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What Is Metal Clad Cable? Benefits and Applications

What Is Metal Clad Cable? Benefits and Applications

If you have been around an electrician long enough, you have undoubtedly seen them use or heard them talk about metal clad cables. These cables are tough and hardy yet also flexible and versatile. Their unique mix of benefits and the wide variety of applications mean that many electricians rely on them heavily.
So, what exactly is metal clad cable? Why is it so widely used, and what is it used for? Keep reading to find out the answer to these questions and more.

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Types of MC Cable

All metal clad (MC) cables fall under the same general definition. These are cables where the conductors are encased in some sort of metal surroundings. They are exactly what they sound like, a cable clad in metal.

However, it is important to note that metal clad cable is not just one thing. There are multiple different types of MC cable, each with its own characteristics. These include:

  • Aluminum Interlocked Armor (AIA)
  • Continuously Corrugated Copper Weld (CLX)
  • Steel Wire Armor (SWA)
  • Galvanized Armor
  • Teck90

This means that different types of metal clad cables will be used on different types of jobs. Understanding these types makes understanding metal clad cable as a whole easier.

Aluminum Interlocked Armor (AIA)

This type of cable involves a strip of aluminum wrapped in a spiral around the cable. This gives it some flexibility while also allowing it to be flame-retardant and go relatively unaffected by water and sunlight. This makes it great in industries where these hazards are present, but flexibility is still a necessity.

Continuously Corrugated Copper Weld (CLX)

While the name of this wire implies that it is made from copper, this is not always the case. These metal clad cables are wrapped in a corrugated sheet of metal made from either copper, aluminum, bronze, or steel. This sheet of protection isolates it from water and other problematic materials.

Steel Wire Armor (SWA)

Steel wire armor is one of the strongest types of MC cable. It is protected by strands of galvanized steel layered around the wire. This high level of strength makes it a great choice in industries where the wires themselves are pushed to the limit.

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Galvanized Armor

This type of cable is also surrounded by a layer of galvanized steel. This makes it similar to SWA in that the galvanized steel gives it increased strength and allows it to be used in jobs where this strength is necessary.

However, alongside this, a layer of PVC also provides protection. This provides an added barrier that keeps liquids away. So, galvanized armor wires are great when protection from liquids, like water or oil.


These metal clad cables are coated in a smooth layer of aluminum. This layer provides general protection alongside protection from water, sunlight, and other hazards. This makes Teck90 cable a solid choice when it comes to jobs in industrial settings.

What Is Metal Clad Cable? Benefits and Applications

Why Do Professionals Use Metal Clad Cable?

Professionals want to use the best equipment and materials they can. This is the case whether they are doing an electrical panel replacement or rewiring an entire building. They want equipment and materials that consistently work, that can be used in a variety of jobs, and that offer savings when it comes to time and labor.

Metal clad cable effectively does all of this. When used properly, metal clad cable makes the final product better. The enhanced protection it provides ensures that nothing goes wrong after the job is done.

Metal clad cable is also wonderfully versatile. You can essentially use it on any and every job out there. So, if professionals keep it on hand, they have a solution to any problem that presents itself.

Finally, metal clad cable is just nice to work with. It is generally very flexible and doesn’t require the use of conduits. These factors alone make it a top choice when professionals are looking for something they can use.

Advantages of Using Metal Clad Cables

While the individual advantages of metal clad cables vary depending on the exact type of wire being used, many benefits are universal across cable types. These include being serviceable in harsh conditions, economical, highly compatible, and easy to install.

Serviceable in Harsh Conditions

Many situations are too harsh for normal wires. In these situations, the pressure on the wire would be too much, or it would be exposed to dangerous substances. However, the protection around metal clad cables keeps them safe while allowing them to be effective.


Metal clad cables are generally cheaper and require less work than the alternatives. The labor and money that go into using pipe or wire ends up being far more. This is especially true when considering the fact that metal clad cables don’t have to deal with conduits and pull-boxes.

Read More: How Much Electrical Load Can a 100 Amp Panel Handle?

Compatible for a Majority of Builds

Metal clad cables are wonderfully versatile. You can use them in intense industry jobs or relatively mundane jobs. They can also be used over relatively large distances, opening the door for their use in even more jobs. As a result, they are a go-to for many electrical services and solutions.

Easy Installation

Simply removing the necessity of dealing with conduits has a massive impact on the installation process behind metal clad cable. It allows it to be far simpler and require less work. On top of this, the flexibility of metal clad cable also makes it easier to work with. This, again, reduces the amount of time that needs to be spent on labor when it comes to these cables.


Electrical Repair and Installation Services

If you are in need of electrical repair and installation services, whether they require MC cable or not, make sure you only trust a professional company. A company that doesn’t understand the ins and outs of the industry or have the knowledge to properly complete a job won’t be able to help in the way you need them to.

This is why you should go with the professionals at Horizon. Our team of local electricians in Concord, NC are ready to help you with any job you need us to. We will bring our 35 years of experience with us and ensure that the job is completed and is completed correctly. Give our team of skilled electricians a call at 1-800-642-4419 to receive assistance installing new wires in your house.


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