Top 6 Welding Cables – 2022 Buying Guide
A suitable welding cable is an important element of the welding rig, just like the welding gun or the welder. Welding requires a high amount of electric current to be carried from the electric source to the working electrode, and there’s also the work cable that carries current from the source to the work clamp.
That is why you will need welding cables for completing your entire welding circuit.
Depending on various factors like- distance from the source, circuit length, rated output, duty cycle, etc- you will need different types and sizes of welding cables. This means one needs to understand which type/size of cable to buy for doing their jobs without any hassle.
Choosing the perfect welding cable for your rig can be a challenging job. But we are here to make that job easier for you because we will give you a complete guide on how to choose the perfect cable for your desired job. We will also suggest some of the best products out there on the market for you to consider.
Welding Cable Specifications Guide
AS with any product you buy, there are many important specifications to consider while buying welding cables too. The most important specifications are:
We have already given an in-depth guide to what gauge ratings mean above. If you are looking for a longer cable, then you need relatively thicker gauge sizes that will minimize resistance. If your welding circuit is short, however, you can go for a thinner gauge.
Length usually refers to the total length of your welding circuit, meaning the total path that electricity travels. But as a general rule of thumb, your cable length should be enough so that it can reach every corner of your welding space.
Keep in mind that you need one cable to connect the welder to the electrode, and another cable to connect the welder to the work clamp. Another important piece of information to remember is that electric resistance will increase proportionally with the length of the wire.
Ampacity is short for Ampere Capacity. You can understand what it means from the name itself. Ampacity indicates the maximum amount of current that your cable can handle safely. Ampacity increases as diameter increases, which means wires with high AWG ratings(4/0,3/0, etc.) have the highest ampacity. Depending on your desired job, the required ampacity will be different.
Welding cables carry lethal current, and that’s why it’s necessary to insulate them with proper material. Common insulators of welding cables are made of EPDM, neoprene, and PVC. Neoprene and EPDM both types of insulation jackets are flexible while being corrosion resistant at the same time.
The only downside to these materials is that they are not appropriate for exposure to gas and other petroleum-based liquids. PVC is much less flexible than the two but has a very high resistance to corrosion, cuts, and tears.
Aside from the Insulating material, flexibility depends on the strand count. The higher the strand count, the more flexible the cable will be.
Additional insulation colors might help you to distinguish between different cables.
How to choose the right Welding Cable?
When you are trying to select the perfect cable size for your welding rig, choose the cable that handles the maximum output that you need. There are three most important factors that you need to keep in mind while doing that:
- The total length of the welding circuit
- Rated output
- Duty Cycle
The welding circuit is the total path that electricity will travel through. In a typical welding circuit, the electricity will go through the power source, electrode cable, work clamp, electrical arc, work clamp, and work cable.
As mentioned before, your welding cable should be able to reach every corner of your welding space. Thicker gauges are recommended for longer circuits, while shorter circuits can work best with thinner gauges.
The rated output of the power source means the maximum amperage level at which the machine is meant to be used. However, some power sources can produce higher amperage levels than their rated output for short periods.
The rated output level of a machine is normally included with the machine’s name, i.e, “Idealarc 250” means 250A rated output.
The duty cycle is a capacity rating of a welding power source. The duty cycle is the percentage of a power source that can operate at a certain amperage level for 10 minutes without exceeding its thermal limit.
If the output level is decreased, the duty cycle of the power source will be increased until it reaches a 100 percent continuous output. You can find the duty cycle ratings on the power source’s nameplate or the user’s manual.
The duty cycle of a welding power source is usually associated with the welding process in which it will be used. It also depends on whether the machine operates off of a single-phase or three-phase power.
You will usually find a chart from the cable manufacturer that will help you to select the right welding size for yourself using the three factors mentioned above.
Best Welding Cable 2022 Reviews
1. TEMCo WC0180-50' (25' Blk, 25' Red) 2 Gauge AWG
- Weight: 11.9 pounds
- Dimensions: 11.46 x 10.94 x 5.16
- Size: 2 AWG
- Color: 25 Ft. Red + 25 Ft. Black
- Material: Copper
This product is our top pick because it stands out on its quality from all the other popular products in the market, and has the highest customer satisfaction. This fine welding cable made in the USA by the market-leading brand TEMCo will be worth every penny and more.
The outer layer of the cable is made of a highly flexible rugged EPDM jacket which allows the cable to withstand any kind of rough handling you need to do on your welding job.
This means you don’t have to constantly worry about the outer layer getting damaged and causing accidents. The EPDM jacket is so strong that you’ll barely see any kind of discoloration on the outside after a rough handling work of six months, let alone any kind of noticeable damage.
