The Short Guide To The Types of Copper Used in Wires

There are many different kinds of copper wires.  Many factors come into place when determining the value of the scrap copper wires.

Breakdown of a copper wire

What is the type of insulation used? How thick is the insulation of the copper wire? Does it come with a layer of armor and what is the type of metal used for the armor?  We will leave these questions to another article.  For now, we will focus on the types of copper used in copper wires that is important when it comes to determining its scrap value.

Types of copper used in copper wires

Bare Bright Copper

Known as #1 Copper, this is the best grade of copper as it is the most valuable and highest paying-grade around. This type of copper is clean, shiny and uncoated. The individual copper strand is usually no thinner than the 1.5mm pencil lead that we use in school. (Do we still use pencils in primary school?)


Stranded Copper

Known as #2 copper, this type of copper is easier to bend and less than 1.5mm in individual thickness. Their appearance is kind of hair-like. This type of copper can be found in our home electrical appliances. Again, do not attempt to hand strip these home appliances wires are they are dangerous and not worth the effort.

Stranded Copper wire

Tinned coated Copper 

Coated with a layer of tin, this type of copper may easily deceive someone who is not familiar with Aluminium Wire. The price difference is HUGE. To cut the technical information short, the coating of tin helps to prolong the life of the copper wires. To tell that it is copper and not aluminium, you just have to cut it and look at the cross section sectioned of the copper. If you see that it is slightly pink/red in color and not white, its a tinned coated copper. It is not easy at the start but you will get the hang of it after a while.

Aluminium wire

Other than the obvious color difference the easier way to tell the difference between a copper and aluminium wire is not by using your eyes, you can do it by telling from the weight difference. Using the same type and number of wires, a group of copper wires will weigh much heavier than a group of aluminium wires. Notice below that the cross-sectioned of the wire is white and not red.

Aluminium wire

For the best price, bring your scrap down to Sin Hong Poh Metal Trading. We offer the most competitive price for all types of scrap metal, wires and others.  Have a question to ask? Leave a comment below or contact us today for more information!

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