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The Best Speaker Wires

Nor Gal/Shutterstock.com
🕚 Updated April 2023

Whether you're watching a movie with surround sound audio or noodling on your electric guitar, distortion caused by old or cheap speaker wires can put a damper on crystal-clear sound. Replace them with one of these selections.

Scroll Table to Left
  Best Overall Best Value Best for Home Theater Best with Banana Plugs Best for Car Audio
 
  GearIT
16 AWG In-Wall Speaker Wire
Amazon Basics
16-Gauge Speaker Wire Cable, 100 Feet
GearIT
16-Gauge Speaker Wire
Mediabridge
ULTRA Series Speaker Cable
InstallGear
14 AWG Speaker Wire Cable
 
Our SummaryThis in-wall OFC speaker wire offers the best conductivity, corrosion resistance, and high-fidelity sound.This popular, great quality CCA speaker wire cable comes at an affordable price.This 26-strand, triple-twisted, two-conductor CCA wire was designed for your home system installation needs.This remarkable speaker wire with gold-plated banana plugs and high strand-count OFC wire.This 14-gauge CCA speaker wire features a high-performance PVC jacket for successful car audio and home theater installation.
Pros✓ Oxygen-free copper (OFC)
✓ 100-foot in-wall wire
✓ High-stranded
✓ Pairs with multiple connectors
✓ Highly conductive
✓ Resistant to corrosion
✓ Budget-friendly
✓ Copper-clad aluminum (CCA)
✓ Clear plastic jacket
✓ White line to indicate polarity
✓ Two-conductor
✓ Triple-twisted CCA
✓ Easy-to-identify polarity line
✓ Quality PVC jacket
✓ Hard plastic spool
✓ Sequential foot markings
✓ Dual conductors
✓ Soldered banana plug terminations
✓ Corrosion-resistant gold plating
✓ No-slip PVC Y-Boot nylon sheath
✓ High strand-count
✓ Length variety
✓ 14-gauge for low resistance
✓ Soft and durable PVC jacket
✓ Black stripe for easy polarity identification
✓ Stripped for seamless installation
✓ Worry-free installation
Cons✗ Doesn't come with conductors
✗ Less robust Cat 5 Ethernet capability
✗ Difficult to see white polarity line
✗ Not pure copper
✗ Quality inconsistencies
✗ No clear line to mark foot number
✗ Best for those who connect and disconnect speakers frequently✗ Too thick for some paneling holes
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The Best Speaker Wires

Blue and white speaker wire.
Nor Gal/Shutterstock.com

Buying Guide for Speaker Wires

Tan and clear speaker wires.
Scott Milless/Shutterstock.com

Why buy speaker wires?

For starters, speakers don’t typically come with wires, so you’ll need to buy some. Another good reason to purchase speaker wires is to improve sound quality or replace faulty ones. Also, don’t overlook that low-quality speaker wires can damage speakers, amplifiers, and receivers.

What should you look for in speaker wires?

  • Gauge: A speaker’s wire gauge is a measurement of the cable’s thickness, which may seem unimportant, but it is for sound quality—rule of thumb: the higher the gauge, the smaller the thickness of the cable. Look for the wire’s AWG number (12, 14, 16, or 18); the thicker the wire and the lower the gauge, the lower the resistance. Low resistance makes your amplifier’s signal travel to your speaker faster.
  • Conductor: Speaker wire comes in different metals and degrees of purity, each creating a different sound. The three most common conductors are copper, CCA (copper-clad aluminum), and silver wire. Pure copper offers the best sound clarity and overall quality for the price, and the more refined, the better. Some people prefer CCA because it produces ground sound quality at a more affordable price than premium copper. Best of all, silver wire offers a lower resistance than others, which means that even with a thinner gauge, you get a low-resistance quality sound.
  • Type: You can buy speaker wire with or without a connector. The consensus is that connectors protect your wire, make plugging and unplugging speakers from receivers and amplifiers easier, and provide a solid connection. Common connectors include banana plugs, spade connectors, and pin connectors. How to choose? Please take a look at the terminals available on your speakers; they’ll be spring clips or binding posts. We recommend you do more research to find the best connector for your setup.

Should you buy premium speaker wires or go for a cheaper product?

While it may seem obvious, the answer is: It depends. It would be best to consider how much you can afford to spend and your desired goals. Speaker wires connect amplifiers and speakers; each electronic affects sound quality. Some people would rather invest in better amplifiers or high-performance speakers; if that’s the case, then buying okay-quality wires makes sense. Most importantly, you should know how you arrived at your decision.

Our Picks for the Best Speaker Wires

Best Overall

GearIT 16 AWG In-Wall Speaker Wire

This in-wall OFC speaker wire offers the best conductivity, corrosion-resistance, and high-fidelity sound.

