Marking Made Easy - the Best Methods & Products for Labeling Your Cables

By: CableOrganizer®

We have a lot of cables nowadays and it can be hard to differentiate one from another. Wire labels exist to ease the pain in your quest for organized cables. Use our simple guide to choose the best product and method for labeling your cables and wires.

sleeve marker

1. You can mark your cables before or after termination with wrap-around markers. Make sure that the legend is clearly visible from all sides (this will ensure that you have completely wrapped the label around the wire).

• There are a few different label types, but we recommend the self-laminating marker, a special type of label marker that you wrap around your cables. It has a clear portion that you use to laminate the legend, ensuring that it's well protected.

• If you're going to use markers before termination, opt for sleeve markers, which must be slipped over the open end of the wire. Sleeve markers are typically made with non-adhesive materials that have a lot of flexibility and can often be heat-shrunk. If you choose to shrink them, sleeve markers provide a permanent identification solution that will survive even the harshest of environments.

2. The size matters when marking your wire

• Depending on how big and wide your wires are, their sizes will decide the length and diameter of the sleeves you'll need to use. Make sure to calculate the size and length of the wrap-around or self-laminating marker. An easy way to measure is to calculate the outer diameter of your cables; and make sure the label is at least five times that diameter.

pre printed

3. Print-On-Demand or Pre-Printed Markers

• Out of the enormous selection of tools that can help you wrap your wires, the simplest of these solutions are possibly the print-on-demand and pre-printed markers. These methods provide you with great quality and good flexibility. Use portable label makers or software linked to thermal transfer printers to provide you with everything you need. There is a comprehensive array of different sizes at your disposal to fit your specific application. This solution also renders problems obsolete, like long, multiple-character legends. You can print whatever you like.

• The Pre-printed marker offers a lot too. With a large variety of different legends and custom legends available, pre-printed markers are easy and flexible solutions that are ideal for any application.


It's crucial you choose wire labels appropriate for the environment you'll be using them in. You should investigate if your labels will be in contact with water, oil, dirt, solvents or chemicals. Wire labels may need to be self-extinguishing or fulfill special requests if you are working in government, military, automotive or other technical industries.


There are many different wire-marking products, and this section will introduce you to the two main categories. First, we will discuss the Print-On-Demand Wire Marker method. It offers the flexibility of printing your legends on your own using tools like Laser Printers, Ink Jet Printers, Thermal Transfer Printers or and other types.


1. Laser Printable Label

These are the different types of labels that can be created using a Laser Printer:

• There is the Self-Laminating Polyester, which provides you with wire and cable markers that have low halogen and sulfur content, are easily conformable, and achieve permanent adhesion after 24 hours.

Nylon cloth material offers wire, cable and component marking that also is suitable for military and aerospace applications, as its repositionable and features a permanent adhesive.


self laminating

2. Ink Jet Printable Labels

These are the different types of labels offered for use with the inkjet printable tool, like Panduit® laser/inkjet self-laminating labels. These are made of polyester for use with Cat. 5e, Cat. 6 and Cat 6A cables.




thermal transfer

3. Thermal Transfer Printable Labels

These are labels offered for the Thermal Transfer Printer. ShrinkTrak™ Heat Shrinkable Wire Marker Labels from Hellerman Tyton® are made of polyolefin heat shrink tubing. These labels are flame retardant, abrasion and solvent resistant.





Now we will discuss pre-printed wire marking products, a good choice if you don't need the option of printing labels yourself. This method offers different legends and materials.

Usual materials are:

  • • Vinyl-coated cloth wire markers in a book from Klein Tools®, with large, easy-to-read print.
  • Brady® Porta-Pack® in a booklet features polyolefin self-laminating sleeving, with a simple numbering, lettering and labeling system.
  • • Vinyl labels from Ziptape® are customizable and include a write-on surface.

Label Application Methods:

  • • This section will teach you how to apply the label marker that you've chosen.
  • • Now that you have chosen or created the label that you want to use, it's time to learn how to apply it correctly to the wire. A label that is applied badly can become impossible to read —or even have a hard time staying on the wire. Follow this section to learn how to successfully apply wraparound and sleeve markers.
  • • Wraparound identification is most easily applied by peeling the top end of the wire marker away from the liner; note that you should touch as little of the label's adhesive as possible during application. Using this method, place the label's top area on the wire and wrap it over the marker, but don't touch the rest of the adhesive as it could result in the flagging of the marker.
  • • If you’ve chosen PermaSleeve™ use the sleeve identification method: fold the carrier and expose the opening of the PermaSleeve™. Then insert your wire into the sleeve and remove it from the carrier. Once you have terminated the wire, the sleeve can be adjusted to the best position for marking — and then permanently placed — using a heat-gun to shrink it.

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