Some basic information about wires and cables

Wires and cables play a crucial role in providing electricity in our homes and keeping darkness away from our lives. Imagine a world without wires and cables. Without wires and cables, there will be no light and you will not be able to do any work at night. Moreover, none of your electronic equipment’s which have made your life easy and comfortable like fridge, washing machine, microwave etc. will work without wires and cables and your life will become difficult. Therefore, wires and cables are very essential for day to day routine working of our life. Although, wires and cables play a prominent role in our lives but there are only a few people who knows about them. Most of the people don’t even know the difference between wires and cables. If you are about to buy wires and cables to do some electric connection in your home, it is essential that you should have some basic idea about them.

Although used interchangeably, both wire and cable are different from each other. Wires consist of single filament while cable consists of two or more wires covered in sheathing. Whether it is indoor space or outdoor space, selection and installation of a proper wire is essential if you want to have a smooth electricity supply.


Wires can be categorized on the basis of color, applications and label information. The information written on the covering of the wire tells us everything that is required for selection of right wire for home. Let’s discuss some of the features of electrical wires which will help you in distinguishing them from each other.

Size: There are usually three sizes of wires. These are 10, 12 and 14. A higher size of wires means low wire gauge and lower wire size means higher wire gauge. The size of wires affects its capacity to carry current.

Lettering: You will find THHN, THWN, THW and XHHN written on the covering of wire. These letters tells us about the main insulation types of specific wires.


Wires are available in the market in various color codes and serve different purposes.

· Black: for switches and outlets

· Red: for making connection between two hardwired smoke detectors

· Blue and Yellow: used in conduit for 3–4 way switch application and for switch legs to control electrical appliances

· White: Neutral

· Green and Bare Copper: For grounding

Types: There are various types of wires available in the market. These are as follows:

· Triplex Wires

· Main Feeder Wires

· Panel Feed Wires

· Non-Metallic Sheathed Wires

· Single Strand Wires


Just like wires cable are also categorized on the basis of color, application and types.


There are multitudes of wires available in the market today. These are used for different applications.

· Non-Metallic Sheathed Cable

· Underground Feeder Cable

· Metallic Sheathed Cable

· Multi-Conductor Cable

· Coaxial Cable

· Unshielded Twisted Pair Cable

· Ribbon Cable

· Direct-Buried Cable

· Twin-Lead Cable

· Twin axial Cable

· Paired Cable

· Twisted Pair

Color code: color coding in cables tells us whether they are neutral, active or earth conductor. Different countries have varied color coding. Therefore, before you buy wires or cable online or offline for your home, you should know what cable color coding is applicable in your area.

Size: Cable sizing means gauge of individual wires in cable. A 10/3 size means presence of 3 wires within 10-gauge cable.

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