WesBell Electronics
Wire and Cable Blog

3 Tips For Buying Electrical Wire

1. Watch the price of copper

Buying Electrical Wire

Everyone that purchases copper electrical wire should watch the price of copper on the NYSE. It goes up and down daily and the price of wire changes weekly based on the current price. Therefore, as a purchasing agent, it’s important to know the highs and lows to stay within your yearly budget. It’s similar to playing the ups and downs of real estate. Watch carefully and you’ll be able to pounce on a good deal when it comes up.

2. Get 3 quotes first

Getting 3 quotes before buying should be standard practice for every company. Do you buy the first car on the first lot that you see or do you want to double check the surrounding lots for a slightly better deal? Buying electrical wire is much different from buying cars because one of the three suppliers you speak to could have bought their copper wire 3 years ago at a low copper price. The supplier next could have just brought in new inventory at the most current price. In that case you will receive a different price from each supplier for the same exact wire.

3. Make sure you’re not over buying for your needs

Always check with an electrician before purchasing electrical wire and installing it yourself. Did your buddy tell you that you need THHN wire or USE-2 wire? Does it need to be rated for outdoors, direct burial or to be used in conduit? Does it need a certain voltage or temperature rating for your application? There are a lot of standard electrical cables used in standard application but there are also a lot of custom cables used for more specific applications. If you buy less than what you need it could hurt your equipment or if you buy more than what you need you’ll over pay for the wire.

First speak to an electrician to find out exactly what you need for your project. Then get a price on that electrical wire from 3 reputable companies and ask about freight charges and taxes. Finally, if you have time, check the history of copper pricing to see if it’s currently up or down. Just remember, waiting around for copper to lower is like waiting around for real estate to lower. It could take a long time but, if you have the time, it’s a good idea to wait it out!

UL1015 and UL1007 Hook Up Wire Information

Hook Up Wire

PVC hook up wire is simple and basic. There are three main things that make up typical hook up wire. First you have the copper strands, then the tin coating and finally the PVC insulation. All three parts are equally important as each other as they serve an important purpose.

UL1007 Wire

300 Volts. When buying UL1007 wire you’ll want to be specific about the copper stranding. You can ask for solid, stranded or flexible. A solid strand of copper, as you can imagine, is not flexible but it does hold its form once bent. Stranded wire is a bit more floppy and it’s the standard in the industry. Flexible wires use a smaller gauge of copper, but more of them, to make the same size wire more bendable.

UL1015 Wire

600 Volts. You can request the same copper stranding options as above but the insulation on both remains the same. UL1015 wire has a thicker insulation to handle the voltage increase but, otherwise, has the same attributes as UL1007 wire.

The tin coating helps adhere to solder when soldering is involved. If you’re not going to be soldering with the hook up wire you can request it without tin.

The PVC insulation can be upgraded to handle higher temperatures and voltages if necessary. But if you’re looking for the cheapest type of wire for your home project then keep your eye on UL1007 and UL1015 hook up wire.

Welding Cable Pricing Structure

Welding cable is designed with copper strands and rubber insulation. The strands are very flexible and the rubber insulation is protective and flexible as well. Pricing for welding cable is determined mostly from the daily copper price on the NYSE. Copper, similar to gold, is traded daily which means it can be worth more or less today than it was yesterday.

The pricing on our website is the typical variance that you would see from AWG to AWG. Welding cable 6 AWG has less copper in it than Welding Cable 2 AWG which means it will always be cheaper. A 2 AWG cable is used for more powerful equipment. If the price of copper goes up 5% today, then all of the pricing on our website will also go up about 5%.

Keep an eye on copper when you’re about to place a large order. Also make sure that you are using the smallest gauge allowable to pass inspection or else you’ll pay far too much for your application.

Welding Cable Pricing >>

Written by: Chris Bell

Portable Cord Types and Information

Portable CordPortable cord is a type of cable used to hook up power to equipment that moves from place to place. For instance, a welding machine can be used in your shop or it can be transported to another shop to be used in the same manner. “Portable” equipment uses portable cord cables for a connection. Here are some reasons portable cord is a better fit for your portable devices:

1. Flexible

All portable cables are designed to be flexible because they are handled each day by the equipment operator. That person will need to uncoil the cable to use it and coil it back up for storage. They will need to bend the cable around corners and fit it into tight areas. For those reasons, an inflexible cable would not be handy at all.

2. Rubber Jacket

There are usually letter that describe your portable cord such as SJO, SO, SJOOW or SJTOOW. Each letter stands for something that describes a characteristic of the cable you have.

S – Service Cord
J – Junior (300 Volts instead of 600 Volts)
T – Thermoplastic Jacket (cheaper construction with less flexibility)
O – Oil resistant conductor insulation
O – Oil resistant jacket
W – Water resistant jacket

If your cable says “SJO” on it that it doesn’t have a “W” for Water Resistance. If you cable does NOT have a “T” in it than it’s automatically a rubber jacket. Thermoplastic material is a cost effective approach if your application doesn’t need as much flexibility.

3. UL / CSA

UL stands for Underwriters Laboratories and CSA stands for Canada Standard Association. Both are third party companies that approve the voltage, temperature and safety rating of the cable. For instance, if the manufacturer states that their cable is rated for 600 volts should you automatically agree with them? No, a UL/CSA approved cable has already had a second approval conducted to make sure that you receive a cable that has been double checked for quality performance.

Call Us! Ask questions! We have answers for you that might find you a cheaper cable. If you purchase for a large organization we can find you cables with UL, CSA, CE, RoHS, REACH, MSHA approvals and more!