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What Is Hook-Up Wire?

Hook up wire, lead wire, high-temperature wire, automotive wire and electrical wire are all broad terms describing certain types of single-conductor wire. Using these terms can be confusing because each type of lead wire has its own attributes that may or may not apply to all of the others. For instance, you might ask for a standard “lead wire” for your indoor project. UL1007 and UL1015 are both standard types of lead wire but one is rated for 300 volts and the other for 600 volts.

When referring to PVC wire, hook-up wire typically uses tinned copper strands. Tinned copper helps with the soldering process because it adheres to other tinned copper wires much better than the bare copper strands. Conductivity can take a slight hit due to the added tin, but this is negligible and shouldn’t affect most applications.

Here’s how some of the more common types of hook-up wire compare:

  • UL1007: UL1007 specifies 300-volt PVC wire.
  • UL1015: UL1015 is similar to UL1007 and offers 600 volts of power. Most UL1015 wire can handle high temperatures.
  • UL1028: This type of hook-up wire also uses PVC insulation as a general-purpose, abrasion-resistant cable.
  • Type E: Type E is made of polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) insulation, offering resistance to very high temperatures and chemicals.
  • Type EE: Type EE is similar to Type E but with a thicker wall and greater voltage capacity.
  • Type ET: Type ET is smaller than Type E or EE with a lower voltage capacity.

Hook-up wire is mostly used as an appliance wire or lead wire. It’s made with smaller American Wire Gauge (AWG) strands to be more flexible than electrical wire, which is why it is common in electronic equipment. In comparison, thermoplastic high-heat nylon (THHN) electrical wire is supposed to be less flexible so that it can be pushed through the conduit more easily. Its smooth nylon coating also helps the process. Electrical wire is made with bare copper because you shouldn’t need to solder it at any time, and if you do, you should consider a type of hook-up wire that will better suit your application.