Stranded vs. Solid Wire

Introduction

All electrical and electronics application requires that the cabling be especially relevant to the device’s intended use; this could be either Stranded Wire or Solid Wire.

One can choose among these two categories of cables depending on the purpose and specifications through various parameters, namely amperage, dimension, price, and the metal species employed.

Nevertheless, it is relatively simple to distinguish one from the other; if it’s a Solid Wire, it will have a solid metal core. In contrast, Stranded Wire is braided internally in an orderly pattern by a lighter strand, as its term implies.

Hence, this article will comprehensively distinguish between them, including their advantages, disadvantages, applications, and current carrying capacity. At the end of this blog, we anticipate that this will help in one’s decision-making.

Introduction to Stranded and Solid Wires

Introduction to Stranded and Solid Wires

What is a Stranded Wire?

As previously said, Stranded Wires are made of coiled, finer strands wrapped and soldered via a non-conductive substance. Furthermore, compared with Solid Wires, they are versatile and intricate, making them highly useful in tight applications areas.

They are, therefore, appropriate for nearly all indoor electronic equipment where bowing and distorting are involved. Apart from its flexibility, one of its capabilities is it doesn’t split or sever, and they are composed of malleable materials. Additionally, its current flow can pass safely in this cable.

As for its sizes, it has various options depending on the designated operation; it is indicated in a proportion form, such as 7/0.042” wherein the 7 stands for the stranded conductors and the .042” represents the size of the conductor, which means 0.042 inches2.

In addition, Stranded Wires applications aren’t limited to constrained spaces; they are highly vital for repetitive motion purposes, including opening and closing a door.

What is a Stranded Wire?

What is a Stranded Wire?

What is a Solid Wire?

A Solid Wire’s prominent distinguishing characteristics from Stranded Wire include its lack of versatility, increased thickness, and durability. Hence, they are suitable for outdoor electronics application that necessitates tolerance robustness and high current capability.

Furthermore, they are known to be relatively inexpensive: weather resistant, corrosion resistant, minimal movement tolerant, and can handle extreme environmental conditions without experiencing any potential harm to the overall performance of the device to which it is attached.

In terms of applications, they are useful in high current purposes, automotive controls, and other outdoor industrial and electrical operations. However, they can still be used for home wiring. Also, they can be prone to breaking if subjected to excessive bending and routing.

Ultimately, it has fewer resistance since its conductor is way thicker; however, it can offer flawless connection and termination efficiently.

What is a Solid Wire?

What is a Solid Wire?

Key Differences between Stranded and Solid Wires

In order to fully understand the differences and similarities between Stranded and Solid Wires, we’ve categorized several factors for easier understanding and to narrow down one’s choices. However, we suggest considering the application’s necessities first before jumping into these differences. Then, one can easily select the appropriate cable for their purpose.

Here are a few deviations between Solid and Stranded Wires:

  • Current Carrying Capacity – As Solid Wires are considered to be chunkier than Stranded Wires, they have less surface area available for thermal transfer. The lighter cables with stranded wires have more contact area and air gaps, but they also dissipate higher energy. Therefore, if planning to select one with a high current carrying capacity, we suggest going for Solid Wires.
  • Routing – As opposed to solid wires, stranded wires are far more malleable and are, therefore, easier to arrange.
  • Cost – Solid Wire is produced less than Stranded Wires, making them more cost-effective.
  • Manufacturing – Stranded Wires are challenging to fabricate because of their ordered and coiled architecture. Solid Wires, on the contrary, are much simpler to make because they just comprise a single thread metal.
  • Distance – If planning to utilize the cable for shorter distances, we suggest going for Stranded Wires. If not, Solid Wires are advised because they have a minimal current loss and are better for extended distances.
  • Superiority – Since they each have significant characteristics in particular applications, there is no real frontrunner between Solid Wire and Stranded Wire in this circumstance.

Advantages, Disadvantages, and Applications of Stranded Wire

If considering two selections at a time, it is better to have their pros and cons for easier decision-making. Hence, as one of the global leading manufacturers, we’ve compiled Stranded Wire’s capabilities, weaknesses, and uses.

