There are many types of cable jackets available. Things to consider when choosing a cable are the compatibility with the application, connectors being used, and the environment its going to be exposed to.
For example, an extremely cold environment may require cable jackets that remain flexible at very low temperatures.
As always, there are varying levels of ruggedness available in the market, and you often get what you pay for.
Ease of use and long-term flex life
Life expectancy during exposure to chemicals
Suitability for arctic or winter climates
Determines peak and ambient operating temperature and contributes to ampacity rating
Identification, safety and appearance
Ease of handling and installation
Flexibility and handling, especial in coil cords
Suitability for a given application/jurisdiction
Safety and flame spread
PVC or Polyvinylchloride can be formulated to function in a variety of environments and applications. It is usually low-cost, flexible, fairly rugged, and a flame/oil-resistant material. PVC can be made in either a matte, glossy or slick finish. IMSA 19-1 has a PVC jackeT
Excellent electrical properties with very high insulation resistance. Polyethylene can be stiff and very hard, however low density PE (LDPE) is more flexible. Moisture resistance is excellent. Properly formulated PE has excellent weather resistance. IMSA 20-1 has a PE jacket.
Polyurethane is very elastic, with a very high memory, which makes it ideal for coil cord applications. It is abrasion resistant, has excellent flexibility in low-temperature environments, and performs well when exposed to oil and ozone.
Thermoplastic elastomers have excellent low-temperature properties without spending the money needed for a thermoset material. It has good chemical and oil resistance and is also quite flexible. Good abrasion resistance and surface texture, but is not as rugged as PUR
Generally used in very harsh environments. It is lightweight, very rigid, and has a mildly rough surface texture and a low coefficient of friction. It is low-cost relative to the level of oil, moisture, chemical and UV resistance provided.
The only products in this list that are truly melt resistant and in the same family of materials as natural rubber. They are highly elastic with excellent memory. This material is known of its ruggedness, low-temperature flexibility, UV stability and heat resistance.