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Definition: AWG

(American Wiring Gauge) A U.S. measurement standard of the diameter of non-ferrous wire, which includes copper and aluminum. In general, the thicker the wire, the greater the current-carrying capacity and the longer the distance it can span.

The smaller the AWG number, the thicker the wire. While it seems a contradictory measurement, it is because the metal is pulled through a series of increasingly smaller dies to create the final wire size. The AWG number is the number of dies. The more dies, the larger the number and the smaller the diameter.

Wire used for communications typically ranges from 18 to 26 AWG. For electric service, number 10, 12 and 14 AWG wires are typically used from the electric panel to the outlets. Number 8 and 10 AWG are used for home appliances such as an electric range or dryer.