# Understanding The Differences Between 12 2 And 14 2 Wiring

## Introduction

When it comes to electrical wiring, choosing the right gauge and type of wire is crucial to ensure safety and reliability. Two common types of wiring used in residential and commercial buildings are 12 2 and 14 2. In this article, we will discuss the differences between these two types of wiring and when to use them.

### What is 12 2 Wiring?

12 2 wiring is a type of electrical wire that consists of two insulated conductors (a black and a white wire) and a bare copper ground wire. The wires are enclosed in a flexible plastic jacket, which is usually white or yellow. The “12” in 12 2 refers to the wire gauge, which is 12 AWG (American Wire Gauge). This wire is typically used for circuits that require higher amperage, such as kitchen appliances, air conditioners, and water heaters.

### What is 14 2 Wiring?

14 2 wiring is similar to 12 2 wiring, but it has a smaller wire gauge of 14 AWG. This wire also consists of two insulated conductors (a black and a white wire) and a bare copper ground wire, enclosed in a flexible plastic jacket. 14 2 wiring is typically used for circuits that require lower amperage, such as lighting and small appliances.

## Differences Between 12 2 and 14 2 Wiring

Now that we know what 12 2 and 14 2 wiring are, let’s take a closer look at the differences between them.

### Wire Gauge

The most significant difference between 12 2 and 14 2 wiring is the wire gauge. 12 2 wiring has a larger wire gauge than 14 2 wiring, which means it can handle more amperage. This makes it suitable for circuits that require higher amperage, while 14 2 wiring is better suited for circuits that require lower amperage.

### Circuit Rating

Another difference between 12 2 and 14 2 wiring is the circuit rating. The National Electric Code (NEC) sets the maximum amperage rating for each wire gauge. 12 2 wiring is rated for a maximum of 20 amps, while 14 2 wiring is rated for a maximum of 15 amps. This means that 12 2 wiring can handle more electrical load than 14 2 wiring.

### Cost

The cost of 12 2 and 14 2 wiring can also differ. Since 12 2 wiring has a larger wire gauge, it is generally more expensive than 14 2 wiring. Additionally, the cost can vary depending on the length of the wire and the retailer.

## When to Use 12 2 Wiring

Now that we know the differences between 12 2 and 14 2 wiring, let’s discuss when to use 12 2 wiring.

### High Amperage Circuits

As mentioned earlier, 12 2 wiring is suitable for circuits that require higher amperage. This includes circuits for kitchen appliances, air conditioners, and water heaters. If you are installing a circuit that requires more than 15 amps, it is best to use 12 2 wiring.

### Longer Distances

Another factor to consider when choosing between 12 2 and 14 2 wiring is the distance between the circuit and the electrical panel. If the circuit is located far from the panel, using 12 2 wiring can help reduce voltage drop, which can affect the performance of electrical devices.

## When to Use 14 2 Wiring

Now let’s discuss when to use 14 2 wiring.

### Lower Amperage Circuits

14 2 wiring is best suited for circuits that require lower amperage, such as lighting and small appliances. If you are installing a circuit that requires 15 amps or less, using 14 2 wiring is the way to go.

### Shorter Distances

If the circuit is located close to the electrical panel, using 14 2 wiring is usually sufficient. This is because voltage drop is less of a concern for shorter distances.

## Conclusion

In conclusion, 12 2 and 14 2 wiring are two common types of electrical wiring used in residential and commercial buildings. The main differences between these two types of wiring are the wire gauge, circuit rating, and cost. It is important to choose the right type of wiring based on the amperage requirements and distance from the electrical panel. By understanding the differences between 12 2 and 14 2 wiring, you can ensure the safety and reliability of your electrical circuits.