7 Major Differences between Unshielded and Shielded Power Cord

When you know what to look for, choosing the correct power cord is not difficult. Many factors can affect the performance and quality of the power cord. Should you go for shielded power cords or unshielded power cords? Can electromagnetic interference disturb the quality and efficiency of your project?

In today’s advanced industrial and commercial sectors, the custom cable manufacturing industry is a vast domain of the wire manufacturing industry. CLOOM Tech is offering custom power cables to the industrial and commercial teams. What is the difference between these two power cords? We are going to discuss the difference between shielded and unshielded power cables in detail.

Power Cord 1


Shielded cable clear view

1.Use Cases of Shielded vs. Unshielded Power Cord

The use cases of both power cords are the significant differences between shielded and unshielded wires. Both cables serve a different purpose, so you must know about the suitable applications. EMI or electromagnetic interference is the reason behind the use of shield twisted pair cables.
While unshielded cables are used in normal circumstances where no EMI is included, here are some essential points to know about the applications and use cases of both shielded and unshielded power cords:

When to use Shielded Power Cord?

Shielded power cables have an additional layer of material to protect the internal conductor wires. The other conductive layer protects the internal transmission of current against any interference and signals disturbance. Adding the extra conductive material layer reduces the power losses in lengthy wires as there are fewer disturbances due to additional layers.

Power Cord 2


Twisted pair UTP network cable with central plastic support

When to use Unshielded Power Cords?

Unshielded power cables have no additional layers of aluminum foil or any other conductive material. You can call unshielded power cables, Unshielded Twisted Pair cables too. Unshielded power cables are generally lighter and cheaper than the shielded power cables. In the presence of EMI, unshielded power cables may not perform very well. If you want an uninterrupted power supply for a longer cable run, using the shielded power cables is better.

2.Pros and cons of Shielded Power Cord

Both power cables are pretty famous for different industrial and commercial applications. But there are some limitations and restrictions in the use of both wires. Before deciding on your final purchase, make sure that you know the pros and cons of both cables. Here are some pros and cons of both shielded and unshielded power cables:

Shielded Power Cords

Pros

  • There is less loss of power and data due to additional protective layer
  • The signal strength remains the same for a longer run of cable as there is no external interference
  • Shielded power cables also reduce the emission of electromagnetic radiations as these radiations can damage the nearby devices too
  • There is minimum capacitive coupled noise in shielded wires as this noise can disturb the coworkers
  • Shielded cables are useful for high voltage current transmission
  • The lifetime of shielded cables is way more than the standard cables

Cons

  • Shielded power cables are heavier and can take up a lot of space in the appliance or working space
  • The cost of shielded power cables is comparatively higher
  • Only trained and professional teams can handle the installation of the shielded wires

3.Pros and Cons of Unshielded Power Cord

If unshielded power cables are cheaper, it does not mean that you can choose these cables for any project. The applications of the unshielded power cables are also limited. Here are some pros and cons of using unshielded power cables:

Power Cord 3


Flexible Three-wire electrical cable

Pros

  • The unshielded power cables are more flexible, thin and lightweight
  • The manufacturing cost of unshielded power cables does not require additional layers, so these cables are cost-effective
  • The installation and maintenance of unshielded power cables is easier than the shielded power cables
  • A high-quality unshielded power cable can offer smooth working for years

Cons

  • There is no protection against electromagnetic interference
  • There might be some noise due to the flow of high current in unshielded power cables
  • Unshielded power cables are not suitable for high-voltage appliances

4.Different Applications of Shielded and Unshielded Power Cord

Both cables offer different advantages and limitations. You will have to analyze the situation and the project specifications to decide the suitable option. There are other applications of both cables in industrial and commercial environments.

Shielded power cables are the best fit for the environment where EMI can affect the transmission quality. Most of the time, smooth transmission is the main goal at the airports and the radio stations, and the noise and disturbance due to external signals can affect the transmission quality. FoShielded power cables are better than unshielded power cables for security systems, where different components work short distances. The outer layer of the conductive material in shielded power cables reduces signal interference and reduces the emission of radiation. Where you need the safer and secure transmission of current, you can opt for shielded power cables.

There is no additional layering of the unshielded power cables to stop the electromagnetic interference. These cables are more suitable for commercial use than industrial use, and these cables are more popular as compared to the shielded power cables because:

  • Unshielded power cables are cheap
  • These cables are versatile
  • Unshielded power cables are easy to install
  • Cables are lightweight as there is no additional layering
  • Unshielded power cables are flexible

5.Power Cord-Grounding Methods

The grounding method is also a significant difference between unshielded power cables and shielded power cables. As both cables come with different designs, you have to take care of both cables differently. If something is suitable for shielded cables, it does not mean that the same method will be ideal for unshielded cables. The grounding process is not essential for unshielded power cables, but it is a must for shielded power cables. You need to ground the additional conductive material for the flow of high-voltage transmissions.

Welding copper ground wire on the ground rod


Welding copper ground wire on the ground rod

You don’t need to worry about the grounding of unshielded power cables; the installation time for unshielded power cables is also less than the shielded ones. If you have not grounded the shielded power cables correctly, the electromagnetic interference can worsen the situation. While differentiating the shielded power cables from the unshielded power cables, don’t miss the difference of grounding methods.

6.Cost Assessment of Shielded vs. Unshielded Power Cord

When comparing the unshielded power cables with shielded power cables, applications and the project specifications are essential. Another crucial point you need to consider while comparing both options is the cost assessment for both wires.

Unshielded power cables are smaller in diameter and don’t need additional protective layers, so these cables are cheaper. These cables are perfect for using an appliance where you need flexibility, and many bending is a must. In an uncomplicated environment, unshielded cables can also resist the EMI.

Budget constraints are essential for every business, so understanding the right choice for your project means that you need to consider the prices of both options. If you don’t need to minimize the EMI, and unshielded power cables can do the job for you, you don’t need to invest extra money in shielded power cables.

Cable cost for both types of cables


Cable cost for both types of cables

Using the shielded power cables seems like a good deal for sophisticated setups and projects where security and efficiency are prioritized. Although shielded power cables are expensive, yet these cables are worth your investment. These cables are heavier, and the installation is also complicated, but you don’t need to worry about external interference and the security of the data transmission.

7.Difference Between Application Environments

Both cables are different in several aspects, so you need to assess the environment where you need to use these cables. The unshielded wires are perfect for homes and small offices. In any work environment where a complicated arrangement of devices is not an issue, unshielded power cables are suitable for such an environment.

The shielded power cables are perfect for industries and larger environments where nearby devices can create a disturbance. When you need a secure current transmission with an additional conductive material layer, you can go for shielded power cables.

Conclusion

Either you want shielded power cables or unshielded power cables, making the right decision is essential. Our team of professional engineers and designers can manufacture custom power cables for industrial and commercial use at an affordable cost. If you want to hire our services for your project, we would like to discuss the details right away.

Hey, I am John, General manager of Cloom and OurPCB.

I am a responsible, intelligent and experienced business professional with an extensive background in the electronics industry.

Reach me at sales@wiringo.com to get a quote for your projects.

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