How to Convert Metric Wire Size to AWG

Written by kevin carr
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How to Convert Metric Wire Size to AWG
Wires come in different sizes for different uses, and this is measured by the wire gauge. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Wire gauge measures the thickness of a cross-section of wire. For centuries, manufacturers developed specific wire gauges to standardise the product for a country or region. The current wire gauge standard in North America is the AWG (American Wire Gauge), which is given in inches. Some standards, like the British Standard Wire Gauge, are given in millimetres. Sometimes it is necessary to convert from one standard to another.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Wire Gauging Device
  • Calculator

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  1. 1

    Slide the wire into a comparably sized groove of the wire gauging device. If it does not fit, try a wider groove. If the wire does not fit snugly into the groove, try a smaller one.

  2. 2

    Read the wire gauge number on the wire gauging device. This is the wire gauge.

  3. 3

    Use the wire gauge number to look up the diameter of the wire in millimetres.

  4. 4

    Multiply the diameter by 0.03937, which is how many inches are in a millimetre. The answer will be the wire size in inches, the standard AWG unit.

Tips and warnings

  • Several tools are available online to convert metric wire gauge to AWG standards. Some websites include a chart that lists the AWG standards alongside their metric counterparts, so no computing is necessary.
  • Other websites have an online calculator that will convert inches to millimetres, or millimetres to inches. Some online tools will display the gauge in millimetres or inches when you input the wire gauge number.

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