Wire Gauge

How to Choose the Best Wire Gauge for Your Project

Have you been looking into a wiring project? Do you know what gauge of wire is best suited for your needs? Our tips can help you in the choosing process of wires!

**Always have electrical projects looked over by professionals before any installation or use to prevent injury or fire**

How to Choose the Best Wire Gauge for Your Project

1: What type of project are you doing?

There are many different types of wiring projects. Depending on whether you are working on home wiring or building your own robot, there is a difference between what type of wire is required. For example, some projects include:

  • Home wiring
  • Robotics
  • Computers
  • Vehicles

2: How much space do you need for wiring?

To begin with different housings for different projects will vary in size. Due to the wire size, the space needed to house them will vary. If you think about a light switch, some have a single switch and therefore only need enough room for the wires of that one switch. However, there are light switches that have multiple switches. Therefore, the space required for the wiring of a multi-switch receptacle is larger than that of a single switch receptacle. In order to do a job properly, you need to be aware of how much space you have to work with and really need. If you are working on home wiring that requires a larger current as opposed to a robot that requires less current the space needed is different because the wire size will be different.

3: How are wire gauges calculated?

Especially relevant is the fact that as wire increases in physical width, the gauge of that wire will decrease in numerical value. While this does seem backward it’s really not. Due to the wire drawing process, the number of operations that it takes to get it to that physical size is the numerical gauge of a wire. As a result, gauges are larger or smaller than the physical size.

Wire Gauge

4: What are large and small gauged wires used for?

There are also many different gauges of wire. Consequently, they have many different uses.

Uses for some smaller gauges (larger physical sizes) of wire:

  • Electrical lines (like those you see outside attached to power lines)
  • Heavy duty automobiles like trains, larger armored trucks
  • Home wiring

Uses for some larger gauges (smaller physical sizes of wire):

  • Computers
  • Radios
  • Phones
  • GPS
  • Mp3 player

5: How much amperage do you require?

There are different factors that determine the required amount of amperage:

  • Amperage= Wattage/Volts
  • What current do you need for your project
  • Where the wire is going
  • Where the wire is coming from

In addition to these tips you can learn more about wire gauges by looking back to our previous blog Why Do Wire Gauge Sizes Seem To Work Backwards?

In conclusion, the chart below will be helpful in deciding which wire is appropriate for your specific job.

AWG Cable/ Conductor Size Chart

AWG  Diameter 
[inches]
 Diameter 
[mm]
Area
[mm2]
Resistance
[Ohms / 1000 ft]
Resistance
[Ohms / km]
 Max Current 
[Amperes]
Max Frequency
for 100% skin depth
 0000 (4/0) 0.46 11.684 107 0.049 0.16072 302 125 Hz
000 (3/0) 0.4096 10.40384 85 0.0618 0.202704 239 160 Hz
00 (2/0) 0.3648 9.26592 67.4 0.0779 0.255512 190 200 Hz
0 (1/0) 0.3249 8.25246 53.5 0.0983 0.322424 150 250 Hz
1 0.2893 7.34822 42.4 0.1239 0.406392 119 325 Hz
2 0.2576 6.54304 33.6 0.1563 0.512664 94 410 Hz
3 0.2294 5.82676 26.7 0.197 0.64616 75 500 Hz
4 0.2043 5.18922 21.2 0.2485 0.81508 60 650 Hz
5 0.1819 4.62026 16.8 0.3133 1.027624 47 810 Hz
6 0.162 4.1148 13.3 0.3951 1.295928 37 1100 Hz
7 0.1443 3.66522 10.5 0.4982 1.634096 30 1300 Hz
8 0.1285 3.2639 8.37 0.6282 2.060496 24 1650 Hz
9 0.1144 2.90576 6.63 0.7921 2.598088 19 2050 Hz
10 0.1019 2.58826 5.26 0.9989 3.276392 15 2600 Hz
11 0.0907 2.30378 4.17 1.26 4.1328 12 3200 Hz
12 0.0808 2.05232 3.31 1.588 5.20864 9.3 4150 Hz
13 0.072 1.8288 2.62 2.003 6.56984 7.4 5300 Hz
14 0.0641 1.62814 2.08 2.525 8.282 5.9 6700 Hz
15 0.0571 1.45034 1.65 3.184 10.44352 4.7 8250 Hz
16 0.0508 1.29032 1.31 4.016 13.17248 3.7 11 k Hz
17 0.0453 1.15062 1.04 5.064 16.60992 2.9 13 k Hz
18 0.0403 1.02362 0.823 6.385 20.9428 2.3 17 kHz
19 0.0359 0.91186 0.653 8.051 26.40728 1.8 21 kHz
20 0.032 0.8128 0.518 10.15 33.292 1.5 27 kHz
21 0.0285 0.7239 0.41 12.8 41.984 1.2 33 kHz
22 0.0254 0.64516 0.326 16.14 52.9392 0.92 42 kHz
23 0.0226 0.57404 0.258 20.36 66.7808 0.729 53 kHz
24 0.0201 0.51054 0.205 25.67 84.1976 0.577 68 kHz
25 0.0179 0.45466 0.162 32.37 106.1736 0.457 85 kHz
26 0.0159 0.40386 0.129 40.81 133.8568 0.361 107 kHz
27 0.0142 0.36068 0.102 51.47 168.8216 0.288 130 kHz
28 0.0126 0.32004 0.081 64.9 212.872 0.226 170 kHz
29 0.0113 0.28702 0.0642 81.83 268.4024 0.182 210 kHz
30 0.01 0.254 0.0509 103.2 338.496 0.142 270 kHz
31 0.0089 0.22606 0.0404 130.1 426.728 0.113 340 kHz
32 0.008 0.2032 0.032 164.1 538.248 0.091 430 kHz
33 0.0071 0.18034 0.0254 206.9 678.632 0.072 540 kHz
34 0.0063 0.16002 0.0201 260.9 855.752 0.056 690 kHz
35 0.0056 0.14224 0.016 329 1079.12 0.044 870 kHz
36 0.005 0.127 0.0127 414.8 1360 0.035 1100 kHz
37 0.0045 0.1143 0.01 523.1 1715 0.0289 1350 kHz
38 0.004 0.1016 0.00797 659.6 2163 0.0228 1750 kHz
39 0.0035 0.0889 0.00632 831.8 2728 0.0175 2250 kHz
40 0.0031 0.07874  0.00501 1049 3440 0.0137 2900 kHz
Helpful Connections

If you are interested in designing your own wire harnesses check out our new Wire Harness Estimator to get a quote!

For additional information before you get started check out our blog on The Wire Harness Estimator Components Defined.

You can also learn more about our pre-designed wire harnesses by checking out our Wire Harness Page!

Also, check out ElectricalSchool.org for a glossary of electrical terms.

Lastly, let’s get social. Please connect on FacebookTwitterGoogle+, and LinkedIn.

**Always have electrical projects looked over by professionals before any installation or use to prevent injury or fire**   

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply