How many Amps Can 16mm2 Cable Take? (Explained With Example) | PortablePowerGuides (2023)

Is 16mm2 cable the best choice for your home? It depends on the application you have in mind. This wire size serves several purposes. The key is to compare the cable’s ampacity to the electrical demands of the equipment you want to run.

Naturally, you cannot do that if you don’t know the number of amps 16mm2 lines can carry. But you don’t have to worry. This guide will tell you everything you need to know.

How many Amps Can 16mm2 Cable Carry?

16mm2 cables are the equivalent of5AWG. Thus it can carry in between 70-85A at 60˚C, 85-100A at 75˚C 95-110A at 90˚C. It is for copper wire. For aluminum core, it can carry in between 55-65A at 60˚C, 65-75A at 75˚C, and 75-85A at 90˚C.

16mm2 Cable Amps Rating

Wire Gauge Size60˚C

16mm2 cable’s rating will depend on various factors, including how it is installed. For instance, a wire embedded in a wall transmits fewer amps because it cannot dissipate heat effectively. As such, forcing the cable to carry the full 85 amps associated with 16mm2 lines could lead to overheating.

Wire enclosed in an insulated wall in conduit57A
Enclosed in conduit or trunking on a wall69A
Thermal insulation in contact with the ceiling < 100mm57A
Thermal insulation in contact with the ceiling > 100mm46A
Thermal Insulation cable touching the wall63A
Thermal Insulation cable not touching the wall42.5A

You also have to keep factors like the material and distance in mind because they influence the current carrying capacity of the line.

If you have questions, don’t hesitate to consult an expert. The last thing you want is to pair your application with a smaller cable than its electrical demands require. That is how laypeople start fires. They think all electrical wires are the same. It takes them a while to realize that small electrical conductors can overheat and melt if you overload them.

(Video) Size of Cable, Load in Ampere and Circuit Breaker Size | Cable Gland Size Chart

A licensed contractor can prevent this outcome by identifying a wire size that fits the needs of your application. They can assess the impact of variables like the ventilation (or lack thereof) and distance on the 16mm2 cable’s ability to transmit electricity without overheating.

Even if you’re determined to perform the wiring yourself, you can still consult an expert. Ask them to select the lines, you will use to complete the project.

What Is 16mm2 Wire Used For?

16mm2 cable has a flexible build and a durable PVC sheath. Thus, you can use 16mm2 cables in your house, including the kitchen and bedroom.

However, they are not restricted to residential settings. These lines are just as effective in industrial applications. While you are more likely to find them in lighting circuits and behind heavy-duty indoor appliances like air conditioners, 16mm2 cables are strong enough to survive outside.

At the very least, the outer covering is robust enough to resist extreme weather and moisture penetration. You can fit the wires with thicker insulation to repel strenuous elements in rugged settings, especially on commercial premises.

16mm2 cables are more versatile than people realize. They are just as comfortable in a tent during a festival as they are in your home’s wiring system.

It is worth noting that you don’t have to limit this wire size to 70 amps. As was noted before, the conductors can easily transmit 85 amps. However, you can also exceed that 85A threshold where necessary.


Ultimately, you can force 16mm2 lines to carry as much current as you want. But that practice is not safe. The manufacturer emphasizes limits like 70A and 85A because they cannot guarantee your safety once you cross that threshold.

They know that a conventional 16mm2 wire can carry 70 amps easily without overheating. By crossing that limit, you expose yourself and your property to electrocution and fire hazards.

This is why breakers are so important. They prevent consumers from exceeding a cable’s limits. If you find yourself repeatedly exceeding the 16mm2 cable’s 70-amp limit, you are better off increasing the wire size.

Get a thicker cable you can trust to transmit more current without overheating. Some consumers continue to exceed a 16mm2 cable’s capacity because they did the same thing in the past, and nothing happened. However, just because your 16mm2 cable transmitted 90 amps yesterday without overheating doesn’t mean it will carry those amps again today without overheating.

Electricity is too dangerous for you to take chances of this nature. Proceed carefully. You should only exceed a 16mm2 wire’s capacity after consulting an electrician. An electrician knows when it is acceptable to push past the conductor’s limits and when you are better off playing it safe.

