7 Different Sizes of Heat Shrink Tubing 7 Different Sizes of Heat Shrink Tubing

There are many different sizes of shrink tubing. Shrink tubing comes in an endless array of diameters, but the diameter size is meaningless without knowing the shrink ratio. The shrink ratio will define what size wire the tube will fit on. The wall thickness is also a consideration when choosing shrink tubing. A thicker wall will provide more durability. For household use, there are several common sizes to choose from depending on your need. 

Common Sizes

Shrink tubing is used in most electronic applications and therefore made to fit a large variety of wire sizes. Limited sizes are available in small quantities for at home projects. Here are 7 sizes that are often sold in kits together:

  1. 3/64 tubing has a .047 inch diameter with a 2:1 shrink ratio and is recommended for 28 to 30 AWG wire
  2. 1/16 tubing has a .0625 inch diameter with a 2:1 shrink ratio and is recommended for 22 to 30 AWG wire
  3. 3/32 tubing has a .0938 inch diameter with a 2:1 shrink ratio and is recommended for 16 to 26 AWG wire
  4. 3mm tubing has a .118 inch diameter with a 2:1 shrink ratio and is recommended for 16 to 22 AWG wire
  5. 5mm tubing has a .198 inch diameter with a 2:1 shrink ratio and is recommended for 10 to 14 AWG wire
  6. 6mm tubing has a .236 inch diameter with a 2:1 shrink ratio and is recommended for 10 to 14 AWG wire
  7. 8mm tubing has a .315 inch diameter with a 2:1 shrink ratio and is recommended for less than 10 AWG wire

    When purchasing a kit, make sure to review the length of the tubing. The length of the tubing is in inches and should be longer than the wire you plan to install it on. Tubing that is too long can be cut with scissors, but tubing that is too short to cover the entire wire should not be used. Tubing should not be pieced together for an application.

    Choosing the Right Size

    The shrink tubing you choose for common household repairs and applications is dependent on the gauge wire it is to be installed on. The tubing size should have a larger size than the wire and a shrink size less than the wire. When using shrink tubing as a strain relief, use the same guideline except consider the diameter of the already insulated wire; do not consider the terminal or plug the tubing will cover. If the tubing is too big, it will not shrink enough to snugly fit the wire. 

    Below is a general guideline showing the bare wire diameter for each gauge wire, to assist in choosing the right shrink tubing.

    • 10 AWG, 0.1019 inches bare
    • 12 AWG, 0.0808 inches bare
    • 14 AWG, 0.0641 inches bare
    • 16 AWG, .0508 inches bare
    • 18 AWG, 0.0403 inches bare
    • 20 AWG, 0.032 inches bare
    • 22 AWG, 0.0254 inches bare
    • 24 AWG, 0.0201 inches bare
    • 26 AWG, 0.0159 inches bare
    • 28 AWG, 0.0126 inches bare
    • 30 AWG, 0.01 inches bare

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