Advantages

  • It is highly versatile.
  • Since they are flexible, it makes they are adaptable to routing and bending.
  • It offers flawless current flow and exceptional thermal management.
  • It is suited for connecting patch connections and crimping terminations.
  • Despite longer, high-voltage electricity transmission, there is less skin impact.

Disadvantages

  • It has a relatively high likelihood of degradation, particularly in external situations.
  • It has increased voltage loss.
  • It has a smaller solid conductor with a comparable dimension and a lower current capacity.
  • It offers sophisticated termination and interconnection.
  • It is costlier than Solid Wire in value.

Applications

  • Circuit Boards
  • Speaker Wires
  • Electro-Mechanical Assemblies
  • Indoor Electronics and Electrical Equipment

Advantages, Disadvantages, and Applications of Solid Wires

Since we’ve already discussed the pros, cons, and applications of the Stranded Wires, we can hop unto Solid Wires if all of the above-mentioned benefits and applications aren’t suitable to one’s needs. In this case, below are the summary of the capabilities of a Solid Wire.

Advantages

  • It has optimal connectivity and discontinuance.
  • It has a higher ampacity than the stranded wire of the identical dimension.
  • It offers high-frequency communication with great tone and stellar performance.
  • In interior and exterior settings, reduced resistivity and anti-corrosive.
  • It is ideal for protracted applications and reduced voltage loss.
  • It is comparatively less expensive than stranded wires.

Disadvantages

  • It is not versatile compared with Stranded Wire.
  • If utilized in repetitive strain situations, it can harm the wire.
  • They are inapplicable to electronic devices, digital communications, and computers.

Applications

  • Industrial Building Infrastructures
  • Automotive Controls
  • Outdoor Electronics and Electrical Equipment

Current Carrying Capacity of Solid & Stranded Wire

If two sets have identical dimensions and lengths, it is apparent which one transports a higher current; in such instances, Solid Wires triumph over Stranded Wires. Due to an air gap along its cable conductor, Stranded Wire has a narrower cross-sectional surface than Solid Wire. Thus, the professional assembler must select the wire’s suitable size according to the wire’s gauge and ampacity based on the desired usage.

A similar occurrence in AC systems with frequency is the skin influence when current flows on the conductor’s external layer rather than the entire conductor. In high-power transmission, they accomplish so using stranded wires. Conversely, in the event of copper wire that has a size limited to six millimeters used for household cabling with a frequency of 50/60 Hz, skin depth could be disregarded.

Current Carrying Capacity of Solid & Stranded Wire

Current Carrying Capacity of Solid & Stranded Wire

Which is Suitable for You: Stranded or Solid Wire?

Essentially, as a manufacturer, we cannot decide the perfectly suited wire for one’s application in this article without considering the purpose, application, desired cost, and other factors. However, we can only provide our insight to help one understand further the capabilities of each wiring. In this, it will be easier for one to decide the suitable cable for their needs.

Firstly, we recommend considering the budget for short-term and long-term expenses. Then, the application will be installed inside or outside. After that, its type of load, motion, ampacity, environmental factors, and other factors could possibly affect the performance and quality of the device if the cable is linked through it.

Nevertheless, if one is seeking stiffness, durability, reliability, smoothness, and a cost-efficient approach, we suggest going for a Solid Wire. On the contrary, we suggest employing Stranded Wire if one is looking for dynamic and motion-based solutions.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Stranded Wire and Solid Wires can be easily distinguished apart from each other. In addition, its applications are straightforward. However, one’s selection will still depend on various factors; thus, it is vital to consider all aspects before purchasing one.

As a manufacturer with extensive industry knowledge and experience, we advise going for a company that has already built its reputation over the years, such as PCBTok, before acquiring the chosen cable. In that way, one can reduce the possible risk that may occur in the future and will potentially lessen the cost of repair along the road.

We can provide our professional judgment for your needs; we have our expertly skilled and experienced staff on standby, ready to assist your needs. Contact us today!

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