Why is RG58 cable so expensive?

RG58 cable can be really pricey. Take for example this 500-foot spool, which at over $300 is a real price premium over a RG6 cable, which can generally be found at less than half the price. RG58 cable is used for older cell booster installations and is still found in professional-grade cell booster installations. The traditional wisdom is that 50-ohm cable like RG58 is more compatible with sending voice and data signals through the house, while RG6 is better for video.

Unfortunately, while RG6 has enjoyed great success as part of pretty much every cable TV, satellite or TV antenna installation in the last 40 years or so, RG58 cable has stayed out at the margins. Even most consumer-level cell booster installs use RG6 cable now, which offers similar (if not quite as good) performance for relatively short runs. That leaves RG58 as an unpopular alternative, and that’s the real reason it’s so expensive. RG58 just doesn’t get produced as often and so each spool carries a larger percentage of that “startup cost” that comes with manufacturing anything.

Plain and simple, if you’re going to make ten million feet of RG6 (and the real number is probably ten times that) each foot only has to absorb a small part of the cost of getting the manufacturing line running. On the other hand, there’s probably not a market for more than a few hundred thousand feet of RG58, so each foot is going to cost more.

What makes matters even worse is that converting from one cable type to another is expensive. You need special converters that step the impedance up or down, not just plain adapters. Not only that but the process creates so much loss that you’ll usually want to put an amplifier in line to deal with it. Yes, it’s a pain but you’re better off just using what you need in the first place.

If you’re looking at a complete re-wire job, it’s a perfect time to pull out the RG58 and put in RG6, even if that means changing cell boosters. Cell boosters that use RG58 cable are intended for real industrial use and that makes them expensive too. Sooner or later you’ll be glad you moved to a booster that uses easy-to-get low priced RG6 cable.

And when you do shop for cable, of course I certainly would appreciate if you would take a look at SolidSignal.com.

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 9,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.