Why Are Bare Electrical Wire and Cable Used as Grounds?

Have you ever wired a light fixture or done some other basic electrical work? If so, you may have noticed that modern fixtures and circuits are equipped with a third wire in addition to the hot and neutral leads: the ground wire.

The ground wire is a special type of electrical wire that protects the circuit. In the event of a power spike or surge, or even a short in the circuit, the ground wire funnels that excess electrical energy out of the circuit.

Grounding the circuit helps prevent overheating it and burning out sensitive components. A grounded circuit also has a way to let the excess energy escape, helping to prevent fires and lowering the risk of electrical shock.

While sometimes insulated green or green and yellow wire is used for grounding, typically, bare electrical wire and cable are used as grounds – but why?

Let’s take a closer look.

So Why Bare Wire?
For one thing, bare electrical wire and cable are commonly used as grounds because they are more cost-effective to manufacture. Remember, adding insulation to wire just adds another step that requires more materials, more time, and additional equipment. It is substantially more expensive to coat wire in insulation.

Since the ground doesn’t carry current under normal conditions, there is little reason to insulate it. That makes more cost-effective wire – bare wire – a more practical option.

This doesn’t elevate the risk involved to anyone since the ground only carries current in the event of a spike, surge, circuit, or other electrical fault. You should never handle electrical wires when power is supplied to them, anyway.

The other reason that uninsulated electrical wire and cable are used for grounding has to do with performance – as it turns out, bare is actually better.

The lack of insulation confers the highest and most efficient conductive properties to the wire. Since the only purpose of ground wire is to get excess current away from the main circuit, the more efficiently it can dissipate that energy, the better.

This stands in contrast to other electrical conductors, in which cases it’s best to keep all the current, or the signal, in one place (within the wire), not to allow it to escape.

Once the ground wire gets that energy away from the circuit, and to the ground (hence the name) it needs to bleed it off as quickly as possible. This is called leakage current capacity, and refers to the ability of a conductor to release the current it is carrying.

This is related to the conductor’s material and thickness, as well as its proximity to other materials, such as air (which is a good insulator) or water or earth (which can be good conductors).

Since bare copper electrical wire and cable lack insulation, they have the highest leakage current capacity of all conductors, especially compared to insulated wires which tend to have comparatively minimal leakage capacities.

For High-Quality, Bare Ground Electrical Wire and Cable
Interested in learning more about bare ground wire, or about other specialty electrical wire and cable? Need a new supplier for your business? Visit EWCS Wire.

The aptly named Electrical Wire and Cable Specialists have it all, from high-quality American-made electrical wire and cable to plenty of helpful and informative material in their blog.

Thy sell bare copper wire (which is suitable for grounding) as well as building wire, marine electrical cable, flexible welding cable, tray cable, solar panel cable, and a wide variety of specialty wire and cable such as submersible pump cable, instrumentation and alarm cable, DLO cable, armored cable, aluminum wire, and much more.

Visit their website for more details or get in touch with them at

For more information about Flexible Welding Cable and Awg Marine Battery Cable Please visit: Electrical Wire & Cable Specialists.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button