What Is BX Cable and Its Complete Usage

Say you’re renovating an old house, and as you peel back layers of drywall, you discover an intricate network of metal-armored cables. Also often referred to as BX cable, it’s a time-tested solution for ensuring electrical safety and efficiency.

But what makes old BX cable so effective? How can you maximize its potential in electrical engineering? Let’s explore the details of BX cable, learn about its uses, comparisons and the best way to cut it. By understanding the following, we can better utilize this type of cable product and its solutions in electrical engineering.

What does BX mean in cable?


BX Cable

BX cable is a brand name for AC or armored cable. When a company named its armored cable “BX,” the term was widely adopted and spread throughout the industry. While this type of cable product has better durability and protective metal jacketing and is preferred for various electrical installations.

BX wiring is a set of plastic-coated insulated wires usually bound and protected by a ribbed metal jacket. The metal jacket of BX cable wiring is similar to that of ribbed metal tubing, but it is a metal wire that is wound in a spiral or twisted fashion. Typical sizes used are 12 or 14. 

Where is BX cable used?

With enhanced protection and adaptability, BX armored cables are a versatile choice for a wide range of electrical installations. One of the main applications for BX cables is in commercial and industrial environments where the risk of mechanical damage is high. The metal armor acts as a sturdy barrier, safeguarding the internal wires from physical harm.

Therefore, it is ideal for installation in exposed locations such as basements, garages and utility rooms. In addition, BX wires are often used in retrofit projects where adding additional conduit protection may be cumbersome or impractical. In residential construction, BX cables are often used for wiring through unfinished spaces such as attics or crawlspaces.The flexibility of BX power cables allows them to easily pass through walls and around obstacles, providing a reliable and robust solution to complex wiring needs.

BX cable vs MC cable

ac vs mc cable


There are some basic differences between BX cables and MC cables that need to be understood.

  • BX cables do not have a ground wire, whereas MC cables have a ground wire and are therefore suitable for different applications.
  • Another significant difference is the sheath material and its suitability for wet outdoor use; MC cables can be used outdoors while BX electrical cables cannot.
  • In addition, the number of conductors that can be accommodated by each cable type is different; BX electric cables can accommodate up to four insulated conductors, while MC cables have no limit on the number of conductors that can be accommodated.

Despite these differences, BX and MC cables have some similarities. Both cables have a basic armored construction that provides greater protection for individual conductors than non-metallic (NM) cables. This armored construction makes them both easier to install than traditional conduit wire, which helps reduce installation costs.

Understanding the differences between BX and MC cables is critical to choosing the right type for an electrical project; BX cables are limited in terms of grounding capabilities and outdoor use, while MC cables are more versatile due to the inclusion of a grounding wire and their suitability for a variety of environments. However, both cables offer excellent protection and are easy to install compared to NM cables.

You can read more detailed comparison information: AC VS MC cable:The Difference You Need to Know

In the next section we will learn about the complete use of bx cables, including cutting methods and grounding.

How to cut BX cable?

Cutting BX cables requires precision and the right tools to ensure safety and effectiveness. We can take professional reference from the following guide:

Choice of BX Cutting Tool:

BX Cable Cutter: This specialized tool cuts through the armored casing without damaging the internal wires.

Utility Knife: A sharp utility knife facilitates finer adjustments and trimming.

Wire strippers: Wire strippers are essential for stripping the insulation from the internal wires after removing the armor.

Pliers: Used to bend and maneuver cables after cutting.

Follow us through this cutting step!

  1. Measure Length: Determine the length of the BX cable to be cut. Mark this point with a permanent marker.
  2. Cutting the Armored Sleeve: We place the BX cable cutter around the marked point on the cable. Squeeze the handles of the cutter together to make the initial cut in the metal armor. Rotate the cutter around the cable until the armor is completely severed.
  3. Removing the armor: After cutting the armor, use pliers to carefully peel off the disconnected portion. Be sure to bend the armor back and forth so you can break it off cleanly.
  4. Stripping the internal wires: We used wire strippers to strip about a half-inch of insulation from each of the internal wires, making sure not to scratch the wires.
  5. Inspect the work: Inspect the internal wires for nicks or damage. If any of the wires are damaged, recut a few inches of cable to ensure the integrity of the cable.

Tips: By sticking to these tools and steps, you’ll be able to cut BX cables efficiently and safely. Also, keep in mind that we perform all of these steps with the premise of safety and adherence to all safety protocols and local electrical codes.

How to ground BX cable?

To ground BX electrical cable, the outer metal casing acts as the grounding conductor. Ensure this metal casing is securely connected to metal junction boxes, which will complete the grounding path. Proper grounding enhances safety by reducing the risk of electrical faults and ensures compliance with electrical codes.

Grounding BX cable involves ensuring a secure connection to the metal sheath. First, strip the armor carefully without damaging the internal wires. Attach a grounding clamp to the exposed metal sheath and connect a grounding wire to the clamp. Finally, fasten the grounding wire to the electrical panel’s grounding bus bar.


BX cables for wiring in residential and commercial environments are still very versatile today. Whether you’re an electrician looking for reliable materials or a homeowner looking to upgrade your wiring, BX cable is a reliable and reassuring choice. We hope that this guide has given you the relevant specialized details about BX cables and how they are cut and installed. If you need BX cable or any other type of electrical wiring, contact ZW cable for a free, no-obligation quote.

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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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