll be using small strips placed along the wire or if you’ll cover the entire wire in the color to offer an additional layer of protection.

As each cable is being laid out, you can install the colored heat shrink tubing around each wire and use a heat gun to heat the tubing around the wires. From there, remember to record the color that goes with each wire. This way, references can be made and you can remember how each wire works.


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