12 gauge vs. 14 gauge wire

12 gauge and 14 gauge baling wire differ in tensile strength, load strength, and thickness. We’ll talk about why wire gauge is important and the differences between 12 and 14 gauge wire.

Wire gauge vs. wire diameter

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

Wire gauge is a measurement that derives from the baling 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 American Wire Gauge (AWG) system is the primary gauge system used in North America, while the UK and some other countries more commonly use British Standard Wire Gauge (SWG).

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 14 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.

Thickness and strength

If all factors are the same, a thicker wire is stronger than a thinner wire (e.g. a 12 gauge wire is stronger than a 14 gauge wire).

12 gauge wire

14 gauge wire


0.105 inches

0.077–0.079 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

402–478 lbs

A 12 gauge wire is 0.027 inches thicker than a 14 gauge wire, and it has greater tensile strength and load strength. The superior strength means 12 gauge wire is used to bale heavier, more dense materials.

Baling wire finishes

Hot-dip galvanization layers our galvanized wire in a protective zinc coating, and the annealing process increases the ductility and elongation of our black annealed wire.

The zinc coat of galvanized baling wire 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.

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

  • 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.

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

Baling wire products we offer

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

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