Cable Assembly vs. Wire Harness

What is the difference between a cable assembly and a wire harness?


A cable assembly is a group of wires or cables covered by an exterior sleeve made from a variety of material such as shrink-wrapped thermoplastic, thermoplastic rubber, or vinyl.  Generally, a cable assembly is preferred to a wire harness because a cable assembly is easier to route around obstacles than multiple wire harnesses.  Cable assemblies are used in a variety of industries such as military, oilfield electronics, and healthcare.  The sleeve that encases the cables protects them from heat, moisture, dust, friction or any other hazard that may be encountered, making cable assemblies perfect for use outdoors.


A wire harness is a single cable covered by an exterior sleeve.  The sleeve that encases the single cable is typically made of the same material used in a cable assembly. Wire harnesses are used in applications where the wire will not be exposed to environmental threats such as extreme heat, moisture, dust, or friction.  A wire harness is typically used where the cable will be protected by an external casing.  For example, the motor of a garage door opener may have a single wire harness.  Multiple wire harnesses may be found inside a pop machine.

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