Which wire can carry a higher current solid or stranded?


When it comes to electric current carrier capacity, not all wires are made equal. Some will carry more while others carry less electric current. But, which wire can carry a higher current solid or stranded?

In general, a large copper solid wire has a higher current capacity yet it is also less flexible than stranded wire. Solid wire can be used as a replacement for stranded wire only when the application really requires it.

There are several factors that affect the current carrying capacity of a particular type of conductor:

  • Wire size,
  • Wire material
  • Electric wire insulation.

Generally, the larger the diameter of the conductor, the more electrical current (amps) will flow through it and vice versa for smaller sizes. Moreover, material plays an important role in this equation.

Wire Size

Single solid wires carry more electric current than small stranded wires. Also, stranded wires have a higher current carrying capacity than solid wires of the same size.

Wire Material

The material that a wire is made from has a significant impact on its ability to handle the electric current. For example, copper is more conductive than aluminum and therefore, it can carry a greater electric current. Which wire can carry a higher current solid or stranded?

Conversely, steel core cables are not as well suited for larger electrical currents as compared to many other types of metal alloys available. So, if you have been wondering which wire can carry a higher current between solid and the stranded, overall copper solid wires carry more current than stranded.

In order to reduce line losses and drop voltage in long-distance transmission lines current must be kept within certain limits that for instance, copper is used to build most power cables because it’s well-suited to carry high electric currents safely since it offers excellent conductivity.

Other materials that offer great conductivity are aluminum and silver alloys which are often found in industrial applications.

Electric Wire Insulation

Electric wire insulation also plays a huge role in how much current a wire can carry. Insulation resistance is measured in kilo-ohms per volt (kV) and it refers to the insulation’s ability to prevent electric current from flowing through the wire. Which wire can carry a higher current solid or stranded?

The lower the value of insulation resistance, the more electrical current will flow through the circuit.

Generally, solid wires have better insulation than stranded wires because of their compactness and airtight construction. However, this does not mean that an insulating material used on stranded wires is worse than what’s used for solid conductors.

Can you mix solid and stranded wire.

It can be tempting to mix solid and stranded wires when wiring your home or business. So, if you are not aware of which wire can carry a higher current between the solid or stranded wires, It’s important to learn what impact will mixing between the two wire types will have.

Generally, mixing solid wire and stranded wire cables will affect the carrying capacity of the circuit and in some cases, it may cause serious problems with electric current flow.

In general, when you have different sized conductors in the same electrical system, they must be treated as individual circuits.

You must consider resistance and voltage drop for every section of the wiring separately rather than combining them because if a wire has a poor connection somewhere along its length, it could carry far less electric current through itself or even become an open circuit if the connection fails entirely.

When two circuits with different resistance are connected together, the circuit with lower resistance will have a higher current. Which wire can carry a higher current solid or stranded?

So if you need to join a number of circuits together that have different wiring sizes and situations, it’s best to consult an electrician as improper wiring installations may lead to fires, electric shocks and other severe consequences. Which wire can carry a higher current solid or stranded?

In order to avoid such unpleasant events, it is important to learn as much as possible about electrical systems and their maintenance so as not to choose an inappropriate cable size for your future projects.

10 gauge stranded wire vs solid

When you have 10 gauges of both stranded and solid wires, figuring which wire can carry a higher current between 10 gauge solid and a 10 gauge of stranded wires can be confusing.

Generally, 10 gauge solid wires are better than 10 gauge stranded wires. The thicker is the wire, the more current it will be able to safely pass through itself. This means that in most cases 10-gauge solid wires are suitable for higher currents than the same size of stranded wire.

However, since there are many types of insulation available on the market today you need to check how much electric current each one of them can allow before using them as wiring materials. Which wire can carry a higher current solid or stranded?

For example:

10-gauge (AWG) Stranded and Solid Copper Wire Voltage Drop Comparison:

  • Stranded wire has more resistance compared to solid wire.
  • Because the stranded wire has more surface area, which is what causes the increased resistance, it will pass less current.
  • This means that with 10 gauge of both wires you may experience an increase of voltage drop if you use the stranded one over the solid one.

Voltage Drop Calculator

To calculate the voltage drop of your circuit you can use online voltage drop calculators to figure out which wire will carry a higher current for your needs between the solid and stranded wires.

A voltage drop occurs when an electrical current is forced to travel through a resistance. Which wire can carry a higher current solid or stranded?

So if the total voltage drop of your circuit is above 3%, it may indicate that you need to upgrade your wiring in order to maintain the proper electric system parameters. Which wire can carry a higher current solid or stranded?

To learn more about electricity, please take a look at our other articles below:

  • Which wire can carry more electric current, aluminum or copper wires?
  • What are the factors which affect the performance of the electrical system?

12 awg solid vs stranded

When you have to choose between 12 AWG solid wire vs 12 AWG stranded wire, things can get tricky.

By definition, stranded wire has more surface area than solid wire because it consists of many individual strands. The more surface area there is, the more resistance exists which will cause an increase in voltage drop and the lower the electric current that moves through itself due to heat. Which wire can carry a higher current solid or stranded?

For example:

12 AWG (American Wire Gauge) Stranded and Solid Copper Wire Voltage Drop Comparison:

  • Stranded wires have significantly more resistance compared to solid wires. Which means they will pass less current.
  • This means that with 12 gauges of both conductors you can experience an increase of voltage drop if you use the stranded one over the solid one.

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