Speaker wire is a special type of wire used for connecting wired speakers to an amplifier, receiver, or any other sound source. A typical speaker wire comprises of two insulated wires that are attached together to form a speaker cable. They’re terminated using different types of connectors depending on the speaker system you’re connecting. A good speaker wire is color-coded to differentiate the terminals. One of the wires is usually used to connect the left channel whereas the other wire connects to the right channel.
Speaker wire comes in different sizes and types. The size of speaker wire is typically measured in terms of gauge. The gauge of speaker wire refers to its width. Basically, a speaker wire with a smaller gauge means that it’s wider. Different speaker wire sizes are ideal for different applications. Thus, you should buy the right speaker wire for your needs. Besides, speaker wire is available in different lengths. With that said, read on through this article for a review and buying guide on the best speaker wire available today.
Quick Comparison Table
How We Chose the Best Speaker Wire
It can be quite frustrating to spend your money in a certain speaker wire, only for it to disappoint. The kind of speaker wire you use in connecting your speakers to a sound source largely affects the quality sound you’ll get. Thus, it’s important to choose the right speaker wire for your sound system. However, it’s quite challenging for most music lovers to choose the right speaker wire. Luckily for you, we’ve taken time to review the best and top quality speaker wires available today. We tested a wide variety of speaker cables and reviewed each one of them. Thus, you can rest assured that the options we’ve listed are top-quality for the best value of your money. Read on for the detailed reviews.
The Top 8 Speaker Wire Available Today
Here’re the best speaker cables to choose from, including their outstanding features, what we like about each option, what we dislike, and our verdict.
1. AmazonBasics 100ft 16-Gauge
This speaker wire from AmazonBasics comes in a spool and measures 100 feet in length. This speaker wire is 16-gauge in size. The wire is made of stranded copper. The entire spool measures just 1.08 pounds in weight.
- Marked terminals- The speaker wire comes with marked terminals for easier matching of the speaker polarities. One of the wires comes with a white line marking. As such, you can easily tell which wire connects to the left channel and which one connects to the right channel on both ends of the wire.
- Easy to dispense- This speaker wire from AmazonBasics comes in a spool. It’s wrapped around a cylindrical plastic that makes it easier to dispense enough length of the speaker wire. It also prevents the wire from getting tangled for easier handling.
- Distortion-free sound- Another outstanding feature that comes with this speaker wire is that it minimizes the chances of distortion from occurring. The wire is insulated with a plastic jacket that allows the conductor to transmit undistorted sound signals by preventing electromagnetic interference. Thus, the cable guarantees high-quality sound signals.
- Clear insulation- Besides, this wire comes with clear plastic insulation. Its clear nature makes it possible to see through it such that you can easily trace a cut within the speaker wire. Thus, it makes it easier to detect any faults with the speaker wire.
- Extremely flexible- Another benefit that comes with this wire is its flexibility. This makes it easier to work with the wire, especially when working around tight corners. Thus, you can easily use it around furniture, under rugs and carpet, through windows, and other tight spaces that require bending the wire.
- It’s one of the most affordable speaker wire
- Greatly packaged
- Easy to separate individual wires
- Thick insulation
- Challenging to strip without a wire stripper
If you’re looking for an affordable speaker wire for running shorter runs (below 50 feet) then this AmazonBasics 100ft 16-Gauge is the right speaker wire for you.
2. InstallGear 14 Gauge AWG 100ft
The InstallGear 14 gauge speaker wire is yet another top choice for anyone who wants to enjoy high-quality sound. It measures 100 feet in length, making it long enough for wiring several speakers at long distances.
- Rugged PVC jacket- One of the most outstanding features that comes with this speaker wire is its rugged PVC jacket insulation. Its rugged nature makes it easier to handle when working with it as it doesn’t slip easily. This is especially important when cutting, stripping, and terminating the wire as it won’t slip out of your hands when terminating.
- Colored insulation- Another notable feature that comes with this speaker wire is its color-marked insulation. One of the wire comes with a blue jacket whereas the other wire comes with a brown jacket. Thus, you’ll easily match the speaker wire polarities for enhanced accuracy when wiring speakers to the sound source.
- Copper-clad aluminum- The conductor of this speaker wire is made of copper-clad aluminum. This conductor material comprises of a core aluminum wire clad with copper. Thus, the speaker wire has great properties such as being lightweight and reduced oxidation.
