Tinned Copper vs Bare Copper: Which One is Better?

Tinned copper vs bare copper is a common topic of discussion. Generally speaking, the conductor material of the wire and cable will be bare copper, aluminum and tinned copper, etc. There will be differences between them, and most people will have difficulty in choosing between them when buying the wire and cable. Today we will analyze the copper vs tinned copper in detail.

What does tinned copper mean?

Tin plating is a process manufacturing of attach a thin layer of tin to the surface of bare copper, which is known as tinned copper. The goal of tinned copper is to protect bare copper from oxidizing in the air and turning copper green, which would affect the electrical properties of the electrical wire. Although the metal tin is reactive by nature, it is stable in room temperature air and forms a tight oxide coating on its surface that keeps tin from oxidizing. Tinned copper is helpful in improving the performance of wires. So what is the bare copper?

tinned copper

What is bare copper?

Bare copper is pure copper surface without any plating process, reddish-orange color. Copper metal is a chemical element, high plasticity, conductivity and ductility; Copper wire have stable signal transmission, can widely used in electrical wire and cable. Copper is a durable metal with several good electrical performance, including heat conductivity, weathering resistance, and corrosion resistance, which is useful to the electrical wire and cable industry.

bare copper


So let’s start by examining the benefits and drawbacks of tinned copper.

Pros and cons of tinned copper

Having understood the tinned copper meaning from the above, let’s now annalyse its advantages and disadvantages.

Pros of tinned copper

The following are the benefits of tinned copper.

  1. Corrosion resistance: tinned copper is highly resistant to corrosion in humid, salt-containing or acidic environments, and is a commonly used conductor material in marine wiring;
  2. Solderability: tin improves the solderability of wires, and tinned copper makes the soldering process easier;
  3. Antioxidant: Tinned copper is highly resistant to oxidation. Tin prevents copper from changing over time and producing copper green, which can make the resistance worse and affect the electrical performance of the wire;
  4. Reduced friction: Tin coating reduces friction between wires, making wires easier to handle and route during installation.

Cons of tinned copper

  1. Conductivity: Since copper conductivity is better than tin, tinning the copper surface will affect the overall conductivity.
  2. Easy to peel off: Over time, the tin layer on tinned copper is easy to fall off, reducing the service life of the electrical wire;
  3. Cost: Since the tinning process requires sophisticated equipment and excellent technology, the production cost of tinned copper is higher, which will increase tinned copper wire price and people’s purchasing budget.

Above all, depending on the pros and cons of tinned copper, we may decide its fit for the application’s specific requirements. After that, consider the benefits and drawbacks of bare copper.

Pros and cons of bare copper

The advantages and disadvantages of bare copper are as follow:

Pros of bare copper

  1. Electrical conductivity: copper has excellent electrical conductivity and can transmit electricity efficiently;
  2. Ductility: bare copper is ductile and can be easily bent and twisted, flexible and easy to process;
  3. Resistance: bare copper has low resistance, resistance refers to the resistance to electric current, which means that bare copper has less resistance to wire current and conducts electricity more efficiently;
  4. Recyclability: copper can be recycled and maintain its quality;
  5. Thermal conductivity: bare copper is an excellent thermal conductor, copper wire can effectively transmit heat to prevent the wire from overheating;
  6. Durability: as a strong and durable metal, bare copper can withstand mechanical stress well.

Cons of bare copper

  1. Oxidation:copper in the air easily oxidized to produce copper green, reducing the structural integrity of the wire, affecting the normal use of the wire;
  2. Weight:the density of bare copper, in the same specifications, heavier than any other metal;
  3. Insulation:bare copper lacks an insulating layer, can not be used directly conductive;
  4. Regular maintenance:with the change of time, bare copper will be corroded and oxidized, so people need to regularly check and maintain to ensure its stable performance.

Tinned copper and bare copper have their own strengths and weaknesses, we need to be targeted according to the specific environment and application to choose. Now let’s see how bare copper and tinned copper compare.

Tinned copper vs bare copper: what’s the difference?

As two different wire conductor materials, the differences between tinned copper and bare copper can result in different properties for wires. They are categorized as follows:

  1. tinned copper vs bare copper conductivity: Conductivity refers to the ability of a wire to transmit current. Tinned copper is slightly less conductive than bare copper due to the thin tin layer;
  2. tinned copper vs bare copper price: Market, quality, quantity and manufacturer can all be factors in the price. The complexity of the manufacturing process for tinned copper results in a marginal price premium over bare copper. But for tin vs copper price, the copper price is higher than tin.
  3. tinned copper vs bare copper resistance: Resistance refers to the resistance of a conductor to the transmission of electric current. Bare copper has a lower resistance than tinned copper. For example, the resistance of copper for a 4 mm electrical wire is 4.61 Ω/km, whereas the resistance of tinned copper is 4.7 Ω/km.

So which is better and more suitable for use as a electrical wire conductor, tinned copper vs copper?

Is tinned copper better than bare copper

In relation to the information mentioned above, tinned copper and bare copper each have their advantages. The specific application of the conductor can decide which one is better. In the corrosive and high demand for welding environment, you can choose the higher cost and resistance gap between the tinned copper as a conductor; in the temperature and non-corrosive environment, you can use the lower cost and good conductivity of bare copper as a conductor to use. There is no such thing as better tinned copper or bare copper, just different environments. People can combine performance, voltage and cost and other factors to consider various aspects, and finally choose a suitable conductor material.


In conclusion, as two different conductor materials for electrical wire and cable, tinned copper and bare copper will be suitable for different environments. But what matters is the quality of both conductor materials. Selecting a manufacturer that produces high-quality conductors is crucial, regardless of whether you’re purchasing bare or tinned copper, as quality has an impact on how long the wire lasts. ZW Cable does just like that, customizing high-quality tinned copper and bare copper at a price that’s reasonable for you.

Learn more: copper vs aluminum wire

Here are FAQs related to tinned copper vs bare copper


1. Tinned copper vs bare copper speaker wire

The conductor used in speaker wire is decided by the environment in which it is utilised. If the speaker is near water, tinned copper is a better choice as a conductor for speaker wire because tin prevents copper oxidation and corrosion; If cost and environmental factors are considered, copper is the greatest choice of conductor for speaker wire. Tinned copper and bare copper on the speaker sound quality of the difference is not very important, the most important thing is the certain application environment and purchase budget.

2. Tinned copper vs bare copper scrap price

Tined copper is generally more expensive than bare copper. While bare copper can be recycled directly, the price of bare copper scrap is higher than that of tinned copper scrap because the tin layer on top of tinned copper causes insufficient copper purity of tinned copper.

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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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