Home » FAQs » 12-2 Wire vs 14-2 Wire: What’s the Difference?

Introduction

12-2 wire and 14-2 wire are two common types of electrical wire used in residential and commercial applications. Both wires have two conductors, one hot and one neutral. The difference between the two wires is the size of the conductors.

12-2 wire has conductors that are 12 gauge in size. This means that the conductors are 1.59 mm in diameter. 12-2 wire has a maximum ampacity of 20 amps.

14-2 wire has conductors that are 14 gauge in size. This means that the conductors are 1.62 mm in diameter. 14-2 wire has a maximum ampacity of 15 amps.

In this article, we will compare and contrast 12-2 wire and 14-2 wire in detail. We will discuss the following topics:

  • Conductor size
  • Ampacity
  • Insulation
  • Voltage rating
  • Cost
  • Applications
  • Additional information

12-2 Wire

12-2 wire is a type of electrical wire that has two conductors, one hot and one neutral. The conductors are 12 gauge in size, which means that they are 1.59 mm in diameter. 12-2 wire has a maximum ampacity of 20 amps, which means that it can carry up to 20 amps of current.

12-2 wire is typically used for applications that require a higher current carrying capacity than 14-2 wire. This includes applications such as:

  • Air conditioners
  • Electric stoves
  • Electric dryers
  • Electric water heaters
  • Heavy-duty appliances

12-2 wire is also used for outdoor applications where the wire is exposed to the elements.

14-2 Wire

14-2 wire is a type of electrical wire that has two conductors, one hot and one neutral. The conductors are 14 gauge in size, which means that they are 1.62 mm in diameter. 14-2 wire has a maximum ampacity of 15 amps, which means that it can carry up to 15 amps of current.

14-2 wire is typically used for applications that require a lower current carrying capacity than 12-2 wire. This includes applications such as:

  • Light fixtures
  • Receptacles
  • Switches
  • Small appliances

14-2 wire is also used for indoor applications where the wire is not exposed to the elements.

Comparison of 12-2 Wire and 14-2 Wire

The following table summarizes the key differences between 12-2 wire and 14-2 wire:

Feature 12-2 Wire 14-2 Wire
Conductor size 12 gauge 14 gauge
Ampacity 20 amps 15 amps
Insulation PVC, THW, or UF PVC, THW, or UF
Voltage rating 600 volts 600 volts
Cost More expensive Less expensive
Applications High-current applications, outdoor applications Low-current applications, indoor applications

It is important to note that these are just general guidelines. The specific requirements for a given application may vary depending on the local electrical code.

Conclusion

12-2 wire and 14-2 wire are both good choices for electrical wiring. The best choice for your application depends on the current carrying capacity, insulation type, and voltage rating required.

Additional Information

In the United States, 12-2 wire is typically used for 15-amp circuits, while 14-2 wire is typically used for 12-amp circuits.

In Canada, 12-2 wire is typically used for 20-amp circuits, while 14-2 wire is typically used for 15-amp circuits.

The insulation type of the wire should be chosen based on the application. PVC insulation is the most common type of insulation and is used for indoor applications. THW insulation is used for outdoor applications and can withstand higher temperatures. UF insulation is used for underground applications.

The voltage rating of the wire should be chosen based on the voltage of the electrical system. 600-volt wire is the most common type of wire and is used for residential and commercial applications.

Additional Information

In addition to the information provided in the main body of the article, here are some additional things to keep in mind when choosing between 12-2 wire and 14-2 wire:

  • 12-2 wire is typically more expensive than 14-2 wire.
  • 12-2 wire is larger and heavier than 14-2 wire, making it more difficult to work with.
  • 12-2 wire may not be necessary for all applications. For example, if you are only using the wire to power a few light fixtures or outlets, 14-2 wire may be sufficient.

If you are unsure which type of wire to use, it is always best to consult with a qualified electrician.

Images

Here are some images of 12-2 wire and 14-2 wire:

12-2 wire
14-2 wire

The images show the difference in size between 12-2 wire and 14-2 wire. 12-2 wire is slightly larger and has a thicker insulation than 14-2 wire.

References

  • National Electrical Code (NEC)
  • Canadian Electrical Code (CEC)

The National Electrical Code (NEC) and the Canadian Electrical Code (CEC) are the two main electrical codes used in the United States and Canada. These codes provide guidance on the safe installation of electrical wiring.

The NEC and CEC specify the size, insulation type, and voltage rating of electrical wire for different applications. It is important to follow the requirements of the applicable code when installing electrical wiring.

Published On: 2023年8月29日Categories: ,