Some types of cables can be either solid or stranded. These terms both refer to the metal core at the center of the cable and are options for ethernet cables as well as some coax cables. Solid cables are made from solid metal while stranded cables are made of many hair-thin strands that are woven together. Each version has a number of advantages and disadvantages over the other.


Solid cables have a core made from a single metal line, typically copper or copper-clad steel. It is the more common of than stranded, being less costly. The single, thick strand of metal is more resistant to damage such as corrosion and makes the cables easy to manufacture. This also renders them more compact, allowing solid cables to be thinner than their stranded counterparts. Despite being thinner, the solid core makes solid cables less flexible than stranded equivalents. If the cable is bent or moved frequently the wear and tear will eventually cause damage. While solid cables are great for applications like in-wall wiring, this limitation makes them the weaker choice for areas that require tight turns.


Stranded cables are made using a collection of thin wires that are bound together to function as a single line. While more expensive to make, stranded cables are ideal for cramped spaces and places where the cable is moved frequently, such as on vibrating machinery. Stranded cables also having higher attenuation, making them better for short distance runs. Having multiple wires instead of a single line also makes stranded cable more vulnerable to electrical interference. These thinner individual lines are also more easily damaged.