Cables and Wires: Expert Buying Guide


Cables and wires play an important role in keeping your home or business connected. High-quality wires and cables help to ensure consistent and effective connectivity. 

In order to keep your technology functioning optimally, it’s important to choose the right cables and wires to suit your needs. Well-suited cables and wires will enable you to achieve higher transmission speeds and stable ethernet connection. 

Here is our expert buying guide to help you choose cables and wires for your home or commercial space. 

A basic introduction cables and wires

A wire is defined as a single conductor that carries an electrical current through a circuit. A cable is created when a collection of wires are sheathed together. 

Most conductors are made of copper, which works efficiently and resists damage. Copper models are usually preferable to aluminium models. 

Wires and come in a range of sizes and models. Electrical codes exist to outline which wires and cables should be used for which tasks, helping to ensure safe and effective connections. 

Types of wires

Different types of wires and cables are suited to different connections and requirements. Here are some of the main options on the market. 

Solid hook-up wires

Solid hook-up wires are created using a single strange of insulated copper wire. These wires are relatively inflexible but are often sturdy. A solid hook-up can be used as a magnet wire. These wires have a thin layer of insulation and can be used in transformers and motors. 

Stranded hook-up wires

Stranded hook-up wires feature a bundle or thin copper wires that are twisted or braided together. These wires are strong and flexible, and they have high-vibration applications. Often, stranded hook-up wires are used for projects that must fit within small spaces.

Wire colours

Wires come in a range of colours, with these colours relating to their use and applications. While colour shouldn’t be your only guide, it should be a consideration as you choose and work with wires. 

Colours may mean:

  • Black wires are hot wires used for switches or outlets. 
  • Red wires are hot wires used for switch legs and hardwire smoke detector connections. 
  • Blue and yellow wires are hot wires pulled through conduit. Blue wires are used for three- and four-way switch applications. Yellow wires are for switch legs for fans, lights, and so on. 
  • White wires are usually neutral but can be hot if marked with black or red. 
  • Green and bare copper wires are used only for grounding purposes. 

Types of cables

Like wires, different cables have different uses. These include:

Coaxial cables

Coaxial cables are made using a solid copper core and an insulating layer beneath a conducting shield and plastic jacket. These cables are mainly used for radio frequency signals, as they protect against electromagnetic interference. 

Network cables

Types of network cables include coaxial cables, Cat6 cables, and fibreoptic cables. They operate at high speeds and are used to connect devices and transfer data. They also guard against electromagnetic interference.

Computer cables

Computer cables include ribbon, USB, ATX, extension cables, and more. These cables can be used to connect computer parts and components for effective and efficient connectivity. 

If you’re looking for high-quality cables and wires for your business, visit RS Online to shop the range today!

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