A Guide to Spiral Cable Wrap: Everything You Need to Know

Black spiral wrapping for cables

What is a spiral cable? That’s a common question that refers to wrap that’s applied to cable and wrapped in a spiral pattern. It has several purposes and is used across multiple industries. For instance, it’s a common automotive wire wrap. This guide is designed to help you understand this critical cable management component. We’ll cover:

What is Spiral Cable Wrap and What It's Used For
Spiral Cable Wrap: Sizes, Materials, and Colors
How to Choose the Right Spiral Cable Wrap: Tips and Factors to Consider
Applications of Spiral Cable Wrap: Where It's Used and Why
How to Wrap Cables: Installation Techniques and Best Practices


What is Spiral Cable Wrap and What It's Used For

Spiral cable wrap is known by different names: spiral wrap tubing, cable spiral wrap, spiral wrap for wires and wire spiral wrap. It’s a versatile and practical cable management solution, used to bundle cables and keep them organized and protected against abrasions. Braided cable sleeving, for example, does this too, but if you need easy access to your cables for any maintenance or repairs, then it’s spiral cable wrap that you want.

You can learn more about in Braided cable sleeving: a quick guide.

Cable wrap is also cut in a spiral design so that you can route cables at any point from the bundle to a different direction. How to use spiral cable wrap is easy. You can apply spiral wrap to the re-routed bundle that you create too. Its design and construction also enable your cables to flex and even move around, making them ideal for robotic applications. 

Spiral Cable Wrap: Sizes, Materials, and Colours

It’s worth mentioning that the concept of spiral wrap isn’t just for cables. Hydraulic spiral wrap protects most types of hydraulic, pneumatic and industrial hose assemblies. If it moves, spiral wrap is the perfect protection. There’s even spiral wrap for heavy-duty uses, required by the mining industry to protect hoses underground.

When we’re talking about cable management, we’re talking about spiral cable wrap, which comes in black or natural, but you can also find it in other colors. Spiral cable wrap sizes vary while materials are typically nylon or polyethylene. Example:


Standard Spiral Cable Wrap
Lightweight wrap protects both cable and hose without restricting flexibility. Crush resistant, flexible, and easy to install. Available in heat-stabilized nylon or polyethylene. Sizes range from as small as 0.062 x 0.500 inches (roughly 1/16 x ½ inches) up to 1 x 7 inches. 


Slit Harness Wrap    
This is not a type of spiral cable wrap, but it’s similar in that it’s another type of plastic wire wrap. A slit harness wrap is used to bind and protect cable looms, also known as wire harnesses. A wire harness is a structured grouping or bundle of electrical wires or cables bound together and usually enclosed in a protective sheath. The purpose of creating a wire harness is to organize and protect the wires, which helps in efficiently transmitting electrical signals or power within a system. 

Spiral wraps have an open design, which means they might not fully enclose a wire harness. 

You’ll find it helpful to learn about other cable management wraps in our guide, The difference between cable conduit, wrap, sleeves and tubing.

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Which spiral cable wrap material should you use?

Spiral wrap for cables increases your bundle’s lifespan while minimizing the amount of maintenance and repairs needed for wires, cables, and also hoses. That is, if you choose the appropriate material. The plastic you decide on should depend on your application and its environment. 

Use nylon in an enclosed environment

Nylon is lightweight yet provides high abrasion resistance. Look for a heat-stabilized option, which minimizes the loss of physical properties as operating temperatures increase. We are talking about electrical cable spiral wrap, and electrical applications operate in heat, so take the safe option.

Nylon does hold up over a wide temperature range, but if you can widen that range with a heat stabilizer, do it. Nylon is self-extinguishing, and you should make sure your choice has a UL 94 flammability rating, such as Essentra’s nylon spiral cable wrap. 

It’s also perfect as automotive wiring protection, specifically for use under the hood in engines. Industrial operations also turn to nylon to protect hydraulic hoses, while nylon is also good for NEMA electrical enclosures.

