What Is Weld Cable?

Welding cable is a relatively large-diameter, single-core insulated cable used to connect welding machines, welding electrodes, ground clamps, and automated welding heads. Cables usually, but not always, have different colors so users can distinguish between the live wire and the ground wire. Welding cables have great flexibility and are soft but have strong abrasion- and oil-resistant insulation. Class K welding cables are rated at 600 volts. This welding cable comes in a range of colors including red, black, orange, yellow, green, and blue.

12 items

  • WELD 6
    $0.00 / 1000 FT
    • Approx LBS/MFT: 108
    • AWG Size: 6
    • Cond. Material: Bare Copper
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  • WELD 4
    $0.00 / 1000 FT
    • Approx LBS/MFT: 147
    • AWG Size: 4
    • Cond. Material: Bare Copper
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  • WELD 4 SUPERVUTRN
    $0.00 / 50 FT
    • Approx LBS/MFT: 184
    • AWG Size: 4
    • Cond. Material: Bare Copper
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  • WELD 2
    $0.00 / 1000 FT
    • Approx LBS/MFT: 238
    • AWG Size: 2
    • Cond. Material: Bare Copper
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  • WELD 1
    $0.00 / 1000 FT
    • Approx LBS/MFT: 399
    • AWG Size: 1
    • Cond. Material: Bare Copper
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  • WELD 1/0
    $0.00 / 1000 FT
    • Approx LBS/MFT: 369
    • AWG Size: 1/0
    • Cond. Material: Bare Copper
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  • WELD 2/0
    $0.00 / 1000 FT
    • Approx LBS/MFT: 443
    • AWG Size: 2/0
    • Cond. Material: Bare Copper
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  • WELD 3/0
    $0.00 / 1000 FT
    • Approx LBS/MFT: 556
    • AWG Size: 3/0
    • Cond. Material: Bare Copper
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Welding Cable Conductors and Insulation

Conductors

Class K welding cables feature multiple strands of 30 American Wire Gauge (AWG) pure copper wire. With a strand diameter of only 10 thousandths of an inch, class K welding cables are flexible and kink-resistant. Because of the many fine copper strands in the conductor, it's best to use crimped cable connectors and lugs for connecting welding cables to equipment.

Insulation

The insulation is ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM) synthetic rubber. EPDM rubber has excellent abrasion- and tear-resistance. It is resistant to oils, greases, solvents, water-based chemicals, and atmospheric aging. The material is a good insulator, is flexible over a wide range of temperatures, and has minimal shrink back when cut. The cables have a paper separator between the conductor and insulation to minimize friction between the conductor and insulation when manipulating welding cable.

Different Types of Welding Cable

Besides Class K welding cable, AWC carries Class M welding cables supplied as part of the General Cable Carol cable range. When compared to Class K welding cables, Class M cables have thinner 34 AWG copper wire strands for increased flexibility. The cable has a proprietary and stronger Super Vu-Tron Supreme synthetic rubber insulation. This is a durable material able to withstand extensive flexing. It has good resistance to oils, chemicals, atmospheric aging, and excellent low- and high-temperature properties.

Welding Cable Applications

The primary use for welding cables is to connect the secondary (welding) circuits of AC and DC welding machines, especially stationary welders with long leads. Because welding cables have a 600-volt rating, you can use them as portable power cables. You may use welding cables in place of battery cables, especially for starting and winching applications, although it's essential to secure them properly to prevent the cable from rubbing against vehicle bodywork.

Choosing the Right Welding Cable

For best welder performance, you need to ensure your welder delivers sufficient current and voltage at the workplace. Check your welding cable is large enough for the maximum current from your welding machine. Determine this from the AWC Ampacities and Correction Factors Tables. As a general guide, you'll need a 2/0 AWG wire with an approximate outside diameter of just over half an inch for welding at 250 amps. If you're using long cables, make allowance for the voltage drop as this adversely affects welding quality.

Similar Cables

When it comes to high current applications, two alternatives stand out. These are diesel locomotive (DLO) cable and battery cable.

DLO Cable

Diesel locomotive cable is a rugged, reliable, and flexible cable with an EPDM insulation and chlorinated polyethylene (CPE) jacket. DLO cable is more robust than welding cable and can handle up to 2000 volts. The conductor has fewer but thicker wire strands so the cable isn't as flexible. You can use a DLO cable for welding.

Battery Cable

Battery cables have a maximum rated voltage of 60 volts, so they aren't suitable for welding because the open-circuit voltage of welders exceeds 60 volts. The wire uses thicker strands, and compared to DLO and welding cable, is relatively inflexible. While battery cable isn't suitable for welding, you can use welding cable for battery connections.

Class K Welding Cable Properties

Conductor: 30 AWG stranded copper conductors
Sizes: 6 AWG to 500 MCM
Insulation: EPDM
Maximum Voltage: 600 volts
Usable Temperature Range: -50°C to 105°C
Colors: Red, Black, Orange, Yellow, Green, and Blue
SAE Compliance: 6 AWG to 250 MCM comply with SAE J1127