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Welding Cable vs. Battery Cable

In our This vs. That series, we're comparing (and contrasting) two seemingly similar products. A lot of products seem the same at first glance but can greatly affect the outcome of your next application. Today, we're comparing Welding and Battery Cables, their constructions, uses, and applications.

What are Welding Cables Made Of?

Welding cables are portable cords with a single annealed bare copper conductor that is finely stranded for flexibility. It is often available in larger gauge sizes, commonly available in sizes ranging from 6 AWG to 500 MCM. Welding wire is typically used because of its flexibility and versatility, which comes from its construction of finer strands of copper and EPDM or neoprene rubber jacket that also acts as insulation. In fact, it is generally more flexible than regular electrical wires or power cables.

This type of cable usually has a temperature rating of -50℃ - 105℃. Many of these cables can withstand exposure to grease, oil, water, cuts, tears, and abrasion. These cables are often ideal for installations with exposure to colder weather due to their flexibility. While these cables are typically offered in red and black jackets, they can also be found in additional colors like yellow, blue, and green. The more durable constructions of welding wire are identifiable by an orange jacket.

What is Welding Cable used for?

Often used in demanding applications, it is a secondary voltage-resistance cable for welding tools. It can also be used as a power cable that is attached to generators and industrial machinery. For example, electric arc-welding tools typically rely on two separate cables for operation; one that acts as the primary power source for the device while the other supplies a secondary power source. While welding wire may not power the generator, it is required for the electrode.

It is approved for use in power supply applications in which the voltage does not exceed 600 volts. Having a neoprene or EPDM jacket makes this type of cable also suitable for tight battery applications. It can also be used in marine applications, but the insulation needs to be oil and water-resistant so the cable doesn't become saturated.

Welding Cable Safety

Safety measures should be taken when using welding cables to prevent possible damage. Cables should regularly be checked for imperfections and cleaned of any grease and oil. Replace any damaged cable if the damage is within three feet of the electrode. These cables meet UL-1581 flame-resistant standards. This gives it an edge over battery cable when it comes to protection from the elements.

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What are Battery Cables Made Of?

Battery Cables are constructed of a single conductor bare copper cable and PVC or XLPE insulation. They are usually less flexible than other types of cable because it has thicker copper strands that are not as compact. PVC and XLPE insulation are also less flexible than EPDM. These cables are also offered in larger gauge sizes. They are usually available in sizes ranging from 6 AWG to 4/0 AWG. Battery Cables are the best option when a simple connection and protection are needed. In cold weather, these cables can become very stiff and difficult to work with. This is because of their already limited flexibility. They are often available in the standard battery circuit cable colors of red and black.

What are Battery Cables used for?

Battery cables are suitable for use in a number of industries and can be used in a variety of applications. However, these cables are limited to applications or projects that do not exceed 60V. They are the ideal solution for situations in which a simple connection between a battery and a starter is needed. They are also the most effective option for applications with no sharp curves or those that have a direct shot to the power source. Allied Wire and Cable carries three types: SGT, STX, and SGX.

Used in starter or ground circuits. Used in automotive starters or battery grounds when resistance to abrasion, heat, and aging are needed.
PVC insulated. XLPE insulated.
Can withstand temperatures up to 105℃. Can withstand temperatures up to 125℃.

Battery Cable Safety

Safety measures should always be taken when working with a battery cable to prevent future damage. All of our battery cable options meet SAE J-1127, Ford, and Chrysler specifications for use in automotive applications. They also meet UL-558 and UL-553 flame-resistant standards.

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Can you use Welding Cable for Battery Cable?

Welding cable a suitable replacement for a battery cable. This is because these cables often carry the same amperage rating if they are the same AWG size. When comparing these cables, it is easy to see that welding cable is a better choice for applications that require more flexibility. It is also important to note that it often has a higher amount of copper per foot than battery cable, which allows it to handle higher voltage applications. Although battery cable is more difficult to handle in colder climates, both perform similarly.