The speaker’s wires are its life support system. If you had a really powerful speaker, but the low-end wire couldn’t bring out the full potential of the audio system, what would the music sound like then? Not good at all, right? While certain speaker wires might enhance the sound of your speakers, you should aim for a speaker wire that does them honor. You must invest in a good speaker wire to ensure your speaker produces the sound it should.
Remember that the most costly speaker wires are not usually the finest on the market. Instead, choose a wire compatible with your speaker and its surrounds so that you may purchase based on your needs.
A million-dollar sound does not necessitate the most expensive speaker cable. Even the cheapest wire may get your speakers thumping in no time. However, many speakers do not come with wiring, necessitating the purchase of additional wire. So, whether you’re just starting your system or seeking to upgrade your current setup, we’ll walk you through some terminologies and help you choose the finest speaker wire for crystal-clear music.
Strap yourself in for an exciting journey into the fascinating world of speaker wire.
|Best 14 Gauge Speaker Wire for Home Theater Systems||InstallGear 14 Gauge AWG|
|Best 14 Gauge Speaker Wire for Car Speakers||GearIT Pro Series 14 AWG Gauge Speaker Wire|
|Best 12 Gauge Speaker Wire for Home Theater Systems||InstallGear 12 Gauge AWG 30ft Speaker Wire|
|Best 16 Gauge Speaker Wire for Home Theater Systems||Amazon Basics 16 Gauge Speaker Wire Cable|
|Best 18 Gauge Speaker Wire for Home Theater Systems||TOPSTRONGGEAR 18 Gauge 20 Feet 9-Conductor Speaker Cable|
|Best Speaker Wire for Outdoor Installation||GearIT 12/4 Speaker Wire (250 Feet) 12AWG Gauge|
Is There a Difference Between Speaker Wire and Regular Wire?
We use regular electrical wire to connect a device to a power source such as a plug or another power source, as well as for wiring the mains power supply. On the other hand, a speaker wire is a wire used to transport sound signals from an amplifier or receiver to a speaker. Both are good conductors of electricity, but that’s where the similarity ends.
Several distinctions between the two are worth mentioning:
- A regular wire is available in stranded and solid forms, whereas speaker wire is stranded. A solid wire is heavier than a stranded wire. And they are mainly used for outdoor electrics. Stranded wires are more flexible and simpler to conduit, and you can move them out without causing harm.
- Speaker wires can only handle low voltages, but regular wire can carry both high and low voltages, depending on the kind of regular wire used for transmission.
What Kind of Wires Are Used for Speakers?
A speaker wire is a specialized electrical cable to link amplifiers and speakers in an audio system. You can also use speaker wires to connect your speakers to other audio gear. Furthermore, two or more similar electrical conductors constitute a speaker wire covered with PVC or Teflon for insulation.
Consequently, a speaker wire is merely a conduit for electricity, just like the cable that powers your light or television. Let us look into different kinds of speaker wires depending upon their make and purpose:
Single Wire Speaker Wires
Speaker wires with just one wire are the most frequent. There is only one set of connections on these speaker wires, connecting your amplifier to your speakers. All of the load travels via a single terminal using single-wire speaker connections. The cost-effectiveness of this cable is one of its advantages. When you get a single-wire speaker cable that has a low gauge, you won’t need to be concerned about resistance.
Bi-Wire Speaker Wires
Speaker cables that use two wires instead of a single one are known as bi-wire speaker cables. Using bi-wire cables, each of your loudspeakers will have two sets of connectors. While the low-frequency connector generates low-frequency output, the high-frequency connection generates high-frequency output. One benefit of bi-wire speaker cables is that it minimizes the magnetic contact, resulting in reduced resistance. In the end, you’ll have a better sound.
However, audiophiles and experts feel that bi-wire speaker wires do not improve your speaker’s sound quality. Double wiring, on the other hand, produces superior sound quality compared to single wires.
Things to Consider When Buying a Speaker Wire
Although there are seemingly unlimited speaker cables to pick from, most speaker wires are similar when connected to most speakers. Therefore, it’s essential to analyze and comprehend the terminology when describing speaker wires to choose the proper one for you. We’ll go through words like impedance, gauge, and resistance and tell you 6 of our top choices.
