What is LS0H cable? | C.K Tools

What is LS0H cable? | C.K Tools

Brinley Buckley-Roberts, Brand Manager at Carl Kammerling International, answers a common contractor query related to the use of LS0H cable.

Q. I find myself working with LS0H cable on a more regular basis these days. Is this going to become the norm, and if so, how shall I tackle it? I find it very difficult to work with.

Use of LS0H (low smoke zero hydrogen) cable is indeed on the rise in the UK. While it isn’t a new product, a heightened awareness of fire safety, coupled with its growing prevalence in the USA, Ireland, and Europe, has seen the fire-safe material come into more common usage in the UK recently.

Made from thermoplastic material, LS0H was first developed in 1979. It is an incredibly tough cable jacketing that’s resistant to fire and fumes, and – critically – doesn’t produce smoke when it burns. This has a dramatic impact on how it reacts to fire and high temperatures. While PVC may be cheaper, it produces a thick, acrid, highly toxic, and corrosive smoke. This smoke kills. We know that smoke inhalation is a bigger cause of death than fire itself in fire-related emergencies.

The Kings Cross Fire in 1987, for example, claimed the lives of 31 people and injured 100 more. The fire took hold for several varied reasons. It began with a lit match on an escalator, but thick black smoke filling the ticket hall claimed the lives of almost everyone present. In response, cables containing halogen ceased to be used on the London Underground, and awareness and usage of LS0H cables grew.

Now, with the legacy of the Grenfell Tower tragedy looming large, we’re seeing a further rise in LS0H cable jacketing. In any area where smoke and toxic fumes could pose a risk to life, LS0H should be used. In public buildings and high-density housing in particular, use of LS0H is critical. Should a fire take hold, fumes from LS0H cabling will emit less than 0.5% HCL gas, dramatically cutting toxicity. What’s more, a lack of smoke will result in enhanced visibility, enabling easier evacuation.

It’s also important to distinguish between LS0H and LSF (low smoke and fume) cable. LSF is made from a modified PVC compound and emits 15 – 22% HCL gas upon burning. That’s 8 – 13% less than standard PVC. However, toxic fumes and thick black smoke will still pose a significant danger to life. While it is marginally safer than PVC, LSF should not be confused with LS0H which emits 0.5% HCL gas and therefore does not produce toxic fumes or black smoke. Nor does it pose a danger to life.

Cost-cutting measures – such as specifying PVC or LSF cable when LS0H is safer and more appropriate – are rightfully falling out of practise. New regulations around the use of LS0H are anticipated.

But LS0H is more difficult to work with than PVC cable. The material is stronger and less flexible than its PVC or LSF counterparts. Many electricians have reported challenges in stripping the LS0H, as standard cable strippers fail to meet the strength of the thermoplastic material.

Working with LS0H cable may be more challenging and time-consuming, but choosing this cable over PVC or LSF could save lives. Armed with the right tools and equipment, and knowledge of its excellent fire safe credentials, tackling LS0H can and can be straightforward and worthwhile process.


Specialist strippers, made from toughened materials and with multiple blades, should be used when working with LS0H cable. Using the correct bracket size for the width of the cable, LS0H cable strippers peel the cable along its length, like a banana skin, allowing for simple stripping.

Due to its tougher nature, LS0H can also be less flexible. This can lead to cracking during installation. To prevent this, specialist lubricant is recommended to reduce friction. Of course, it’s important to also choose non-toxic, non-flammable, and non-corrosive lubricant.

CK Tools’ LS0H cable stripper includes two titanium nitrade coated blades and four cable brackets to tackle any size of LS0H cable.

Get more details on C.K’s LSoH Cable Stripper here

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