Power conditioner wire gauge? Serious issue

So I just figured out that all the 10 gauge wiring I have may be a problem if the power conditioner I use only uses 14 or 16 gauge wires to connect all those outlets you plug into in the back of those devices.

The specs are not part of the description when you buy Power conditioners.  Everybody recommends a dedicated 10 gauge wire from the panel but fails to consider what power conditioners use. 

Is this a serious problem? 



FEW people recommend 10 gauge wire from the panel.  Depends on the distance.

The main issue is resistance (R) per foot.  Here's the difference, per foot, at 72 degrees:


10:  0.00102 Ohms / foot

12: 0.00162 Ohms / foot

14:  0.00258 Ohms / foot


So running a 30' 10 gauge wire would be:

30 x 2 x 0.00102 = 0.0612 Ohms

Now, for the 6' of 12 gauge you want to run between the wall and your amp:

6 x 2 x 0.00162 =  0.0194


So the 6' of power cord is 1/3rd of the entire resistance. 


PS - We use 2x the distance because both the hot and neutral count.

OP: I think you need to stop thinking of 10 gauge as some magical ideal. It is not. It’s just better by immeasurably small amounts per foot and most 120V outlets will accept it. 

At 10 Amps of draw, the hypothetical 30’ 10 gauge wire would drop 0.6V vs. the 0.2V of the 6’ power cord. Tiny amounts relative to 120V incoming AC.

To answer your question, you will have no problem using smaller gauge with your 10 gauge wiring, don't worry about it.

Yes I know that i could use it  but I'm not concerned about that.

Seems to me that Power conditioners should be using 10 gauge wire internally. Dedicated outlets use 10 gauge wire so shouldn't the power conditioner outlets use them?

If you have a 10 gauge power cord connected to a power conditioner and then the individual outlets within the conditioner only use 14 or 16 gauge wire - to me that's a huge problem.

"Dedicated outlets use 10 gauge wire so shouldn't the power conditioner outlets use them?"

- This not the case in most homes systems, 10 ga. is overkill for all but the most demanding, high power amplifiers.

"to me that's a huge problem."

- Sorry if it is for you, but most would not see a problem. I suggest you don't use a power conditioner or replace the wiring inside with 10 ga.

Seems to me that Power conditioners should be using 10 gauge wire internally. Dedicated outlets use 10 gauge wire so shouldn't the power conditioner outlets use them?

Man I did all that typing and math and you completely ignored me. :D

Why would I use 10 gauge when it's so hard to work with, for 2' of distance?

Most people use awg 12 from the breaker panel .

my Audiophile friend is also a master electrician ,I use awg 10 copper wire ,less resistance ,I also use 4 wire ,a common ground and a dedicated isolated ground in its own housing ,and separate buzz Barr, and heavy silverplated copper breaker which was expensive from Siemens Germany . just for the audio. Any top quality line conditioner usually use awg 12  copper wire 

Jumia   I have often wondered about that myself but don't have the answer. It would seem that most of the respondents to your post so far have failed to comprehend what you are asking. Am I correct? 

IMO this is not a "serious problem" at all. (Assuming you're using a 20 amp breaker to feed the 10 gauge wire.)

Look at it this way. The circuit using 10 gauge wire feeding the outlet is "overbuilt." The power conditioner is not "underbuilt" due to what is feeding it.

Your power conditioner should say how much power it can supply. As long as you do not exceed that it is not a problem.

If you run 6 gauge to a sub panel for my stereo should you use 6 gauge for the power conditioner???



When supplying power to a conditioner, the wall needs to have the capacity to do all the units fed by the conditioner but each outlet out of the conditioner only needs to have a capacity for the one unit it serves.  The travel loss can be collective as well as singular, which ever applies.  

Example, each lane in a freeway is sized for just one lane.  The on and off ramps are usually not the lane count of the freeway.   

The collective vs the singular circuits is the need.  There are units powered by a conditioner like a DAC that may only draw one amp.  or less.  Then there are loads fed by the conditioner that draw 10 amps. Collectively is just that, but all circuits individually do not draw the collective load. 

