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How Thick Is A 12 Gauge Wire? (Must Know These Things)

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Wiring is one of the inevitable things in our houses. This is necessary to ensure the optimum and proper effectiveness of our electrical devices.

However, choosing the perfect gauge wire can be pretty tasking. And any single mistake could lead to a fire hazard.

Therefore, this article will enlighten you on how to identify suitable cables by yourself.

According to research, a 12 gauge wire has practically the thickness of a US nickel. A 12 gauge wire is very thick compared to other gauge wires with higher numbers such as 14, 16 gauge wires, and so on. This is because the number of wire gauges is directly related to their thickness. 

What Is A 12-Gauge Wire?

A 12 gauge wire is always used in the kitchen for dishwashers, refrigerators, bathrooms, heavy appliances like an air-conditioner, and some high-demanding gadgets that run on 240-volt power.

You can use a 12 gauge wire for a light circuit or other outlets. Although, you should select your wires according to what you want to use them for.

Firstly, note that the higher the number of gauges, the lesser the diameter and the lesser the AWG wire thickness.

And the lesser the number of gauges, the higher the diameter and the thicker the gauge wire.

That means a ten gauge wire is thicker than a 12 gauge wire. Likewise, a 12 gauge wire is thicker than a 14 gauge wire, and that’s how it continues.

Therefore, a 12 gauge wire is thicker, stronger, and heavier than those with a higher number of gauges. 

These features make a 12 gauge wire have a high conductivity. That is, it can handle heavy loads and can regulate electric devices with high currents without overheating.

Therefore, you should use it for circuits or outlets with 15-20amp. In addition, this gauge wire is more durable, lasting for a long time. 

Another feature of a 12 gauge wire is less resistance due to its large diameter. Therefore, it is safer for your electrical appliances.

It may be expensive, but it’s affordable, and of course, you should be going for quality. 

What Diameter Is 12 Gauge Wire?

A 12 gauge wire has a diameter of 0.0808″. You should also note that the number of gauge wires determines the diameter of the wire.

So, you can measure this through the American Wire Gauge (AWG) system.

American Wire Gauge is a United States system of measuring wire which implies that the lesser the gauge wire, the higher the diameter of the wire.

More so, the diameter of a wire gauge is directly proportional to its thickness. Therefore, the larger the diameter, the thicker the gauge wire and vice versa.

What Is 12 Gauge Wire In mm?

A 12 gauge copper wire is 2.052 mm in diameter. 

In addition, the diameter of a gauge wire also determines the weight of the wire. The higher the diameter, the heavier the wire, and the lesser the diameter, the weaker the wire.

For example, a 12 gauge wire is heavier than a 14 gauge wire simply because the former has a higher diameter of 2.05 mm than the latter, which has a diameter of 1.63 mm.

How Thick Is A 12-Gauge Wire In Inches?

The thickness of a 12 gauge wire in inches is 0.1048. Moreover, if you’re only interested in how thick it is, i.e., you’re not after the value, you can tell how thick it is through its diameter by merely looking at a wire. 

Do not forget that the larger the diameter, the thicker the wire.

How Wide Is a 12 Gauge Wire?

A cross-sectional area is the most popular method that’s always used to determine the size of a wire. Therefore, the cross-sectional area of a 12 gauge wire is 3.31mm^2. 

Meanwhile, the simplest way to know how wide it is is to have a wider surface area than those with higher numbers.

So, in essence, a 12 gauge wire is wider than a 14, 16, 18 gauge wire, etc.

How To Identify 12 Gauge Wire?

Identifying gauge wire is very simple but can be exhausting if you are not an expert or have no basic knowledge about it.

Some believe that you can identify a gauge wire through its color.

However, the color of a wire isn’t related to its type because cables are produced in different colors such as yellow, black, red, etc.

Therefore, below are some of the ways to identify a 12 gauge wire:

  • Check the circuit’s breaker: If you find out on the breaker that the gauge wire ampere is 15 or 20, then it is a 12 gauge wire.

    Moreover, the ampere circuit breaker has a design that enables its specific size to house a specific wire gauge. Therefore, an ampere circuit breaker designed for a 12 gauge wire cannot protect a 14 gauge wire.
  • Another easier way to identify a 12 gauge wire is to get an already identified piece of a 12 gauge and compare it with the unidentified one.
  • Another way is to measure the diameter of the wire gauge. Then, compare the obtained measurement to the values in a wire table, and you will find out the type of gauge wire you need.

Can I Use A 12 Gauge Wire On A 40 amp Circuit?

No, you can’t. This is not advisable because it is not safe. The maximum current capacity of a 12 gauge wire is 20 amp.

That means you can use a 12 gauge wire on amp circuits ranging from 15 to 20. 

If you make this mistake, the wire will overheat, which will lead to a fire disaster, high and unplanned maintenance, and also, if the fire accident is too much, it may cause death.

What Are The Differences Between A 12 Gauge Wire And A 14 Gauge Wire?

This is one of the frequently asked questions. Perhaps, you are also confused, or you’re having difficulty differentiating between 12 and 14-gauge wires, then this is for you.

  • A 12 gauge wire has a larger diameter of 2.053 mm than a 14 gauge wire with a diameter of 1.628 mm. This makes a 12 gauge wire thicker than a 14 gauge wire.
  • A 12 gauge wire conducts more electricity due to its thickness than a 14 gauge wire.
  • A 12 gauge wire is most commonly used with 20 amp circuit breakers or outlets, while you can only use a 14 gauge wire with 15amp circuits.
  • A 12 gauge wire can carry a higher current than a 14 gauge wire.
  • The cross-sectional area of a 12 gauge wire is 3.31mm^2, while that of a 14 gauge wire is 2.08mm^2.
  • A 12 gauge wire is usually used for kitchen appliances, bathrooms, and so on, while a 14 gauge wire is used for lamps, lighting circuits with 15 amp, and light fixtures.

What Are The Most Common Gauge Wires?

There are different kinds of gauge wires. Each has the amount of current they can carry, and they are used for various purposes.

The most common among them are:

  • Two gauge wire: It has a diameter of 6.54 mm, and it is used on a 95 amp circuit.
  • Six gauge wire: This has a diameter of 4.11 mm, and it is used on a 55 amp circuit.
  • Eight gauge wire: It has a diameter of 3.26 mm, and it is used on a 40 amp circuit.
  • Ten gauge wire: It has a diameter of 2.59 mm and is used on a 30 amp circuit.
  • 12 gauge wire: It has a diameter of 2.05 mm, and it is used on a 20amp circuit.
  • 14 gauge wire: It has a diameter of 1.63 mm, and it is used on a 15amp circuit.

Final Thoughts

There is no doubt that this article will help you if you read it carefully.

But, more so, it will be a perfect guide for choosing appropriate wires for your wiring connections if you follow the instructions step-by-step.

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