14 Vs 16 Gauge Speaker Wire

The speakers rank among the most commonly used devices; you would find speakers used at a party or a meeting. But sometimes, users experience issues like a humming noise or distorted sound, which happens due to either speaker being at fault or some issue with the gauge wire.

So in this article, we will discuss gauge wire and then discuss points of differentiation between 14 Vs 16 gauge speaker wire. These speaker gauge wires cast a greater impact on the sound quality of the speakers, so these must be chosen carefully.

What Are Gauge Wires?

The Gauge wires are the connecting wires that allow the user to send audio signals in electric signals to a speaker. Users believe that using different gauge wires would produce the same output with the speakers, but it isn’t true because different gauge wires are differentiated based on the American Wire Gauge number and provide different outputs. Each size of gauge wire stands most suitable for different scenarios.

Basic Differentiation And Working

There are three types of speaker wire gauges that make it easier for users to enjoy high-quality output at the other end; these are 12, 15 and 16 Gauge speaker wires. 12 gauge is the least used, whereas 14 and 16 gauge are the most used wires. 14 Vs 16 gauge speaker wires are differentiated based on their diameter, and there is a minor difference of around 0.3 mm in the radius of both the cables.

The resistance formula is (R=constant X L/A), so it directly displays that resistance is inversely proportional to the cross-section area. When the radius increases, then the resistance of the gauge decreases. So 16 gauge wire has slightly higher resistance than a 14 gauge wire. The increased or decreased resistance does not depict the rise or drop in the device’s sound quality.

The sound travels differently in wires compared to mediums; in the medium, the sound travels in transverse waves. The audio signal is converted into an electrical signal in wires and electric systems. They are then measured in decibels; then, they are passed through wires and converted back to the audio signals at the other end.

It is considered that you must use a thick wire when you plan on connecting the sender and receiver at the far end ( 16 gauge). When you are connecting devices at a close distance, you can use thin wire as the length of the wire decreases, so it balances the increase in resistance due to a smaller cross-section.

These are fundamental working parameters to consider when you plan to choose the perfect gauge for your requirements.

Core Factors Of Differentiation

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When you plan to choose the perfect wire gauge for your requirements, then there are certain factors which have to be kept in mind and these factors would help you choose between 14 and 16 gauge speaker wires.

  • Distance Between Source And The Speaker

As discussed, resistance is directly proportional to the length of the wire and inversely proportional to its cross-section. So in instances when the source and speaker are placed at a longer distance, it’s wiser to use a thick wire as this will balance the overall active resistance. Whereas when source and speaker are placed at close distance, users must use these wires because short length of wire balances overall acting resistance.

  • Speaker Rating

When you buy speakers, you would see various ratings written on the speaker’s box, which are the impedance or power ratings of the speaker. These ratings define the range of performance of speakers and over which rating the speaker may get damaged. The average rating for speaker resistance is near about 4 ohms, 6 ohms and 8 ohms, depending on the distance and rating of the speaker.

  • Core Material

The sound signals are converted into electric signals and then transferred through gauge wires, and when electric signals are transmitted, conductivity plays a more significant role. So the core material of the gauge wire ensures that the signals are instantly transferred, and there is no loss of quality while being transferred. Silver remains the best conductor of electricity, but it’s costly, so copper turns out to be an affordable alternative.

But it has been found that copper has some oxygen pockets while adversely affecting the conduction of the wire, so the gauge wire with the purest form of copper would make it easier for users to enjoy the best quality music.

Some users think it’s not very helpful considering these all factors for a gauge wire. Still, only true audiophiles realize that some songs hit differently when they are heard at their superior quality. Music is not all about some tunes and effects, but it is all about how wonderfully it reaches out to your ears and people who seek to enjoy the music never fail to realize it.


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  • Do check your speaker’s rating because if it is a low impedance speaker, there are high chances that the speaker might short circuit due to more increased current flow through its circuits, so it’s advisable to consult a technician.
  • When the device is placed at a considerable distance of 14-25 meters, using a 14 gauge speaker gauge wire would be a great choice as it will result in a minor loss of signals, providing high-quality output.
  • Cable length, speakers ratings, and core quality are the significant factors that will make choosing a gauge wire of your requirements easier.
  • When you plan to use gauge wire in a concise range like in your home or your car, it’s suitable to go with the thickest gauge wire, because it will provide you with the highest quality music.


Even if you have the finest quality speakers but do not have a good gauge wire that completely suits the speakers’ requirements and cannot provide the best quality, you lack something. So it would be best to consider gauge wire because it lets you enjoy the music and realize the real potential of the speaker. There is not much technical difference between 14 and 16 Gauge speaker wires, but there is undoubtedly a difference in their practical outcomes.


  • Is 16 gauge wire OK for speakers?

Yes for short range connections 16 gauge wire turns out to be a great choice.

  • Is 16 or 14 gauge better?

Both speaker gauge wires are good for different requirements.

  • How many watts can a 14 gauge speaker handle?

14 gauge speaker wire can handle 100 watts of power.

  • How many watts can a 16 gauge speaker handle?

16 gauge speaker wire can handle 50-100 watts of power