My Audience power conditioner has a 10 AWG power cord, but everything inside is 12 and 14 gauge.

If you think 16awg is small…take a look at the wire inside the fuse that is on the power conditioner…

Look at it a different way, the wire from the pole outside your house going to to your meter most likely is 4 gauge, aluminum wire. It then goes to your panel where it changes to 10 ga. copper (in your situation) to your power conditioner. Are you thinking it should be 4 ga, to the plug in outputs of your power conditioner? Or just 10ga. from the panel to the all the way to the outlets of your power conditioner. Unless you have 4 ga. power cords on each of your components the circle will be broken.

Like I said before, unless you have current draining, high power amps you won't notice any audible difference and there will be no electrical danger.

Why don’t you mention what brand line conditioner you have and. The powercord plugged into it. Forsure get a dedicated line minimum 20 amp awg12

and 4 wire ,with common ground ,and a dedicated isolated ground with separate copper buzz bar ,  and your wall outlets should be very good quality 

$100 Pangea best very heavy duty high purity copper then gold plated  which like mine can clamp down on awg10 wire.

Resistances are additive.  But they don't act like an orifice.  Many people like to think of electricity like water in a pipe and that doesn't always work.  if you have a 14 gauge wire and a 10 gauge wire, theoretically it won't matter which order you put them, the result will be the same.  I haven't tried this for audio. 

A short piece of smaller wire may not be a problem.  That said, it might.  Many power conditioners do more harm than good.  Many a good amp has been sold because the power conditioner or power cord was not supplying it the power it needed to shine.



If you like tests, run a listening test…generally the better the power cord for your system the better the results that you can hear. There is likely the same argument about 10/8 ga pc and any internal wiring in electronics. Shorter distances lower current values, different current draw at the circuit level vs the component level.
There must be standard answers as started above to these questions by now.

For the last time, the wire gauge needs ONLY to be thick enough to carry the current being drawn by the component to which it is connected.

There is NO need to match gauges all through a system.


Re-read what @erik_squires said near the top of this thread.  He knows what he is talking about.

The most annoying thing about this forum is the volume of nonsense spouted.

@clearthinker This is America with free speech.  You are welcome to your opinion and you are welcome to state it as often as you wish. But your assessment of power cords is wrong and I hope you stick by what you said and make the above the last time you post it.    Jerry


Too me, because I am deep minded that the power feeding our systems is so very important, I would want heavier gauge wire inside the power conditioner. 16 gauge is pretty weak. Not sure what is customary but a power conditioner that handles power amps or large drawing current should have at least 12 gauge up front handling the incoming power.

Perhaps branching out from there to lesser power draw components like Dac's etc.  smaller gauge would be ok.

Now, I don't have any hi-tech education supporting this just my years of experience.


@carlsbad   Thank you for your opinion.  I will continue to post mine.

No doubt you will explain why it is necessary to spend money on larger power cords than are required to carry the specified current.

What we need is a power conditioner with 4 gauge to compensate for all the low gauge wire used before. 



I swear to my dark goddess, my last job was doing cloud IT architecture for government and the powers-that-be insisted we use caches. In these specific cases they didn’t do anything but take up 100’s of gigabytes of RAM which got paid to a cloud provider, but they were convinced they needed them. They were leftovers from when they were trying to fix other problems. Now they were just expensive holes soaking up taxpayer dollars, but they loved those caches.



Kudos for understanding my concern.

It is true the devices will continue to work despite varying gauge wire but that's not the point here.

Will use of a 14 or 16 gauge wire within a power conditioner lessen the benefit when a 10 or 12 gauge wire is used elsewhere???

I think this issue has profound consequences and should be taken very seriously buy all those who install 10 gauge dedicated circuits in their systems.

This week I will be contacting the two Power conditioning companies that I own components from to find out exactly what they do and will share when I learn. 


Greetings on a (mostly) peaseful Sunday morning.

