Which wire to use for wiring in the house: recommendations for selection

Amir Gumarov
Checked by a specialist: Amir Gumarov
Author: Elena Nikolaeva
Last update: October 2019

It is impossible to build a home electrical network without an electric cable. However, for the arrangement of housing it is not enough to install it correctly; you still need to correctly select the appropriate type. And for this you need to know what characteristics affect the choice. Do you agree?

We will tell you what types of products the modern market offers and which wire to use for wiring in the house. We will introduce you to the demanded nomenclature and help to understand the labeling of products for laying power lines. Let’s indicate what customers and independent electricians should be guided by.

The information presented for acquaintance with the purpose of optimizing perception was supplemented with diagrams, photo selections, video recommendations.

What are electric cables made of?

The main elements of any electric cable are the cores - elements for the passage of electric current, isolated from each other by an inner sheath and enclosed in a common sheath.

They are designated by abbreviation TPG.

Product structural elements
In addition to the conductive conductors (1), the cable may contain such structural elements as filler (3), wire or steel armor (2) and the outer sheath (4)

The cores for the transmission of electrical energy are of two types:

  • single wire solid;
  • multiwireconsisting of a large number of thin threads.

Some mistakenly believe that single-wire cores and single-core cables are the same concept. In fact, single-core products can have only one core, which, in turn, can be made single or multi-wire.

The basis for the manufacture of conductive conductors may be copper or aluminum. If we compare these metals, then aluminum, although it is cheaper, but loses in that it has a lower level of electrical conductivity.

This means that with an equal cross section, the copper conductor is able to pass more current. The only "minus" of copper is the fact that when it can not be directly connected with other metals. Those. To connect with aluminum, an adapter is required that eliminates the formation of a galvanic pair.

Aluminum product
Aluminum is not the best option for wiring in the house, because it has a low level of electrical conductivity, and during operation it oxidizes and breaks faster on bends

If the connection is made by twisting, then this place will quickly oxidize, which will lead to rupture of contacts, as a result of which the trunk can be closed. Ideally, for all lines in the apartment, you should choose the same type of wire.

Cables for electrical signals are equipped with a common protective sheath.

The insulating layer can be made of:

  • rubber;
  • polyethylene;
  • PVC compound.

Each of these materials is characterized by high insulating characteristics. Due to this, they can be used in networks of various voltage classes within 500 watts.

The need for a containment
The main purpose of the outer braid is to protect the conductors from moisture, which can lead to a violation of the integrity of the insulation and, as a result, to clouding of the optical fibers

Any cable used for home apartment wiringhas at least two insulating layers: the first protects the inner cores assembled into a bundle, the second encircles only one core.

Varieties of electrical wires

There are several classifications that wizards are guided by when choosing cable for house wiring.

The first sign that cables are shared is number of cores. The operational parameters of single and multicore products are detailed in the table below.

Product Parameters Summary Table
A summary table of the operational parameters of single and multicore electrical products, depending on the number of threads involved. The difference exists both in the device and in the intended use.

Below are four of the most popular types of cables used in arranging in-house wiring.

View # 1 - VVG cable

When arranging an intra-apartment wiring, which provides junction box installationapply VVG cable. It is used to transmit electric current at an operating voltage within 1000 V. The number of cores in such products can range from one to five.

Products with a circular cross section
The VVG current conductor is produced in one of four versions: in the form of products with a flat or round cross section, or else triangular or square

The indisputable advantages of VVG products include a wide temperature operating range. It can be safely used at temperatures from -50 ° C to +50 ° C. The wire is famous for its high tensile strength and ability to withstand moisture up to 98%.

A product of this type can have one of three designations:

  • «P"- indicates a flat type of section;
  • «s"- means that between the insulation TPG and the outer braid is a rubber compound or PVC harnesses;
  • «ng"- indicates that insulation does not spread combustion.

In any cables of the VVG type, with the exception of those that have the designation “z,” the space between the outer sheath and the insulating layer of the cores is not filled.

Outer Braid Color
The outer sheath of the VVG cable is usually painted black, the inner insulation of the conductive wires is marked yellow-green, blue, red or white with a blue stripe

For domestic use, cable cross-section from 1.5 mm2, when arranging a private house, the product is 6 mm2. The value of the bending radius of the product is determined by multiplying the smaller cross-section by 10.

View # 2 - NYM Cable

NYM - Another high-quality power cable designed for conducting power and lighting networks with voltage up to 660V. Stranded conductive wires of the product are made of copper.

The number of NYM cable conductors can range from one to five. The minimum cross-sectional parameters of products on sale is 1.5 mm2maximum - 16 mm2.

The value of the bending radius corresponds to four diameters of the cross section.

NYM Product Features
Sectional NYM cable: copper conductors are enclosed in PVC sheaths, between which non-combustible sealing is laid; the role of the outer braid is PVC insulation

The cable has double insulation:

  • the outer shell is made of polyvinyl chloride;
  • The inner braid is made of non-combustible PVC.

