Pros and Cons of Various Termination Styles

Dear community,

I have noticed that a lot of the products I have found on Digikey have multiple types of terminations styles. Common ones are Quick Connect, Solder Lug, Wire Leads.

Could someone go over the pros and cons of the common termination styles and give some advice on how to choose the best style for a particular application?




Sorry for the delayed response. I’ll post some general factors to consider, and you can apply them to your own situation to learn what will work best for you.

Here are some common considerations when choosing a style of contact termination (in no particular order of importance):

(01) Is there a requirement based on the application or a known standard (compliance)? In other words, do you have a choice?
(02) What is the cost? How much are you willing to spend?
(03) What is your comfort level for each termination style? In other words, do you have the skill and/or knowledge to use a certain type?
(04) What conditions will the termination be subject to? Will vibration be a factor, for example?
(05) How many terminations do you expect to complete?

An example of a “fixed requirement” is a MIL standard where the title already implies the type of termination that is required. There may be automotive, aviation, or aerospace certifications that also imply a specific type of termination.

In any case where tooling is required, the cost will be higher, and for a good number of contacts, it is extremely high. Although a few crimp tools are reasonably priced, a simple soldering station is usually more affordable for any project, and it doesn’t become obsolete like crimp tools often do once the contacts are no longer in production. Other termination types such as screw terminals and/or terminal blocks (wire leads for both) require no tooling at all except possibly a simple screwdriver.

Although soldering tools are relatively inexpensive, soldering in itself requires practice, and there are often soldering limits regarding exposure to high temperatures, and other problems can occur from poorly soldered contacts.

Some termination choices may be determined by the environment in which you plan to use the end product. Solder, for example, can crack or fail under stress from vibration and cold temperatures.

For one (or a few) terminations, soldering is very practical even if it labor intensive. If you do not have a solder station, they are very affordable, and you can still use it for a slightly higher volume. The technology does not become obsolete, either. Hand crimp tools can also be used for small projects unless the cost is too high. For larger production runs, some manufacturers offer bench-mounted crimp tools with specific dies and accessories. Screw terminals and quick connects, on the other hand, require little to no tooling, but it’s difficult to automate this process unless it’s feasible for a large production.

Look for individual manufacture guides to help you understand your options—the pros and cons that they suggest for their own products. For example here is a basic Souriau guide to a few of the aforementioned styles: [click here ].

For more information regarding contact termination options and tooling, look through our Connector, Interconnect categories starting from our main page: [click here ].

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Hi Bill, your answer is really helpful! :+1: :+1: