When it comes to electrical wiring, there are two popular types of wires that are often used in residential and commercial settings: Romex and THHN. Both types of wires have their own unique characteristics and advantages, making them suitable for different applications. In this article, we will take a closer look at Romex and THHN wires, their differences, and which one is best for your next project.
What is Romex?
Romex is a type of electrical wire that is commonly used for residential wiring. It is a brand name for a specific type of non-metallic sheathed cable (NM cable) that is made up of two or more insulated conductors wrapped in a plastic sheath. The sheath is designed to protect the wires from damage and to prevent electrical shocks.
Advantages of Romex
One of the main advantages of Romex is that it is easy to install. The plastic sheath is color-coded, which makes it easy to identify the different wires. Romex is also affordable and readily available at most hardware stores. Additionally, it is suitable for most residential wiring applications, such as lighting, outlets, and appliances.
Disadvantages of Romex
One of the main disadvantages of Romex is that it is not suitable for outdoor use. The plastic sheath is not designed to withstand extreme temperatures, moisture, or sunlight. Additionally, Romex is not suitable for use in commercial or industrial settings, where the wiring requirements are more complex.
What is THHN?
THHN is a type of electrical wire that is commonly used for commercial and industrial wiring. It stands for “Thermoplastic High Heat-resistant Nylon-coated.” It is a single conductor wire that is made up of a copper core that is coated in PVC insulation and a nylon jacket. THHN wire is designed to be used in conduit or other approved raceways.
Advantages of THHN
One of the main advantages of THHN is that it is heat resistant and can be used in high-temperature environments. This makes it ideal for use in commercial and industrial settings where machinery and equipment generate a lot of heat. Additionally, THHN is resistant to moisture, oil, and chemicals, making it suitable for use in harsh environments.
Disadvantages of THHN
One of the main disadvantages of THHN is that it is more expensive than Romex. Additionally, it is not suitable for use in residential settings, as it requires conduit or other approved raceways. This can make it more difficult to install and may require the services of a licensed electrician.
Which one is best for your next project?
When choosing between Romex and THHN, it is important to consider the specific requirements of your project. If you are working on a residential project and need an affordable and easy-to-install wire, Romex is likely your best option. However, if you are working on a commercial or industrial project and need a wire that is heat-resistant and can withstand harsh environments, THHN is likely the better choice.
Tips for Choosing the Right Wire
When choosing between Romex and THHN, there are a few additional factors to consider. These include the wire gauge, ampacity, and the specific requirements of your local building codes. It is always a good idea to consult with a licensed electrician before beginning any electrical project, as they can help you choose the right wire for your specific needs.
In conclusion, Romex and THHN are both popular types of electrical wires, each with its own unique advantages and disadvantages. When choosing between the two, it is important to consider the specific requirements of your project, such as the environment, temperature, and wiring regulations. By taking the time to carefully select the right wire, you can ensure that your electrical project is safe, reliable, and meets all necessary regulations.