What’s the difference between battery cable and welding cable, anyway? Is there any? While they are similar, there's a few things to consider when choosing between the two.
If you just need a simple connection between a battery and its starter, battery cable is the ideal solution. For applications with no sharp curves or those that have a direct shot to the power source, battery cable is the most efficient option. The copper strands within battery cable are thicker and not as tightly compacted in the PVC sleeving, making battery cable a less flexible but more cost-effective option when the benefits of welding cable are not necessary.
Due to the thicker copper strands, there are fewer strands in battery cable when compared to welding cable of the same gauge size. This difference limits battery cable to applications or projects that need no more than 60V power.
When a lot of bends are required to complete the wiring of an application, welding cable is often preferred due to its flexibility. The flexibility of welding cable is a result of its construction using finer strands of copper and EPDM insulation. Because of the finer copper strands, the amount of copper per foot is greater in welding cable than battery cable, which allows welding cable to handle higher voltage applications. Welding cable got its name because it was initially used for welding purposes, since often times welding machines require mobility and battery cable is not as mobile due to its inability to move, unroll, and bend. That said, welding cable is a better choice for those applications where the cable usability is important.
Battery cable's smooth thermoplastic polyvinyl chloride (PVC) jacket protects against cracking, abrasion, weather, oil, and acids. Battery cable meets the UL-558 and UL-553 flame resistant standards.
Similarly, welding cable resists grease, oil, and water, as well as protecting against cuts and tears. However, welding cable is also flame resistant, but meets the UL-1581 standards. This UL rating gives it an edge on battery cable when it comes to protection from the elements.
When simple connection and protection is needed on your application or project, battery cable is the best choice to keep your electrical connections running. However, in cold weather battery cable becomes very stiff and difficult to work with.
On the other hand, welding cable is ideal for installations with exposure to colder weather because of its construction with thinner stranding which allows increased flexibility and usability. However, both perform similarly in cold conditions.
Battery cable provides a budget friendly, cost-effective solution to your battery projects and applications that need no special enhancements while providing excellent protection and connection. However, if usability is a top priority, welding cable is the way to go.
At Del City, there is a wide variety of battery cable and welding cable, plus all the welding and battery cable ends you need to complete your connection. If you have any questions, give our technical support specialists a call at 1.800.658.4757!