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What is the difference between cable and wire rope?

There is no exact right answer. Cable is generally reserved for smaller diameter ropes, and often in constructions like 7 x 7 and 7 x 19.

Wire rope is a term generally used for products over 3/8” in diameter, and in constructions such as 6 x 25, 6 x 37, and more.

Small diameter 7x7 and 7x19 construction cable is sometimes referred to as aircraft cable. This is not the intended use, however. This cable is designed for industrial and marine applications according to Federal Specification RR-W-410E and A.S.T.M. A 1023/A 1023M, as applicable. "Aircraft cable" ranges in size from 1/32" to 3/8".

WIRE ROPE is technically the correct term for groups of strand wrapped in a uniform helix around a core. Sizes over 3/8" are not considered aircraft cable, they are wire rope. The constructions included in wire rope are numerous, but the most common are 6 x 19 and 6 x 37 class wire ropes.

CARBON STEEL WIRE is available in different grades, sometimes referred to as Plow Steel, Improved Plow Steel, or even Extra Improved Plow Steel. Wire rope manufactured from uncoated wire is commonly referred to as Bright. Bright wire rope is available in sizes 1/4 inch and over.

Wire Rope & Cable Safety?

Please refer to our General Safety Page

Additional Safety Info

  • Rated capacity is the load which a new wire rope may handle under given operating conditions and at assumed design factor. A design factor of 5 is chosen most frequently for wire rope.
  • Keep out from under a raised load. Do not operate loads over people and keep out of the line of force of any load.
  • Correct way for Measuring Wire Rope Diameter