MC Cable Practical Insights:Types, Uses&Comparisons

Understanding the complexities of electrical wiring hinges on a thorough knowledge of the available options, each uniquely designed for specific requirements and settings. MC cable stands out among them all since it provides a special blend of sturdiness, security, and adaptability. The article explores the significance of MC cable in the context of commercial and industrial wiring, which is an essential part of contemporary electrical installations.

In this comprehensive overview, we will explore the essentials of MC cable, including its definition, types and comparisons with other common wiring solutions like Romex and conduit systems. The article will also provide practical insights into the correct methods for cutting MC electrical cable, ensuring safe and effective installation. By presenting these key aspects, the article aims to give professionals and those who are in the process of choosing the right cables for their projects a deeper understanding of MC wires and their role in modern electrical systems.

What is MC cable?

Metal clad cable is a specialized wire designed for durability and safety in a variety of environments. It features insulated conductors shielded by a metallic armor, usually comprising interlocked aluminum or steel. Its adaptability also allows for both exposed and concealed installations, catering to the specific needs of various electrical projects.

The primary benefits of MC cable stem from its tough armor, which provides exceptional protection against physical damage, moisture, and electromagnetic interference. The increased durability of MC electrical cables guarantees extended service life and consistent performance in demanding conditions.

What’s more, their metallic casing acts as an efficient ground, augmenting the safety of the entire electrical system. Owing to their straightforward installation and adherence to rigorous safety protocols, metal clad cables are often the preferred option for electricians and contractors seeking a reliable and effective wiring solution. Having established what metal clad wire is and its key benefits, it’s important to explore the practical applications of this versatile wiring solution. The diverse uses of MC wire highlight its adaptability and efficacy in various settings.

mc cable


What is MC cable used for?

The resilient design of metal clad armored cables makes them a preferred option for numerous challenging electrical applications. They are particularly favored in commercial and industrial environments as a reliable solution for power distribution systems, effectively channeling electricity to diverse machinery and equipment. Additionally, their rugged nature makes them an ideal choice for lighting installations, where both durability and safety are crucial considerations.

Additionally, MC cabling is ideal for control and signal circuits, where its protective armor ensures uninterrupted and reliable signal transmission, crucial in automated and precision-dependent processes. Its suitability for both exposed and concealed installations makes it a versatile option for diverse project requirements, ranging from surface-mounted electrical runs to wiring within walls and ceilings. Let’s examine the different types of MC wiring available in the market and their unique attributes.

What are types of mc cable?

The versatility of MC wiring extends beyond its applications to encompass a range of types, each designed for specific scenarios and requirements. The following are some common types:

  1. Standard MC Cable: The most common type, often referred to as 12-2 MC cable, is used in a variety of general wiring applications in commercial and industrial buildings. It typically includes THHN/THWN conductors and a bare aluminum grounding wire.
  2. Teck90:It stands out as a highly durable and versatile armored cable, offering superior protection against environmental challenges. Commonly employed in various industrial, commercial, and utility settings, it is ideal for power and control circuitry applications.


  1. MC-HL Cable: Designed for environments where fire or explosion risks are a concern. MC-HL cables are constructed to maintain integrity in extreme conditions, meeting stricter code requirements for hazardous locations.
  2. MC Aluminum Cable: Made with aluminum armor instead of standard steel, this type is lighter and generally more cost-effective, such as 4/3 aluminum wire. It’s suitable for applications where weight and cost are significant considerations.
  3. Aluminum Interlocked Armor (AIA): AIA cables, with their durable and lightweight aluminum interlocked armor, provide exceptional mechanical protection and retain flexibility. Perfectly designed for challenging industrial settings, they deliver increased safety and long-lasting performance.


Each variant of MC armored electrical cable, like 12/2 MC cable and 10/2 metal clad cable, is tailored with distinct characteristics and advantages, designed to cater to specific applications and adhere to relevant electrical standards. With a clear understanding of the diverse MC cable types, it becomes essential to juxtapose them with other options like Romex, facilitating informed choices tailored to unique requirements.

MC Cable VS Romex

MC Cable Features and Applications:

  • Construction: Metal clad wire consists of one or more insulated conductors enclosed within a metallic armor, typically made from aluminum or steel. This armor provides significant protection against physical damage.

Also learn more about armored cable:Exploring Armoured Cable: Benefits, Types, And Installation Requirements

  • Usage Environment: Due to its sturdy construction, MC electrical cable is highly suitable for commercial and industrial settings, especially where cables might be exposed to mechanical damage or harsh environmental conditions.
  • Safety and Durability: The metal sheathing offers added fire resistance and acts as an effective grounding means, making MC cable a safer choice in areas prone to fire hazards or electromagnetic interference.
  • Flexibility in Installation: Metal clad wire can be used in both exposed and concealed settings and is suitable for wet locations when properly sealed.

