NICE AND EASY: Why is copper used for cables?

Everyone knows that cables are made of copper. But why? Is copper so magical? Does it have some sort of magical properties? It doesn’t. It’s not even really the best material for cables, but it does strike the best compromise.

The most important thing a cable MUST do is conduct electricity. The signals that come through your cables are electrical, plain and simple. Copper conducts electricity, and it does it pretty well. It’s also easy to form and relatively cheap. You could use silver or gold for cables with some success but those would be some mighty expensive cables. Steel is cheaper but it doesn’t do as good of a job.

Unfortunately, copper does tarnish. It turns green over time and when it turns green it doesn’t conduct electricity nearly as well as it used to. That’s why it’s important to take a look at all your outdoor connectors and see if they have tarnished or oxidized at all. That would be a sign that they need to be replaced.

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.