Before you buy any speaker wire, you need to check its resistance. Low-resistance speaker wire allows more power to be delivered to the speaker’s voice coil, resulting in improved sound quality. Moreover, speaker wires with the lowest resistance have shorter lengths and greater thickness than other types. A negative audible effect begins if the resistance is more than 5% of the loud speaker’s impedance.
While you don’t need to understand the science of impedance beyond knowing that your amp/receiver and speakers must have the same ohms, bear in mind that the lower the impedance, the more important it is to locate low resistance in your wiring.
Wire Material and Function
The conductor metal inside the wire covering is the wire substance of any speaker wire. Copper is used in most speaker cables because it is cost-effective and has an acceptable conductivity rate. On the other hand, copper may oxidize if exposed, resulting in increased resistance levels. On the other hand, copper is still the most excellent conductor for speaker cables. Although gold and silver are also excellent conductors, they are also relatively costly; thus most people do not purchase speaker wires made of gold and silver.
Speaker Wire Gauge
In terms of gauge (diameter), also known as thickness, a wire with a lower gauge number is thicker than one with a higher gauge number. It’s important to realize that lower gauge wire is thicker and vice versa to ensure that you choose the right speaker wire. The American Wire Gauge and the Standard Wire Gauge are world-recognized gauge standards. The smaller the gauge of the speaker wire, the lower the resistance you’ll be able to achieve when placing your speakers more than fifty feet from your amplifier.
A thicker 12- or 14-gauge wire will minimize resistance and provide a more solid and constant conduit if you traverse a long distance or have low-impedance speakers.
Type and Wire Connectors
For those who prefer a DIY approach, you may either buy speaker wire in a pre-terminated box or choose your connections from an unterminated spool of bare wire. You need to use a banana plug if your speaker has binding posts (also known as circular sockets), but you will require a pin connection if it has a spring clip termination (square clips that slide up and clamp down on the wire). Bare wires may be used for either connection, although they are more difficult to manage and may cause inconvenience.
If you’re connecting bookshelf speakers or desk monitors using speaker wire, you don’t have to worry about the sort of wire you choose, whereas if you want to run wire through your walls, search for a device with a CL2 or CL3 rating. If you’re going to run cable outdoors or underground, ensure it’s rated for “direct burial.”
Capacitance is a term that describes a conductor’s capacity to store a small quantity of electrical current indefinitely. Passing through the conductor causes little amounts of electricity retention over its whole length. When electricity builds up inside these conductors, it might have negative consequences. At best, it will raise your resistance, and at worst, it will harm your speaker. When you utilize shorter speaker cables, excess capacitance is less likely.
Top 6 Speaker Wires on the Market
We looked at the above factors to select the top 6 speaker wires that made the cut. While it’s ultimately up to you to judge whether or not certain wires make a significant difference in audio quality, each of our recommendations will create a strong, robust connection for delivering outstanding sound quality.
1. InstallGear 14 Gauge AWG
Best 14 Gauge Speaker Wire for Home Theater Systems
- Flexible and soft
- Great value for money
- Two-tone color makes it easy to identify polarity
- Durable and sturdy
- Sound great
- True to its size
- Excellent quality-to-price ratio
- Not available in other lengths
If you’re not a serious audiophile or have a lot of money to spare, this speaker wire is an excellent investment. For a 100ft cable, the InstallGear provides the best value and quality, something that not every speaker wire can boast of, and InstallGear 14 is our choice for the best 14 gauge speaker wire for home theatre systems.
We noticed that this speaker wire is 14 Gauge AWG thick to reduce electrical interference, which we think is more than adequate for most mid-range and even high-end systems.
Furthermore, we were impressed to see a transparent finish as the color option. The dual brown/blue jacket makes it easier to determine where one cable end plugs in. The wires are stranded nicely and are simple to deal with. Because the wire is soft and flexible, you can bury it under the carpet, and it would be completely invisible.
In conclusion, even if you are a seasoned audiophile, you will agree that the InstallGear 14 Gauge AWG cable is an excellent value for the money, and we strongly suggest it for home theatre systems. Although this is not a copper-only cable, if you can’t tell the difference, it doesn’t matter. As long as it’s copper-clad aluminum, you only saved yourself money.
