What Kind of Wire Should I Use for Wiring Wired Security Sensors?

The recommended wire gauge is typically 22 AWG for standard sensors and 18 AWG for higher power consumption devices.

Wire Gauge

NOTE: The numbers used to measure gauge (AWG) are, somewhat counter-intuitively, lower for thicker gauge. For example, 22 gauge is thicker than 24 gauge. 

Wire Type

  • Solid vs. Stranded Wire:

    • Both 22 AWG solid and stranded wires are appropriate.
    • The choice depends on installation needs; stranded wire offers more flexibility.
  • Conductors:

    • 2-conductor wire is generally sufficient for basic sensor wiring.
    • For powered devices or complex installations, 4-conductor wire is better.

Using Ethernet Cable for Sensor Wiring

  • Cat5/5e/6 Ethernet Cable:
    • Comprises 4 twisted pairs (8 cores in total), with a 24-gauge thickness.
    • While it's overkill for most applications, it's useful if existing wiring is present.
    • Theoretically, it can support 4 contact sensors or 2 powered sensors.

Considerations for Specific Installations

  • Length of Wire Runs:

    • Longer runs may require thicker gauge wire to prevent voltage drop, especially for high-power devices.
  • Environment and Routing:

    • Outdoor or exposed installations might need more durable wire or additional protection.
    • Wire routing (through walls, ceilings, etc.) affects the wire type choice.


In summary, 22 AWG wire is typically recommended for standard security sensors, while 18 AWG is better for high-power devices. The choice between solid and stranded wire, as well as the number of conductors, should be based on specific installation requirements. Ethernet cables like Cat5/5e/6 can also be used, especially for retrofitting in existing wired environments. Proper wire selection and installation are key for the effective operation of wired security systems.