Use polyethylene for general applications

Low cost, polyethylene wrap is the ideal choice if a temperature rating is not needed. It’s incredibly cost effective, and in the color black, it resists UV rays, so you can use it outdoors. 

Direct sunlight will not degrade the material, which is why it’s popular with the construction industry. It’s also used for industrial generator parts and in a typical outdoor electrical enclosure and cable junction box. Otherwise, polyethylene is a general all-purpose material, suitable for standard electrical installations, panel building and the electronics industry.

How to Choose the Right Spiral Cable Wrap: Tips and Factors to Consider

Choosing the appropriate spiral cable wrap is essential to ensure effective cable management and protection:

1.    Cable Size and Bundle Diameter: Determine the size and diameter of the cables or wire bundles you need to manage. Choose a spiral cable wrap with a diameter that comfortably accommodates the size of your cables, allowing for easy installation and future adjustments.

2.    Material and Durability: Consider the environmental conditions in which the cables will be used. For harsh or outdoor environments, opt for spiral cable wraps made from durable materials like polyethylene or nylon that offer excellent resistance to abrasion, chemicals, and UV radiation. See above to determine which is right for you. 

3.    Length and Quantity: Consider the length of spiral cable wrap required for your project, and purchase in the appropriate quantity to ensure sufficient coverage for all cables.

Applications of Spiral Cable Wrap: Where It's Used and Why

Spiral cable wrap is incredibly versatile. It offers an efficient and cost-effective solution to improve cable organization, protection, and system reliability.

How to use spiral cable wrap



Why It’s Used

Electronics & IT Equipment

Computers, servers, networking equipment

Prevent tangling & improve airflow for better cooling

Automotive & Transportation

Electrical &, entertainment systems, communication lines

Organize and protect wiring from sharp edges & other components

Industrial Machinery

Automated systems, control systems

Organize and protect wiring from abrasion & chemicals

Medical Devices

Robotic surgery systems, medical imaging equipment

Enable flexibility & ease of movement in devices, organize cables & maintain a clean environment

Renewable Energy

Solar power installations, wind farms

Protect and organize cables involved in power generation and distribution

How to Wrap Cables: Installation Techniques and Best Practices  

Your next question is probably how should a spiral wrap be applied? It’s ridiculously easy. No tools are required. Follow these steps for an easy, hassle-free installation:

1.    Prepare the Cables. Before wrapping, ensure the cables are clean and free from debris or dirt. Straighten out any knots or tangles in the cables to make the wrapping process easier.

2.    Determine the outside diameter of your cable bundle so that you can choose the closest spiral cable wrap size. Remember, spiral wrap sizes come in a wide range. 

3.    Choose spiral wrap slightly smaller than your bundle, or it will slip. You want to avoid over-tightening. The cable wrap should be snug but not too tight. Leave some room for movement to prevent strain on the cables.

4.    Cut the length of spiral wrap that you’ll need.

KNOW:  How you position the wrap around your cables will dictate your bundle’s flexibility. 
●    If you increase the space between the spirals, you can bend cables more sharply.
●    On the flip side, the closer together you space the spirals, then the less flexibility you’ll have, but the trade-off is that you’ll get greater abrasion resistance. 

      5.      Begin spiral wrapping the cables from one end and work your way along the length of the bundle. Cable wrapping should be done in a spiral pattern to maintain 
flexibility and allow for easy expansion or contraction of the wrap as needed.

      6.  If you want to route any cables outside of the bundle, do so now. If later, you want 
         to re-route any cables, simply unwrap the spiral cable wire wrap just enough to 
remove those cables. You can also reuse it for other applications.

      7.  Trim excess length at the ends to keep the installation tidy. Be careful not to cut too 
close to the cable bundle.

Finally, it’s a good idea as part of your spiral cable management to attach labels or use color-coded tags to identify individual cables or cable groups. Proper labeling will make maintenance and troubleshooting more straightforward. Advise users to periodically check the wrapped cables for signs of wear, damage, or loose connections. They should replace damaged cable wraps or rewrap sections if needed.


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