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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

A Quick Tutorial on Belden Equals, Alpha Equals and Connector Equals

Belden, General Cable, Southwire and a few select others are the clear leaders in the manufacturing of wire and cable.  They spend considerable resources in developing, then branding their products.  But what is an OEM or end user to do when these manufacturers run out of these products, and worse have production lead times and delays that exceed 3-6 month?  How is a user and purchaser of wire and cable supposed to continue their operations and support their business?  Luckily, these manufacturers are not the only suppliers of these materials. 

Belden equals are cables manufactured with identical materials to the near identical specification of the original Belden product.  We like to call it identical Fit-Form-Function.  I say near identical for the reason due to the nature of the precise dimensions of these products, its not impossible that there are millimeter differences in some of the measurements.  That’s why we always provide a specification sheet for the equal so that information can be verified before purchase.

Now that we have established what constitutes an equal, let’s talk about the benefits.

  1. The largest customer in the world accepts equals. In Fiscal Year 2022 the United States Department of Defense projects to spend approximately $163 billion, and they readily accept equivalents.  The government uses two main methods to qualify products as equals.  First, is Mil-spec.  Mil-spec products are built in accordance to military specifications performing well in the harshest of environments. Mil-spec designations do not necessarily indicate exact equals, they are more general but still provide close alternatives to branded products.  Second, and more relevant to this discussion are NSN products.  NSN means National Stock Number and is a 13-digit stock number that applies to all standardized items of a particular material.  Products under a particular NSN have been identified as equals to each other and are readily substitutable.
  2. Equals are less expensive. Once we establish that equals are widely accepted, the next part is an easy sell, equals are typically 20-40% less expensive than their branded counterpart.  How can these products be so much less expensive?  Think of the pain reliever market.  There are multiple branded pain relievers like Tylenol and Advil.  The off-brand versions of those pain relievers sold in most grocery and drug stores are significantly cheaper, why?  No branding to worry about, only the manufacturing costs of the product.  In the end, it’s the same product.  This same principle applies to wire, cable, and other branded technology products.
  3. They are typically made in the USA. Historically, made in the USA was a rallying cry for national solidarity, now in todays post COVID, supply chain constrained environment, its essential for lowering costs.  Yes, made in the USA cable products are manufactured in the USA by American owned companies, with American workers.  But in today’s world, made in the USA means shorter lead times for manufacturing, and significantly lower shipping and transportation costs.
  4. With multiple manufacturers, more likely of in-stock material. Let’s face facts, many wire and cable products are in short supply. 
  5. Equals are available for everything from wire, cable, heat shrink, connectors, braid, and more. Equals are available for more than just wire and cable.  Equals are available to Alpha and Sumitomo heat shrink, Glen-Air and Amphenol connectors, and TE Connectivity braid.  The same benefits regarding multiple manufacturers and cost savings apply to these products as well.

Well, that did not turn out to be so quick, but I do hope it was informative.  If you have questions regarding equals for products you may need assistance with, please use the link to chat with us below, send us an email at or call us at 1-888-792-9283.