- Compact spool- Another benefit that comes with this speaker wire is that it comes in a compact spool. Its compact nature makes it easier to store. Besides, the spool keeps the wire organized for enhanced convenience when wiring.
- Easy installation- This speaker wire is specially designed to fit in most crimp terminals and banana plugs. Thus, you’ll find it easy to terminate it to most types of speaker wire terminals and plugs for convenience. Besides, the PVC jacket is easy to strip for faster and easier installation.
- Easy to run through most car panels
- Easy to run along wall moldings
- Great for wiring home theater speakers and car speakers
- Stranded wires for enhanced flexibility
- Soft PVC jacket for flexibility
- The wire strands are a little brittle
InstallGear 14 Gauge AWG 100ft is yet another affordable speaker wire, and is ideal for long speaker wire runs.
3. Mediabridge 14AWG 2-Conductor
This high-strand speaker wire is designed for longevity and enhanced conductivity. There’re a total of 105 strands in each length of the wire, with each strand measuring 0.16mm. The wire is made oxygen-free copper.
- Oxygen-free copper- The conductor of this wire is made of oxygen-free copper. This is a special type of copper that is processed to remove oxygen and impurities from copper. As such, oxygen-free copper is less prone to oxidation. Thus, it allows for rust-free termination for enhanced transfer of sound signals.
- Double jacket- The wire comes with double jackets for enhanced insulation. Each speaker wire in the pair has its own insulation jacket. Besides, the two wires are collectively shielded by an outer jacket. Thus, the wire is properly shielded from unwanted noise for distortion-free sound.
- Versatile termination- Another notable feature that comes with this speaker wire is its versatile termination. You can terminate it with most connector plugs including banana plugs, bent pin connectors, and spade plugs, among other connectors. It’s also ideal for custom termination.
- Toughly built- This speaker wire boasts of being extremely tough. The insulation jacket is tough for enhanced protection of the speaker wire. It’s actually rated for use in in-wall applications. Thus, you can safely route it in the wall or ceiling without getting damaged.
- Color-coded wires- Another great feature that comes with this speaker wire is its color-coding. One of the wires comes with a red jacket whereas the other wire comes with a black jacket. The color-coding makes it easier to match the polarities for perfect connections.
- Flexible wire
- High-strand count
- Marked after every three feet for easier installation
- High-performance wire material
- Hard plastic spool
- The markings on the cable are relatively faint
If you’re planning to install in-wall and in-ceiling speakers, then this Mediabridge 14AWG 2-Conductor is the right speaker wire for you. It’s certified for in-wall use.
4. Monoprice Oxygen
Want to get the best sound experience from your home music system or car stereo? This speaker wire is specially designed for enhanced signal transfer. It’s made of oxygen-free copper. It comes in a spool and measures 50 feet in length.
- Oxygen-free pure copper– One of the greatest features that come with this speaker wire is its oxygen-free pure copper conductor. Its pure nature allows for maximum signal transfer for high-quality sound. Besides, its oxygen-free nature makes it resist oxidation for longevity and corrosion-free termination.
- Easily visible color marking- Another notable feature that comes with this speaker cable is its easily visible color marking. One of the wires comes with a blue stripe marking along its jacket. The marking allows you to differentiate the wire polarities.
- Clear PVC jacket- The clear PVC jacket that comes with this speaker cable makes it easy to view the wire. You can easily see the point where the wire is broken in case of a failed connection due to accidental cuts. This makes it easier to repair the wire.
- Extremely thick- The speaker wire comes with a 12 gauge thickness. It’s extremely thick for high powered connections. Its thickness makes it ideal long extremely long runs. This makes it ideal for whole-house speaker wiring.
- Low resistance- Another benefit that comes with this speaker cable is its low resistance. This makes it ideal for applications that require high-quality sound signals. Thus, you can use it for high load inputs.
- Highly flexible
- Pure bare copper
- High-quality wire
- The wire feels extremely dense
- Superior conductivity
- A little challenging to strip the wire
If you want top-quality sound in a high-powered home or car stereo system, then Monoprice Oxygen is the right speaker wire for you.
5. GearIT 14AWG 100 Feet
This speaker wire from GearIT is another great option worth your consideration. It measures 100 feet in length and has a size of 14 gauge. The wire is made of copper-clad aluminum.
- Premium wire- This speaker cable boasts of premium quality. It’s built with quality in mind and comprises of top-quality stranded conductors. Its professional-grade design makes it one of the best speaker wires for high-quality transmission of sound signals.
