Cable Assembly vs. Wire Harness: What’s the Difference?

Even though people use Cable Assembly vs. Wire Harness interchangeably, they serve different purposes. Also, there are distinct differences between these two components. Their aim is in the routing of electricity in two specific locations. As a result, they find application in the communication and electricity field.

Cable Assembly vs. Wire Harness

However, that is all about their similarities. This is because the use of a wiring harness differs from that of a cable assembly. As a result, if you will be successful in manufacturing, you need to select the ideal component following the given specification.


This article will shed light on the major difference between a wire harness and a cable assembly. We are seeking to explore details on Cable Assembly vs. Wire Harness. With this, we are confident that you will make a terrific decision.

Understanding What Cable Assembly is


Cable assembly involves one or more conductors (wire or cables.) These conductors run along together in a single sleeve. Most often, this setup does have a plug or a connector on end. Engineers coat this setup with a vinyl sleeve or thermoplastic. One of the main ideas behind a cable assembly is to help route groups of cables and wires in order to bypass an obstacle. 

Cable assemblies help achieve specific functions. This exact function is usually a factor of what is at the end, for instance, a plug, connectors, or terminals. As a result, cable assembly finds application in electronic applications like LED lighted clothing, flat panel display, integrated cockpit systems, accessories, costumes, etc.

Understanding What a Wiring Harness is

Understanding What a Wiring Harness is

The idea behind a wiring harness is to bring together various point-to-point cable assemblies into a definite setup. Engineers use a cable tie or any form of protective sleeve to secure it. The idea is to protect the wire from various environmental conditions like heat, friction, or moisture. As a result, it will be easy to design the breakout, making routing through the system pretty easy


Uses of Cable Assembly vs. Wire Harness

This section will shed light on various uses and applications of these two concepts.

Uses of Cable Assembly

The main idea behind a cable assembly is to link various electrical paths or circuits together. As a result, they will help transmit signals or power. Cable assemblies do come with double ends to connect one point to the other. 


The main idea behind the design of Ethernet cable assembly, for example, is to provide bandwidth speed. It can transfer as much as 10 Gig Ethernet for medical facilities, massive data centers, and others. 

Fiber optic cables, on the other hand, is a terrific choice for applications that need a smaller t assembly. It can transmit signals over a long distance, provide excellent voltage isolation, and work with massive bandwidth. Examples of industries that use this are automotive, military, and the medical field. 

Uses of Wire Harness

There is a significant difference between a wire harness and a cable assembly. A wire harness comes with many breakouts, unlike a cable assembly. These run in different directions and serve various functions with a lot of termination on the breakouts.


There are many kinds of engines present in household appliances that have a custom wire harness. Examples are airplanes, buses, automobiles, trucks, etc. It is also present in electronic equipment like HVAC appliances, industrial machinery, etc. 

Applications of Cable Assembly vs. Wire Harness

Examples of Cable Assembly

  • Ethernet cables
  • Fiber optics
  • Antenna cables
  • Power cords
  • Ribbon cables (with connectors)
  • A/V cables like headphone cables, HDMI, etc.

Examples of Wire Harness

Cable Assembly vs. Wire Harness: Reasons to Use

Reasons to use Cable Assembly

The coating around a cable assembly is strong and resistant to the elements. As a result, it is ideal for outdoor use. The wire bundles enjoy the protection of a special exterior sleeve. This assembly has unique protective qualities that cannot come from a wire harness. As a result, engineers use special coverings like vinyl, thermoplastic options, etc., for the covering. This setup equips a cable assembly to handle a series of environmental stress successfully. 

If the setup has access to heat, dust, moisture, or chemicals, you need a special assembly to keep the device safe. Many industries like health, oil field, aerospace, etc., use cable assembly.

It is easy to thread cable assembly around small spaces. This is because the smaller wires are present in a large sheath. 

In summary, the applications of cable assembly are:

  • To protect electricians and environmental materials from the harm that might come from electricity.
  • Helps make electrical system organized and easy for technicians to handle
  • To keep the cable or wiring against environmental wear and tear.

Reasons to use Wiring Harness

Engineers use a wire harness to assemble a lot of cables for good connectivity. As a result, the engineer can organize the electrical system in a way to prevent wires from running scattered around.


The loading capacity of a wire harness has a limit. This limit is a factor of the size and number of cables bundled together. They are majorly suitable for indoor application since they cannot withstand elements like dust, heat, moisture, and friction. 

As a result, a wire harness often comes with a protected external casing. This explains why a washing machine’s motor has one wire harness. The protected case of the wire harness keeps it from anything that can trigger a short circuit. 

When compared to a cable assembly, a wire harness is cheaper. However, the cost is a factor of the number, quality, and type of cable present in the assembly. 


It is evident that wire harness and cable assembly are two essential components in appliances, communications, engines, etc. Their operation differs, so,which also guides their application.

This article has shed light on the basics of both components. As a result, it will be easier for engineers to decide which will be a perfect match for the job.

For people in need of a custom cable assembly or wire harness, get in touch with us today. We have a team of experts to supply you with high-quality products that will fulfill your needs. 

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.

Reach me at to get a quote for your projects.

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