Audiophiles have been debating the best way to connect speakers to a sound system since the dawn of time.
It might seem as simple as plugging one into another, but there are more steps you can take to amplify the sound and make it as enjoyable as possible.
You’ll need to use the best speaker wire rating, as well as the correct speaker wire gauge, to achieve the best sound output. We’re going to be looking at Cl2 and Cl3 rated speakers wires to see how they differ from each other.
What Is A Speaker Wire Rating?
Before we get into the speaker wires in question, we first need to understand what the rating is for and what it tells us. In short, the speaker wire rating refers to the classification of the wire.
The ‘CL’ at the start of the wire rating is an abbreviation for the word Classification.
These clarification ratings are concerning fire safety. Each rating is made with the materials used to make it in mind.
The material of the speaker wire and its cover need to be rated for fire safety to avoid damaging your equipment and creating a dangerous situation.
What’s The Difference Between Cl2 And Cl3 Speaker Wires?
Both of these speaker wires have been made from in-wall or in-ceiling speaker wiring. They have met the fire rating requirements that are necessary for these kinds of applications, so they are safe to use. But, what’s the difference between them?
Cl2 Rated Speaker Wire
CL2 is the abbreviated form of Classification 2. This speaker wire is only suitable for connections with low voltages. It can be installed within walls or a ceiling without posing a threat, and can withstand voltage spikes of less than 150 volts.
This speaker wire can handle power surges relatively well and therefore shouldn’t be a fire concern during these voltage spikes.
Cl3 Rated Speaker Wire
This speaker wire’s full name is Classification 3, and it is also safe to use within walls and ceilings. It can also withstand power surges of up to 300 volts, which is twice as much power as the Cl2 speaker wire can bear.
So, as you can see, the main difference between Cl2 and Cl3 speaker wires is the amount of power they can withstand during a voltage spike. Cl2 has a lower voltage limit and therefore should be used with caution on certain speakers and sound systems.
You can use a Cl3 wire in place of a Cl2 wire, but you cannot use a Cl2 wire in place of a Cl3 wire. Doing so might increase the chances of fire or electrocution. When in doubt about the voltage of your equipment, we would recommend using a Cl3 to be on the safe side.
Both Cl2 and Cl3 speaker wires are copper-based wires that can be used in the walls or ceiling. They are both rated for fire safety, provided that you use them within their means. It is imperative that you check the speaker wire rating to avoid fire or electrocution.
The only difference between Cl2 and Cl3 wires is that the former can handle a power surge of no more than 150 volts, while the latter can withstand a spike of 300 volts. Cl3 is the safer option as it allows for more powerful voltage spikes over the Cl2 speaker wire.