Best Audio Speaker Wire: An All-Inclusive Guide

FACTS CHECKED BY  Jose George​

The best Audio speaker wire produces high-quality music without sound quality degradation or loss of signal. Our best choices in today’s post have several designs with high-performance ratings and comprise oxygen-free copper.  

Also, you can easily put these speaker wires together for home audio systems since they work with bent pins, spade plugs, and banana plugs.

Want to learn more about the best audio speaker wire? Stick around to find out!

Top Three Audio Speaker Wires

GearIT Pro Series 12AWG Speaker Wire
  • Build Quality Stranded Conductors To Build This Professional Grade Speaker Wire Audio Cable.
  • Use This Speaker Wire To Pair With Banana Plugs, Spade Tips, Or Bent Pin Connectors To Connect Your Speakers To Your A/V Receiver Or Amplifier With This Gearit Pro Series Speaker Wire
Pyramid Power 18 Gauge Speaker Wire – 100ft
  • This 18-gauge copper speaker wire offers a very easy connection for speakers to amplifiers or receivers. 
  • The wire can be cut as desired for specific installation needs. 
Mediabridge 16AWG Speaker Wire
  • Connect your speakers to your A/V receiver or amplifier with this 2-conductor speaker wire.
  • High-strand count oxygen-free copper (0.16mm x 66 strands) 16 AWG conductors.
  • Pair with banana plugs, spade tips, or bent pin connectors for professional custom installations.

What does AWG mean?

AWG stands for “American Wire Gauge” in its simplest basic level. Others may call it a “Brown & Sharpe wire gauge,” though we assume AWG is simpler to recall.

AWG is a standard way to measure any solid and round wire. Our topic today centers on AWG speaker wires, but if you see a ‘speaker wire gauge,’ know that it’s still AWG.  

What speaker wire gauge do I need? How do I choose?

Ironically, the speaker wire is often thicker when the AWG number is lower. That’s why it’s crucial to comprehend the concept first. Secondly,  think about what that means for resistance.

Generally, a 12 gauge wire is great when you use a low impedance like four or six Ohms or for longer distances. Realistically, only a few people who use home audio run wires far enough to use a 12 gauge. However, it’s easier to handle and works better.

Contrarily, 16 or 14 AWG wire is ideal when running wires to 8-Ohm speakers for less than 50 to 60 feet. For instance, audio speakers and HiFi with 8-ohm nominal impedance benefit from the wires.

HiFi music system

(HiFi music system)

Additionally, it’s less bulky, meaning you can easily maintain and manage its clean audio cabinet. It is also more cost-effective.

How to choose

We highly suggest that the total resistance of your speaker wire should not surpass 5% of your speakers’ lowest impedance. It prevents any audible effect. Here, employing pure copper wires guarantees that the total load output from the amplifier stays closely possible to your speakers’ impedance curve. 

What is a CL2 or CL3-rated speaker wire?

If you intend to run the audio speaker wires through your walls, you will require a UL-certified AWG wire. The certification is mainly for running cables inside your walls and has a Class-3 (CL-3) or Class-2 (CL-2) rating. 

Most uses won’t need Class 3, but you should always check with a building expert or local electrician to be sure. CL-2 is usually enough for HiFi speakers or audio speaker wires.

UL approval’s job is to measure how much heat comes from the current going through the wire. CL-3-rated wires withstand more voltage, i.e., higher than a usual 8-Ohm speaker needs. Therefore, to avoid causing a fire, it is necessary to contact a professional when preparing for in-wall wiring. 

Best 12 Gauge Speaker Wire

MaxBrite High Performance 12 Gauge Speaker Wire

Amazon purchase link

Features and Benefits 

  • Firstly, it has a flexible installation, and you can easily strip off the PVC jacket. 
  • Besides having a CL-2 rating and 99.99% oxygen-free wiring (for undistorted signals), its UL certification makes it suitable for commercial use. 

Downside

  • Despite its unappealing design, it has an excellent performance. 

Customer Review 

“They’re are 12 gauge as advertised. Easy to cut and strip to size. You can use them bare or with speaker banana plugs. Great value!”

InstallGear 12 Gauge Speaker Wire

Amazon purchase link

Features and Benefits 

  • It has high-quality copper strands and easy-to-strip insulation. 
  • Also, it is compatible with speaker terminals and banana plugs
  • It’s ideal for car audio and home theater systems.

