How to Gauge Your Copper Wires

2006-02-16 - United Kingdom - England - London - Underground - Earl's Court - Wires

Many people ask us about the different types of wires that there are and why they are priced differently. This is always a great question, and the answer is fairly simple. All wire prices should be dictated by the amount of copper, aluminum, or other metals that are involved.

For instance, you have old extension cords and also some old Romex® wires. These may be the same color and feel the same weight, but Romex® wires have more copper in them than their plastic jackets and should be paid at a higher price.

Some scrap yards prefer not to sort and separate but to pay a higher price and average everything together. While that is not good or bad (just the yard’s preference), looking around before scrapping and cashing them in is always wise.

If you have scrap copper wires to bring to your local scrap yard, separate them the best you can. You can use the iScrap App Metal List to help you determine what kind of copper wire you have. If you need to, contact a local scrap yard and send them a photo of your materials. They may be able to determine the type of wire you have and can email you back.

If you have a larger quantity of wire for scrap that you are thinking of stripping for the copper inside, you may want to figure out your estimated recovery amount of copper. A general rule is if the wire is thicker than your pinky finger, it is a good idea to strip it for the copper inside. You can use a handheld stripper or an automatic stripper.

Overall Best
CREWORKS Automatic Wire Stripping Machine
$209.99 $169.99

Constructed from solid aerospace-grad aluminum alloy, this wire stripper can withstand rigorous environments and last for years.

Buy Now Our Review
We earn a commission when you buy, with no additional cost.
02/25/2024 10:40 pm GMT

Either way, be sure to ask your local scrap yard how they determine different wire and cable grades for scrap; that way, you know what to expect and how you can separate your wires before heading to the yard.

Scrap ya later!

-Tom