What are Ring and Spade Electrical Terminals?

When working with electronics, it is crucial to your safety and the success of your operations that your circuit’s wiring is connected safely to the terminal. Whether operating in a facility, on industrial equipment, or in other home and business applications, a safe electric connection at the installation point makes for functioning systems. Current load, wire size, and a number of additional factors determine the best terminal option for your specific application, so it is useful to understand some of the different electric terminal variations available. For your better knowledge, this blog will look closer at ring terminals and spade terminals, as well as their additional beneficial features.

The two design options for your electric terminals are ring terminals and spade terminals, each of which has its own shape. Ring terminals have an open ring-shaped metal head designed to fit around a wire, crimping it to the terminal for connection. On the other hand, spade electrical terminals have two prongs at their head, so they are also referred to as fork or split ring terminals. An important distinction between these two designs is that ring terminals encapsulate connections, offering insulation properties that spade terminals do not. This difference determines which applications each is better suited for.

The insulating properties of a ring electric terminal come from the closed barrel terminal, that of which surrounds the wire, connecting it to screws or studs. A variety of ring sizes are available for purchase depending on wire size, screw or bolt placement, and amperage requirements. When wires are mounted through a ring terminal, the electrical contact is mated through the flat surface of the ring which allows for protection against extreme temperatures, dust, debris, and corrosion, allowing the wire to last for long periods of time.

Meanwhile, a spade electric terminal provides partial insulation while also allowing for quick, non-permanent connections. As the prongs do not fully encapsulate the wires mounted by the spade terminal, they are used to connect or terminate a single wire while it is connected to a stud or screw. Its open end also allows for users to quickly set screws in place. Again, you will want to ensure you procure a design with the proper amperage rating, as well as an opening that properly fits your wire.

Next, you will have to determine which barrel material works best for your applications. When procuring an electric terminal, you may procure an insulated vinyl terminal or an insulated nylon terminal. While vinyl is the lower cost option, nylon performs better in a number of ways. As the nylon option is a double crimp style, it requires the crimping of the wire at two locations, ensuring a stronger connection. Additionally, nylon is a more flexible material, allowing for less damage to the wires it encapsulates. A third option for barrel designs is a heat shrink terminal, that of which tightens to form an air-tight seal around the wire when exposed to heat. This option is wise for applications exposed to liquids or gasses.

All of this in mind, begin procuring any of the electrical connectors you require today from ASAP Aviation Supplies. Owned and operated by ASAP Semiconductor, we are a leading online distributor of high-caliber, in-demand part types from trusted manufacturers around the world. With rapid lead times and competitive cost savings, see how we can meet all of your needs today when you submit an Instant Request for Quote! With a team of professionals working around the clock, we guarantee a response within 15 minutes or less. 


February 12, 2021

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