16mm2 Cable VS Volt

People expect the voltage to influence the wire size. After all, you find the wattage and ampacity by multiplying or dividing by the voltage. However, you determine the current carrying capacity by looking at the material, length, and environmental conditions. These factors shape the amount of current a conductor can transmit without melting. The voltage doesn’t affect these considerations.

12 V70-85A
24 V70-85A
120 V70-85A
240 V70-85A

The voltage only enters the equation when you discuss the insulation. You can afford to ignore the voltage, especially where residential wiring is concerned.

(Video) How to Calculate the cable size and protective device rating

16mm2 Cable VS Distance

Every wire has a voltage drop. You can’t avoid it. The voltage drop occurs because conductors oppose the flow of current. Electricity will still flow despite that opposition. However, it will generate heat in the process. Additionally, you will record a loss in electrical potential along the way.

As a result, depending on the severity of the voltage drop, the operations of your appliance may suffer because it can’t acquire the power it requires. Some devices will stop working altogether. Others will burn out because they have to work harder to compensate for the limitations caused by the voltage drop.

The voltage drop is directly connected to the length of the conductor. To reiterate, the voltage drop always occurs, but it is manageable in shorter wires.

But the more distance electricity covers, the more resistance it encounters, and the greater the voltage drop. Many people don’t consider this factor. They respond to large distances by buying longer wires.

You see this in homes that rely heavily on extension cords. Homeowners won’t hesitate to cross the gap between a wall outlet and a distant appliance by running a longer cable.

They don’t realize that longer extension cords have more resistance than short extension cords which, in turn, increases the voltage drop.

To be clear, the voltage drop is not your only concern. A significant voltage drop can lower the efficiency of your appliances. But the heat is a bigger threat. It will also increase in response to the growing resistance.

(Video) How To Calculate The Current Carrying Capacity of Cable.

That heat can melt the wire, starting a fire. If you have long 16mm2 cables but have never recorded significant voltage drops or overheating, you are probably wondering whether the length is as essential as every technician claims.

The size of the wire will determine whether or not the distance produces negative consequences. If a conductor is thick enough, it can transmit electricity over long distances without overheating or generating significant voltage drops.

In other words, if your 16mm2 cable has never melted despite the distance, it is thick enough to meet the electrical demands of your application over that distance without overheating.

The key is to match the wire size to the distance. If you observe notable signs of overheating, or if the voltage drop becomes an obstacle, get a thicker wire. 16mm2 is not the only option on the market.

16mm2 Armored Cable Amp Rating

The 16mm2 armored cables have an amp rating as high as 94 amps. You can use it for underground installation.

They are a perfect fit for mains supply electricity. You can bury them directly without using conduits. You can also trust them to resist chemical corrosion, extreme heat, and other stressful environmental factors.

They have longer lifespans even when you run them through settings with high ambient temperatures. The steel tape and braided mesh in the sheath make armored cabling significantly superior to conventional 16mm2 conductors.

(Video) Measuring cable size and calculations, cross sectional area of the conductor

For that reason, 16mm2 armored cables are also more expensive. Although, factors like the length, material, and insulation will influence the final price tag.

All the same, people don’t buy 16mm2 armored cables unless they need them.

Related post:

  • 1.5mm Cable Amp Rating
  • 2.5 mm Electrical Cable Amp Rating
  • How Many Amps Can 6mm Cable Carry?


How many amps can 16mm2 cable handle? ›

85 Amps

How much load can 16 mm wire take? ›

16mm cable is rated for 70 amps, but it can safely carry more current than that. The maximum current rating does not mean that you must never go above that limit, because it's not a question of “can” but “will it work?” The answer to the second question is yes, 16 sq mm cable will work with more than 70 amps.

What is the current rating of the 16mm2 battery cable? ›

Hi-Flex 16mm² Cable – 110 Amps.

How many amps can a 16mm twin and earth cable take? ›

A 16mm twin and earth cable are used to supply mains voltage electricity for a multitiude of uses. The caring capacity with PVC insulation is 61 amperes for single phase AC or DC.

