Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Cable and Wire

cable and wire

Cable and wire are terms that are often confused. Most of the time, people use cable and wire interchangeably without clearly understanding the meaning.

Wire is a single conductor whereas cable is a group of two or more insulated conductors. Even if there are multiple strands or a single strand and only one conductor, then we call it wire. Also, if there are multiple conductors but no insulation, it is deemed to be wire.

It can also be said that wires are located inside cables. Wire is usually measured by looking at the diameter. They are grouped as per the gauge number. If the number is smaller, then the wire will be thicker. Generally the wires used in homes come in 10 – 20 gauges. The wires are also grouped according to their insulation type electrical capacity.

Cable consists of two or more conductors or wires enveloped together in one sheath. Cables have positive or hot lines in them that carry current and a neutral line that completes the loop. There may be also a third wire that act as a ground wire. The cables are normally classified as per the number of wires it has and also according to the gauge.
Generally two types of wires are found – stranded wire and solid wire. Cables comes in four basic types – twisted pairs cable, multi-conductor cable, coaxial cable, and fiber optics cable. Some of the other types of cables are two conductors cable, three conductors cable, BX cable, romex cable, thermostat cable, TV wire, home networking, extension cord, appliance cords, range and dryer cords.
Summary

1. Wire is a single conductor, whereas cable is a group of two or more insulated conductors.
2. Even if there are multiple strands or a single strand and only one conductor, then we call it wire.
3. Cable consists of two or more conductors or wires enveloped together in one sheath.
4. Wire is usually measured by looking at the diameter and grouped as per the gauge number and insulation type. Cables are normally classified as per the number of wires it has and also according to the gauge.
5. Cables have positive or hot lines in them that carry current and a neutral line that completes the loop. There may be also a third wire that act as a ground wire.


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