For every electrical need in your house, it is essential to install cables that pass an electrical inspection. These cables will ensure an electrical connection that carries power guardedly. Maintaining high-quality during selection will guarantee a competent circuit system throughout the residence.

Wire Vs. Cable

Typically both wires and cables are the same, The only difference being, the wire is an electrical conductor, while a cable is a group of conductors enclosed in a guarded covering. There are regulations regarding which wires and cables suit specific electrical applications and their precise installation methods.

How are wires sized, and what is an electrical wire gauge?

While different wires serve specific purposes, knowing the right wire size, also known as the gauge, will aid your electrical. The measurements determine the amount of current that can safely pass through the wire without generating damages. In addition to this, each wire gauge size has a safe Ampacity, which is a measure of electrical current.

What is Wire Gauge?

Wire gauge refers to the physical size and current carrying capacity of the wire. A fixed numerical designation is given to it that is inversely proportional to the diameter of the conductors. In simple terms, if the wire gauge number is small, it will have a larger diameter. It is vital to know the sizes in the cable to ensure it carries an appropriate amount of current securely. The gauge rank also determines the resistance of the wire and its weight per unit length.

Is it ‘Gauge’ or ‘AWG’?

Both Gauge and AWG are ideally the same. When writing, we call it a gauge for clear understanding. AWG measurements do not consider the insulation of the conductor. The higher the AWG number, the smaller the conductor.

Wire Gauge Chart

American Wire Gauge (AWG) standards range from 0000 (which can handle up to 302 amps) to 40 (which can handle up to 0.0137 amps). Most household and commercial wiring demands range from 2 (95 amp maximum) or 3 (85 amp maximum) to 14 (15 amp maximum). Check the table below for the AWG wire size chart

American Wire Gauge (AWG) Diameter (inches) Diameter (mm) Cross Sectional Area (mm2)
0000 0.46 11.68 107.16
000 0.4096 10.4 84.97
00 0.3648 9.27 67.4
0 0.3249 8.25 53.46
1 0.2893 7.35 42.39
2 0.2576 6.54 33.61
3 0.2294 5.83 26.65
4 0.2043 5.19 21.14
5 0.1819 4.62 16.76
6 0.162 4.11 13.29
7 0.1443 3.67 10.55
8 0.1285 3.26 8.36
9 0.1144 2.91 6.63
10 0.1019 2.59 5.26
11 0.0907 2.3 4.17
12 0.0808 2.05 3.31
13 0.072 1.83 2.63
14 0.0641 1.63 2.08
15 0.0571 1.45 1.65
16 0.0508 1.29 1.31
17 0.0453 1.15 1.04
18 0.0403 1.02 0.82
19 0.0359 0.91 0.65
20 0.032 0.81 0.52
21 0.0285 0.72 0.41
22 0.0254 0.65 0.33
23 0.0226 0.57 0.26
24 0.0201 0.51 0.2
25 0.0179 0.45 0.16
26 0.0159 0.4 0.13


Common AWG Gauge sizes

Wire gauges come in a set of standard sizes you can choose from, depending on the amount of current you want it to carry, and the purpose it is going to serve. Common AWG Gauge sizes are:

  1. 14-gauge wire.
  2. 12-gauge wire.
  3. 10-gauge wire.
  4. 8- gauge wire.
  5. 6-gauge wire.
  6. 2-gauge wire.

Importance of electrical wire gauge

Given that a cable’s gauge indicates the thickness of the conductor that carries the electron flow, the conductor also has to suppress resistance and support an improved transmission.

Knowing the gauge of wire allows industry professionals and homeowners to quickly and easily determine whether it is appropriate for a specific application.

A gauge helps users to know the current-carrying capacity of the solid, electrically conducting cables by using the cross-sectional area of the wire as a defining aspect.

Choosing Electrical Wire Size

You may determine the gauge based on the helpful pointers below assigned according to Wire Use- Rated Ampacity:

  • 18-gauge are used for low-voltage lighting and lamp cords in 10 amps
  • 16-gauge are used for light-duty extension cords supporting 13 amps
  • 14-gauge are usedfor light fixtures, lamps, lighting circuits with 15 amps
  • 12-gauge are used in kitchen, bathroom, outdoor receptacles, and 120-volt air conditioners supporting 20 amps
  • 10-gauge are used in electric clothes dryers, 240-volt window air conditioners, electric water heaters supporting 30 amps
  • 6-gauge are used for cook tops and ranges carrying 40-50 amps
  • 4-gauge are used for electric furnaces and large electric heaters protected at 60 amps

Hopefully, this guide will help you choose suitably. If you need more assistance, contact D&F Liquidators at 800-458-9600 for high-quality, reliable electrical materials from top brands at competitive rates. They carry a massive inventory of electrical supplies, safety switches, and circuit breakers.