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Your distribution source for Belden Cable, Alpha Wire, Southwire Cable and equals
Your distribution source for Belden Cable, Alpha Wire, Southwire Cable and equals
Multi-Conductor Cable Types

Multi-Conductor Cable Types

You know you want to use multi-conductor cables because they streamline complex wiring, ensure reliable signal transmission, and are customizable to fit a vast array of applications. 

The only question is, which of the multi-conductor cable types is right for your specific needs? We’re here to help you find out!

Discover the nuances between shielded and unshielded cables, the various types of jacket materials, and the implications of different cable sizes below. You’ll learn everything you need to feel confident choosing the right solution for your application, be it industrial automation or telecommunications.

No matter which type of multi-conductor cable you need, one thing is for sure: has the most reliable, affordable cables online! Set yourself up for success by powering your project with our multiconductor cables.

Overview of Multi-Conductor Cables

Before we get into the different multi-conductor cable types you have at your disposal, let’s cover the basics. 

These essential components in modern electrical and communication infrastructure facilitate efficient and effective signal and power distribution. They consist of multiple insulated conductors bundled within a single protective sheath, enabling them to carry multiple signals or power currents in parallel.

This configuration streamlines the installation process, reduces space usage, and simplifies cable management. This is why in choosing between a single conductor vs multi conductor cable, you’ll find more value in the latter.

These cables are crafted from high-quality materials to ensure durability and functionality. Conductors are typically made of copper due to its excellent electrical conductivity. These are then individually insulated with materials like PVC, Teflon, or rubber. This prevents electrical leakage and protects against short circuits. 

The outer sheath, which encases these insulated conductors, provides additional protection against environmental stressors such as abrasion, chemicals, moisture, and temperature extremes. 

Multi-conductor cables can adapt to a range of applications, from simple power connections to complex data and control systems. Their design contributes to the safe and efficient transmission of electrical power and signals. It also ensures longevity and reliability in diverse operational environments.

The advantages of multi-conductor cables are clear, but the variances between the different types of multi-conductors are not. So, let’s get into the main topic on today’s agenda below!

Unpacking the Different Multi-Conductor Cable Types

Understanding the different types of multi-conductor cables is crucial for selecting the right one for your needs. While the variations in design and material can be complex, we’re here to simplify it for you! Let’s start by discussing shielding.

Shielded vs Unshielded Cables

Shielded cables have a conductive layer surrounding the conductors that is typically made of metal foil or a braided wire. 

This protects against electromagnetic interference (EMI), which can disrupt the cable’s signal transmission, especially in environments with significant electrical noise from motors, transformers, or fluorescent lighting. 

Shielded cables are essential in maintaining signal integrity for sensitive applications like data transmission, audio/video setups, and control systems.

On the other hand, unshielded cables are more susceptible to EMI. That doesn’t necessarily mean they’re worse, though. They’re still suitable for environments with minimal electrical noise. 

They also tend to be lighter, more flexible, and less expensive than their shielded counterparts, making them a practical choice for residential and commercial power applications where EMI is not a concern.

Various Jacket Materials

You will also find different types of jacket materials used on multi-conductor cables. The jacket is designed to provide mechanical protection and environmental resistance. Here are the most common materials:

  • PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride): Among the most commonly used materials for its versatility, durability, and cost-effectiveness. It provides good resistance to moisture, chemicals, and physical abrasion, making it suitable for general indoor applications and light outdoor use.
  • PE (Polyethylene): Offers excellent electrical insulation along with moisture and chemical resistance. This makes it ideal for outdoor applications, including direct burial and use in moist environments. PE is also known for its high dielectric strength and low-temperature toughness.
  • PUR (Polyurethane): Known for its excellent shape memory, flexibility, and resistance to abrasion, oil, and solvents. PUR jackets are often used in demanding applications like retractable coil cords and cables used in dynamic, flexing installations.
  • Rubber: Natural or synthetic rubber jackets offer superior flexibility and durability. They are used in cables that require frequent movement or flexing, such as in industrial control systems and power tools.
  • TPR/TPE (Thermoplastic Rubber/Elastomer): Combine the flexibility and resilience of rubber with the processing advantages of thermoplastics. TPR and TPE are durable, flexible, and perform well in low-temperature applications, making them suitable for outdoor and cold environment usage.
  • CPE (Chlorinated Polyethylene): A tough, chemically resistant material with good weathering properties. It's lightweight and rigid, with a low coefficient of friction, making it appropriate for harsh environments where durability and resistance to elements are required.
  • Teflon (PTFE): Known for its ability to withstand extreme temperatures and aggressive chemicals. It’s used in environments where high performance and resistance to harsh conditions are necessary. Its excellent electrical properties make it ideal for high-frequency and high-temperature applications.

Conductor Configurations

You will find two different types of multi-conductor cables from a conductor confirmation point of view - solid or stranded.

Solid conductors consist of a single piece of metal wire - usually copper. This provides a sturdy and reliable connection ideal for static applications where the cable will not be flexed or moved frequently.