Downside

  • None 

Customer Review 

“Stranded copper wire. Sides are different colors to distinguish positive and negative. Sides separate easily. Best of all, even though the wire starts tightly coiled, it is very easy to straighten.”

GearIT Pro Series 12AWG Speaker Wire

Amazon purchase link

Features and Benefits

  • It is a good value for your money and has an easy and flexible installation.
  • Secondly, they are cost-effective and lighter due to not having copper.
  • Lastly, they are effective for A/V amplifier or receiver connections. 

Downside 

  • Manufacturers produce these speaker wires from copper-clad aluminum, not oxygen-free copper. Therefore, they aren’t as excellent as OFC wires for signal transmission.

Customer Review 

“Nice touch from GearIT speaker wire is marked every ft to let you know how much remains on the spool. Highly Recommended. “

Best 14 Gauge Speaker Wire

InstallGear 14 Gauge Speaker Wire Speaker

Amazon purchase link

Features and Benefits 

  • It has a soft tough jacket, easy polarity identification, and copper-clad aluminum (CCA) wiring.
  • Additionally, its installation is flexible and allows for the required resistance.

Downside

  • It doesn’t accommodate a spool length below 100ft. 

Customer Review

“Zero issues; product arrived as described. Insulation is good and easy to work with. The gauge is as expected, and the sound quality is good. I’m using about 15′ runs to my speakers, but these should be good for much greater distances. Would buy again.”

C&E 14AWG Speaker Wire – CL-2 Rated

Amazon purchase link

Features and Benefits 

  • First and foremost, it is a 99.9% OFC 2-conductor speaker wire with a spool length ranging from 50 to 500ft.
  • Then, its CL-2 rating is recommendable in churches, schools, halls, and home use.
  • It also has a high-quality signal transmission and a thick wire gauge.

Downside

  • None 

Customer Review

“Very good quality wires, no complaints whatsoever. 14 AWG has 41 strands of copper wire, and I especially liked the outer jacket – soft, rubber-like material and kink-free. The roll was a few inches longer than 250 feet.”

Mediabridge 14AWG Speaker Wire

Amazon purchase link

Features and Benefits 

  • It is flexible, tough, and easy to install.
  • Furthermore, it can send enough signal power to the speakers through the AV receiver.
  • The wire has correct phasing with 41 strands and polarity markers every two feet.

Downside

  • It can be expensive if your installation is more than 100ft. 

Customer Review

“Excellent price and quality.”

Best 16 Gauge Speaker Wire

 InstallGear 16 Gauge Speaker Wire OFC 100-feet

Amazon purchase link

Features and Benefits

  • The new InstallGear product is an oxygen-free copper speaker wire with color codes for polarity. 
  • Moreover, its soft touch external sleeve allows for flexible and easy installation. 

Downside

  • It lacks the CL-2 rating for home use. 

Customer Review

“I upgraded my father’s speakers, so I also decided to upgrade the speaker cables.

Placed the speakers in better locations & I know these cables will last me a long time.

I will buy more soon for the other rooms.”

Next 16 Gauge Speaker Wire – 16 AWG UL Listed In-Wall (CL2/CL3)

Amazon purchase link

Features and Benefits

  • It comes in an external jacket consisting of a ripcord for quicker stripping during installation.
  • Additionally, it has termination point labels and pre-printed rooms like BDR2, BDR1, Kitchen, etc., on the external sleeve. You’ll, therefore, only mark and place the wire where needed. 
  • Also, it is available in 14AWG, 12WAG, and 10AWG options.

Downside 

  • None

Customer Review

“Super easy to strip and connect to my outdoor speakers and bury in the backyard. Would buy it again for my next project!”

InstallGear 16 Gauge Speaker Cable

Amazon purchase link

Features and Benefits

  • It is budget-friendly since it’s a copper-clad aluminum speaker wire.
  • In addition, it is easy to strip. 
  • Finally, it is compatible with spade tips or banana plugs fitted into it.

Downside

  • It only has a spool length of 100ft. 

Customer Review

“The cable is soft yet strong. Color-coded, there is no error when connecting the speakers and the receiver. Good price and fast shipping A++++ Recommended.”

Conclusion 

In summary, audio speaker wires are a topic of interest to most audiophiles. The wires generate good sound quality due to their length flexibility (up to 100ft) and sturdiness. Despite having a variety in the market, this article narrows down your research to the best options. 

Don’t hesitate to contact us for more information on wires and wiring technology.

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