The inside is made of Class K AWG 2 pure copper conductor with 624/31 stranding. It is perfect for usage in long distances because of its 2 AWG rating. In other words, you won’t get better conductors than this in the market.
The conductor can withstand a maximum ampacity of 600 amps, allowing you to do any kind of work that you need to do with your welding rig. Even at such a high ampacity, the conductor will give low resistance and there will be no extra loss of energy. The cable is operable in temperatures from -50°C to +105°C.
The flexibility of the cable will allow you to use this for all kinds of welding systems. If you are looking for the perfect mix of price and value, you should buy this product without a second thought in your mind.
2. WNI AWG Gauge 5 Feet Black Battery Welding Pure Copper Ultra Flexible Cable
- Made in the USA
- Dimensions: 4 x 4 x 2
- Size: 1/0 Gauge
- Color: 5 Ft Black
- Material: Copper
This is another amazing product that will fit right in your preferred welding rig. It is made in the USA by WindyNation, which is another market-leading welding brand. The outer layer of the cable is made with a tough and solvent-resistant EPDM insulation jacket.
What makes this product special is its ultra-flexibility, despite having 1/0 AWG rated copper which is a relatively thick wire as you can see on the above list. That’s why you can use this cable in any system starting from the tightest-fittings to long-distance usages.
The conductor inside is made of SAE J1127 approved 1/0 AWG pure copper. Because of the 1/0, AWG rated copper, this cable is also suitable for use in long-distance from the source. The copper strands are annealed according to the ASTM standards to allow the highest level of flexibility inside and out.
The cable lug exterior is tin-coated for corrosion resistance, which makes this cable an excellent choice for outdoor and marine applications. But it works just as well wherever you have an abrasive environment.
You’ll barely notice any marks after heavy usage for months. The special corrosion-resistant coating also makes the cable more durable and suitable for long-time use. The cable works completely fine in temperatures ranging from -55°C to +125°C.
The Heat Shrink Tubing technology also works great to insulate the electric current and makes sure that everything remains safe and you can enjoy your job. If you are someone who might need to use the welding cable in multiple welding circuits of various sizes, but mostly long circuits, this is the perfect product for you.
3. WindyNation 6 Gauge Welding Battery Pure Copper Flexible Cable
- Weight: 1.25 pounds
- Dimensions: 6 x 6 x 2
- Size: 5 ft. Black + 5 ft. Red
- Part Number: CBL-CSRB-06-10
- Rated up to 600 volts
The next pick on our list is another great product by WindyNation, also made in the USA. This product is very similar in design to the one we have picked before. But the main difference between the two is in AWG ratings of the copper, or diameter sizes.
The copper used in this cable is relatively thinner than the previous one. A thinner cable means higher resistance, so it won’t be as efficient as the previous one for long-distance uses.
But if you feel like you won’t be welding that far from your source, this can be a perfect product for your job too. The cable is also very flexible and made with a tough EPDM insulation jacket. The high-grade EPDM insulation jacket makes this cable resistant to all kinds of abrasive environments.
The high stranding cable count also allows room for more flexibility, along with fully annealed copper cable according to ASTM standards. The wire is rated up to 600 volts, meaning it can withstand heavy workloads. It is operable in temperatures from -55°C to +125°C.
If you are looking for a welding cable that is perfect for use in shortest to medium length circuits, then this product should be on the top of your list.
4. 2 Gauge 2 AWG 10 Feet Welding Cable
- Weight: 5.1 pounds
- Dimensions: 6.77 x 6.14 x 3.19
- Pure Copper Tin Coated
- Heavy Duty
- 3:1 shrink ratio
Our fourth pick for you is another fine product from WindyNation. This cable has an American Wire Gauge (AWG) rating of 2. Comparing this cable with the previous two by WindyNation, you will realize that its diameter is larger than the one with 6 AWG but smaller than the one with 1/0 AWG.
You should realize by this comparison that this cable is a balanced choice in terms of circuit length and ampacity, compared to the previous two. The outer layer of this cable is made with a tough and solvent-resistant EPDM insulation jacket. The jacket will allow you to use this cable in any kind of rough environment you might face.
You will not even see a scratch on the surface of the cable after months of heavy usage in such environments. The conductor inside is made of fully annealed pure copper according to the ASTM standards.
The cable lug is tin-coated for protection against corrosion, and the closed-end design ensures further protection. The Heat Shrink Tubing is rated up to a maximum of 600 volts, with operable temperature ranging from -55 Celsius to +125 Celsius.
This cable is an excellent choice for you if you are gonna work with circuits of various lengths from shortest to medium-long with high ampacity.
