Best manufacturer and type of wire connectors

Sfd295

Member
Original poster
Jul 6, 2010
30
Massachusetts
Hey everyone,

Doing some wiring and wanted to see what brand and type of terminals people are using. I've generally stuck to the 3M scotchlock insulated connectors but occasionally use Gardner-Bender. They're generally high quality and do pretty well. The downside is their price. Recently I've considered using heat shrink or solder terminals after having a few wires pull out of the crimp types. I've debated buying some no-name solder/shrink butt connectors off ebay but I'm hesitant. Ultimately I'm looking for what's considered the "best" out there.

What's your go to brand/type of terminal if any and why?
 

JohnMarcson

Site Founder
Administrator
May 7, 2010
9,812
Northwest Ohio
Hey everyone,

Doing some wiring and wanted to see what brand and type of terminals people are using. I've generally stuck to the 3M scotchlock insulated connectors but occasionally use Gardner-Bender. They're generally high quality and do pretty well. The downside is their price. Recently I've considered using heat shrink or solder terminals after having a few wires pull out of the crimp types. I've debated buying some no-name solder/shrink butt connectors off ebay but I'm hesitant. Ultimately I'm looking for what's considered the "best" out there.

What's your go to brand/type of terminal if any and why?
I don't solder, it makes for brittle connections even when it is part of the connector IMHO, but I may be biased due to bad installations and blaming the solder filled type connectors unfairly. I use NAPA or Waytek brand connectors and Innhom or XHF brand water proof heat shrink. I don't see a big quality difference in simple butt connectors, at least not one that is worth the cost. I tend to spend the money on better more flexible and higher heat rated wire. Some specialty connectors are worth avoiding the cheap ones and there are different grades of connectors even at NAPA/Waytek. I also think the crimping and stripping tools make more difference than the connectors. I guess it all depends on the job. I think it is worth pointing out that major ambulance manufacturers use standard connectors and heat shrink and the failures I see are in wire fatigue, not connectors. I replace a lot of wire that has snapped at bend or vibration points but rarely is the connector to blame. It is also worth mentioning that using the right protective wire loom for the job matters. If you use interior products outside you just made a water filled sleeve around your wires.

 

Sfd295

Member
Original poster
Jul 6, 2010
30
Massachusetts
Thanks for the input. I didn't think about that with the solder connections, especially in a vehicle. I've used some terminals in the past that have been awful. Their insulation was very brittle and would split open when crimped. They were always unbranded overseas made ones.

I use all TXL and GXL wire, mostly by General Cable, so the wire is pretty solid. I had some issues recently with 22 AWG wire slipping out of a batch of terminals I bought on Amazon when I was in a pinch for time. They were supposedly 3M but when I did a side by side comparison with one I got from 3M directly there were some obvious differences. I suspect they were fake but I can't say for sure.

I'm going to order a bunch of 3M heatshrink terminals to test out. I haven't had issues with wire pulling out since but regardless I'd like to make it less likely to happen in the future.
 

JohnMarcson

Site Founder
Administrator
May 7, 2010
9,812
Northwest Ohio
Thanks for the input. I didn't think about that with the solder connections, especially in a vehicle. I've used some terminals in the past that have been awful. Their insulation was very brittle and would split open when crimped. They were always unbranded overseas made ones.

I use all TXL and GXL wire, mostly by General Cable, so the wire is pretty solid. I had some issues recently with 22 AWG wire slipping out of a batch of terminals I bought on Amazon when I was in a pinch for time. They were supposedly 3M but when I did a side by side comparison with one I got from 3M directly there were some obvious differences. I suspect they were fake but I can't say for sure.

I'm going to order a bunch of 3M heatshrink terminals to test out. I haven't had issues with wire pulling out since but regardless I'd like to make it less likely to happen in the future.
Let me know how you like the 3m genuine stuff. I'm always on the fence about the price.
 

Sfd295

Member
Original poster
Jul 6, 2010
30
Massachusetts
The 3M equipment I've used in the past was pretty good. I've always gravitated towards their products. Honestly it's not a huge difference but I feel like the 3M branded stuff tends to be more durable and easier to crimp versus no-name terminals. I'd say that all the major companies that produce terminals are very close to each other quality wise. It's the mystery ones from eBay and Amazon which can be hit or miss. I find most of my 3M stuff on eBay in original sealed packaging for a greatly discounted price. I'm not paying $1.00+ a terminal, that's for sure.
 

Xtcbct

Newbie
Nov 29, 2017
31
Ct
I'm no professional installer, but i appreciate well engineered products. I like Molex PermaSeal connectors. They seem high quality and have the adhesive inside to more permanently join wires.
 

JohnMarcson

Site Founder
Administrator
May 7, 2010
9,812
Northwest Ohio
I'm no professional installer, but i appreciate well engineered products. I like Molex PermaSeal connectors. They seem high quality and have the adhesive inside to more permanently join wires.
I have never been able to find these in stock in the right sizes, but they are interesting.
 

JohnMarcson

Site Founder
Administrator
May 7, 2010
9,812
Northwest Ohio
Plenty on eBay now. Red, blue and yellow. Those are the common ones I've dealt with in LED lighting and aftermarket radio installations.
I can't buy off ebay at work, I need a place that I can setup a purchase order with that works with our tax exempt status. All my normal sources seem to have these backordered. I'll backorder a few and see when they show up.
 

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