The inner space between the insulating layers is filled with a filler, which is coated rubber. This solution increases the strength of the product and makes it more resistant to high temperatures.

Therefore, NYM cable is one of moisture and heat resistant products. Its working temperature limits are from -40 ° C to +70 ° C.

The only drawback of NYM cable is its vulnerability to UV rays. For this reason, when used in an open area where direct rays fall, it is recommended to cover it.

If we compare NYM cable with VVG analogue, the first is more preferable in terms of operational parameters.But with a limited budget, you can always save by using the NYM cable only to connect room and apartment panels to the floor panels, and lay the VVG cable in the areas.

View # 3 - PUNP wire

Often they use a budget analog for posting - PUNP flat wire. It is a two- or three-core product with a cross section of 1.5-6 mm2. Each core of a flat wire is made of copper and is single-wire.

PUNP - flat wire
PUNP is used to connect permanently installed lighting systems and “power” outlets at a rated voltage of 250 V and at a frequency of 50 Hz

The cable also has double insulation:

  • the outer shell is made of PVC plastic;
  • inner braid made of polyvinyl chloride.

In terms of quality, such a wire is far from the best option. In addition, as practice shows, the insulation of the wire is very vulnerable to temperature fluctuations and quickly collapses when heated.

View # 4 - armored cable VBBSHV

When arranging a lighting system adjacent to the house, the armored power unit is the best fit VBBSHV cable. It is designed to operate under conditions of variable rated voltage, the range of which varies from 660 to 1000 V.

It is convenient to lay a moisture-proof product in the ground, in reinforced concrete pipes and in the corrugation in the open air, provided that additional protection against direct light rays is created.

VBbShv in the context
The main advantage of this cable is the presence of metallized armor, and therefore it can be safely used when arranging laying in an earthen trench

Conductors made of copper. The number of threads can vary from one to five, each of which can consist of one or more wires.

The cross section of VBBSHV products ranges from 1.5 mm2 up to 240 mm2. Polyvinyl chloride is used as the inner insulation and outer shell.

Competent selection criteria

The key to the smooth operation of the home highway of the electrical system is the quality of components. Therefore, at the stage of their acquisition, one of the key tasks is to choose a cable of proper quality.

Product labeling example
Manufacturers always indicate which metals the cores are made of and which materials are part of the insulation braid; these parameters are indicated in the cable marking

To navigate when choosing the right cable, you need to carefully study the product labeling. On the cable should be indicated: brand, name of the manufacturer and compliance with GOST or technical specifications. The cross-sectional size and brand of cable should be repeated at equal intervals along the entire length of the outer braid of the product.

The marking of any power cable is represented by numbers and three letters.

The first digit of the numerical designation determines the number of cores, the second digit is the cross-sectional area of ​​each of them, the third is the calculated voltage of the network. The remaining numbers indicate the flexibility class of the cord. The first letter defines the type of material involved in creating the upper braid of insulation.

Product Labeling Examples
If you have a product in the marking of which the letter "A" is in the first place, this means that the cores are made of silver metal - aluminum; if there is no such letter, the threads are made of copper

The second letter indicates the type of wire:

  • «TO"- control;
  • «P"- flat;
  • «M"- mounting;
  • «W" or "At"- installation;
  • «Mg»- assembly room with flexible conductor.

The third letter of the marking defines the material applicable for the inner insulation of the cores.

Variants of its designation and decoding:

  • «P"- the insulation is made of polyethylene;
  • «AT" or "BP"- the braid is made of rubber;
  • «Pv"- applied vulcanizing polyethylene;
  • «Ps"- used self-extinguishing polyethylene;
  • «WITH"- the outer braid is made of lead;

Rubber insulation can be protected with a nitrite sheath "N"Or polyvinyl chloride"AT».

An example of decoding letters and numbers
Example of a decoding of a designation: VVG 4x2.5-380 - cable with four copper conductors having a cross-sectional area of ​​2.5 mm, rated for voltage of 380 V, insulated with PVC sheath and enclosed in an outer PVC sheath

The following letter indicates the type of cable: "NG"- non-combustible and fireproof,"B"- armored,"LS"- does not emit smoke during melting. Products with an armored shell are used where there is a possibility of mechanical damage.

The presence in the marking of the letter "E”Reports that filler is present between the cores. Letter combination "Coolant"Shows that it is a single-wire core.

How to calculate the cross section of the wire?

Cross-sectional areas of conductors are standardized. Their values ​​are selected with orientation on the strength of the current, the material of manufacture of the cores and the laying conditions. Indeed, when the cable is operated at the limit of its capabilities, the conductors will heat up several tens of degrees.

And if several such cables will be laid in one tray, then with the mutual heating of the products, the value of the permissible current will decrease to 30%.

Cables of different sections
In order to correctly calculate the cross-section of the wire, which is best suited for home highways, you need to calculate the total current value of all apartment electrical appliances

The calculation is done according to this formula P / V.


  • R - power of devices, the parameters of which are indicated in the technical documentation;
  • V - network voltage of 220 V.

