The Difference Between 24 AWG, 26 AWG and 28 AWG HDMI Cables
A common question asked by our customers is what the difference between 24 AWG, 26 AWG and 28 AWG HDMI Cables. This page provides a brief explanation of what this specification means and how this translates to differences in performance.
AWG is an acronym for American Wire Gauge. This is commonly used as a standard of measurement for electrical wire.
This unit of measurement can also apply to Audio Visual Interconnects such as Speaker Cable, RCA Cables and HDMI Cables etc. Within this page we will clarify the relation this has to HDMI Cables and what benefits a thicker gauge will offer. It is also important to note here that a lower number in fact pertains to a thicker gauge. For example 24 AWG is thicker than 28 AWG.
In reference to HDMI Cables, there are a number of factors that are important in producing a quality HDMI Cable. However, as a basic rule pertaining to conductive wire, the longer the signal has to travel, the more it will attenuate (lose strength). In an effort combat this loss, it is common practice to implement a thicker gauge wire for longer runs of cable.
As a guideline, 28 AWG is recommended for lengths up to about 5m. If budget is of concern, you could select a 30 AWG HDMI Cable. For lengths ranging from 5m to 10m, 26 AWG is recommended. Although, if budget is of concern you could select a 28 AWG HDMI Cable in this length range. For any lengths 10m and above, we recommend selecting a HDMI Cable featuring 24 AWG conductors. Once again if budget is of primary concern, you could select a 26 AWG HDMI Cable. However, for lengths approaching the 20m mark, this becomes increasingly risky and 24 AWG would offer a much safer choice with a stronger signal in this extreme length range.
Unfortunately, there are many HDMI Cable manufacturers that do not produce cables with the required gauge to ensure optimal signal strength, or worse still provide specifications that are not accurate. If in doubt, we recommend using vernier or digital calipers to obtain an accurate measurement and compare the thickness against the figures below.
Naturally as the thickness of the internal wires increase as does the overall diameter of the cable. As an approximate guide, 30 AWG should be between 6.0mm and 7.5mm, 28 AWG should be between 7.0mm and 8.5mm, 26 AWG should be between 8.0mm and 9.5mm, and 24 AWG should be between 9.0mm and 10.5mm.
The reason why there is a variance with these figures could be the result of a number of factors. Some of these include (but not limited to) differences in dielectric materials used, differences with the outer shielding for the individual wires, a difference with the outer braided shield, or a difference in the outer PVC jacket etc.