The Heat Cable Store's Heat Cable Type Comparison
Not all heat cable is created equal. Far from it. Some heat cable is essentially designed to be disposable (see Frost King, Easyheat and Wrap On). Other cables are designed to last a decade or beyond. Some of our customers are looking for a cheap, short term solution. Those people can get away with buying cheaper cable, which is often in a 'constant wattage' type (more on that below). People interested in products with lower operation costs and longer lifespans and encouraged to buy 'self regulating' heat cable. So, what is the difference?
Constant wattage heat cable is sold in big box stores like Home Depot and Lowes and on online retailers such as Amazon. They are surprisingly 'affordable', at least on face value. For example, a 100' ice dam heat cable kit from Frost King and EasyHeat will cost around $59-72 if purchased through one of our multi-billion dollar mega competitors. In the photo above you can see a 100' Frost King heat cable (right side). It weighs about 3.1 pounds and will last an average of one to two years. A coil of quality self-regulating heat cable, on the other hand, with tip the scales at over 10 pounds. Holding the two side by side makes the difference quite obvious. In addition to the obvious difference in quality, the other bummer about constant wattage heat cable is that it uses a ton of electricity during operation. The term constant wattage is used because this family of heat cable operates a lot like a light bulb. It is either totally on or off. Self-regulating ice dam heat cable is a totally different animal in that it 'asks' only for the energy it needs to do its' job. We get into the geeky, technical details of how this process works in a different area of our website, but suffice it to say that self-regulating heat cables are smart about how they use electricity.
One could, therefore, look at heat cables as falling broadly into two categories; 'smart' or 'dumb'. Not to judge you, constant wattage cable, but you are pretty stupid. You are cheap and stupid. Yes, we have a bias towards self-regulating heat cable