12 gauge vs. 13 gauge wire

12 gauge and 13 gauge baling wire are different in load strength, tensile strength, and thickness. We’ll talk about the importance of wire gauge and the differences between 12 and 13 gauge wire.

Wire gauge vs. wire diameter

Wire diameter is inversely correlated to wire gauge. The larger the diameter, the smaller the gauge, and vice versa.

Wire diameter refers to a given wire’s cross-sectional thickness. It is typically expressed in millimeters or inches, and it provides a direct measurement of the wire’s physical size.

The diameter of a given gauge of wire may vary depending on the material and manufacturing specifications. A 12 gauge galvanized wire in the AWG system, for example, will have a specific diameter, but the diameter may differ between copper, steel, or aluminum wires due to variations in their physical properties.

Wire gauge originates from the wire manufacturing process, which involves drawing the wire through progressively smaller holes. The drawing process uses a draw plate, which is a tool with a series of conical or cylindrical holes that decrease in size.

As the wire passes through each hole, its diameter is reduced by a specific increment. This process is repeated until the desired diameter is achieved.

The primary gauge system in North America is the American Wire Gauge (AWG) system, while the UK and some other countries more commonly use British Standard Wire Gauge (SWG).

Thickness and strength

If all other factors are equal, a thicker wire will be stronger than a thinner wire (e.g. a 12 gauge wire is stronger than a 13 gauge wire).

12 gauge wire

13 gauge wire


0.105 inches

0.088–0.090 inches

Tensile strength

65,000–220,000 psi depending on wire type

60,000–95,000 psi depending on wire type

Load strength

565–1,180 lbs

509–604 lbs


Recycling: baling cardboard, plastic, tires, tissue paper.

Recycling: baling cardboard, plastic, aluminum, tissue paper, foam.

A 12 gauge wire is 0.016 inches thicker than a 13 gauge wire, and has greater tensile and load strength. 12 gauge wire is used to bale heavier, more dense materials.

Baling wire finishes

The annealing process increases the ductility and elongation of our black annealed wire, and hot-dip galvanization leaves our galvanized products coated in a protective layer of zinc.

Annealing heats the steel above its recrystallization temperature, maintaining that temperature, and then cooling it. This creates a uniform atomic structure, improves elongation and ductility, and reduces hardness to produce a smooth wire that is durable and easy to work with.

Galvanized baling wire has a zinc coat that makes it more resistant to corrosion, even in wet and humid conditions. The zinc coating acts as a barrier between the steel wire and moisture in the environment, providing corrosion protection and boosting longevity.

At Baling Wire Direct, we proudly offer Class 3 galvanization on all available gauges, delivering significantly higher corrosion resistance than standard Class 1 galvanization. Here are some of the distinctions between Class 1 and Class 3 galvanization:

  • Class 1 galvanization. Our Class 1 galvanized steel wire offers a basic zinc coating that uses 0.28 ounces of zinc per square foot. Class 1 galvanized wire is more cost-effective, but will typically rust after anywhere from 2–11 years, depending on the environment. In coastal areas, Class 1 coating fails even sooner due to saltwater corrosion.

Class 3 galvanization. With 0.80 ounces of zinc per square foot, this premium galvanization is nearly 3 times thicker than Class 1. The robust coating is more resistant to corrosion, providing a lifespan of 13–30 years. Class 3 galvanization is the superior choice for extreme environmental conditions.

Baling wire products we offer

Baling Wire Direct sells the following high-quality baling wire products.

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