The telephone cable is typically numbered 22, 24, or 26. The smaller the diameter and the thinner the wire, the higher the gauge number. Thicker wire is preferable for longer distances since it carries more current because it has less electrical resistance over a given length. High-speed data transmission requires thin wires with a low resistance to ground.
Higher numbers are generally better because they mean thicker wire. However, this isn't always the case; for example, one might use 20-gauge wire for a Christmas tree because it's cheaper than using larger wire. Christmas trees have very small lights that need much less current than other types of lighting so 20-gauge wire will work fine for them.
The actual number written on the cable is the gauge of the metal core within the insulation. This number tells you how thick the wire is compared to an equivalent size piece of solid metal. For example, a cable labeled 24 AWG means that there is a metal core within the insulation around the wire which is twice as thick as another cable labeled 16 AWG.
Generally speaking, thicker wire is better for carrying current since it has less resistance. Higher numbers also mean thicker wire - except in the case of Christmas trees where smaller wire is used instead. If you're not sure what wire size to get, then get something in between these two sizes.
The narrower the gauge, the greater the wire's diameter. The greater the diameter of a wire, the lower the electrical resistance to the signals it transmits. A 24 AWG network cable is less resistant than a 26 AWG or 28 AWG network cable. 21- and 22-gauge wires are no longer made because they are not needed for normal wiring methods.
Cable manufacturers make different types of cable that serve different purposes. One type of cable is designed to be cut to length for replacement or repair. Other types of cable are fixed in length and will not stretch when used inside walls or ceilings. Yet other factors may influence what type of cable you need, such as durability or performance requirements.
If you're lucky enough to find both 24 AWG and 26 AWG cables at your home improvement store, try running some test circuits with all sizes of wire to see which one has the lowest resistance. Then use only those cables on all your wiring projects.
A bigger gauge wire may transport more power than a smaller gauge wire. In general, a lower AWG number is preferable over a larger AWG number. As a result, the current carrying capability of a wire or circuit must be considered. Larger wire consumes more metal and, as a result, is more costly. However some manufacturers specify wires by diameter rather than size, so there is no way to determine just from the wire's appearance if it is safe for use with live power.
The current rating of a wire is printed on its packaging. If a wire is specified as "for use with 120-volt circuits", that means it can carry up to 2 amperes of current. The voltage across the wire will depend on how it is wired up but generally stays between 120 and 180 volts. The more amperes that a circuit requires, the thicker the wire needs to be. For example, if a circuit requires 1 ampere, a 14 AWG wire will cover about 15 feet, while a 3 conductor with each wire being 12 AWG long will carry the same current but only 3 feet away from another piece of 14 AWG wire or less.
There are four common sizes of wire: 18 AWG, 16 AWG, 14 AWG, and 12 AWG. The number after AWG stands for American Wire Gauge and indicates the thickness of the metal insulation and core within the wire. The higher the number, the thinner the wire outside layer.
Is the term "gauge" or "AWG" correct? They're basically the same thing; in writing, it's referred to as "AWG," and colloquially, it's referred to as "gauge." The smaller the conductor, the larger the AWG size (number). A 22 AWG wire, for example, is smaller and thinner than an 18 AWG wire. Both are used for conducting electricity.
The word "gauge" comes from the French word "grandeurs," which means "dimensions." So, "gauge" means the size of a metal strip used to wrap around electrical wires to provide insulation and prevent them from touching each other or something else. The term was first used by Thomas Edison to describe the thickness of his stock wire when he needed many strands of it for a project.
He ordered the wire from the Thomson-Houston Electric Company and asked that they send him wire with a certain number of gutta percha (now called PVC) layers wrapped around it. This was important because if the wire were too thin, it would break when exposed to heat during assembly of some electric devices. If it were too thick, it would be expensive and hard to find wire of exactly the right size. So, "gauge" came to mean the price per weight of any given length of metal.
Since then, "gauge" has been used to refer to the size of various objects that function as conductors, such as cables, wires, pipes, and tubes.