There are a few things to keep in mind before making that purchase. This article is meant to give you all the information that you need to know about speaker wires, including an ultimate guide of speaker wire gauges types and what they are best used for.
The most common gauges are 12, 14, 16, 18, 20, or 22 gauge. How do you know what speaker gauge wire to use? A Speaker wire gauge is the thickness of the copper conductor in a cable. The smaller the number, the thicker it is.
What Gauge Speaker Wire Do I Need – Ultimate Guide 2021
Are all speaker wires the same?
No, speakers wires come in different sizes and different materials. There are also different types of speaker wires that fulfill many different needs.
The copper speaker wire gauges core is the most common type of wire that you will find. There are other types of material that may be used to make speaker wire, but copper is the most common.
Here are some materials of speakers wire that are common:
1. Copper: This is the most commonly used material for home speaker wires. It has a high conductivity rating and it resists corrosion well, which makes it great for long-term use in your home audio system.
2. Silver: Silver speaker wire has very similar properties to copper, but it has a higher conductivity rating. It can therefore carry more current than speaker wire made from other materials that have lower conductivity ratings.
Silver is also much less prone to corrosion and oxidation, which makes it a good choice for an outdoor direct burial application. Since it does not corrode easily, there is no need to worry about the wire degrading over time, which means you can use it for years without worrying about damage.
3. Gold: Gold speaker wire has a very high conductivity rating and is therefore great for very long runs and outdoor applications where signal loss is a concern. It does not corrode or oxidize easily either, making it good for an open-air outdoor application.
4. Aluminum: This aluminum-based speaker wire is very similar to copper-based speaker wire, but it has a little less conductivity. It will work for most applications that do not require a long length of wire or an outdoor installation and is, therefore, more affordable than other options like silver and gold.
Aluminum does corrode easily, which means it is not a good choice for an outdoor direct burial application because the wire may degrade over time and cause signal loss or damage to your speakers.
Types of speakers wire?
1. Solid core: This solid core speaker wire is made of a single solid copper conductor. These are the least flexible wires and are stiffer than stranded wires.
They are great for permanent installation and fixed wiring applications. Solid core speaker wire is a good choice to use with receivers that have high power ratings, as it can handle the load better than stranded speaker wire.
Another advantage of solid core speaker wire is its ability to lower resistance and radiate or absorb electromagnetic fields. You should not use this wire for connecting speakers to your main stereo or home theater system because it is not flexible enough.
2. Stranded: Stranded speaker wire is made up of multiple copper strands. It has a layer of insulation that wraps around the individual conductors and then another layer of insulation that surrounds all the individual conductors together and holds them in place.
Stranded speaker wire is much more flexible than the solid core and is widely used for car stereo applications because it can handle the vibrations of a moving car well.
It also resists electromagnetic interference, which keeps your speakers from buzzing when you turn on your air conditioner or fan.
3. Flat: This flat speaker wire comes in three different colors: white, red, and black. The white wire is for the left channel, the red wire is for the right channel, and the black wire is for grounding or connecting to your speaker’s chassis.
Flat speaker wires are usually stranded wires that have been woven together in a flat pattern to increase their flexibility. This flat design allows it to run along walls with less risk of being damaged. It also saves space when you have multiple speakers installed next to each other.
4. Ribbon: These flat ribbons of wire come in various combinations of ultra-pure copper strands that are braided into a circular shape and bonded together under high pressure and temperature to create a solid core center.
The individual conductors then have one more layer of insulation wrapped around them before the final layer of insulation covers the entire group to hold them in place.
Ribbon speaker wire is similar to flat speaker wire because it is also very flexible and can handle vibrations well, but it has a much higher strand count than flat wire and therefore has a higher resistance and less noise. It is often used in high-end home theaters and pro sound applications.
What is the standard gauge for speaker wire?
The standard speaker wire gauge for residential use is 18-gauge. It can be used in both low and high-powered receivers. However, you should be careful not to run for long distances as its thickness makes it possible for smaller amounts of current to pass across the cable at a time.
18-gauge speakers wire can handle up to 10 amps of power at 4 ohms, which is great for most indoor applications. If you are using a high-powered receiver or amplifier, you may want to consider 16-gauge instead of 18-gauge because it can handle up to 13 amps of power at 8 ohms.
What gauge of speaker wire is recommended for connecting?
For connecting your speakers, you want to use a speaker wire that is at least as thick as the cable between your amplifier and your speakers. 12 to 16 gauge wire is a great choice for connecting speakers to your receiver or amplifier.
In short, the 12-gauge speaker cables can handle up to 18 amps of power at 6 ohms, which is great if you are planning on running multiple speaker cables in the same room.
14-gauge wire can handle up to 15 amps of power at 6 ohms, which is great for most typical home theaters that have 8-ohm speakers.
16-Gauge wire can handle up to 13 amps of power at 8 ohms, which is great for high-powered receivers or amplifiers.
18-gauge wire can handle up to 10 amps of power at 4 ohms and is the most commonly used speaker wire gauge.