View on Amazon: InstallGear 14 Gauge AWG
2. GearIT Pro Series 14 AWG Gauge Speaker Wire
Best 14 Gauge Speaker Wire for Car Speakers
- Great quality insulation jacket
- Durable and sturdy
- Excellent price point
- Pulls apart easily and neatly
- Easy to cut and trim
- Extra thickness gives an edge to functionality
- Polarity indications need a little more prominence
GearIT Pro Copper-clad aluminum wire in the 14 AWG size is ideal for automobile audio speakers. Custom installation is made more manageable because of the wire’s high strand count, which provides for more flexibility which is the main requirement for car speakers and thus makes it our choice for the best speaker wire for car speakers.
We found the GearIT multi-strand copper core wire lightweight and flexible, making it easier to cut and fit into small places and disappear, decreasing installation time and expense.
We were happy to discover that to facilitate measurement without needing equipment; you can easily make out the marks on each conductor on every foot, making fitting them anywhere a breeze.
Additionally, our experts liked that GearIT Pro Series is semi-transparent as it did a better job blending in and vanishing behind the car speakers.
In conclusion, the GearIT Pro Series 14 AWG Gauge Speaker Wire is great value for the money, a valuable and essential product, plus it comes with an attached spool for secure, tangle-free storage. This wire is robust, well-protected, and easily bends, making it perfect for your car speakers. However, you need to pay attention to it while stripping as aluminum is less pliable than copper, lest you may end up with pointed metal hairs all over.
View on Amazon: GearIT Pro Series 14 AWG Gauge Speaker Wire
3. InstallGear 12 Gauge AWG 30ft Speaker Wire
Best 12 Gauge Speaker Wire for Home Theater Systems
- Excellent construction
- Very flexible
- All-copper made
- Excellent value for money
- Well-marked to identify polarity
- We found no issues
The InstallGear 12 Gauge AWG 30ft Speaker Wire is a copper wire that is 99.9% oxygen-free, as are most OFC AVG wires, and has a spool length ranging from 30 feet to 500 feet that makes wiring your home theatre system a piece of cake which makes it the best 12 gauge speaker wire for home theatre system and rightfully so.
We found it simple to work with since the sleeve isn’t overly thick, yet it’s sturdy enough to withstand some wear and tear. Most home theater and HiFi systems are a one-time set operation; therefore, InstallGear 12 gauge ability to withstand a door shutting on it is generally not needed.
Additionally, the color-coded cable on the InstallGear 12 gauge is a good feature. Although it’s a minor detail, it helps you perfect your polarity. It’s one wire is a little darker than the other. The fact that it’s simple to remove the jacket to terminate the ends, which is an important consideration for all audiophiles, is also a plus.
In conclusion, the InstallGear 12 Gauge AWG 30ft Speaker Wire is an excellent product at a reasonable cost. It is beautiful, simple to work with, lies flat, and makes lovely music. However, it’s a little pricey, but we do not believe that you will come to regret it, mainly if there is even a remote possibility that other people may see it.
View on Amazon: InstallGear 12 Gauge AWG 30ft Speaker Wire
4. Amazon Basics 16 Gauge Speaker Wire Cable
Best 16 Gauge Speaker Wire for Home Theater Systems
- Simple to set up and use
- Because the shield isn’t too thick, it’s simple to cut
- Wire conductivity is excellent and quick
- Great quality and durable
- Polarity might be difficult to notice
The AmazonBasics speaker wire is an outstanding budget-friendly choice that consumers have very well received. You can effortlessly connect your speakers to amplifiers or receivers with this 16 gauge speaker wire with spool from Amazon Basics, and it is our choice for the best 16 gauge speaker wire for home theatre systems.
Our team found that it’s adequate in home theatre systems, even if it isn’t top-of-the-line or made from pure copper. It works with practically any connection and is wrapped neatly around a plastic dispenser.
This 16-gauge wire has a transparent plastic jacket with a white polarity line running down one side. Even though this option isn’t as evident as color-coded jackets, you’ll be able to figure out how to set up each channel’s symmetry between the amp and speaker and set up your home theatre system.
In conclusion, the Amazon Basics 16 Gauge Speaker Wire Cable is a good choice for those who don’t want to get bogged down in the CCA vs. OFC discussion. We recommend it highly if you wish to draw every ounce of power from your home theater or sound system, as it boosts bass.
