Understanding Gauge Size

Gauge size is a specification that is usually clearly called out for a needed cable.  However, it can be difficult to understand what exactly it is.  The most simple answer is that it is the cross sectional area of conductors, either solid or stranded.  In the United States and most of North America, this is labeled as AWG (American Wire Gauge).  In most other countries it is denoted by MM2.  It affects the resistance and current-carrying capacity of a cable.

One of the more confusing aspects of gauge size is that as AWG size decreases from 40 to 4/0, MM2 actually increases, from 0.00501 to 107.  To see the complete AWG to MM2 conversion chart click here.  The other confusing part of understanding gauge size is that when the cross-sectional area (MM2) of a wire is doubled, the AWG will decrease by 3. (i.e., Two No. 14 AWG wires have about the same cross-sectional area as a single No. 11 AWG wire.)

Occasionally, we find a required cable is out of stock or otherwise unavailable.  When this happens we look to other options.  If a 6 AWG cable is required, a 4 AWG may be suitable depending on the physical size constraints and resistance required.  Contact The Mueller Group to find the right cable for your application.


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