Wire & Cable Buying Tips

Wire & Cable Buying Tips

Wires and cables play an essential part in our everyday lives even though they are concealed behind the walls of our homes. Wires and cables carry power to the appliances and electronics we use every day. As an infrastructure necessary to connect the electrical circuit, every electrical system is a basic requirement. For that reason, we must appreciate the significance of high-quality wire and cable, since poor quality can lead to a variety of hazards and. Since wires and cables are carriers of electricity in your home, you must verify that every component is safe. A wire or cable must be able to work properly in crucial conditions such as overloading and unexpected electrical fluctuations, whether used for home or commercial applications.

These buying tips will help you choose the correct wire and cable for your project, whether you are adding or upgrading your wiring at home or office.

Check local laws and regulations          

Before beginning any wiring job, it is critical to investigate local wiring rules in your region and obtain any permissions that may be required. Local rules may limit the types of wire and cable that can be used for specific applications. Contact your local inspector or a licensed professional for detailed information.

The Difference Between Wire and Cable        

There are differences between wire and cable, while many people use the terms “wire” and “cable” interchangeably. A wire is a single strand or collection of strands of an electrically conductive material, most often aluminum or copper. In contrast, A cable is a grouping of multiple conductors with or without an overall sheath (also known as a jacket). There are various types of cables, including twisted pair cable, coaxial cable, multi-conductor cable, and fiber optic cable.

Grounding Conductor          

Shielded cables will have an equipment grounding conductor (EGC). The EGC may be bare (uninsulated) or coated with green insulation based on the kind of cable. The EGC connects all conductive but non-current carrying components of the electrical system to the ground (literally, the earth). Its role is to maintain all devices on the wiring system as close to ground potential as possible.

Voltage Drop          

Voltage diminishes with distance and should be addressed when building a very long circuit because of resistance. This is especially crucial when powering buildings and appliances with electric motors. Inadequate voltage hinders motors from operating efficiently and can prove detrimental to them. To compensate for voltage, drop, use a bigger gauge wire.  The four major causes of voltage drop are the quality of the conductor material, wire size, wire length, and amount of current being carried can affect voltage drop levels. A voltage drop calculator will assist you in determining the correct gauge for your application.

Click on the following link to calculate voltage drop:  https://www.calculator.net/voltage-drop-calculator.html

Choose a Quality Conductor Material            

Copper and aluminum wires are the two most common types of wires. Copper, without a doubt, is a superior conductor of electricity and works better in this regard. In terms of economics, electrical grade copper is the ideal conducting material for making wires since it is extremely malleable and has a low resistance, delivering 100% conductivity. Nonetheless, other factors, like the size of the wires and the insulating materials employed, should be considered when evaluating conductivity. Aluminum is preferable over copper in the case of super-high voltage transmitted over extended distances. Aluminum is considerably less costly than copper, and therefore it is often utilized in the production of electrical power lines. Aluminum is not recommended for use in the production of wires due to its high resistance and low conductivity.


Insulation refers to the material that protects the exposed or bare conductor and makes it safe for installation. PVC (polyvinyl chloride) of the flame retardant grade should always be employed as insulating material. Insulation in cables is done using FR PVC, and sheathing can be FR or non-FR grade PVC.


Flexible stranded conductor wires are commonly available on the market nowadays. Although solid conductor wires are widely available, flexible wires should always be considered since they are easier to put in conduit and work with.  Stranded wires have multiple strands of annealed, making them more flexible than solid wire.

Check 3rd Party Listing          

Many companies have advertised cables as having a certain performance and fire rating while failing to satisfy the criteria. The simplest approach to avoid acquiring non-compliant cables is to look for a third-party tested listing number database on ETL or UL websites. This will inform you who makes the cable and what kinds of cables they can make. Listed cables will also have their number printed directly on the cable jacket. Don’t take any chances if the cable brand you buying doesn’t have it on their cable.

Reliable Manufacturers & Suppliers        

The market is saturated with numerous wire brands and some may not comply, nor meet the required industry standards.  Therefore, it is critical to identify the manufacturers and sellers that only manufacture wire according to national and international standards and the seller who only distributes quality material through organized companies. As a result, the buyer should evaluate certain fundamental factors such as the manufacturer, the product’s compliance with the required standards, and the seller’s trustworthiness.

Alpha Cable offers products that are safe, reliable, flame retardant, and environmentally sustainable.

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