How to Choose Electrical Wires and Insulation

Resources and description

In this video you will learn about the different kinds of insulation and conductors, and how to choose your own.

These videos are a great learning resource to help train electricians.
Check out the rest of the program on Electricity here:

The different steps of this short tutorial will show you how to choose the right conductor size, how to determine the conductor's core and then how to choose the insulation. By learning these three elements, you'll be able to choose the right conductors and insulation for yourself!

Translated by Anne Duthoit

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In this video, you will learn how to choose the right conductors and insulation.

Conductors make electrical connections possible. Their role is to conduct current to receptacles. They are always carefully sheathed in a plastic casing to prevent leakage. This also makes it possible for people to handle electrical wires safely.

Before this electrical intervention, please turn off the power for the network concerned.

For this operation, you will need 1.5, 2.5, 4, 6 and 10 mm² conductors.

This operation is carried out in three steps, which we will explain.


The cross-section of the conductor, also referred to as its diameter, is selected by the current it is used for, i.e. the maximum load allowed for the circuit.

To determine the load necessary for a circuit in function of its use, please watch the video "Estimate the consumption of domestic electrical appliances”.

If the maximum load allowed in the circuit is 16 amperes, a 1.5mm2 conductor size will be adequate; for 20 amperes, choose a conductor with a cross-section of 2.5 mm2; for 25 amperes, a 4mm2 conductor; for 32 amperes, a 6mm2 conductor; lastly, for 45 amperes, a conductor with a diameter of 10mm2.


The conductor’s core designates its general constitution.

In residential systems, the norms require copper conductors.

These have the advantage of being less resistant to current flow.


The protective casing must be adapted to the cable’s environmental conditions, such as temperature, the presence of water or the risk of mechanical impact.

The most common material is Cross-linked polyethylene (PEX) pipe, which can be used in almost all situations, indoors or outdoors.

Polyvinyl chloride can only be used indoors.

You now know how to choose the right conductors and insulation.

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