Pros: The oxygen-free copper (OFC) descriptor should grab your attention. This GearIT 100 ft in-wall speaker wire is high-stranded, highly conductive, and highly resistant to corrosion, which is especially important if you’re installing speaker wires in your car. The better the conductivity, the greater the current to your amplifier for the best high-fidelity sound possible. We’re impressed by the GearIT’s degree of compatibility as an in-wall application or to pair with bent pin connectors, spade tips, or banana plugs.

Cons: GearIt’s OFC in-wall speaker wires don’t come with connectors, but most don’t. Also, its Cat 5 Ethernet capability could be better with the more robust Cat 6.

Bottom Line: Attention all audiophiles looking for pure copper speaker wires: The GearIT’s in-wall OFC offers superior conductivity than pure copper. This product is worth a look if you’re looking for the best wire for your car or at-home system.

 

Best Value

Amazon Basics 16-Gauge Speaker Wire Cable, 100 Feet

This popular, great quality CCA speaker wire cable comes at an affordable price.

Pros: For a budget-friendly, popular option, the Amazon Basics 16 AWG CCA (copper-clad aluminum) deserves some attention. Many experts regard CCA as on par with OFC for its lower cost; most ears won’t hear any difference, which is proven true with this product. It connects audio speakers to an A/V receiver or amplifier and features a clear, plastic jacket with a white line to indicate its polarity.

Cons: The white polarity line may be difficult to see—customers who want to see that OFC label should look elsewhere.

Bottom Line: Amazon Basics 100-foot 16-gauge speaker wire covers the basics well and has some perhaps surprising high-quality features for some. We bet you’ll be pleased if you’re open to trying this wire out.

 

Best for Home Theater

GearIT 16-Gauge Speaker Wire

This 26-strand, triple-twisted, two-conductor CCA wire was designed for your home system installation needs.

Pros: GearIt’s 16 AWG is a two-conductor, triple-twisted CCA wire with a durable PVC jacket with an easy-to-identify polarity line, so you know which is left and right, making it ideal for custom home system installation. The tough, flexible, insulated jacket adds protection for better installation and undistorted, high-fidelity sound. Whether you get 50 or 500 feet of wire, the hard plastic spool around which the wire is wrapped makes it much easier to work with, as do the sequential foot markings along the jacket.

Cons: Customers report some quality issues, such as sequential foot markings. The number is given, but not a clear line for accuracy.

Bottom Line: It’s as good as it gets this GearIT speaker wire unless you’re sold on OFC-only and want to fork over more money. There’s no need to go there—a better quality at-home theater speaker wire will be hard to find.

 

Best with Banana Plugs

Mediabridge ULTRA Series Speaker Cable

This remarkable speaker wire comes with gold-plated banana plugs and high strand-count OFC wire.

Pros: So what we’ve been saying all along is true: Speaker wires don’t usually come with connectors. But this product by Media Bridge is an exception. The 12 AWG speaker cable features dual conductors with soldered banana plug terminations. The brass/copper banana plugs feature corrosion-resistant gold plating, and inside the no-slip PVC Y-Boot nylon sheath is a high-strand-count OFC wire. 

Cons: If you don’t need to connect and disconnect your speakers frequently, you may want to look at spade connectors.

Bottom Line: Those who value quality sound have nothing but the best to say about this clever speaker cable by Media Bridge. It comes in various lengths from 3 to 25 feet, so you can create your home system without sacrificing quality.

 

Best for Car Audio

InstallGear 14 AWG Speaker Wire Cable

This 14-gauge CCA speaker wire features a high-performance PVC jacket for successful car audio and home theater installation.

Pros: Choose between 30 feet, 100 feet with or without 12 banana plugs, or 500 feet of high-strand 14-gauge CCA speaker wire. The thicker wire translates to better sound because electricity moves to your speakers faster. Of course, proper spec quality wire means zilch without a quality PVC jacket. It’s white with a black stripe for easy polarity identification and stripped for seamless installation. The InstallGear wire makes routing through car panels or flush to the wall moldings a trouble-free endeavor.

Cons: Some may find they aren’t prepared for this speaker wire’s thickness and find running it through holes in paneling a bit tedious.

Bottom Line: What’s not to like about this speaker wire? The CCA wire plus PVC jacket makes for quality sound, easy installation, and long-lasting performance.

Final Thoughts

Lessons learned: Quality speaker wires create a better sound, last longer, and are worth the investment. They don’t have to be pure copper but should have the right attributes to create the sound you want for your at-home or car audio system. Our best advice is to know what you’re working with first—from speakers and amplifiers to receivers, and the length you’ll need.

Britta Kallevang Britta Kallevang
Britta is a professional writing tutor and freelance writer that is trained in journalistic, technical, and creative copywriting. At LifeSavvy, she researches products, writes about the items, and shares what she's uncovered with readers. Her writing is comprehensive and sometimes a bit silly. Read Full Bio »
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