In comparison, stranded conductors are made of multiple thin wires twisted together, which offers more flexibility and durability under bending and flexing conditions. This is especially advantageous in dynamic applications like robotics and moving machinery.

Understanding Different Sizes

The size of a cable is usually defined by its gauge (AWG - American Wire Gauge), which indicates the cross-sectional area of the conductors. Lower gauge numbers mean thicker wires, capable of carrying more current without overheating. 

The choice of size should be based on the maximum current the cable needs to carry and the length of the cable run, as longer distances require thicker wires to minimize voltage drop. Here are some of the most common sizes you have access to here at

Cable Flexibility and Bend Radius

You will also come across various multi-conductor cable types in terms of flexibility and bend radius.

Flexibility is particularly important in applications where cables need to be routed through tight spaces or connected to moving parts. High-flex cables are designed to withstand repeated bending cycles without damage, crucial in automated machinery and mobile equipment.

The bend radius of a cable speaks to the minimum radius one can bend a cable without harming it. A smaller bend radius indicates higher flexibility. Exceeding this radius can cause physical stress to the conductors and insulation, leading to premature failure.

How to Pick the Right Cable For Your Specific Needs

Now that you know all about the various multi-conductor cable types, which specific configuration is right for your project or products? 

We’ll help you choose below, but remember that your best bet is to reach out to our team here at for a personalized recommendation. We have Belden alternative cables for any use case!

Considering Your Use-Case Requirements

Start by assessing the demands of your application. What environments will the cable be exposed to? Will it face extreme temperatures, chemicals, or mechanical stress? 

The function of the cable also dictates the need for certain features, like shielding for EMI protection in data communication systems or high-flex materials for dynamic machinery applications.

You should also consider the electrical requirements, such as voltage and current, and whether the cable needs to support data, power, or both. While there are many moving pieces, we can help you weigh all your options.

Compliance and Standards

You may or may not need to ensure your cables align with industry standards or regulations. This could include UL, CE, or IEEE standards, which verify that the cables have been tested for safety and performance in specific conditions. 

Meanwhile, compliance with standards like NEC (National Electrical Code) can dictate cable choice, particularly in building wiring and public infrastructure projects. This is something we can help you navigate so that you don’t have to stress about the consequences of non-compliance. 

Budget and Cost Considerations

We know you have a budget you’d like to stay within, and chances are, we can help you do it. Still, it’s important to note that you shouldn’t make your decision based solely on cost. Sure, it’s tempting to opt for the least expensive option - but you often get what you pay for.

Rather than shopping based on price only, consider the total value you’re getting. This means factoring in potential maintenance, durability, and replacement costs. Investing in higher-quality cables may save you more money in the long run.

All this being said, we’ll introduce you to our “Belden Equals” in just a moment, which offer the same great quality as name brands at 10-20% cheaper.

What to Look for in a Provider

A good provider should have a comprehensive selection of cables so that no matter what your needs are, you can find a compatible solution. Because as you now know, there are quite a few different types of multi-conductor cables out there!

Further to that point, the retailer or wholesaler you shop with should be well-versed in the ins and outs of configuration and material variations. This helps you avoid much of the stress of choosing your cables - just share your requirements and they’ll be able to give you an accurate recommendation so you can enjoy peace of mind!

While there are many different places you can buy your cables, few will meet these standards. So take the time to do your due diligence and vet the company’s reputation with past customers in the form of reviews. This will offer you assurance that you’re getting quality products backed by excellent support.

All that being said, you can shop with confidence here at Discover what separates us from the rest below!

Find All the Multi-Conductor Cable Types at Where Quality Meets Value 

There is no margin for error when it comes to powering your products or projects, which is why our customers trust us for reliable, long-lasting cables and wiring solutions. We bring more than a century of cumulative experience in the audio, video, and electrical industries.

This expertise has empowered us to create solutions that represent the highest standard in quality and value - the best of both worlds! We believe you shouldn’t have to choose between one or the other, which is why we are proud to offer our “Belden equals”. These are nearly identical in fit, form, and function, yet, they’re a fraction of the price.

So, just how much money can you save by sourcing through us? Some customers have achieved $30k annual savings, while others have seen cost reductions of up to $86k. Meanwhile, we’ve helped other customers cut cable costs by a whopping 65%! The only way to find out exactly what you stand to gain by partnering with us is by getting started today.

ou can browse our catalog or get in touch with our customer service team for a product recommendation based on your specific needs. We’re available via phone, email, or live chat and eager to help you power your projects with confidence! 

Final Thoughts on the Different Types of Multi-Conductor Cables

That concludes our breakdown of all the different multi-conductor cable types. While there are many variations in material and configuration for these cables, they all share the same common goal of offering a robust, efficient solution for a myriad of projects and products.

We hope you have a solid grasp on what separates these different styles and which is right for your unique needs. Whatever those requirements may be, remember that is your one-stop shop for reliable, high-quality cables at an affordable price. 

You can leverage our industry-leading customer service team today to help you pick the perfect cables, or browse our collection if you feel certain which is right for you. Don’t compromise on quality or value - choose for cables that deliver on both.

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