Sectional area is measured in square millimeters. So, one “square” of aluminum wire is able to pass from 4 to 6 amperes through itself. In a copper analog, this parameter reaches a mark of 10 amperes.

For example, for an electric appliance with a power of 4 kilowatts, according to this formula, the current strength becomes equal to 18.18 A = 4000 W / 200V. To power such a device, it is required to lay wiring with copper threads with a cross section of 1.8 mm2.

As a safety net, it is better to multiply the obtained value by 1.5. Therefore, the most ideal option for powering such a powerful device is a copper wire with a cross section of 2 mm2. If we consider the option of installing an aluminum analogue, you will need a cord whose thickness is 2.5 times more.

Simplify the task by wire cross section calculation The table below will help.

The table for the selection of cable cross-section
A table that is convenient to use when calculating the wire cross section for a home highway, taking into account the current value of all powered electrical appliances

An important point! When designing hidden wiring, the data from the table must be multiplied by a factor of 0.8.

When open, it is capable of mounting in the same private house, in any case, for reliability, it is better to use a wire with a cross section of 4 mm or more2 and higher, preferring products with high mechanical strength.

According to the indicators of the cross-sectional plane, the installation cable for entering the house should be one step higher than that which is necessary for servicing the most installed electrical appliances.

To save money, such a wire can be used only for entering into the house and connecting to the terminal strip, and through the machines to draw lines of the desired section.

According to the requirements of the PUE PUE 7.1.34, each line should be calculated separately with orientation to a specific load. However, there are options acceptable for all residential facilities with standard cross-sectional values:

You will learn about which cable to use for the wiring device in a wooden house from another popular article our site.

Conclusions and useful video on the topic

Before choosing and practical use of wires, it is better to once again recall the theory by watching useful videos.

Video # 1. How to choose the right wire:

Video # 2. Wizard's advice, which wire is better for home:

The price range of power cables on sale is quite wide. But in this matter it is not worth saving. A lower price may indicate that low quality materials were used in the manufacture of the cable product or the wire has a cross section less than the declared.

When purchasing products from Chinese manufacturers, be prepared for the fact that in the desire to save instead of copper conductors, many of them use copper-plated aluminum wires. Outwardly, they practically do not differ from copper counterparts, but differ only in performance characteristics.

Do you have any useful recommendations that you want to inform website visitors and us? Having questions while reading the information? Please write comments in the block below the text of the article.

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Visitors Comments
  1. Valera

    Changing or installing new wiring in the apartment, I always recommend using a multi-wire stranded copper cable. This is the key to the durability and safety of electrical wiring. Be sure to calculate the power of electrical appliances and use a cable of suitable cross section with one and a half power margin. This will prevent cable overheating and premature aging of the insulation.

    • Expert
      Amir Gumarov

      Good afternoon, Valery.

      The capacities of refrigerators, washing machines, and other household electrical appliances are indicated on the nameplates, in the passports - no one counts them. Calculate the load of group lines, laying the prospect of development (PUE reserve does not stipulate).

      Regarding the 1.5-fold supply - I doubt that the amount of apartment capacity can so increase. Suppose, nevertheless, something very powerful is acquired - then you can forward an additional line from the apartment panel.

  2. There are many recommendations, but the main one is the rejection of aluminum in favor of copper. Naturally, such a replacement wiring will require a major overhaul. But it is impossible to connect copper wires with aluminum directly. This must be done through adapter pads. These options are resorted to when you need to connect the replaced copper wiring in the apartment with aluminum wires that are laid in the rest of the house.

  3. Alexander

    Electrical appliances used in everyday life have a rated capacity. The total capacity of the house and individual rooms is used to calculate the network, try not to consider the simultaneity factor. 50% put for future electricity consumers. The permissible current load is 10A / sq. Mm to prevent overheating of the wires. And I also wanted to say: try not to use stranded wires and cables (only in carrying), their connection in the terminal blocks weakens with time, which can not be said for single-core ones.

    • Expert
      Amir Gumarov

      Good afternoon, Alexander.

      Your call to try not to take into account the simultaneity coefficient is contrary to SP 256.1325800.2016. There, clause 4.1 obliges designers to take into account many regulatory documents that operate with a simultaneity factor. Clause 12.6 of this joint venture states: the cross-section of the supply conductors is determined by the sum of the currents of the connected equipment - the simultaneity factor is taken into account.

      You advise a 50 percent margin for the future. Following your recommendation will significantly increase the cost of electricity to the apartment. Even a 20 percent supply is provided by the typical design of a power transformer, and for rural projects, networks can have a 30 percent supply capacity.

      The only thing that can be advised is to install an introductory shield with reserve places for future connections.

  4. Sergei

    We took it cheaper, called PugVV, it is a little thin, but it will do for a garden house. I looked at these in the store, their prices just bite.

  5. Andrew

    Due to this, they can be used in networks of various voltage classes within 500 watts. Do you even edit the text

    • Expert
      Amir Gumarov

      Thanks for the signal. The bug has been fixed. Indeed, they missed the author’s slip.