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Wire and cable blog Every Type Of Low-Voltage Wire Explained

Every Type Of Low-Voltage Wire Explained

Low-voltage cables are copper and aluminum cables that transmit max up to 50V. Read this blog to learn about all types of structured low-voltage cables on the market.

What Is Low-Voltage Cable?

A low-voltage wire is an electrical cable capable of transmitting 50V of electricity or less. This makes these cables fundamentally different from regular-voltage power cables that transmit 120V/240V AC in the United States and North America and 230V in Europe. Potential variations of low-voltage wires on the market are 12V, 24V, 36V, and 48V. Low-voltage cables are easier to install and less dangerous to handle due to their low voltage, which results in lower risks of electrocution and bodily harm. Another common name for low-voltage cables is structured cabling.

While regular-voltage and high-voltage cables usually transmit power, low-voltage cables are more inclined to transfer data and signals, though some limited power applications are possible.

How Is Low-Voltage Cable Visually Different From A Regular-Voltage One?

The best way to make sure that the cable is a low-voltage one is to see the markings on the surface of the cable that explicitly indicate that cables are low-voltage. Low-voltage cables often have stamps on their jacket or sheathing that effectively tell you all information you need to identify them. However, there are other ways to tell that cables are low-voltage based on their appearance.

In most cases, low-voltage wiring comes in smaller gauges than regular-voltage ones. Its components, such as sheathing, jackets, and insulation, are generally thinner too.

Applications Of Low-Voltage Cables

Most cables in residential, commercial, industrial, and utility applications are regular-voltage wires. The settings where low-voltage wiring is used are mostly limited to the following:

  • Internet
  • TV and audio systems
  • Gadget Charging
  • PC and Laptops
  • Phones
  • Wi-Fi Networks
  • Thermostats and HVAC
  • Security and Fire Alarm Systems
  • Landscape Lighting
  • Doorbells

Types Of Low-Voltage Wiring

Coaxial Cable

Copper cables are used in TV, ethernet, video systems, and radio equipment. Common types are Rg6, Rg11, and Rg59.

Ethernet Twisted Pair Cable

Twisted pair cables insulated with plastics are used to transmit broadband Ethernet and telephone signals. Common types are Cat 5, Cat5e, Cat6, Cat6a, and Cat8. Cat3 is an old type of Ethernet cable still used in phones.

Speaker Wire

These cables are used to translate the audio signal from the amplifier to the speakers.

Thermostat Wire

Multi-conductor copper cables used within thermostats and to interconnect the elements of the HVAC systems. While most thermostats have low-voltage wiring, there are so-called line-voltage thermostats within electric baseboard heaters that use full electrical circuits (120V or 240 V). The two should not be confused.

Low Voltage Alarm Wire

Low Voltage Alarm Wire rated 12V is used in power-limited control circuits.

Landscape Lighting Cable

Copper cables are used in landscape lighting outdoors. The cables are weather-resistant and suitable for direct burial.

Low-Voltage Wiring Illustrated

NNC offers a whole range of high-quality low-voltage structured cabling, including speaker wire, thermostat wire, fire alarm wire, data transmission cables, and underground landscape lighting cables.

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Every Type Of Low-Voltage Wire Explained Low-Voltage Cables