Romex Cable Features and Applications:

  • Construction: Romex is composed of one or more insulated conductors enclosed in a non-metallic PVC sheath. It lacks the metallic armor found in metal clad cable.
  • Usage Environment: Romex is predominantly used in residential settings for dry, interior applications. It’s typically not suitable for outdoor use  in commercial or industrial environments.
  • Cost-Effectiveness: Romex is generally more economical than MC electrical cable, making it a popular choice for residential wiring where budget is a significant factor.
  • Ease of Installation: The flexibility and lighter weight of Romex make it easier to handle and install, particularly in tight spaces commonly found in residential structures.

MC cable vs RomexTo conclude, MC electrical cable stands out for its superior protection, longevity, and aptness for demanding settings, whereas Romex is more economical and simpler to install, ideal for residential and indoor uses. Selecting between them hinges on the installation’s specific environmental needs, desired level of protection, and adherence to local electrical regulations. Another essential comparison to draw is between MC cable armored and conduit systems, two prevalent methods in electrical wiring.

MC Cable VS Conduit

Structure and Composition: MC power cable features conductors encased in a metallic sheath, providing integrated protection and grounding. Conversely, a conduit system is a tubing (PVC, steel, or aluminum) through which wires are separately run, offering flexibility in wire types and sizes.

Installation Process: Metallic sheathed cable installation is generally faster, as it eliminates the need to thread wires through a conduit, facilitating easier navigation in complex spaces. Conduit systems, while more labor-intensive, allow for future wire changes and are adaptable to various construction needs.

Application and Suitability: metal clad wire is preferred in commercial and industrial environments for its durability and external protection. It’s also used in residential areas with exposure risks. Conduit systems are versatile, ideal for both residential and commercial settings, especially where future wiring modifications are anticipated.

Cost Considerations: MC armored Cable tends to be costlier due to its metal sheathing and easier installation. Conversely, conduit systems may have lower material costs but can incur higher labor expenses, particularly in intricate wiring setups.

Protection and Safety: The metal sheath of MC power cable offers rugged protection, making it suitable for harsh or hazardous conditions. Conduit systems provide strong protection too, with the added benefit of easy wire inspection and replacement, adaptable to specific environmental requirements.

Metal clad cable vs conduit

In addition, it is important to solve the practical operational aspects of how to cut the MC armored flexible cable.

How to cut MC Cable?

Cutting MC armoured cable requires a precise and careful approach to ensure the integrity of the cable is maintained while ensuring safety. The process involves specialized tools and techniques tailored to unique construction. Below is a detailed instruction:

Step 1: Tool Selection: Choose appropriate tools for cutting metallic sheathed cable, such as heavy-duty cable cutters or a hacksaw, along with wire strippers and a utility knife for subsequent steps. These tools are essential for properly preparing the cable for mc cable connector attachment.

Step 2: Accurate Measurement and Marking: Carefully measure the required length of MC wire and cable and mark the cutting point clearly to ensure precision and minimize waste.

Step 3: Stable Cutting Process: Secure the cable firmly, either by hand or in a vise, to prevent movement during cutting. Use steady pressure to make a clean, straight cut through the metal sheathing and internal wires.

Step 4: Sheathing Removal and Wire Preparation: After cutting, score and remove the metal sheathing to expose the internal wires. Use wire strippers to strip insulation from wire ends, checking for any damage to the wires.

Step 5: Safety and Installation Readiness: Ensure all safety protocols are followed, including verifying the cable is not live. If necessary, attach MC wire and cable fittings as per manufacturer instructions, ensuring they’re secured properly for effective installation.

Remember, safety is paramount when working with electrical cables. Before cutting the cable, confirm it is not energized, and always use proper safety equipment such as gloves and eye protection. For those less familiar with electrical work, seeking guidance from a qualified electrician is recommended.


Throughout this comprehensive exploration of metal clad cable, we have navigated its various facets – from its fundamental characteristics and diverse applications. The discussion underscored the adaptability and resilience of MC cabling, cementing its status as an indispensable asset in both standard and challenging electrical environments.

Furthermore, assuming you have any inquiries about electrical solutions, thoroughly examine the industry leader—the manufacturer of ZW cable. ZW Cable is a leader in the electrical wiring solutions industry owing to its commitment to producing high-quality MC armored cables and its focus on client satisfaction.


Is mc cable waterproof?

General purpose metal clad (MC) cables are not suitable for use in wet locations due to their construction. However, special MC cables designed for these environments are available on the market. One of the most common types is PVC-coated MC cables. These specialty cables can withstand moisture and other environmental conditions that standard MC cables cannot.
Can you run mc cable in conduit?

MC cables in conduit are often considered for added protection in harsh environments. However, if conduit is used, only individual wires are required.

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About Me
Richard Zi
Richard Zi

My name is Richard Zi, and serve as the General Manager of ZW Cable. With a deep and extensive background of more than 15 years in the cable industry, I am excited to share my wealth of knowledge and experience.ZW Cable is a renowned company in the field of cable manufacturing in world, we specialize in selecting the best cable sizes and effectively solving all your cable challenges. If you have any questions or needs regarding cable solutions, please contact me and I assure you of the highest standards of personalized and effective guidance and support.View All My Posts >>

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