View on Amazon: Amazon Basics 16 Gauge Speaker Wire Cable
5. TOPSTRONGGEAR 18 Gauge 20 Feet 9-Conductor Speaker Cable
Best 18 Gauge Speaker Wire for Home Theater Systems
- Robust construction
- Nicely marked to identify polarity
- Single flexible blue sheathing
- Ideal for connecting four speakers to an amplifier
- We found no issues with this product
TOPSTRONGGEAR 18 Gauge 9-wire cable makes connecting speakers to a 4-channel amp a breeze. You can use this wire to carry speaker-level signals from the radio to the inputs of your amplifier, as well as from the amp’s outputs to your home theatre speaker-wiring harness. These features aptly make it the best 18 gauge speaker wire for home theatre systems on our list.
We found this simple to operate and secure. We easily could splice it up and connect it to the 4 speakers we were using in our testing, and this was a considerable time saving, and we found the wire quality excellent.
TOPSTRONGGEAR wire comes inside a single stretchy blue sheath with small copper wires wrapped in insulating strands. Additionally, it is appropriately marked so you can easily recognize the polarity and do a quick and straightforward installation. The jacket comprises ultra-flex frosted PVC providing resistance to wear and tear.
In conclusion, TOPSTRONGGEAR 18 Gauge 20 Feet 9-Conductor Speaker Cable is the best option for you if you want super convenience and do not have to run nine separate speaker wires and a remote cable. Moreover, it’s effortless to run and conceal as it easily fits into most crimp terminals.
View on Amazon: TOPSTRONGGEAR 18 Gauge 20 Feet 9-Conductor Speaker Cable
6. GearIT 12/4 Speaker Wire (250 Feet) 12AWG Gauge
Best Speaker Wire for Outdoor Installation
- Several gauge options
- CL3 rating; for direct burial and in-wall installations
- 100% copper construction
- Easy setup operation
The GearIT 12/4 Speaker Wire (250 Feet) 12AWG Gauge is our preferred pick for outdoor usage since it has a UL CL3 grade and is allowed for direct burial.
Direct burial wire is required if you want to run your speaker cables below and keep yourself and your connection secure. This wire from GearIT does just that, and it has an additional PVC coating that is resistant to UV rays and is black.
We found that the sequential marks on each foot of the outer jacket allow for more precise estimations of measurements. Additionally, the outer layer of each cable contains a color-coded jack to indicate polarity. You can use this wire for in-wall installation, and it is compatible with a wide range of connections.
We found the wire incredibly flexible and very simple to route. The wire itself is fine stranded, giving the cable flexibility, and we faced no difficulties attaching it to the speaker wires.
In conclusion, the GearIT 12/4 Speaker Wire (250 Feet) 12AWG Gauge has thick and long-lasting insulation since it was made for outdoor use, particularly burying. Additionally, you can use it as an indoor speaker wire when carpet or tape covers the wire. We think the quality of what you get here much exceeds the cost.
View on Amazon: GearIT 12/4 Speaker Wire (250 Feet) 12AWG Gauge
Frequently Asked Questions About Speaker Wires
Speaker wire does not affect sound quality when used as intended, but some circumstances may affect the sound quality or volume.
Scientific evidence does not support the (misleading) concept that “special” or “audiophile” speaker wires or expensive wires create a perceptible difference in comparison to inexpensive, decent quality speaker wire of the proper gauge.
If you replace the speaker wire with non-standard wire or cables, there is a possibility that the sound alters, but only slightly. Moreover, a wire that is overly lengthy or has a high resistance can affect the sound by causing the speaker volume to drop and altering some other features.
It would help if you did not coil lengths of speaker wire since doing so can produce inductance, suppressing some sound frequencies like that of a crossover.
It is important to have a relatively small length of wire between the speaker crossovers and the speakers. The crossover’s behavior can change, and excessively lengthy wires can alter the sound response of the speaker to the crossover and the speakers.
Banana plugs cover the ends of speaker wire and make it easier to connect them to your receiver or speakers. To connect banana plugs to speaker wires, follow the steps below.
Step 1: Discard the speaker wire insulation after removing a quarter-inch with wire strippers.
