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Welder leads Specifications

Product Guide & Selection

Welding cable are suitable for variety of applications. Knowing the specifications will help you determine if welding cable is suitable for your applications.
welder leads image

Welder Leads Conductor

Welder leads are single conductor wires that are made from strands of flexible copper or aluminum wires tightly packed together. Stranded welder leads have a larger total surface area and have greater conductivity compared to solid core wire. Welder leads have a maximum voltage rating of 600 volts, which are suitable for arc welder tools, car battery, large sound systems and many other high voltage applications.

Welder AWG with the corresponding service ampacity chart below.

Copper AWG Aluminum AWG Service Ampacity
4 2 100
3 1 110
2 1/0 125
1 2/0 150
1/0 3/0 172
2/0 4/0 200

Copper vs Aluminum Conductor Wire

Copper is the primary conductor metal commonly used in welding leads. Copper is the preferred conductor because of its higher tensile strength and higher conductivity than aluminum conductor wire with the same circular mil (the cross section or diameter). Copper wire is nearly 1.6 times greater with conductivity of approx. 5.95x10 7. The conductivity of aluminum wiring is approx. 3.77x10 7. From the perspective of wire size, that is roughly equivalent to one gauge size behind aluminum. This makes copper wire generally more efficient and less bulky compared to aluminum.

Copper is also more resistant to corrosion than aluminum wire. It resists corrosion from moisture, humidity, industrial pollution, and other atmospheric influences better than aluminum. Also, corrosion from oxide, chloride, and sulfide buildup is conductive. Therefore, it would not lose as much power from the generated heat. On the other hand, aluminum corrosion buildup are resistive and can cause unwanted heat and power loss.

An advantage that aluminum conductor has over copper would be cost. Aluminum usually costs less. However, the cost difference is relative. The exact cost difference between copper and aluminum varies depending on the current commodity price of the market, since prices fluctuate widely.

welder leads copperwelder leads aluminum

A comparison of copper and aluminum wire characteristics is shown in the chart below.

Characteristics Copper Aluminum
Tensile strength (lb/in2). 50,000 32,000
Tensile strength for same conductivity (lb). 50,000 50,000
Weight for same conductivity (lb). 100 50
Cross section for same conductivity (C.M.). 100 155
Specific resistance (W/mil ft). 10.6 17

Solid vs Stranded

Solid wire or solid core is referred to a single solid strand cable. Solid wire have the advantage of being more compacted for the same current capacity, since solid wire doesn't have unoccupied spaces or gaps between individual strand of wires. Solid wire are usually preferred in applications that doesn't require for the wire to be flexible or constant manipulation of the wire. Solid wires are also used as magnet wire, typically for transformers and motors.

Stranded wire are preferred for welding cable due to it flexibility and durability, by having many smaller strands of wires, it allows to be more flexible, since stranded wires are generally easier to bend and manipulate without breaking or damaging the wire. Stranded wire usually cost more due to the increase in processes required in manufacturing the wire. Stranded wire perform better at high frequencies since current travels near the surface of the wire.

welder leads solid vs stranded

Call us at 877.474.8209 to speak with an application engineer about your project.