AWG Overview

AWG is an abbreviation for "American Wire Gauge" and is the U.S. standard for wire conductor sizes. AWG is also sometimes referred to as Brown and Sharpe or B & S Wire Gauge. The "gauge" means the diameter. AWG is most frequently applied to copper household electrical wiring and telephone wiring but also includes other non-ferrous materials. Telephone cables are usually 22, 24 or 26 AWG with the higher numbers referring to the thinner wires. The AWG numbering system is logarithmic and by knowing a couple of parameters, you can easily calculate approximate values for other AWG gauges.

Resistance:

  • AWG 15 copper is about 10 milliohms per meter.
  • Adding 3 to the AWG number doubles the resistance.
  • Subtracting 3 from the AWG number halves the resistance.
  • Adding 10 to the AWG number increases the resistance by a factor of 10.
  • Subtracting 10 from the AWG number reduces the resistance by a factor of 10.

Diameter:

  • AWG 18 has a solid core diameter of about 1.0 mm.
  • Adding 6 to the AWG number halves the diameter.
  • Subtracting 6 from the AWG number doubles the diameter.
  • Adding 20 to the AWG number reduces the diameter by a factor of 10.
  • Subtracting 20 from the AWG number increases the diameter by a factor of 10.

In practice, an approximation of the AWG number is all that is required to select a suitable product or to compare two similar products.

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