Choosing the right type of wire for a project requires various considerations depending on the amperage load and application.
Factors to Determine:
- Appropriate gauge of wire to use
- Type of metal wire to use
- Material: aluminum or copper
- Stranded or solid wire
Solid wire consists of a single insulated strand or core, while stranded wire is composed of a bundle of smaller gauge wires twisted together & insulated. Each has advantages and disadvantages that lead to the choice of one over another.
- Resistant to erosion
- Ideal for outdoor applications
- Suitable for non-flexible applications (ie. household electrical wiring)
- Highly flexible
- Endures repetitive motion and vibrations
- Easy for routing cable, particularly through tight spaces
Solid wire gets more rigid and becomes harder to handle as the gauge size decreases and the conductor diameter increases. It is generally most suitable for non-flexible applications like household electrical wiring. Stranded conductors have an almost identical cross-sectional area as the solid conductor of the same gauge size. Stranded wires can typically be found in situations where the wire needs to be routed through tight spaces or experiences frequent flexing/vibration (i.e appliance cables, speaker wires, head phones, etc.).