Speaker Wire Guide

What gauge do you need?

Wire thickness is identified by its American Wire Gauge (AWG) number. The lower the gauge number, the thicker the wire. Thicker wire presents less resistance to current flow.

Relative thickness of wire gauges, drawn to scale (not actual size).

Thick wire (12 or 14 gauge) is recommended for long wire runs, high power applications, and low-impedance speakers (4 or 6 ohms).

For relatively short runs (less than 50 feet) to 8 ohm speakers, 16 gauge wire will usually do just fine. It’s cost-effective and easy to work with.

Ask your advisor to recommend the proper gauge for your installation.

How much wire do you need?

To figure out how much speaker wire you need, run a string from your receiver or amplifier location to each of the speaker locations. Measure the string, and then add a few extra feet (to provide some slack for easier connection to your gear). Then add a few more feet, just to give yourself a margin of error.

Recommended Wire Lengths Based On Ohms

Gauge AWG 2 Ohm  4 Ohm 6 Ohm 8 Ohm
18 AWG 8 Feet Max 16 Feet Max 24 Feet Max 32 Feet Max
16 AWG 12 Feet Max 24 Feet Max 36 Feet Max 48 Feet Max
14 AWG 20 Feet Max 40 Feet Max 60 Feet Max 80 Feet Max
12 AWG 30 Feet Max 60 Feet Max 90 Feet Max 120 Feet Max