Difference Between 14/2 And 12/2 Wire

Are you planning to wire your home or renovate an old electrical system? If yes, you may have come across 14/2 and 12/2 wires. These numbers not only indicate the thickness of the wire but also the number of wires inside the outer jacket. However, if you are unsure about which wire to use, this article will explain the difference between 14/2 and 12/2 wires so you can make an informed decision.

What is 14/2 Wire?

14/2 wire is a two-conductor electrical wire that has 14-gauge wires inside. Gauge refers to the thickness of the wire. A 14-gauge wire has a diameter of 1.63mm or 0.064 inches. The two conductors or wires are coated with a PVC jacket that is typically white in color. There is also a bare copper wire in the center, which is the ground wire. The outer jacket of a 14/2 wire is usually red or black in color.

Uses of 14/2 Wire

14/2 wire is used for low voltage electrical systems such as lighting and ceiling fans. It is ideal for residential homes and small offices that require a low voltage electrical system. 14/2 wire is also used for low power outlets such as those for small appliances like toasters and coffee makers.

Advantages of 14/2 Wire

There are several advantages of using 14/2 wire. Firstly, it is inexpensive and readily available, making it an ideal choice for residential homes. Secondly, it is easy to handle and install. The smaller size of the wire makes it more flexible and easier to pull through conduit. Lastly, 14/2 wire can carry power up to 15 amps, which is suitable for most low voltage electrical systems.

Disadvantages of 14/2 Wire

On the other hand, 14/2 wire has certain limitations. Since it is not designed to carry high voltage loads, it cannot be used for heavy machinery or appliances. Additionally, its thin conductors are prone to damage from excess heat or overloading, which can lead to a fire hazard. Therefore, it is important to ensure that the electrical system using 14/2 wire is designed for low voltage applications only.

What is 12/2 Wire?

12/2 wire is a two-conductor electrical wire that has 12-gauge wires inside. A 12-gauge wire has a diameter of 2.05mm or 0.081 inches. Like the 14/2 wire, it has a PVC jacket that covers the two wires and a bare copper wire in the center that acts as the ground wire. The outer jacket of a 12/2 wire is usually yellow in color.

Uses of 12/2 Wire

12/2 wire is used for high voltage electrical systems such as air conditioning systems, heating units, and other high voltage appliances. It is also used for power outlets and lighting systems that require a larger current load.

Advantages of 12/2 Wire

The primary advantage of 12/2 wire is its ability to carry a larger current load of up to 20 amps. This makes it more suitable for high voltage electrical systems that require more power. Additionally, its larger size makes it less susceptible to damage from heat or overloading, making it a safer option for high voltage applications.

Disadvantages of 12/2 Wire

However, there are also disadvantages to using 12/2 wire. It is more expensive than 14/2 wire and not as readily available. Its larger size and stiffness also make it more difficult to handle and install than 14/2 wire. Furthermore, it is not suitable for low voltage applications as it can cause excess power wastage.

In Conclusion

The difference between 14/2 and 12/2 wire lies in the thickness of the wire and the type of electrical system it can carry. 14/2 wire is suitable for low voltage electrical systems, whereas 12/2 wire is used for high voltage electrical applications. When choosing between the two wires, it is important to consider the voltage requirements of your electrical system and the amount of power load it will be carrying. While 14/2 wire is more inexpensive and easier to handle, the limitations of its current capacity make it unsuitable for certain applications. On the other hand, 12/2 wire is more expensive and harder to install, but it is a safer and more efficient option for high voltage electrical systems.

Keywords: 14/2 wire, 12/2 wire, electrical wire, electrical system, voltage, current, PVC jacket, bare copper wire, ground wire, power load, heat, overloading, low voltage, high voltage, power wastage, appliances, air conditioning, heating.