Understanding the Different Types of Wire Terminals

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Determining which terminal is best for your particular application is often a difficult task. One of the most confusing parts is the wide variety in insulation types. There are non-insulated terminals, vinyl insulated terminals, nylon insulated terminals, and heat shrink insulated terminals. To make matters worse, within the heat shrink terminals there are crimp seal, solder seal and crimp & solder seal options. In hopes of making things simpler, here are some pros and cons of each. Think we missed something? Please let us know!

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Non Insulated Terminals:

Pros:

  • Usually the least expensive option
  • High temp options can handle up to 900° F
  • Crimp point is visible so you can see if you made a good connection
  • Installers can also solder or add heat shrink to create a better or sealed connection

Cons:

  • No insulation so they should not be used in places where they could short
  • Some of the high temp or heavy duty options require significant force or special tools to crimp
  • Not a sealed connection so they can be prone to corrosion
  • If only crimped, they can be prone to wires pulling out

See our selection of Non Insulated Terminals HERE

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Vinyl Insulated Terminals:

Pros:

  • Usually the cheapest insulated option
  • Commonly available
  • Wide selection of options
  • Easy crimp on installation

Cons:

  • Crimp area is not visible, so it can be hard to determine if you achieved a good crimp
  • Not a sealed connection so they can be prone to corrosion
  • Wires can be prone to pulling out

See our selection of Vinyl Terminals HERE

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Nylon Insulated Terminals:

Pros:

  • Semi-Translucent insulation makes it easier to see if you’ve made a good connection
  • Most can be 'double-crimped' on the wire and the insulation, providing a stronger connection.
  • Nylon insulation is more flexible and less prone to cracking than Vinyl
  • More chemical resistant than vinyl
  • Wide selection of options
  • Easy crimp on installation

Cons:

  • More expensive than vinyl
  • Not a sealed connection so they can be prone to corrosion
  • Wires can be prone to pulling out

See our selection of Nylon Terminals HERE

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Heat Shrink Crimp Seal Terminals:

Pros:

  • Most common heat shrink terminal
  • Translucent insulation makes it easier to see if you’ve made a good connection
  • Heat shrink insulation is more flexible and abrasion resistant than vinyl or nylon
  • Heat shrink insulation provides a sealed connection to prevent corrosion
  • Heat shrink insulation with adhesive lining creates a connection that does not just rely on the crimp for strength, reducing the likelihood of wire pull out

Cons:

  • More expensive than nylon or vinyl terminals
  • Requires either a heat gun or butane torch to install properly

See our selection of Heat Shrink Crimp Seal Terminals HERE

Video Demo of Window Heat Shrink Terminals

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Heat Shrink Solder Seal Terminals:

Pros:

  • Solder creates a stronger connection than crimp
  • Solder reduces or eliminates voltage drop across the connection
  • Can sometimes be used in tight situations where there is no room for a crimp tool
  • Translucent insulation makes it easier to see if you’ve made a good connection
  • Heat shrink insulation is more flexible and abrasion resistant than vinyl or nylon
  • Heat shrink insulation provides a sealed connection to prevent corrosion
  • Heat shrink insulation with adhesive lining creates a connection that does not just rely on the crimp for strength, reducing the likelihood of wire pull out

Cons:

  • More expensive than nylon or vinyl terminals
  • More difficult to use than crimp seal terminals
  • Requires either a heat gun or butane torch to install properly

See our selection of Heat Shrink Solder Seal Terminals HERE

Video Demo of Solder Seal Terminals

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Heat Shrink Crimp & Solder Seal Terminals:

Pros:

  • Crimp & Solder creates a stronger connection than just crimp
  • Reduces or eliminates voltage drop – good for voltage sensitive sensor connections
  • Translucent insulation makes it easier to see if you’ve made a good connection
  • Heat shrink insulation is more flexible and abrasion resistant than vinyl or nylon
  • Heat shrink insulation provides a sealed connection to prevent corrosion
  • The combination of crimp, solder, and adhesive lined insulation makes a connection that is stronger than the wire itself. No risk of wire pull out.
  • Creates a permanent fix

Cons:

  • More expensive than regular heat shrink terminals
  • More difficult to use than crimp seal terminals
  • Requires either a heat gun or butane torch to install properly
  • Limited options available

See our selection of Heat Shrink Crimp & Solder Seal Terminals HERE

Video Demo of Wiring Depot Crimp & Solder Seal Terminals


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