If I had a dime for every-time a reader or customer has called a Faston, friction-fit, quick-disconnect or quick-connect terminal (UL definition) a “spade” I’d be retired. The image above is from ABYC E-11 and it is showing the acceptable spade terminals allowed for use. Whenever a spade is used they shall be “captive” type spades. When talking with your electrician it is important to get the Lingo correct or they may have no idea what you are talking about? If your electrician also calls Quick-Connect terminals “spades” it’s probably time to find a new electrician! (wink)

Faston® terminals were invented by AMP and Faston® is a registered trade name. This is why the industry term for this type of terminal is Quick-Connect (UL definition). UL even has an entire standard (UL 310) devoted to these terminals. Other acceptable terms include quick-disconnect, friction-fit & blade terminals. They come in varying widths but .25″ is the most common.The one thing these terminals are not  are “spades”.

The Quick Connect terminals we find most consistent are by Molex.We buy these atWaytek.

BLUE; Male 19001-0006  Female 19002-0024
RED;  Male 19001-0059  Female 19002-0071
Yellow;  Male  19001-0010  Female 19606-0005


Under ABYC E-11 ring terminals are preferred however captive type spades can be used too.. After terminating tens of thousands of ring terminals I can count on one hand (all I have these days) the number of times I needed to use a captive spade.

Not an ABYC compliant terminal

The Spade terminal above does not meet the ABYC standards. The Spade Terminal Below does.

The Spade terminal below also qualifies as “captive” but it’s critical you are using it with the correct screw diameter. For this reason the Captive Spades with upturned forks are typically the best choice if you absolutely need to use a spade..

From ABYC E-11

Why we avoid Quick-Connect Terminals whenever Possible.

1- Because the quality of this terminal type are all over the map. The best we’ve found are the Quick-Connects made by Molex. They hold well and are amazingly consistent.

2- Because generally speaking quick-connect terminals are pretty unreliable in the marine environment.

3- Because they degrade  their holding power with each connect/disconnect cycle.

4- Because they are only allowed on circuits of less than 20A.



Sadly the ABYC is silent on how a Q-C terminal performs after the first disconnect. UL310  requires that after the sixth disconnect a .25″  terminal can still hold a 5 pound pull. This is down from 6 pounds on the first pull.. ABYC  E-11 does not address connect/disconnect degradation. Yes, these terminals degrade with each connect/disconnect. As I always say, the ABYC is a bare minimum not a maximum..

Best Practices

Use Ring terminals
Use captive Spades only when absolutely necessary
Avoid Quick-Connect Terminals whenever you can


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