Car Speaker Wire Buying Guide

To complete your sound system and generate sound from the speakers, you will need some speaker wire. Speaker wire is used to make the electrical connection between speakers and amplifiers. Today's speaker wire is constructed of two or more electrical conductors that are individually insulated by plastic such as PVC, PE or Teflon. To determine the performance of speaker wires, there are three properties you need to take into affect which are resistance, capacitance, and inductance. A perfect speaker wire has no resistance, capacitance, or inductance. The shorter and thicker the wire is, the less resistance it will have, which means better performance. A common rule of thumb is that the resistance of the speaker wire should not exceed 5% of the rated impedance of the system. Copper or OFC (Oxygen Free Copper) speaker wire is the most popular and is more or less the universal standard, it has low resistance and is more cost efficient than other materials.

Maximum Wire Lengths for Best Performance
Wire Size2 ohm load4 ohm load6 ohm load8 ohm load
22 AWG3 feet6 feet9 feet12 feet
20 AWG5 feet10 feet15 feet20 feet
18 AWG8 feet16 feet24 feet32 feet
16 AWG12 feet24 feet36 feet48 feet
14 AWG20 feet40 feet60 feet80 feet
12 AWG 30 feet60 feet90 feet120 feet
10 AWG50 feet100 feet150 feet200 feet
Wire Gauge SizeTotal Amplifier RMS Wattage
12 AWG100+ Watts
14 AWG60-100 Watts
16 AWG30-60 Watts
18-20 AWG1-30 Watts

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