What Is Battery Cable?

A battery cable is a heavy-gauge single core cable used for heavy-duty automotive applications. As the name implies, battery cables connect automotive batteries to heavy power circuits such as starters, alternators and main fuse boxes. Battery cables use stranded pure copper wire and have robust insulation able to withstand fuel, oils and chemicals. AWC battery cables comply with SAE J-1127, Ford and Chrysler specifications.

Types of Battery Cable

There are three types of car battery cables in common use: SGT, SGW and STX

SGT Wire

SGT battery wire has polyvinyl chloride (PVC) insulation that’s suitable for use in temperatures between minus 40 degrees Celsius and 105 C. Available in gauges between 6 American Wire Gauge and 4/0 AWG, SGT wire has fewer and thicker conductor wire strands, making this a relatively stiff wire that holds its shape after installation. It's suitable for all automotive heavy current applications.


SGW battery wire has a heat-resistant cross-linked polyethylene (XLPE) insulation. The insulation can withstand high under-bonnet temperatures up to 125 °C. This wire is more flexible than other types because of the higher number of smaller wire strands used in its construction. Applications are similar to SGT, although this cable needs to be fully supported.


STX battery wire has XLPE insulation and is a relatively rigid wire with a similar number and size of wire strands to SGT wire. It is suitable for heavy current automotive applications and the high under-bonnet temperatures found in modern vehicles. Its work temperature range is from minus 40 °C to 125 °C.

What’s the Difference Between Battery Cables, Welding Cables and DLO Locomotive Cables?

The primary difference between battery cables and welding and locomotive cables is that battery cables have a lower voltage rating of 50 volts. Class K welding cables can withstand 600 volts AC, and the maximum voltage for locomotive cables is 2,000 volts. Apart from that, battery cables aren't as flexible as welding cables. You can't use battery cables for welding, but you can use welding cables and DLO locomotive cables in place of battery cables, especially for jumper cables. Watch this video on AWC battery cables for more information.

Battery Cable Ratings

When selecting a battery cable, you need to consider two key factors: Ampacity and voltage drop. Because automotive systems run at 12 volts, even a small voltage drop can cause problems, especially with battery charging circuits. You must select a cable with an ampacity greater than the maximum current in the circuit by checking ampacity tables or speaking to one of our experts. Then use our voltage drop calculator to establish the optimal size cable for your circuit.

Battery Cable Specifications

Conductors: Single-core stranded pure copper (tinned copper available upon request)
Insulation: PVC or XLPE
Minimum Temperature: -40°C
Maximum Temperature: PVC: +105°C
XLPE: +125°C
Sizes: 6 AWG - 4/0 AWG
Voltage: 50 volts
Colors: Red, Black, other colors upon request
Chemical and Oil Resistance: Good

Battery Cable Standards

AWC battery cables comply with the following specifications

  • SAE J-1127
  • Ford automotive standards
  • Chrysler automotive specifications

Battery Cable Customization

Contact our Custom Cable Department for information on non-standard battery cables. For special manufacturing requirements such as fitting a ring terminal and making cable sets, contact AWC's Value Added Services.

Have Questions about Automotive Battery Cable? View our Battery Cable FAQs or watch our All About Battery Cable Video below.