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What is the difference between wire and cable?

by Nathan Zachary
What is the difference between wire and cable?

Is a wire different from a cable? We often use these two terms interchangeably. However, from construction to their types, daily usage, and longevity, they differ greatly.

So what is the difference between wire and cable? Simply put, a cable is a collection of two or more conductors, whereas a wire is a single conductor.

Let’s know more differences between wires and cables, their use cases, and other aspects that make them different.

What is meant by a wire?

A wire is a single conductor mostly constructed using copper, aluminum, or steel. Solid and stranded wire are the two primary forms of wires.

Solid wire is created by drawing one strand of conductive metal. Such as copper, aluminum, or another metal, into a long, thin shape that will be stiff yet bendable. Due to its lower resistance, solid wire is commonly used in applications that require the ability to handle higher frequencies.

In contrast, stranded wire is made up of several strands of solid wire that have been pulled into incredibly thin and flexible thread-like filaments to create a single conductor.

These conductors are similar in size and weight to their solid counterparts. Stranded wire is excellent for jobs and is frequently coated. It is frequently coated and thus is perfect for tasks requiring extra flexibility.


  • High conductivity
  • Heat and corrosion resistance
  • Cheaper in rate
  • It can be twisted in any direction or shape without breaking


  • Lesser bandwidth
  • Gets damaged easily
  • Much prone to hazardous situations


A wire is widely used to convey telecommunication signals, carry electricity, support mechanical loads, heat jewelry, clothing, automobiles, or other industrially produced parts like pins, bulbs, and needles.

What is a Cable?

Cables are used to transmit electrical signals in a similar fashion as wires. They are usually constructed by a connection of two or more wires.

There are four kinds of cables, each of which has a unique mechanism that serves its own function. They are:

  • Twisted Pair Cable: As the name indicates, when two cables are twisted together to create one cable, it is termed a twisted pair cable.
  • Coaxial Cable: A solid interior conductor and a foil-covered outer layer make up the coaxial cable. Radios, televisions, and other broadcast mediums use this cable for their transmission.
  • Multi-conductor Cable: When several cables are combined together to create a multi-conductor cable for data transfer, it is known as a multi-conductor cable.
  • Optic-fiber Cable: These cables are made using fiber and have a much wider bandwidth than conventional cables. Due to this huge bandwidth, they have slowly begun to replace metallic conductors in cables.


  • Easy to install
  • Has higher strength capacity
  • Can carry multiple signals and power
  • Provides a higher data transmission rate
  • Higher longevity, with optical fiber having more than 100 years of lifespan
  • Safer to use


  • Bigger in diameter
  • More expensive


There is a vast array of cables available on the market for every possible need. Cables are frequently used for long-distance submarine communication, power and signal circuits in electronic equipment, power transfer, building illumination, etc.

What are the differences between wire and cable?

The process of evolution touches every aspect of the world. The same holds for wire-making technology as well. We have been using wires and cables to fulfill our electrical needs since electricity made its way into our spaces.

Let’s understand what makes them different.


Cables are made of a group of conductors twisted around one another. On the other hand, wires contain a single conductor strand or a single conductor group of strands coiled around one another.


Wires are available in two types, namely, solid and stranded wires. In comparison, cables have 4 kinds of categories, including twisted pair cables, coaxial cables, multi-conductor cables, and fiber optic cables.


Cables have a much higher strength capacity compared to wires, ultimately making them stronger than wires.


Due to their dual insulation, cables are more secure than wires. That’s why we see cables are more used in a large amount in various sectors.


Cables tend to be invisible because of their insulation, whereas wires are mostly visible.


Cables are being widely used in telecommunication transmission and for carrying electrical signals. Starting from the radio to the submarine, it’s used everywhere.

In contrast, wires are used in routine household tasks to deliver telecommunication signals and power (for lights, ceiling fans, ACs, etc.).


Due to their insulation, cables tend to have a much longer shelf life than wires.


As cables are sturdier, they are reasonably the more expensive option than the wires.

Rules that both must abide by

Extreme caution should be exercised when using cable and wire to prevent any potentially dangerous situations from happening.

Some tips to follow while using them:

  • Wires or damaged or ripped cables must be replaced as soon as possible.
  • Make sure that every cable and wire have safety closures and is polarized.
  • Keep cables and wires always out of your children’s reach
  • Refrain from putting cables and wires in areas where they could readily pose a trip risk.

To Conclude

Both cables and wires are used for securing a proper electrical connection for different purposes. However, the construction and application make them different. Hopefully, after going through the article, you can now easily distinguish between cables and wires.

Read Also: Cass Holland is originally from Las Vegas, United States.

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