PVC vs. Silicone Wire: The two most common wire insulations for test lead cables.

PVC vs. Silicone Wire, There are several variations of electric cables, each serving specific electrical requirements.

The insulation material, wire gauge, or voltage rating influence the cable’s performance and quality for different electrical applications.

You can use various cable and wire insulation for various purposes.

Further, the debate between PVC vs. Silicone wire is still a major concern among users.

This article will aim to break down the various properties of each of the following materials to give a clearer picture of the choice you need to make.

PVC Understanding

Polyvinyl Chloride belongs to a plastic material, with its compounds polymerization of an azo compound, vinyl chloride monomer, and other chemical aids at extremely high temperatures.

Various PVC products can be made from these polymer syntheses, such as panels, square tubings, sheets, angle trims, wall panels, rolls, and PVC cables.

PVC material is primarily a white powdery amorphous with a density between 1.3  – 1.5, the highest temperature resistance of 1700C, and a material vitrification temperature of about 900C.

In high temperatures past the range, PVC automatically decomposes to hydrogen chloride.

PVC sheet

Caption: PVC sheet

Silicone Understanding

Silicone belongs to rubber material mainly composed of silicon atoms and organic silicon, with the main material being insoluble siloxane.

The Silicone products are mainly siloxane, silane coupling agents, silicone oil, and silicone resin.

Silicone can be used under different environments for prolonged periods while still maintaining optimum performance and is considered the safest rubber in the market today.

Compared to PVC thermoplastic material, silicone has remarkable abilities. 


Silicone products possess excellent electric insulation properties, resistance to voltage, volume resistance, coefficient, resistance to arc, surface resistance to coefficient, Corona, and dielectric loss. 

Temperature Resistance

Silicone has excellent temperature resistance, with its conventional temperature range between -400C – 2300C.

Tensile Strength

The primary silane chain in the molecule is more flexible and soft, resulting in a strong tensile rebound and no deformation. 

Physical Inactive

Siloxane is among the most inactive compounds.

It is resistant to biological aging, isn’t easily ultraviolet, has zero rejection reaction to the animal body, and has great coagulant properties, and you can use it in different environments.

Silicone products

Silicone products

Tell PVC products from Silicone products.

Often consumers find it difficult to identify Silicone or PVC products. But below are some pointers to help you to tell them apart.


The new silica gel products are difficult to tell apart from PVC products using color.

However, after prolonged use, PVC materials appear yellow coloring and sticky in color, especially in a heat and light environment.

Silicone material, on the other hand, rarely appears in such situations. 


 Silicone feels soft and has a pleasing touch.

Shore Hardness 

The shore hardness ( measured using a shore durometer.) of silicone can reach 300C – 900C, while the conventional hardness of PVC is about 500C – 950C.

PVC has low spring-back strength and poor rebound strength in high shore hardness, while silicone can be softer or harder.


The processing temperature of silicone is around 1800C during production, and the typical temperature resistance is about -400C – 2300C.

PVC has a melting or softening temperature range of about 750C – 900C.

PVC appears to self-extinguish without fire in excess temperature, soften, and produce a pungent acid smell.   

Solvent treatment

Non-solvents to PVC: heptane, acetone, methanol

Solvents to PVC: cyclohexanone, dimethylformamide, oxolane, methyl ketone

Put the suspected PVC items into the above solvent, carefully evaluating their dissolution to establish whether they are PVC. 

PVC cables

PVC cables

PVC vs. Silicone Wire: Pros and Cons

Remember, a wire’s thickness determines its voltage rating. Depending on the thickness, you can get a wire of any voltage rating.

The Advantages & Disadvantages Of PVC Insulated Wires

For electric applications, PVC wires are the most common choice of cable because of their low cost and durable performance.

PVC material has excellent resistance to corrosion, chemicals, weathering, abrasion, and impact, making it popular in test lead cables.

Plasticizers increase flexibility, making them easy to use in test environments.

The insulation is tough and doesn’t suffer from static, meaning grit and dirt aren’t attracted.

Despite its popularity, PVC still has its disadvantages.

For starters, it’s not as flexible as silicone, which can be important when connections must be made in tight, bent, and enclosed spaces.

The other disadvantage is that it is less heat-resistant, with a range of -400C – 1050C, unlike silicone.

In addition, any accidental scorch damage from soldering during manufacturing or intense current and resistance on live PCB cables can result in heat marking or fires.

The Advantages & Disadvantages Of Silicone Insulated Wires

In addition to being rubber based and flexible, the thermal range for silicone-insulated cables is about -900C – 2000C.

These superior features make silicone more sought after than PVC when testing lead cables.

Silicone is also highly resistant to solvents and oils, making it ideal for harsh industrial environments.

Furthermore, the material feels soft and has a pleasing touch. 

Nonetheless, these cables have a set of disadvantages.

First, they are more costly than PVC test lead cables, with the cost range increasing due to the scarcity of available silicone.

Secondly, it is rubber, and its soft nature makes it less tough to wear than PVC and easily cuts.

Also, silicone attracts static, picking up grit and dirt, making them more messy and difficult to maintain than other leads.  

Pvc vs. Silicone Wire: No Better or No Worse

As a buyer, it’s important to note that there is no bad or good between PVC and Silicone. It all depends on your intended use.

For instance, if flexibility is a priority for your application, you should opt for silicon because PVC can only bend 900.

Also, price is an important consideration because there is a significant gap in price between the two choices. 


Both silicone and PVC are excellent choices for test lead cables. Each choice comes with its merits and demerits.

When choosing the material, consider all aspects of your application. Feel free to contact Cloom Tech.  

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