Various Types Of Scrap Copper Wire We Buy

Posted: May 10, 2016

Types of Scrap Metal WireHey scrappers!

Winter is almost gone! I know I’m excited for spring!  Today were going to go over some types of wire and categories at the rock.

Types of Scrap Copper Wire We Buy

  • Coaxial Cable – coaxial cable is the wire that connects to the back of your tv and cable box commonly known as cable tv wire.  The Rock does not buy this type of wire the copper content is very low and there is also steel in it.
  • Insulated Cable – People refer to insulated cable as any copper wire with insulation around it. At the Rock insulated cable is a category used to describe a thick wire usually the size of a pinky or bigger with a copper content of about 80%.
  • Insulated Wire – This category at the Rock is used to describe normal types of cords you see around the house that connect to appliances. Also extension cords. This wire is around 40-48 %.
  • THHN – Building wire that carries electricity to outlets. THHN is easily identified by its smooth coating and bright colors. Its copper in the middle surrounded by 1 jacket of insulation with #1 copper inside, tin coated (silver colored) copper inside will change the grading. This wire is around 70 – 77% copper.
  • Romex – Romex is very easy to identify usually in a white or yellow flat casing with 2 pieces of THHN and 1 piece of bare copper inside. This wire is about 62 -66 % copper.
  • Computer Wire –  Most wire from computers and power cables from computers are low copper content which is why we named the category computer wire.  This category also has many other types of wire in it because of the percentage of copper this category is for insulated wire with a copper content around 30 -37%.
  • Low Grade Wire – Very low copper content, heavy insulation any type of wire under 30 % copper content.

How To: Determine Copper Percentage In Scrap Wire

With so many grades of copper wire it is really difficult to guess what some percentage recoveries are without sampling. To do that it is very easy all you need is a small scale (you can get one off of Amazon or at Walmart) to weigh your wire out before and after.

  • Step 1– Cut a 2-3 inch piece of the wire and put it onto the scale.
  • Step 2– Write down the total weight of the wire and get your safety equipment out.
  • Step 3– Cut the insulation off of the copper and leave nothing but the copper after you are all done. Make sure you have your leather palmed safety gloves or another safety glove along with a sharp knife. This way your hands are protected.
  • Step 4– After you have the copper out of the insulation put it back onto the scale and see what just the copper itself weighs and write it down.
  • Step 5– Take the copper weight and divide it by the first weight of the overall piece. Let’s say that there is 5 ounces of copper and the piece weighed 10 ounces. 5 divided into 10 = 50% recovery. That means that 50% of the overall wire is copper and that is how we will buy the material.

insulated wire

There are a few things that can change the price of the metals, such as the copper being tin coated, shellac wire, or badly burnt or residue left on it.

Hope this helps scrappers! Don’t forget to go to to get today’s updated prices on all types of scrap metals.

Have Questions About Different Scrap Metal Wires?

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