How do you measure speaker wire gauge?

Asked By: Abdenaji Hellbruck | Last Updated: 25th January, 2020
Category: automotive auto parts
5/5 (83 Views . 42 Votes)
To ensure a lower resistance, look for thicker wire gauge. Wire gauge is measured by a unit called AWG (American Wire Gauge) where the lower the number the thicker the wire. Speaker wire typically is available in even increments between 22 AWG and 10 AWG; where 22 AWG is the smallest and 10 AWG is the biggest.

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Correspondingly, is 18 gauge wire OK for speakers?

The manual states that up to 20 ft an 18 gauge wire is fine with 16 and 14 gauge for longer runs. I would buy the lower gauge and put connectors on the ends for general use and if you are not a critical listener then the 18 gauge is probably just fine.

Secondly, how many watts can 16 gauge speaker wire handle? As with the power wire, the longer the run and the more current you're pushing through it, the larger size you should use. For example, if your amp is in the trunk and you're sending 100 watts to your front speakers, 14-gauge speaker wire is a good call. But if the amp is only 50 watts, 16-gauge would be fine.

Simply so, does speaker wire gauge matter?

Thicker wires are better: It's true that for long runs, thicker wires are better at reducing the effects of resistance. But for most set ups (those with speakers within 100 ft of the amplifier), 16-gauge lamp cord is fine. For speakers 100 to 200 ft. from the amp, experts suggest use 14 gauge.

Does speaker wire gauge affect sound quality?

Generally speaking, resistance starts to have an effect on the performance of a speaker when resistance is greater than 5% of the speaker's impedance. The thicker a wire or the lower the gauge, the less resistance. It is therefore a combination between speaker impedance, length and gauge that affects the resistance.

27 Related Question Answers Found

How many watts can 18 gauge wire handle?

Never use more than 75 watts at 120 Volts. American Wire Gauge (AWG), is a standardized system used since 1857 predominantly in North America for the diameters of round wire. Increasing gauge numbers equals decreasing wire diameters. (22 gauge is thinner then 18 gauge).

What gauge speaker wire should I use for subwoofer?

The speaker wires
If your sub system is going to put out more than 1,000 watts RMS, you can use 12-gauge speaker wire. But 16-gauge speaker wire works well for most installations.

What gauge speaker wire is best?

Thick wire (12 or 14 gauge) is recommended for long wire runs, high power applications, and low-impedance speakers (4 or 6 ohms). For relatively short runs (less than 50 feet) to 8 ohm speakers, 16 gauge wire will usually do just fine.

What gauge wire should I use?

The minimum wire size for a 30-amp, 240-volt circuit is 10-gauge, but to prevent poor performance because of voltage drop, you should consider upgrading to 8-gauge if the outlet is far from the panel. For a 50-amp circuit, you need a 6-gauge wire at a minimum.

What is the ampacity of 18 gauge wire?


Additional Options
Conductor Ampacity
Conductor Size (AWG) Ampacity (Amps)
18 7
16 10
14 15

Can you use regular wire for speakers?

To answer the question posed at the start of this article – yes, you can use a regular electric wire as a speaker cable, as long as it comes with two same-sized conductor wires.

Is 16 or 18 gauge wire bigger?

AWG stands for American Wire Gauge – the thicker a conductor is the lower its gauge number will be. In the above chart we compare the resistance and breaking force of 16, 18, and 20 AWG wire. Not only is 16 AWG roughly 3 times stronger than 20AWG wire, it also has 86.6% less resistance than 20 AWG wire per foot.

Are expensive speaker cables worth it?

An expensive cable might sound worse on your system than cheap cable. Or it might sound better. The important thing to remember is that even if it does sound better, it's such a minuscule improvement that pretty much anything else you can do will have a greater effect on the sound.

What gauge wire should I use for a 1000 watt amp?


A basic rule of thumb is this. For up to 500 watts RMS, 8 gauge is sufficient. In the 500 – 1000 watt RMS range, you want to run 4 gauge. From 1000 – 1500 watts RMS you should be running 2 gauge.

How do I connect speaker wire to RCA?

When connecting speaker wires to RCA Plugs, remove the cover from one of your RCA plugs and insert the speaker wire inside. Connect the positive wire to the plug coming from the rear. Do this by soldering them together. As for the negative wire, connect it to the tab and solder it there as well.

Do speaker cables really make a difference?

Of course, cables do make a difference, but the reason for the difference is not their exotic structure or the choice of an exotic material. The only difference what people can hear is caused by the resistance of the cable.

What are the different types of speaker connectors?

There are three types of wire connectors that you can use with your speaker cables: banana plugs, spade connectors, and pin connectors.

What gauge wire do I need for 220 volts?


If you're wiring a 220v, 20-amp outlet to run power tools, you can use the same 12-gauge wire you would use for a 110-volt, 20-amp circuit. Remember that the cable must have an extra hot wire. If the appliance draws 30 amps, you need a different type of receptacle, and the cable needs to be 10-gauge.

Is 12 AWG speaker wire overkill?

I generally recommend just getting one big spool of 12 gauge and using that for everything. Overkill in speaker wire is good, and there is no such thing as having too little resistance in the wire (other than a short, obviously!) in this application. So yes, on paper thicker speaker wire is always better.

What gauge wire do I need for a 2000 watt amp?

So, for a 2000 watt amp going by most charts you will need between 4 gauge wire to 00 gauge wire depending on how far you are going. If you are only going 0-4 feet that is when you can get away with the smaller wire, but anything beyond that you will need thicker wire. 2 gauge can be used for 4 feet to 10 feet.