Shielded Or Unshielded Cables – Which Is The Right Choice?


With electrical products becoming more and more important and in-demand, and manufacturers coming up with newer technologies and fancier designs, it becomes difficult, yet crucial, to balance the productivity of the product with its performance, capabilities, and costs. One of the most important components of any electrical device is the wires that connect one component with the other to deliver power and signals.

One question that you need to answer when shopping for wires is whether you should buy shielded or unshielded ones. Shielded cables are definitely more expensive than unshielded wires because they add a layer of protection over the bare wire, but it is also longer lasting as there is resistance to abrasion, vibration, moisture, and other environmental factors. Shielded cables also offer protection against electromagnetic interference, which can otherwise slow down or disable electrical systems. On the other hand, unshielded wires are cheaper and easy to install. So, which of the two will you choose? Well, to be able to make the right choice, you need to know which one of the two types will serve your particular application better. And for that, you need to get into the depth of what shielded and unshielded cables are.

What are shielded cables?

Shielded cables are those that wrap individual wires in a shield that prevents the cable from outer environmental factors and electromagnetic interference. The shield could be made from a variety of materials like copper, aluminum, conducting polymer, etc. But, one of the best choices is metal foil stuck to a polyester backing because of the good flexibility and low cost that this combination comes with. Braid shields are also a good choice as they offer better shielding at lower frequencies, and a good flex life. With the jacketing involved, there is enough protection, which makes it less likely to cause an electrical system to fail. However, the disadvantages of shielded cables include the thickness, stiffness, and expensive costs.

What are unshielded cables?

Unshielded cables do not have any protective shield for their wires. Instead, the wires are helically wrapped and twisted together in a way that malfunction from electromagnetic interference and the like can be prevented. There is obviously lesser protection with unshielded cables, but they are far more pliable, lightweight, thin, easy to install, inexpensive, and easy to maintain. They are also faster at transmitting information, provided no electromagnetic interference is involved.

As you can see, the key differences between shielded and unshielded cables are the flexibility and protection. If your cables are to be exposed to high levels of electromagnetic interference and other electrical noise, shielded cables should be a better choice. However, if it is a complicated installation, where there could be more chances of re-assembling and replacements, unshielded cables should be okay. Also, if the environment that your cables are to be used is clean and dry, or indoors, then unshielded cables should be alright. Harsher moist outdoor environments will require shielded cables.

Whatever your requirement, you can rely on Miracle Electronics, one of the most reputed wire harness manufacturers from India, to get the best quality wires and cables for your application. No matter what industry you want the wires and cables you be used in, Miracle Electronics has expertise in almost every critical industry like medical, aerospace, audio, and electronics.

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