Ground straps and ground wires both provide a way to safely discharge excess electricity. These electrical protective devices are similar, but they’re not the same. A ground strap consists of small strands of metal wires that are braided together and terminated with metal connectors. The braids supports higher amperages, greater heat dissipation, and dependable performance when there’s linear movement, lateral motion, or repeated vibrations. Like a grounding strap, a grounding wire also has a metal connector on each end.  However, a ground wire consists of a single strand and does not feature a braided design. Consequently, grounding straps are used in heavier-duty applications than grounding wires.

Those are just some of the differences between these two types of electrical safety devices. If you’re comparing ground straps vs. ground wires, it’s important to consider product types, materials of construction, and end-use applications. Without proper grounding in a wiring system, there isn’t a route for electrical current to flow back to the ground if there’s a fault. For people, the risks can range from electric shock to electrocution. Sparking, arcing, electrical fires, or electrostatic discharge (ESD) may occur with ungrounded appliances, devices, machinery, or equipment. Grounding straps and wires don’t carry electricity under normal circuit operations, but you need them for potentially dangerous conditions. 

Types of Grounding Straps and Grounding Wires

Braided ground straps are available in standard or custom configurations. They differ in terms of length, width, the use of leaded or lead-free solder, and the sizes, styles (e.g., stud rings), and orientation of the terminals on each end. Grounding wires can be solid or stranded. They come in different wire gauges that determine the amount of electric current that the wire can safely carry. Some ground wires use a bare conductor while others are jacketed in electrical insulation. As with grounding straps, grounding wires are also specified by their terminal ends.  

Braided Ground Strap Materials and Ground Wire Materials

Despite their differences, both ground straps and ground wires use conductors made of aluminum, copper, tinned copper, stainless steel, nickel-plated materials, or silver-plated materials. According to the National Electric Code (NEC), a grounding wire can be bare or insulated. If it’s insulated, the ground wire must be green or green with a yellow stripe. Typically, wire insulation is made of plastic or rubber. In some cases, fiberglass is used. Grounding straps can also have insulation, but bare braided straps are better-suited for the mechanical stresses associated with most ground strap applications.

Electrical Safety Applications

Braided ground straps are used in aircraft, cars and trucks, machinery and equipment, power suppliers, generators, transformers, and other heavier-duty applications. Whether you need a battery ground strap for a vehicle or a dryer ground strap for a home appliance, the right device provides a safe path to ground in case of an electrical fault. Ground wires perform this same function but are used typically with outlets and electronics instead. So, while a vehicle ground strap is used with your car’s engine, a ground wire is used with the stereo.

Made in the USA Braided Ground Strap and Ground Wires

Falconer Electronics is a Made in the USA manufacturer of standard grounding straps. We also make it easy to get an instant quote for a custom product. At our manufacturing facility in Falconer, New York (USA), we also produce ground wires that you can buy on-line. Thank you for reading this article about ground straps vs. ground wires, and follow these links for more information.

 

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