What Is the Difference Between Wire & Cable in Terms of Electrical?

In the electrical field, the terms wire and cable are often confused. There is a significant difference between the two that should be understood when determining your electrical needs.

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Wire can be covered in a protective color-coated sheath.

Wire

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The conductor of a wire is not insulated.

A wire consists of a single strand or a group of strands of an electrically conductive material (conductor). This material is normally composed of aluminum or copper. Wires can come bare, or covered in a protective or color-coded sheath.

Cable

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In a cable, the conductor is always insulated.

A cable consists of two or more insulated conductors and can be either bare or covered. This term is also used in reference to a group of insulated conductors that are intertwined or twisted together.

Wire vs. Cable

Whether it's a single strand or multiple strands grouped together, if there is only one conductor it is a wire. Likewise, if there are multiple conductors, but they have no insulation around them, they would be classified as a single conductor, making it a wire.