Definition

American Wire Gauge (AWG)

American Wire Gauge (AWG) is a U.S. standard set of non-ferrous wire conductor sizes. The "gauge" means the diameter. Non-ferrous includes copper and also aluminum and other materials, but is most frequently applied to copper household electrical wiring and telephone wiring. Typical household wiring is AWG number 12 or 14. Telephone wire is usually 22, 24, or 26. The higher the gauge number, the smaller the diameter and the thinner the wire. Since thicker wire carries more current because it has less electrical resistance over a given length, thicker wire is better for longer distances. For this reason, where extended distance is critical, a company installing a network might prefer telephone wire with the lower-gauge, thicker wire of AWG 24 to AWG 26.

AWG is sometimes known as Brown and Sharpe (B&S) Wire Gauge.

This was last updated in April 2005

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