14-gauge wire is a good choice when you have multiple speakers that are in close proximity to each other. If you only have one speaker and you want to save money, don’t worry about picking a thicker gauge because an 18-gauge speaker wire is a good choice for both indoor and outdoor applications.
Which gauge of speaker wire would be appropriate to install a subwoofer?
For installing a subwoofer, you should use the same thickness as the cable from your amplifier to your speakers. If you are using 16-gauge between your main system and your subwoofer, you should use 16-gauge wire for the sub as well.
What gauge speaker wire for home theater?
For a home theater, the best gauge of wire to use is 16-gauge. This can be used for both high and low-powered receivers, although you should stay clear of running it very long distances because its thickness allows for less overall current to pass through the wire at one time.
16-gauge speakers wire can handle up to 13 amps of power at 8 ohms, which is great for most indoor applications.
What gauge speakers wire can I use to install 5 speakers?
You may use a 12-gauge speakers wire to install five speakers throughout your home. This size has enough wattage capacity and is thick enough for the length of your connections.
What type of wire is used for car audio?
Car audio uses a thinner conductor because it is more flexible and will not add weight to the car. This allows for easy installation in factory or aftermarket speaker locations without causing damage to the surrounding components.
Typically, you should use 16-gauge when adding an amplifier and 12-gauge if your speakers are powered directly by the factory head unit.
Can I connect a subwoofer with speaker wire?
Yes. You can connect a subwoofer with speaker wire as long as it is at least as thick as the cable from your amplifier to your speakers. If you are using 16-gauge between your main system and your sub, you should use 16-gauge wire for the sub as well.
What is the best wire for installing speakers?
The best speaker wire to use is 14-gauge. This can handle up to ten amps of power at eight ohms, which is great for most indoor applications.
What gauge wire do I need to connect two speakers?
You should use 16-gauge wire when connecting two speakers together in parallel. If you use 14-gauge wire, it could result in the sound being too weak to hear clearly.
What gauge wire should I use for a 1000 watt amp?
For a 1000-watt amplifier, you should use a 14-gauge wire. This has enough wattage capacity and is thick enough for the length of your connections.
What gauge speaker wire should I use with a 100 watt amp?
For a 100-watt amplifier, you should use a 12-gauge wire. This is thick enough for the length of your connections and has enough wattage capacity to handle the power from a smaller amplifier.
What gauge wire do I need for an amp rated at 15 watts?
For a 15-watt amplifier, you should use a size speaker wire that is 16-gauge. This will be able to handle the power of your amplifier while still being thick enough to easily carry it from place to place without adding too much resistance.
What happens if speaker wire is too thin?
If your speaker wire is too thin, it may not have enough capacity to carry the necessary power to your system, which could result in damage to your components. It can also cause problems with noise and hums if the wiring is close to other cables or electrical sources.
Does length of speaker wire matter?
Yes, the length of your speaker wires will matter. The longer it is, the more resistance there will be which means less signal gets to where it needs to go because the power has to travel through more wire.
Can speaker wire affect bass?
Yes, speaker wire can affect the bass. If your wires are too thin it will restrict how much power gets to the speaker which means you won’t have as good of a bass response from your system.
Does wire thickness affect sound quality?
Yes, the thicker wire can affect how much power makes it to the speakers. The thicker the wire, the better quality of sound you will have in your system.
What gauge wire do I need for a 5.1 surround sound system?
For a 5.1 surround sound system, you should use a 16-gauge speakers cable. This can be used for both high and low-powered receivers, although you should stay clear of running it very long distances because its thickness allows for less overall current to pass through the wire at one time.
See also: 2.1 Vs 5.1 Vs 7.1 Soundbar
Related Frequently Asked Questions
What gauge wire do I need for a 600 watt amp?
The recommended gauge for a 600-watt amplifier is 18-gauge. This can handle the power from an amp while also being thick enough to easily carry it from place to place without adding too much resistance.
How many watts per foot should speaker wire have?
Your speaker wire should have around two watts per foot. If it has more than this, you may add too much resistance to your line which can lead to signal loss or damage to your components.
What gauge wire do I need for a 25 watt amp?
You should use an 18-gauge speaker wire if your amplifier is rated at 25 watts. This can easily carry the power from your amp without being too thick to be used in most home audio applications.
What gauge wire do I need for a 50 watt amp?
For a 50-watt amplifier, you should use a 16-gauge wire. This is thick enough for the length of your connections and is able to handle the necessary power for most audio applications.
What gauge wire do I need for a 250 watt amp?
A 250-watt amplifier would best be served with 16-gauge wire. This can easily carry all of that power and is still thick enough to not add too much resistance to your connection.
As you can see speaker wire gauge is very important and you should choose the best one for your speaker. If we talk about the length then it’s also important to consider that if you will install a subwoofer or 5 speakers or car audio system then everything depends on you.
Finally, please also note that the speaker wire gauge that you choose should determine how far you can run your speaker wires.