# 16 Gauge Electrical Wire Specifications

Save

Electrical wire is used to fabricate electrical and electronic circuits. To determine what gauge, or diameter, of wire must be used in a circuit, you must take into account how much electrical current the circuit needs. Using the specifications for a 16 AWG copper wire as an example, you can see how the diameter and length of a wire affect how much electrical current a wire can carry.

## Diameter

• Wire diameter is expressed in American Wire Gauge, or AWG. Regardless of the material type, a 16 AWG (or "sixteen-gauge") wire will always be the same diameter - .0508 inches, or 1.29 millimeters.

## Current Carrying Capability

• A wire's ability to carry electrical current is directly proportional to the wire's diameter. For example, a non-insulated 20 AWG wire -- which has a diameter of .03 inches -- can carry a maximum of 1.5 amperes of electrical current. A 16 AWG wire can carry a maximum of 3.7 amperes of electrical current under the same conditions.

## Longer Cables Lose Power

• While it is possible to maintain a constant current across the entire length of wire, the voltage at the transmission end of the wire can differ from the voltage at the reception end of the wire. This is because even good electrical conductors present some electrical resistance. Electrical resistance through a 16 AWG copper wire can be calculated by using this formula: (length in feet)x(13.17 Ohms/1000 feet) = Wire resistance in Ohms

## References

• Photo Credit ballyscanlon/Stockbyte/Getty Images
Promoted By Zergnet

### You May Also Like

• How Much Current Can a 22-Gauge Wire Handle?

Each gauge or thickness of wire is capable of carrying a certain level of electrical current without failing. This level varies according...

• How to Size Wire Gauge for Electrical Current

You have probably noticed that the electrical wires going into your house from the utility pole are much bigger than, say, an...

• How to Specify Wire Size

Wire sizes are specified based on the ampacity of the wire. The ampacity is the amount of amperes that can flow through...

• Uses for 6 AWG Wire

American Wire Gauge (AWG) is the official scale for measuring wire sizes. The scale can be confusing because a lower gauge wire...

• House Wiring Specifications

Whether you live on or off the grid, use wind, solar or conventional electrical power, basic specs can help guide your wiring...

## Related Searches

Check It Out

### 22 DIY Ways to Update Your Home on a Small Budget

M
Is DIY in your DNA? Become part of our maker community.