What is the maximum current for 16 AWG 12v? ›

While a 16 gauge wire can technically handle about 10 amps at 12 volts, it is still advised to not go over 8 amps. This is due to the reason that over a longer distance, your 16 gauge wire may have a non-uniform construction.

Can 16mm cable take 100A? ›

16mm tails are fine for 60A, 63A & 80A main supply fuses (BS88/BS1361 Type2) 25mm tails are required for 100A main supply fuses.

What size breaker do I need for a 16mm cable? ›

The 16mm cable should be protected at the origin by a 63amp RCD unit. At the distribution board at the other end each lighting circuit should be protected with a 6 or 10 amp circuit breaker and the power circuits (if wired as a 'ring circuit') should be protected with a 32amp circuit breaker.

How much current can 16 sq mm single core copper cable carry? ›

Product Specifications
Conductor MaterialCopper
Current Carrying Capacity70 Amp
Insulation Material TypeFRLS
7 more rows

What is a 16mm cable used for? ›

16mm Armoured Cable – A hard-wearing multi-core cable that has a steel wire armour below the sheath. This cable is commonly found power large capacity EV (electrical vehicle) chargers, industrial welding equipment and control applications.

What is the current capacity of 16 sq mm 5 core cable? ›

Specification: Brand-Polycab, Weight-18.2 Kg, Number Of Core-5, Nominal Area-16, Material-Copper, Number and Nominal Diameter Of Conductor-126/. 4, Rated Voltage-1000V, Rated Current-70 A, Type-Sheathed, Insulation-PVC, Packaging Unit-100m, Warranty-As Per Manufacturer's Warranty Policy.

What is 16mm battery cable? ›

16mm Battery Cable is typically rated 600 volts but can also be rated 100 volts. The cable is known for its flexibility and durability, and many automatic and manual welding applications require the cable to hold up to repeated movement over rough surfaces.

What current rating is 16mm 4 core cable? ›

Additional information
Weight0.9800 kg
Number of Cores4 Core
Current Rating94A
Cable Size (mm²)16mm²

What is the amp rating of a 16 gauge so cord? ›

SOOW 16/3 16 Gauge Portable and Power Cable

These cables are rated for a voltage of 600 volts, an amperage of 13 amps, have a temperature range of -40° to 90°, and weighs approximately 95 lbs/MFT.

How many amps is 16 gauge cable? ›

13 amps

What size cable for 16 amps? ›

Cable sizes: We recommend using 1.5mm cables for lower power & shorter cables. 2.5mm for full 16A continuous use and longer cables.

What is 16mm2 cable used for? ›

16mm 2 Core SWA Armoured Cable is a type of electrical cable used to supply mains voltage electricity for a variety of uses. As this cable is armoured, it is suitable for underground installations as well as being attached to structures or buildings using Cable Cleats.


1. DC Wire Sizes Explained - Understand how to Increase your system Efficiency with this knowledge
(Solar Solution)
2. Different size of wire and there use at home
(House Dr tutorial)
3. Everybody Should know this... Sizing Your Earth, Adiabatic Equation Checking for Thermal Constraints
(Sparky Help)
5. Job interview, Electrical,gulf, interview, skills,cable,cable size, breaker size,Gland size
(Electrical Arshad)
6. How to gland off and terminate a steel wire armoured electric cable
(Ajs & Sons Electrical Services Ltd)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Sen. Ignacio Ratke

Last Updated: 10/27/2023

Views: 6156

Rating: 4.6 / 5 (76 voted)

Reviews: 83% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Sen. Ignacio Ratke

Birthday: 1999-05-27

Address: Apt. 171 8116 Bailey Via, Roberthaven, GA 58289

Phone: +2585395768220

Job: Lead Liaison

Hobby: Lockpicking, LARPing, Lego building, Lapidary, Macrame, Book restoration, Bodybuilding

Introduction: My name is Sen. Ignacio Ratke, I am a adventurous, zealous, outstanding, agreeable, precious, excited, gifted person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.