As significant as feeder wires are, the element behind them is far more important. The different elements possess different characteristics. The two most commonly used feeder wires are aluminum and copper feeder wires.
Both of these feeder wires have different and distinct qualities. It’s normal to get confused between all this information.
What’s the better option between aluminum vs copper feeder wire?
In terms of conductivity and resistance, Copper feeder wires are a better choice than aluminum. But Aluminum wires are more flexible and lightweight. They can be anywhere although copper wires have some exceptions. If we think about affordability, then aluminum feeder wires are a better choice.
This is only a small glimpse of the article. To know more, you’ve to read it until the end.
Don’t waste time and get to reading!
Aluminum vs Copper Feeder Wire: Brief Comparison
Before going into details, you need a smaller picture of the comparison. A small side-by-side comparison can easily lift your confusion.
Below are some key factors that will help you with choosing. I have categorized and compared the different features of the aluminum and copper feeder wire.
Take a look at the differences:
|Factors||Aluminum Feeder Wire||Copper Feeder Wire|
|Conductivity||0.4 megaohm/cm||0.6 megaohm/cm|
|Resistance||0.0025 Ohm||0.0017 Ohm|
|Usage||Can be used anywhere||Can be used with some exceptions|
|Flexibility||More flexible||Less flexible|
|Price||$2 – $2.50 per meter||$4 – $5.50 per meter|
Does this interest you to know more about the aluminum and copper feeder wire? Then you’re at the perfect place now!
In the following section, we will discuss the differences in detail. Hop right into the details of the factors stated above.
Aluminum vs Copper Feeder Wire: Extended Comparison
We have only discussed the differences shortly. You might be intrigued by all of the information about these two wirings.
Take a look at the in-depth details between the aluminum and copper feeder wires!
Whether the options are only 2 or 100, you always have to think about the cost. The case is the same when considering aluminum vs copper feeder wires. If cost is a concern for you, the more affordable the item is, the better.
For instance, if you’re considering 400 amp wire sizes, get aluminum feeder wire. You’ll need long wires and good quality wires. Units of copper are costly. This will increase your overall expense.
The table above proves that copper is pricey. Make sure you gather a sufficient amount of budget.
On the other hand, aluminum can be a valuable option when you have a minimized budget.
Winner: Aluminum is the clear winner here. If you’re tight on budget, you should pick aluminum feeder wire.
Between aluminum and copper feeder wires, the copper feeder wire has increased conductivity. On top of that, copper has less resistance than aluminum which assists the conduction.
The increased conductivity is handy; a smaller diameter of a copper conductor can be used. If multiple feeder wires are used, the small diameter makes the installation easier.
Among the other feeder wire elements, copper has the highest conductivity. You can also test it with a conductivity meter.
For you, here is a list of some top-grade conductivity meters I have gathered:
By using these meters, you can be sure that your feeder wire has proper conductivity.
Winner: When it’s a matter of conductivity, copper is the clear winner. Aluminum can’t provide better conductivity than copper.
The weight resembles a lot of sides of any feeder wire. Between these two wires, the copper wire has more weight.
Since copper has a lot of weight, its density is high too. Dense materials or elements can oxidize quickly. The same goes for copper. Copper is also capable of oxidizing, which reduces conductivity and overall quality.
So it’s very important to stop copper from oxidizing.
On the contrary, lightweight is a strong point for aluminum. Aluminum is used to build automotive bodies for this purpose. This is done to cut down the extra weights and make the vehicle faster.
Winner: If you’re concerned with weights, aluminum feeder wire is the better option. It can provide great features along with being lightweight!
Along with the quality of the feeder wire, its flexibility is also important. Core flexibility depends on the element. For example, rubber is more flexible than metal.
In this case, aluminum is more flexible than copper. Accordingly, the feeder wires are also flexible. If you’re trying to set up the wires somewhere congested, go with aluminum feeder wires.
Aluminum feeder wires will provide better flexibility than copper feeder wires. Though, you’ll have to look out for the neutral wire while using the feeder cables.
Winner: If it’s a question of flexibility, choose aluminum feeder wires. These wires will provide great flexibility and also make your situation flexible!
Which One Is the Better Choice?
The decision of choosing between these 2 feeder wires can be tough. Both the elements (aluminum and copper) are widely used in electrical matters. They both have great characteristics regarding electricity. Still, it depends on the user.
Copper is better when you have a good budget and are looking for better quality. Copper has less resistance which is very advantageous. Also, copper feeder wire provides the best conductibility among all the conductors.
If you’re trying to go for a less pricey and flexible option; choose aluminum. In general, aluminum has many advantages, which can be helpful to you. Along with saving bucks, you can also avoid unnecessary weight!
Question: Can I use aluminum wire for a 100 amp sub panel?
Answer: Yes, you can use an aluminum wire for a 100 amp sub panel. Still, it is very important to use very good-quality aluminum wires. If you can, use #2 graded aluminum to be safe. For instance, you can prevent short circuits & any type of electrical component damage. Always ensure good quality.
Question: Is stranded aluminum wire safe?
Answer: Yes, stranded aluminum wiring is very safe. Stranded aluminum wires have their types. There is a single strand of aluminum. It can be used for 240-volts. There are also multiple strands. Multiple strands of aluminum wire can be used for 120-volt circuits. You can use this for 15-20 amp circuits.
Question: Is copper toxic to the skin?
Answer: No, copper is not harmful to the skin. This statement is true when it is in its metallic state or form. When the copper is rusty or it is not in solid form, it can irritate the skin. It can also harm the skin if the condition of the copper is too bad. Copper can cause allergic reactions as well.
I hope that your doubts are cleared regarding aluminum vs copper feeder wire.
There are a variety of other options regarding feeder wires. You can always opt-in for other choices. If aluminum and copper wires don’t work for you, explore more!
Start boosting the electric conductivity speed.