- Efficient conductors- Another benefit of this speaker cable is its copper-clad aluminum conductor. This type of wire material resists corrosion for the best conductivity and durability. Besides, copper-clad aluminum is highly flexible and an efficient conductor for high-quality sound.
- Custom installation- This speaker cable is suitable for custom termination and installation. You can terminate it with bent pin connectors, spade connectors, and banana plugs when connecting a speaker to an amplifier or receiver.
- Sturdy plastic spool- The wire comes wrapped around an extremely sturdy plastic spool. The spool keeps the wire in place during transportation and storage. Besides, it makes it more convenient to dispense, measure, and cut the wire.
- Sequential markings- The cable comes with sequential markings after some few feet for accuracy. For instance, you can take advantage of the markings to cut the same length of speaker wire for the left and right speakers to enjoy more balanced sound.
- High-performance conductor
- Low resistance
- High strand count for enhanced flexibility
- Color-marked for polarity matching
- May corrode when bare wire gets exposed to moisture
Anyone looking for a premium yet affordable speaker wire for connecting home theater or car speakers should consider this GearIT 14AWG 100 Feet in their shortlist.
6. KabelDirekt 14 AWG Gauge – 100 feet
This KabelDirect speaker cable is made according to rigorous manufacturing standards for enhanced quality and durability. It’s made of oxygen-free copper for reduced oxidation.
- Top-quality build- One of the reasons why this wire is worth your consideration is that it’s made of top-quality conductor and jacket. The conductor and jacket used in the wire are industrial-grade for enhanced durability.
- Exceptional signal quality- Another great feature of this wire is its oxygen-free copper conductor. This conductor material allows for exceptional signal quality. Each strand has a thickness of 0.2mm and an overall thickness of 14 gauge. Thus, the cable comprises of many strands for enhanced signal quality.
- Flexible sheath- The wire comes with a flexible PVC sheath that insulates the wire while still allowing for running it around corners. This makes it ideal for running through tight areas such as car panels and around furniture. Its flexibility also makes it easier to hide the speaker wire with rugs or under the carpet in a home audio setup.
- Easy termination- Another great feature that comes with this wire is its ease of termination. The shielding material is less stiff for easier cutting and stripping. Consequently, you’ll be able to terminate the wire more quickly and with less effort.
- Polarity marking- The wire comes with polarity marking for easier polarity matching. One of the wires is marked with a red line to differentiate between the left and right polarities.
- Durable jacket material
- Easy to install
- Very flexible
- Fits with most 14-gauge connector plugs
- Lacks feet markings
- A little challenging to straighten
KabelDirekt 14 AWG Gauge – 100 feet is your ultimate speaker wire for connecting a Hi-Fi sound system or home theater speakers.
7. NavePoint 500ft
This NavePoint copper-clad aluminum wire is another great choice for connecting speakers to a sound source. It comes as stranded wire, comprising of 80 strands of wire with each strand measuring 0.16mm in thickness. The overall thickness of each wire length is 14 gauge.
- Versatile- One of the most outstanding features of this wire is its versatility. It’s ideal for use in office, car, and home audio systems. Thus, you don’t have to buy different types of wire for each application as it serves most needs.
- Convenient packaging- The speaker wire comes packages in a pull box. You simply need to pull out enough length of the cable from the box. The box stores the wire in an organized manner. This makes it ideal for both DIY and professional use.
- Top-quality construction- Another key feature of this wire is its high-quality construction and design. It’s built for longevity and efficiency in speaker wiring. Both the wire and jacket are made of industrial-grade materials for durability and high-performance.
- Multiple strands- The cable comes in multiple strands of copper-clad aluminum wire. Each wire in the pair features 80 strands of wire, each measuring 0.16 mm. Its multiple strands makes it flexible for easier wiring.
- Extremely lengthy- You’ll definitely appreciate the length of this speaker wire. It measures 500 feet in total length. It’s long enough for wiring speakers in a large warehouse and other commercial installations. It’s also ideal for wiring speakers in a whole-house audio system.
- Ideal for in-wall installation
- Color-marked wires for polarity matching
- Easy to terminate
- Ideal for commercial sound installations
- Quite pricey
The features that come with this NavePoint 500ft speaker wire makes it ideal for both professional and DIY speaker wiring installations.
8. MaxBrite High Performance 12 Gauge Speaker Wire
The MaxBrite 12 gauge speaker wire comes in a spool and measures 100 feet in length. The speaker wire comprises of oxygen-free copper. It comes in a spool for tangle-free cable management during installation.
