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.

Gauge, Tips for Choosing the Correct Gauge of Wire for the Job

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)0.4611.6841070.0490.16072302125 Hz
000 (3/0)0.409610.40384850.06180.202704239160 Hz
00 (2/0)0.36489.2659267.40.07790.255512190200 Hz
0 (1/0)0.32498.2524653.50.09830.322424150250 Hz
10.28937.3482242.40.12390.406392119325 Hz
20.25766.5430433.60.15630.51266494410 Hz
30.22945.8267626.70.1970.6461675500 Hz
40.20435.1892221.20.24850.8150860650 Hz
50.18194.6202616.80.31331.02762447810 Hz
60.1624.114813.30.39511.295928371100 Hz
70.14433.6652210.50.49821.634096301300 Hz
80.12853.26398.370.62822.060496241650 Hz
90.11442.905766.630.79212.598088192050 Hz
100.10192.588265.260.99893.276392152600 Hz
110.09072.303784.171.264.1328123200 Hz
120.08082.052323.311.5885.208649.34150 Hz
130.0721.82882.622.0036.569847.45300 Hz
140.06411.628142.082.5258.2825.96700 Hz
150.05711.450341.653.18410.443524.78250 Hz
160.05081.290321.314.01613.172483.711 k Hz
170.04531.150621.045.06416.609922.913 k Hz
180.04031.023620.8236.38520.94282.317 kHz
190.03590.911860.6538.05126.407281.821 kHz
200.0320.81280.51810.1533.2921.527 kHz
210.02850.72390.4112.841.9841.233 kHz
220.02540.645160.32616.1452.93920.9242 kHz
230.02260.574040.25820.3666.78080.72953 kHz
240.02010.510540.20525.6784.19760.57768 kHz
250.01790.454660.16232.37106.17360.45785 kHz
260.01590.403860.12940.81133.85680.361107 kHz
270.01420.360680.10251.47168.82160.288130 kHz
280.01260.320040.08164.9212.8720.226170 kHz
290.01130.287020.064281.83268.40240.182210 kHz
300.010.2540.0509103.2338.4960.142270 kHz
310.00890.226060.0404130.1426.7280.113340 kHz
320.0080.20320.032164.1538.2480.091430 kHz
330.00710.180340.0254206.9678.6320.072540 kHz
340.00630.160020.0201260.9855.7520.056690 kHz
350.00560.142240.0163291079.120.044870 kHz
360.0050.1270.0127414.813600.0351100 kHz
370.00450.11430.01523.117150.02891350 kHz
380.0040.10160.00797659.621630.02281750 kHz
390.00350.08890.00632831.827280.01752250 kHz
400.00310.07874 0.00501104934400.01372900 kHz

Wrapping It Up 

Lastly, Thank you for taking the time to read this post. 

In addition,  please click these helpful links for more info: 

Finally, to learn about Wire Harness Assemblies, please click below: 

 

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

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

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