3 Key Things to Know Off-The-Shelf Cable Assembly

Choosing the right electrical cable assembly for your project is critical, especially if you intend to make it as minimally invasive as possible. Since a good meeting can make or break your device, the pressure of choosing the right assembly can be fierce.

You will have to carefully consider the type of cable assembly that your team would want for the device. But before you can make that decision, you will need a thorough understanding of both the types of electrical cable assemblies: off-the-shelf cable assembly and custom cable assembly. Many factors differentiate both cable assemblies like cost, quality, and performance.

So today, we will go over the two different types of electrical cable assemblies, and which one should you choose for your projects.

Electrical cable

Electrical cable

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1.The Difference between Custom Cable Assembly and Off-The-Shelf Cable

When choosing your electrical cable assembly, you will have two choices. You can either go for the off-the-shelf cable assembly or custom cable assembly. Off-the-shelf cable assembly is the type of electrical cable assembly that you can find easily at a shop. Whereas custom Cable assemblies are the type of cables that we provide, which are much more diverse and less readily available.

To better understand the type of cable harness that you should choose for your project, let’s look at some more in-depth differences between these two assemblies. As we said earlier, the main difference between both of these cables comes down to their price, customization, and performance.


The first and most obvious difference between custom and off the shelf cable assemblies is performance. Off-the-shelf assemblies are standard products that cater to an extensive range of uses. Since it is widely available, it has to be very general in its design and overall performance.

In other words, an off-the-shelf cable assembly may not be able to provide the power that you need, making it virtually useless. The off-the-shelf cable assemblies also have a much higher priority on supply than performance, so the material that they use will be easily available but not very durable.

On the other hand, custom cable assemblies are designed from the ground up with your specifications in mind. Since they cater to your exact specifications, they are the best fit for your project or device. That alone gives it the edge over off-the-shelf assemblies. Since off-the-shelf assemblies do not have a specific design or purpose in mind, they will eventually run into performance trouble.


As the name implies, custom cable assemblies offer you customization and choice throughout every stage of construction. From the conductors used inside the wire to the connectors used on the edge of the wire, you and your team have full control.

Off-the-shelf assemblies have very little if any choice in them. You can choose between companies or between connectors, but that is about it. With these readily available cables, you might find the right length of the cable along with the right connector, but that cable might not have the right conductor or may not have your required output. It is very much a game of chance, as you hope to get the right cable with everything in it.

In custom cable assemblies, you decide the parts of a cable assembly and choose which ones you want. There is no game of chance where you hope to find the right cable. Instead, you work along with your team to create the right cable for your device.


Another major difference between custom and off-the-shelf assemblies is their price. Custom cables and connectors are a lot more expensive than off-the-shelf cable assemblies since they come with a lot more performance. Moreover, off-the-shelf assemblies will use the most widely available and cheapest materials to create their cables. That can save costs, but it also makes these assemblies a lot less powerful and versatile.

However, Custom cables are much more expensive, mainly because of their customization. The choices that you and your team have in terms of conductors, connectors, insulation, and much more, make it more expensive. And the best thing that comes with this price is that you and your team know what you are getting exactly.

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2.When to Use Custom Cable Assembly or Off-The-Shelf Cable

Not every project requires you to build a highly efficient performance-focused custom cable. If cable performance is integral to your device, which it often is, then you should choose a custom cable over anything else. You should also select a custom cable if your device is new or the requirements of the invention are so unique that you could never receive it from an off-the-shelf alternative.

As for off-the-shelf cable assemblies, your team can use them in a product that would appeal to a mass market rather than a niche. Niche markets often have odd requirements that you could not achieve from a regular off-the-shelf cable assembly. Custom braided cables are also great for when you are making a minimally invasive device.

When working on a device where you will need to have perfect control over every aspect of it, a custom cable is the best way to go. Since these cables designed with your device in mind, they can work the best under every circumstance.

So when choosing the cable assembly that is right for your device, you should look at the market that your product aims at. By looking in that direction, you will be able to make a much better decision.

bare stranded wires

bare stranded wires

3.Why Custom Cable Assembly is Better Than Off-The-Shelf Cable

Off-the-shelf assembly cables have several benefits like ease of availability and lower price. However, these benefits are not enough to convince anyone to buy these. They are still not good enough to compete with custom cables. They bring certain disadvantages when manufacturers decide to use them in projects instead of custom cables.

Colorful wire harness and connector housing

Colorful wire harness and connector housing

Risks with using Off-The-Shelf Cable Assembly

Fewer Options

Off-the-shelf assemblies do not offer as many options as custom cables. The configurations that the off-the-shelf assembly provides are very random, and may not have everything that you are looking for.

Low Performance

Off the shelf cables also have very bad performance as compared to custom cables. As we discussed before, since off-the-shelf wires have a very generic design, they do not excel with any specific device. They can also have a very low output for your device that would require a stable or higher output.

Inconsistent Supply

As with any off-the-shelf product, these electrical cable assemblies do not have a consistent supply. Supply can change on a dime, leaving you and your project on hold ion the event that you find the right cable for the job. This inconsistency can leave you and your plan on hold until you can find the proper cable assembly.

Checking the wiring systems on the control desk

Benefits of Using Custom Cable Assemblies

Immense customization

The first major benefit that custom cable assemblies have over regular cable assemblies is the inherent customization of the cables. The vast customization of these cables goes from the conductors inside the wires to the insulation outside the wires. That alone is one of the key selling points of the custom cable assemblies.

Increased Power

These electrical cable assemblies are also significantly more powerful and well suited for your device. Since you choose all of the options and provide the framework for the assembly, they are a perfect fit and very useful for your device.

Tests and Special Processes

Along with taking in your very specific requests for cables, we also ensure the strength and effectiveness of our cables through various tests. During these tests, we keep in mind the requirements that you expect from these electrical cable assemblies and put them under those same conditions. This process ensures that when the assembly you receive can perform at the level, you intend.

Substitute Connectors When You Want

Throughout the process, you also have the choice to change the connectors that were initially in the cable assembly. In other words, you can change up the design and layout whenever you want.

control panel, cable assemblies

control panel, cable assemblies


Choosing the right electrical cable assembly for your project can feel like a daunting task. That is a simple yet essential part of your machine that can make or break your device, which makes getting the right assembly wires all the more important. And since off-the-shelf assemblies cannot provide the same level of depth as custom cable assemblies, we provide the service you need.

We allow you to make the electrical cable assembly of your choice from the ground up, and choose everything that you want or do not want in your assembly.

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Enjoy a free sample worth UP TO $100!
Explore our custom services now. Email us at [email protected] for more details.

Hey, I am John, General manager of Cloom and OurPCB.

I am a responsible, intelligent and experienced business professional with an extensive background in the electronics industry.

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