Step 2: Give the exposed ends of the copper wire a twist so that the strands remain connected.
Step 3: Unscrew the banana plug’s bottom to expose the hole. There are many variations of banana plugs, but they all have the same fundamental structure: a hole where you insert the wire and a screw that you can tighten to secure the wire.
Step 4: Insert the wire that you twisted into the hole.
Step 5: Secure the wire by carefully screwing in the bottom of the banana plug so that it grips firmly.
Step 6: Insert the red banana connector into the jack that corresponds to the color red on the receiver.
Step 7: Repeat this technique with the speaker wire that has a negative charge and is black. This time, plug the black speaker wire into the black jack on the receiver.
Step 8: Insert the black banana into the black binding post on your speaker and the red banana into the red binding post on your speaker. Using this, you may connect the speaker cable to your speakers.
You can now turn on your receiver and make any necessary adjustments, and you won’t feel embarrassed any longer when you take a peek behind it.
To connect speaker wire to AV Receiver, do the following:
– Shut down the A/V receiver.
– The A/V stereo receiver’s speaker terminals are on the back, where you may connect the speaker cables.
– Red to Red and Black to Black is all you need to do.
– To complete the speaker wiring, connect the other end of the cables to the speakers.
There are two distinct colors to look for on speaker cables to identify them.
Silver is often used as the positive and copper as the negative when it comes to speaker wire.
Some more visual signals can assist you in determining what is positive and negative. The stripes are one of these. On many wires, you’ll see stripes that indicate that they’re negative.
It would be best if you did not run the wires through the studs but rather in between them. You can route the cables simply in any direction if you go into the basement or the attic.
Inspect the stud bay. After you have cut the hole in which the speaker will be installed, examine the bay to make sure no pipes or cables are hiding there. You need to be careful not to drill into them accidentally.
Make a hole in the plates using a drill. Drill a 1/4-inch diameter hole in the wall precisely below the speaker’s hole and approximately 8 inches above the floor to access the basement. Drill a pilot hole through the base plate with a 1/8-by-18-inch feeler bit. It is possible to use a drill bit with a diameter of 3/4 inches to drill vertically upward through the pilot hole in the basement.
After creating an access hole in the wall measuring 8 inches, you will need to make your way into the attic by drilling through the top plate of the wall using a feeler bit. Drill using a 3/4-inch bit at the point where the bit enters the attic. Repeat this procedure in the stud bay nearest to the amplifier.
A coil of flat, springy steel with a hook on one end is known as fish tape. You should take it with you to the basement or the attic. You need to put the hook in such a position that it reaches through the hole in the plate. After that, it goes into the hole in the wall that lies close to the amplifier. Attach the end of the wire to the fish tape using stretchable electrical tape in two different locations. You need to pull the tape and the wire through the plate. After that, at the hole closest to the speaker, you detach the wire from the tape, flip it over, and re-tape it so you can push it through the plate and into the speaker hole.
Put a fire-stop sealant in the plate’s holes and patch the wall’s dents with drywall spackle.
Remove half an inch’s worth of insulation from one end of each wire and twist them together.
Insert the twisted wires through the aperture using a Wire Nut.
Twist the nut until you fasten both the wires securely.
Protect the spliced wires by wrapping them with Electrical Tape.
There is no problem with using speaker wire for the power supply. The only factor to take into account is the wire gauge. When multiplied by volts, the amperage, which gives you the electrical load (watts) that the electrical device or appliance should have, might vary depending on the gauge.
You can’t get a shock from speaker wires. The amount of electric current that travels through the speaker wires is meager, and it is not strong enough to cause a person to get an electric shock from touching the cables.
There are 3 key ways to wire speakers with 4 terminals. Lend us your ears to learn:
– Leaving the conductor bar between terminals and connecting one set of speaker wires. Now you know how to wire speakers with 4 terminals.
Read More: How to Wire Speakers With 4 Terminals
As a rule of thumb, the best speaker wire will not improve the sound quality of your audio system but rather ensure that all of your amplifier’s power gets to your speakers in the best possible way.
To help you make the right decision, we have reviewed the best speaker wires available today. We hope our speaker wire buyer guide will help you select the one that is right for you.
If you want our recommendation, we suggest you go for InstallGear 14 Gauge AWG as it provides great quality at a great price.