5. EWCS Gauge Premium Extra Flexible Welding Cable
- Weight: 11.7 pounds
- Dimensions: 9 x 9 x 5
- Size: 15 Feet
- Resists: Water, Oil, Gasoline
- Material: Copper
Our fifth pick is this product made in the USA by EWCS. This is another cable with a relatively thick copper wire, similar in size to our second pick. Thick wire means higher diameter which in turn means lower resistance. So you can use this wire for long circuits without worrying about energy loss via heat.
But this cable, like all the previous ones in our list, can also give the best performance in the shortest fittings too. Because of its flexible EPDM insulation jacket, the cable can withstand all kinds of nasty outdoor environments.
The conductor inside is made of 100% pure 30 gauge copper with 988 strands. Special features of this cable include but are not limited to sunlight resistance, water resistance, etc.
This is one of the most durable heavy-duty welding cables on the market and has consistently positive reviews from all kinds of customers. Some people faced zero issues after years of heavy usage. This cable is in reality what you would call a “bang for the buck”.
6. 4 Gauge 4 AWG 25 Feet Welding Cable Wire
- Weight: 7.3 pounds
- Dimensions: 9.17 x 7.52 x 3.62
- Size: 25 ft. Black + 25 ft. Red
- Rated up to 600 volts
- Material: Copper
Our sixth pick is another welding wire by WindyNation. All of the WindyNation products on our list have given great and consistent performance. As you can see, we are picking out the best products for various sizes of wire for you to choose from.
This industrial-grade cable with a 100% pure copper conductor is insulated by a high-grade EPDM insulation jacket. The jacket allows the cable to tolerate the roughest environments whether it be indoors or outdoors.
This cable is also super flexible due to its fully annealed copper cable, allowing you to move it easily and use it with any kind of welding circuit you need to. Like all the previous cables on our list, this one also has a rating of up to 600 volts.
You can operate the cable with its best performance from temperatures -50 Celsius to 105 celsius. This cable is the best in the market for 4 AWG-rated cable sizes. You can purchase it without any worries at all.
Welding Cable Size Guide
Welding cable size is measured in North America in the American Wire Gauge(AWG) system. It is a logarithmically stepped and standardized wire gauge system that measures the cross-sectional area of each gauge.
The cross-sectional area of a gauge is the most important factor for determining how much current a certain gauge can carry. The unit that indicates the current carrying capacity of the gauges is named Ampacity (Ampere Capacity).
According to laws of physics, a larger cross-sectional area of a conducting wire means it will have lower resistance and will allow more current to flow than wires with a relatively smaller area.
For our purposes, the AWG number or the gauge number of a certain wire will determine a standardized diameter. Increasing the gauge number will denote decreasing diameters of wires. The AWG tables are for a single, solid, and round conductor.
The AWG of a stranded wire is determined by the cross-sectional area of the comparable solid conductor. A stranded wire will have a bigger overall diameter than a solid wire because of the small gaps between the strands.
The AWG numbers start from 0000 AWG or 4/0 AWG, which is defined as 0.46 inches in diameter, and the numbers go up to 40 AWG which is .0031 inches in diameter. You could even determine values for higher AWG numbers but we are only going to stick to what’s available on the market. The numbers are determined from this formula.
AWG ratings for welding cable sizes will usually have three numbers- 1. Overall rating, 2. The number of strands, 3. Rating of a single strand. Our first product in the following list has a size of 2 AWG 624/31.
This means that the wire has a total cross-sectional area of 2 AWG, made from 624 strands rated at 31 AWG. For your convenience, we have included a chart that will help you determine what kind of welding cable you need for yourself.
Figure: AWG Size Chart (Click To See Full Image)
Related post: Best Welding Cable Lead Reels.
Frequently Asked Questions
Welding wire or battery cable which is best?
A battery cable typically contains a lower number of strands per conductor than the same gauge size of a welding cable. This means welding cables have higher flexibility and usability than battery cables. Welding cables also can handle much higher voltages too. Welding cables are definitely the best option.
Where to buy Welding Cable?
You can buy high-quality welding cables in your nearest hardware store and you can also buy from online retailers which can save you time, and sometimes money too.
Which welding machine cable is negative?
Typically, the welding cable that is in black insulation color is the negative one. But consult the product manufacturer or the manual for concrete information.
We hope that this buying guide will be of great help to you when trying to choose the perfect welding cable for your next welding job. You don’t need to give too much stress to all the technical details of the products that you are checking.
All you need to do is check the most important factors as we have noted for you, and you won’t even have to give that much effort. Because from now on, you know exactly what you need to get your job done perfectly.
Last Updated on 1 year by Richard Boyer