Only Connect: Heatshrink versus Neoprene sleeving

heatshrink tubingI see many cable assemblies designed using sleeving and it’s fascinating to see how some design engineers will choose one type over another when either choice is OK for the assembly.

Sometimes there is an obvious choice why you would choose one type, so let’s look at the pros and cons of each type of sleeving (Heatshrink and Neoprene).

Heatshrink Sleeving


  • Easy to use needs only a heat gun
  • More choice of sizes specifically at the larger sizes
  • Available in high shrink ratios
  • When adhesive lined creates a rigid and waterproof seal
  • Printable
  • Low cost


  • Once applied hard to remove
  • Heat can damage cable and connectors
  • Not very flexible
  • Will not stretch
  • In small solder connectors difficult to avoid accidental shrinking

Neoprene Sleeving


  • Withstands high temperatures
  • Easy to move into position
  • Will move
  • Stretchable
  • Flexible
  • Durable and excellent for cables that required thicker sleeve


  • Tooling is required and the Lube is messy
  • Limited on available sizes
  • Is not waterproof
  • Not printable

It’s easy to see why the choice is not always straight forward. However, the above is helpful in determining if the type of sleeving you need is met by either heatshrink or neopream.

Image: Heat Shrink sleaving

Nick Lock, Nicab Ltd 

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