A Guide to the Different Types of Wire and Cable for Your Next Project

A Guide to the Different Types of Wire and Cable for Your Next Project
  • Author: Fazal Umer
  • Posted On: July 10, 2021
  • Updated On: July 3, 2023

Did you know that the word wire dates from before 900 AD and it comes from the Old English word wir? If you are deciding between different types of wire and cable for your next home project, we are here to help. We put together this short guide to share the different types of electrical wires and cables.

A Guide to the Different Types of Wire and Cable for Your Next Project

Keep reading to learn the ins and outs of wire and cable.

1. UF Cable

This is also called the Underground Feeder Cable. It is a type of nonmetallic cable that is used for locations that are wet and to bury it directly in the ground. Usually, it is used for fixtures found outdoors like lampposts.

UF cables have neutral and insulated wires and a bare ground wire. The sheathing on a UF cable is solid plastic and it covers each wire. Sometimes UF cables are also used for major circuit wiring and keep in mind that it carries a dangerous amount of voltage whenever the circuits are turned on.

2. Defense Cables

Defense wiring is perfect for satellite applications, aircraft, aerospace, communications, soldier-borne systems, etc. Some of the best defense cables are now waterproof and have EMI (electromagnetic interference) shielding. They also maximize EMI and eliminate it when it is in close proximity.

3. Coaxial Cable

This cable is what you use to connect your television to your cable or satellite. Although it is becoming less and less common because of the invention of the HDMI it is still used in some homes. This type of cable is a round jacketed cable that has an inner conductor surrounded by a tubular shield made of braid wire.

Coaxial cables have a white or black insulation in a perfectly round shape.

4. NM Cable

This cable is a type of circuit wiring that is designed for indoor and dry locations. Most of these cables have a flat tubular shape and they run throughout the floor cavities and walls of a home. Most wiring in light fixtures and outlets in modern homes is done with NM cable.

The most common sizes include 6-gauge, 8-gauge, 10-gauge, 12-gauge, and 14-gauge. They run anywhere between 15 amps to 55 amps. Nowadays each gauge has a certain color to help differentiate between each cable:

  • 6-gauge & 8-gauge – black-sheathed cable
  • 10-gauge – orange sheathing
  • 12-gauge – yellow sheathing
  • 14-gauge – white sheathing

Keep in mind that this type of cable is dangerous to handle while the conductors are carrying voltage.

Feeling Like a Wire and Cable Pro?

We hope that now that you are aware of the most common types of wire and cable, you can make an informed decision when choosing the cables or wires for your next project. If you are still unsure, we highly recommend contacting a local electrician to give you their professional advice.

Did this article come in handy today? Please keep browsing the rest of this section for our latest home advice.

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Author: Fazal Umer

Fazal is a dedicated industry expert in the field of civil engineering. As an Editor at ConstructionHow, he leverages his experience as a civil engineer to enrich the readers looking to learn a thing or two in detail in the respective field. Over the years he has provided written verdicts to publications and exhibited a deep-seated value in providing informative pieces on infrastructure, construction, and design.