Metal Monday – Size of Copper Wires

2006-02-16 - United Kingdom - England - London - Underground - Earl's Court - WiresHow to “gauge” your wires. Many people ask us about the different wires that there are and why they are priced differently. Always are great questions 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 both be the same color, and feel like the same weight, but romex wires have more copper in them compared to 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 a preference thing, it is always wise to look around before scrapping and cashing them in.

Scrap ya later!


If you have scrap copper wires to bring in to your local scrap yard, be sure to 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 through their What’s This? feature 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 a table top stripper. 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.

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