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Things to Consider when Selecting a Cartridge Heater

In an ongoing effort to support our customers, Bucan Electric Heating Devices offers information to help support the proper selection of our industrial heaters for all applications. With this understanding, we must make clear that these suggestions are to be used to support all research and should not be the total information used to make your engineering decision.

When choosing a Cartridge Heater, you should take into consideration several items. The first is the basic shape and size. Cartridge Heaters come in pre sized standard diameters. You can find the choices listed in our brochure. When choosing the diameter, there is no need to specify the fit of the heater as we do the engineered fit for you. If you are drilling and reaming a ½” hole, we will undersize the heater to easily slide into the hole with the correct sizing to produce the best results. We will target .004” smaller than the size you have requested in most cases. For the purpose of this example we will choose a ½” heater that will be built to .496” ±.002

 The next simple choice is how long you need your Cartridge Heater to be. This is typically a correlation to the part you are heating. If you have a mold or tool that is 6 inches long, the heater would typically be 6” long for the inserted portion of the heater. We do have limits to the length that can be provided, but sizes ranging from 1” to 96” can be achieved with the proper design. You will need to contact Bucan for any specific requests. For this exercise we will choose 12” long.

With the two most basic choices made, we will proceed to the Cartridge Heater  electrical connections. We have dozens of choices for the connection wire. We have high temp, moisture resistant, metal braid, armor cable, right angle and all combinations of these choices. The most typical is high temperature flexible leads. This is simply two wires exiting the heater directly from the end of the heater. Please explore all the options we have available on our website or contact us for details. We will choose the most typical Flexible lead connection 12” long.


The selection of Watts and volts will be your next feature to make sure the Cartridge Heater will meet your needs. Our heaters are compacted high density heaters. This allows wattages of up to 150 watts per square inch of surface area. With the more typical power being 50-75 watts per square inch your power will be determined by the amount of material you are trying to heat and its ability to receive heat. To calculate your watt density, please use the following formula: Wattage / Diameter * PI * Length. Using this we can create the appropriate power by using the inverse. In our case the size of ½” x 12” long would typically carry a power of ( .500 * 3.14 * 12 * 50 ) = 942 watts and could be rounded to 950w or 1000w for a standard request. Your voltage would be determined by your power available in your application. So for this case we will create the request for: ( ½” x 12” long heater, 1000w 240v, 12” flexible leads)

This is a very basic example of the selection process for a common Cartridge Heater. Please understand that we have many additional options to attach, control and connect power to these heaters. Please contact our engineering department or our sales team to discuss your request. There are many possibilities for you most of the options are shown on our website.