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Compare and Contrast: 6 AWG Welding Cable and THHN Electrical Wire

Many people get confused about the differences between THHN electrical wire and 6 AWG welding cable. Although these two products are created out of similar products, copper wire and insulation, there are very important differences concerning usage, flexibility, and durability.

Usage

THHN wire is typically snaked through interior walls and is never used outside. It’s one of the most common wires of its type and is often used quickly and effectively by contractors for permanent electrical work. 6 AWG is much more versatile, however. This form of cable is usually hooked up to a welding machine or a portable power cable. Cable like 6 AWG can be used inside or outside and is often used for projects where versatility is valued and the environment is difficult for normal kinds of cable.

Flexibility

Two factors affect wire and cable flexibility, namely insulation and copper strands. THHN wire has tightly bunched copper strands that give it a rigid and inflexible quality. Adding to this effect is a nylon coating which helps to prevent outside environs, like gasses and liquids, from corroding the wire as well as thick insulation to keep the wire protected.

6 AWG welding cable is made with thinner copper strands and rubber insulation. The rubber not only protects the cable from harsh environments but also lends a flexible and bouncy quality to the cable. One of the main reasons that this type of cable has this quality is not only because of the many places 6 AWG is used but also because welders have to coil and uncoil the same roll of cable multiple times throughout a project.

Durability

THHN cable is highly durable for what’s it’s used for. This type of wire is meant to only be installed once and the same traits that make this wire inflexible is also one of the reasons it’s the most durable type of wire in its class. However, when looking at overall durability, the ability of 6 AWG cable to withstand a variety of environmental conditions and possible damage makes it the most durable cable between the two.