Unless a wire kit comes with your speaker, you will need to source wire to install them. Most car speakers require speaker wire, although there are few speakers that connect with a plug-in device that don’t require extra wire hookups.

The speaker wire used should be based on the length and gauge your setup requires. This article will help you make the right choices and reveal what kind of speaker wire is the best in the industry. Not all speaker wires are created equally—the quality of the speaker wire makes a difference.

The gauge of a speaker wire is defined by the American Wire Gauge. The range is numerical, ranging from 10-gauge to 18-gauge. The lower the gauge number, the thicker the wire. Greater thickness enables a larger signal flow. In other words, a thicker wire transfers a better signal. 

It’s important to evaluate the distance between your amplifier and speakers. To measure this distance, use a string to mimic the course of wiring. Wire will should run along the sides of the vehicle without forming tight bends at the corners so it won’t be damaged. Be sure to account for errors by adding some length to the final estimate. It’s easier to cut off excess than cutting yourself short. 

As the wire length increases the signal degrades. It’s possible to offset increases in length with greater thickness. Generally speaking, if the distance from the speaker to an amplifier is less than 80 feet, then 16-gauge wire will suffice. If the distance is between 80 and 200 feet, you should use 14-gauge speaker wire. If the distance is greater than 200 feet you should purchase 10- or 12-gauge cables.

What is speaker wire made of?

Speaker wire is typically constructed with copper because of its high conductivity level and low resistance. Some manufacturers construct speaker wire from silver, because silver has higher conductivity than copper. The downside being silver is more expensive than copper and contains more impurities that can cause subpar performance.

How do you measure speaker wire quality?

While it is hard to quantify, many attest that there is a noticeable difference in speaker wiring. Many car audio enthusiasts swear by NVX, and it is especially recommended for use with higher quality speakers. The NVX development team conducts exhaustive research when developing their first-class speaker wire.

The NVX line includes the EnvyFlex speaker cables from 12 to 16 gauge and in rolls of 25 feet or 400 feet. The EnvyFlex line is made of silver-toned 100% virgin copper for the absolute best transfer of signal and power and has a flexible jacket for easy installation.

Many competition-quality systems use NVX Cable. The signal accuracy ensures that speakers, subwoofers, and amplifiers will produce finely-tuned music.

How do I connect my speaker wire?

Speaker wire has two leads, one positive and one negative. Most new wire is fashioned with connectors. If the wire doesn’t have connectors, you would have to strip the insulation and twist both ends of the wire so it doesn’t fray or stop conducting. 

When ordering wire, be sure to order wire that is compatible with your receiver and speaker terminals. If you order the right wiring, each wire should correspond with a color coded terminal.

What types of terminals are there?

The two standard types are snap clip (aka. spring) terminals and binding post terminals. For snap clip terminals, push down the clip and insert the wire into the terminal. This will secure the wire. Snap clip terminals are compatible with bare wire or wires fashioned with pin connectors. They are not compatible with spade connectors, banana plus, or dual-banana plugs, which require a binding post terminal.

It is not possible to use bare wire with a binding post. A binding post terminal requires spade connectors, banana plugs or dual-banana plugs. After you unscrew the binding post, directly insert the banana or dual banana plugs into the terminal. If using a spade connector, set the spade connector underneath the spade connector and screw the connector back into place.