How to Choose the Right Wire and Wire Gauge Sizes

The size of your gauge depends on several factors, including the diameter and pressure scale you need. For example, if you’re using a gauge for an air compressor, you may need to select a pressure scale of psi or bar (depending on the type of application), while if you’re measuring fluid flow in an industrial process, you might need a measurement unit like mbar or kPa. The type of end connections you’ll need, such as NPT or metric, is also important to consider.

You’ll need to decide how accurately you want to read your pressure value, which will influence the gauge diameter you need. For instance, if you’ll be reading your gauge in low light conditions, you might need one with zone markings on the dial face that will make it easier to see the smaller divisions of the scale.

If you’re choosing a wire gauge, you’ll need to determine the size of your circuit’s current and the maximum amperage it can handle. There are many different wire sizes, and each one is suited to a particular purpose. For example, electrical wiring in homes and buildings typically uses 14- or 12-gauge wires while large appliances like stoves and dryers use 10- or 8-gauge wire. Crafters often use 12-gauge wire for their jewelry and other craft projects.

Aside from the type of metal you’re working with, the thickness of the wire will influence what gauge you need. Thicker wires can carry more current, but they’re more difficult to work with because they are stiffer and less flexible. Thinner wires can be more flexible, but they may not hold up to high amperage levels.

You can measure the thickness of a wire by placing it in a gauge wheel, which has gaps of varying sizes. Each gap has a number written in front, and you place your piece of metal into the gaps until it fits perfectly. For instance, if your metal fits into a gap that has the number 16 written in front, it means your metal is 16-gauge thick.

The reason that a larger number represents thinner wire is because the gauge system was developed by drawing the wire through progressively smaller holes. Each time the wire was drawn through a hole, it became thinner and thinner until it reached its final diameter. So, a wire with a number 10 gauge would be much thinner than a wire with a number 1 gauge because the number of holes it was pulled through was 10.

When determining the gauge size for nonferrous metals—metals without iron—you’ll need to ensure that the front of the gauge wheel reads “nonferrous.” For ferrous metals, such as steel and cast iron, you’ll need to make sure your gauge wheel reads “ferrous.” To help users get the most out of their WIKA gauges, we have options for the type of display and color that you choose, as well as zone markings and photo luminescence for visibility in low-light situations.  gauge sizes