I’m going to jump in here as a highly enthusiastic premium power delivery supporter. This includes, but not limited to, beefy cables from the electrical panel, premium (audiophile) power cords, upgraded wall outlets, well-designed power conditioner/surge/distribution centers and, do I dare drop the "F-bomb" here??? ....... F-U-S-E-S!!! Yes, I’m guity of all the above. I even had the audacity to tear my power center apart, rip out all the OEM wiring and installed audiophile cables and audiophile outlets. Yes, admittedly, I even spent real money on the 7 audiophile fuses installed in my system. I’m hopeless.

So, it’s probably a good time to revisit the quote of the day:

"The most annoying thing about this forum is the volume of nonsense spouted."

Prepared to be annoyed.

To address the OP’s question directly, I would first access the quality of the power conditioner AND it’s attached power cable. It is not uncommon for those devices to ship with attached power cords that aren’t, uh, very good.

I would suggest, if possible, bypass your power center and plug your basic components directly into the wall outset. Depending on the complexity of your system and number of outlets available, this may not be possible. This is a good way to determine the effects (positive or negative) of the power center on the sonics of your system. I’d also suggest that you spend some time picking the right power cables. And, audition a power center with removable PC and install your newly-discovered favorite power cable from the wall outlet TO the power center. Of, if you love your power center, consider hacking the unit by internally wiring your (newly discovered) power cable.

Listening tests will determine the quality of the sum of ALL things used throughout your power delivery system. My guess is the importance of the gauge will become a non-factor. You ears will have pointed you in the right direction.


Kenjit by the numbers:


1 - Kenjit brings up non-issue

2 - Thoughtful helpful people waste their time writing thorough explanations why it’s not an issue.

3 - Kenjit pretends he can’t read

This is another classic -- always fun to watch the back and forth.

This issue can be broken down into two separate areas.

1. House wiring safety. What size wiring needed is determined by the amperage of the circuit breaker used for that circuit in the panel. A 15 amp breaker needs 14 gauge wiring or bigger. A 20 amp breaker needs 12 gauge or bigger wire. Note that the electrical code contemplates that continuous use of the circuit (hours or more) won't draw more than 80% of the circuit's capacity. (That's why electric car charging circuits require a 40 amp circuit to power a 32 amp charger for example.) The code is mainly concerned about you not burning your house down or shocking someone.

2. The other issue is audibility. Many audiophiles suffer from the disorder that "if this much is good, more MUST be better." Combine that with our psychological ability to hear what we want to hear and some will not be happy until they have 4 gauge wire all the way to the socket on the back of their gear.


Does your system sound better plugged into the wall, or through your power conditioner?  A thief breaks into my house by breaking down my front door, so I buy a much sturdier door and place a motion detector in the front room.  Next, the thief breaks into my house through my back door.  What I want is a secure house and while concentrating on one aspect of security, I ignore the other factors.  You don’t need to call the manufacturer of your power conditioner.  You just need to listen with and without the conditioner.  If next, you question if your conditioner, or another would be better in your system, then listen to both in your system.  Many dealers will loan with deposit, or sell with return privileges.  This isn’t rocket science and none of our opinions are relevant.  Your ears are all that you need.

The description of this being a serious issue, a huge problem with profound consequences is hyperbolic and overwrought.  I can assume that every other potential issue in your room and system have been thoroughly worked out?

Perhaps before ripping out sheet-rock, drilling new holes, and imagining copper lugs in the fuse box are better than aluminum, rent a power-meter. plug in your amp(s) and see how much current it's actually pulling.  Go ahead, crank that volume up to 0.0 db and play Carmina Burana.

Then check if it's within the bounds of the wiring already in place.  If it is, then you're in good shape.   If your voltage varies a lot, perhaps a conditioner makes sense, but also consider a pure sine-wave UPS which guards expensive equipment against transient spikes and avoids replacing expensive equipment.  You can get a nice one that will work for almost any purpose for under $300.


@erik_squires "I swear to my dark goddess, my last job was doing cloud IT architecture for government and the powers-that-be insisted we use caches."

Caches don’t make anything faster unless there are other bottlenecks in the system. And yes, I realize you know this.

 A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. Most people know just enough to be absolutely, completely wrong. Particularly in the IT industry. Best of luck ;)

And the wire gauge from the IEC inlet to the power supply is at most 14ga and is usually 16 or 18ga. Not to mention the fuse element is equivalent to a 20ga solid conductor.

