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Wire Gauge Sizes and the American Wire Gauge (AWG)

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by: Seth Wilde

AWG Gauge Wiring Sizes
1/0 Gauge Wire
2 Gauge Wire
3 Gauge Wire
4 Gauge Wire
8 Gauge Wire
10 Gauge Speaker Wire
12 Gauge Speaker Wire
16 Gauge Speaker Wire

Although wire is available in many different sizes and colors, the purpose is still the same: To transfer an electrical current from one device to another.  Depending on how much wattage is being transferred through the cable and the distance the cable is being run, different gauge of wire should be used.  Understanding more about what the gauge unit is can help you better determine what gauge wire you need to install your car amplifier, speakers, subwoofers, and other car audio components. 

What is Wire Gauge?
The thickness of a cable or wire is defined by its gauge size.  The general rule of thumb is that the smaller the gauge number, the thicker the cable.  The standardized method of measuring the thickness of a cable was established in 1857 in the United States.  Commonly known as the American Wire Gauge (AWG), this form of measuring cable thickness is used for electrically conducting wire.  The important part to consider in determining a cables current-carrying capacity is the cross sectional area of the cable. he diameter of the cable does not include the outer jacket of the wire, but only the copper wire on the inside.  A wire that is "True-to-Gauge" will meet and/or exceed the diameter of the copper for its AWG rating.

 

AWG Cable/Wire Diameter Turns of Wire Area Copper Resistance
Inches mm Per Inch mm2 Ω/kFT
3/0 0.4096 10.404 2.44 85 0.06180
 2/0  0.3648  9.266  2.74  67.4  0.07793
 1/0  0.3249  8.252  3.08  53.5  0.09827
 1  0.2893  7.348  3.46  42.4  0.1239
 2  0.2576  6.544  3.88  33.6  0.1563
 4  0.2043  5.189  4.89  21.2  0.2485
 8  0.1285  3.264  7.78  8.37  0.6282
 10  0.1019  2.588  9.81  5.26  0.9989
 12  0.0808  2.053  12.4  3.31  1.588
 16  0.0508  1.291  19.7  1.31  4.016
 18  0.0403  1.024  24.8  0.823  6.385

 

 

Correct Gauge Terminology
The term “gauge” is used for wire up to 1 AWG. 
The term “aught” is used for wire 1/0 AWG and larger. This number of "0" in the size is the number of "Aught"

For example:
8 AWG = Eight Gauge
2 AWG = Two Gauge
1 AWG = One Gauge
1/0 AWG = One Aught
2/0 AWG = Two Aught
 

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