5 Types of Electrical Wire

While there are many types of electrical wire, here are a few of the most common ones.

1. Indoor NMB cable or Romex® 12/2 cable

NMB stands for non-metallic because it has a PVC jacket instead of a metal-clad jacket. It is a basic indoor electrical wire used to deliver power from an electrical box to lights, outlets and appliances. It cannot be used outdoors because the jacket is not prepared to handle wear and tear.

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2. MC 12/2 Electrical Wire

These MC wires have interlocked armor surrounding the THHN wires. The aluminum armor also acts as a conduit when used for indoor applications. Many times NMB electrical wire is required to be installed within conduit for indoor applications, but now MC cable can act as the electrical wire and conduit in one.

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3. UFB 12/2 Electrical Wire

This UFB wire has the necessary protection to allow it to be buried in the ground without any additional conduit, raceway or tray. There is a slightly higher cost for UFB because it has more to offer than NMB cable and MC cable.

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4. Tray 12/2 Electrical Wire

Tray cable is also a direct burial cable like UFB cable. However, UFB cable is “flat” which means each conductor lies next to each other as if they were lying on the floor next to one another. Tray cable is round which means the wires are slightly twisted together with the jacket surrounding them. Tray and UFB have slightly different applications so be sure to discuss each situation with your supplier or electrician first.

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5. PLTC 12/2 Electrical Wire

PLTC stands for Power Limited Tray Cable. Power Limited means 300 volts instead of 600 volts. Simply saying “tray cable” will call out 600 volts. PLTC electrical wire is commonly used for electronic applications rather than electrical, but they have very similar attributes when compared to each other.

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As you can see there are slight differences between each type of electrical wire. Putting the wrong type of wire in the wrong application could cause many problems such as a jacket that got eaten away too soon, too much voltage traveling through the cable or even that you paid too much for your product because you didn’t understand enough about the cable characteristics.

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