I use 10/3 Romex for one reason only: the conductors are pre-twisted in the sheathing and that goes a long way into reducing common mode noise. I steer away from 2-wire Romex because the conductors are parallel and flat, making them a very efficient RFI antenna.


I was having kind of a shitteh day. So, I want to thank you guys for lifting my spirits with this udder (yes udder) BS.



@clearthinker +100 to:"the wire gauge needs ONLY to be thick enough to carry the current being drawn by the component to which it is connected"

end load in the AC power line typically is a power transformer, which has primary and secondary winding (primary gauge is up 100m long with high gauge), anf total effective resistance limits max current of power delivery network for that particular load. amp/pre/etc have primary winding resistance in the range of 0.2..50Ohms, which is significantly higher than ANY power cabe’ discussed. power transformer's resistance sums with protection fuse and internal wiring, which adds resistance to the AC power line as well.

If you have a hair dryer or food processor this makes sense but variations in Sonic transmissions are the result of tiny changes in electrical impulses which perform so much better with the least amount of resistance, or impedance for those who want to be technically correct.  

So anywhere along the food chain that you impede the electrical flow can be detrimental to what you hear if your system is good enough to allow you to perceive differences. And this is what's being evaluated herein



The thing we all need to remember is that it is about the music not about the (electrical) science. There are so many things that can’t be explained by science. The main one being how we hear improvements in sound quality. Can it really be measured? As has been said before, "maybe we do not have the proper scientific equipment to measure"?

Anyway, Jumia I go with what sounds the best to me. And to me, larger gauge wire running from the breaker box through the power cord, power conditioner and finally to our equipment has always sounded better to me.

Now as has been stated there are also many other factors to be considered in improving sound quality. But starting with the basics you are right on.


Does anybody remember underwriters laboratories? The manufacturers have to send their consumer electronics to underwriters laboratories and have everything tested. Yes that would include power cords. There’s a UL stamp right on them. All these aftermarket cords are not approved by the UL. If your house burns down because of one of these chords, you’re out of luck. I contracted a bunch of construction work at a place that regulated gas appliances many years back. It’s just like the underwriters laboratories. They test stuff for every possible stupid thing that consumers can do to staff. I can only imagine the torture tests that they put these electronics through  Which would include things like but not limited to putting more electricity through them than they’re supposed to ever see. I I am truly amazed at the amount of people that think that a different power cord can make a difference. It saddens me that the people that make these power cords  Know this and take advantage of their fellow man may not have been in science class the day that we learned about electricity. As far as I’m concerned, the people that bother the manufacturers of these so-called power conditioners deserve to have their time wasted. It seems like a couple times a week , somebody post a thread like this. It’s been three years that I’ve been hanging around this forum and it just goes on and on and on. 

I I am truly amazed at the amount of people that think that a different power cord can make a difference. It saddens me that the people that make these power cords 

I am truly amazed how people with functioning ears in this hobby cannot hear a difference in power cords 🤷‍♂️. It’s either ears not functioning properly (I.e cannot hear), or never tried any power cord. My advice: abort abort abort 


It's hard for me not to hear a difference. Just believe your ears and nothing else. Some sound better, some the same and some worse. It is fun to experiment, heck sometime I get my wife involved.

I recently upgraded my dedicated 20 amp line from my panel  to the outlet,  to 12 gauge from 14. Also changed the outlet from a hospital grade to a PS Audio. 

It was a good improvement,  but now I still have another 10 ' of 14 gauge power cord running from the outlet to my Brickwall conditioner,  so now you all have me wanting to change that leg to 12 gauge, to reduce my resistance by .0324 Ohms ?.

When will  it end, maybe I should  just bypass the tiny fuse wire also.

@allanblissett I just did the math.  I find 18 milliohms difference to be closer to accurate.  I think 31 mOhms would be the total R for 10' of 12 gauge. 

My math is based on this chart:




"variations in Sonic transmissions are the result of tiny changes in electrical impulses which perform so much better with the least amount of resistance"

Yet another example of unverified pseudoscience.

Take no notice.  There's so much of it here.