- Compatible with most connectors- This speaker wire boasts of being compatible with most bare wire connectors, bent pin connectors, spade plugs, and banana plugs. Thus, you won’t be limited to the types of connectors you can use when terminating the wire.
- Superb thickness- The wire comes with 65 strands of wire. It’s extremely thick, with a 12 gauge thickness. Its thickness makes it ideal for connecting high-powered speakers and longer speaker runs.
- Corrosion-resistant- Another top feature of this wire is that it’s made of oxygen-free copper conductor. This copper material is free of oxygen, thereby making it corrosion-resistant. This enhances its durability.
- Sequentially marked jacket- The jacket that comes with this speaker wire is sequentially marked after every two feet. The sequential markings make it easier to cut similar lengths of wire when connecting the left and right channels speakers. Similar wire lengths allow for balanced sound between the left and right channel speakers in a stereo or surround sound system.
- Wide compatibility- Another reason why you would want to consider this speaker is its wide compatibility with speaker connectors. You can terminate it with spade tips, bare wire connectors, bent pin connectors, and banana plugs.
- Low resistance
- Provides undistorted sound signals
- Easy and fast termination
- Accurate installation
- The wire jacket has a slight smell
- A little stiff
This High Performance 12 Gauge speaker wire is ideal for both home and commercial speaker wiring.
Factors to Consider When Choosing Speaker Wire
The kind of speaker wire you choose for your sound system will have an impact on the quality of sound you’ll get. Thus, don’t pick just any speaker wire and expect superb performance. You might end up wasting your money and get disappointed with poor sound quality by choosing the wrong speaker wire. But how would you pick out the best speaker cable from all the options available? Read on for the factors you should consider when choosing a speaker wire.
One of the most crucial factors to consider is the wire gauge. Wire gauge represents the thickness of the wire. Basically, a smaller gauge number means a thicker wire. For instance, a 12 gauge wire is thicker than a 14 gauge wire. If you need longer speaker runs, especially for commercial installations and whole-house speaker wiring, then you should go for thicker wire. Thicker wire has lower resistance, making it ideal for longer runs. In this case, you can use a 12 gauge wire for connections longer than 50 feet. On the other hand, if you want to wire car speakers or a home theater system, then you can use 14 gauge wire. 14 gauge wire is ideal for wire runs not exceeding 50 feet.
Another important factor to consider is the length of the speaker wire. Basically, you’ll need a lengthy wire for commercial and whole-house speaker wiring. If you’re wiring a stereo sound system, then a shorter wire would suffice. Thus, estimate the total length of wire you’ll need before making your choice. However, it’s advisable to buy a longer wire than your estimate just in case you erred in your estimate or you’d want to add extra speakers later on.
Type of Material
It’s extremely important to consider the type of conductor material making up the speaker cable. Most speaker cables are made of pure copper, copper-clad aluminum, and oxygen-free copper. Pure copper has low resistance but is prone to corrosion when exposed. Copper-clad aluminum is corrosion-resistant, lightweight, affordable, but a little more resistant than pure copper. On the other hand, oxygen-free copper is corrosion-resistant but more expensive than pure copper and copper-clad aluminum. Thus, compare the pros and cons of each material and choose the one that best suits your needs.
Insulation and Flexibility
You should also consider the kind of insulation used in making the speaker wire. The insulation should be easy to strip when terminating. Also, proper insulation prevents electromagnetic noise interference. The wire should also be flexible enough to route around corners, furniture, or car panels.
It’s important to match speaker wire polarities for accurate connections. At least one of the two wires should have a distinct color marking to match the polarities. The marking should be visible for enhanced accuracy.
Finally but not least, ensure the wire you’re choosing is made of high-quality materials for durability and the best value for your money. A high-quality speaker wire won’t get damaged easily. Besides, a top-quality wire material will allow for enhanced conductivity and high-quality signals for enhanced sound experience.
As you can see, different speaker wires come with different properties. The best speaker wire to choose is the one that has all the desirable properties you want such as gauge, length, quality of material, type of material, and insulation among other properties. Nevertheless, we hope that our review will assist you in making a more informed decision for the best value of your money.
Michael Evanchuk is a San Francisco-based sound engineer with 20 years’ experience installing, troubleshooting, and repairing commercial, automotive, and household sound equipment. Evanchuk owns an auto stereo center, where he offers highly competitive car audio installation and repair services. He has written dozens of articles on different sound engineering topics, all of which have been published in leading journals, blogs, and websites.