How to Determine the Price of Insulated Copper Wire Scrap

Copper is one of the most valued metals to recycle. You’ll find it in extension cords, Christmas light strings, and old desktop computers. Pick out the copper scrap for sale.

However, not all insulated copper wire is created equal; knowing your grade will enable you to negotiate the best price per pound at your scrap yard.


Copper wire can be found in everyday items, from household extensions and appliance cords to construction projects. Although its value might seem obvious, determining its true worth can sometimes take time and effort. The copper wire must be sorted before being sold to maximize its value and save time and money in transport/storage costs for optimal results.

Sorting copper begins by distinguishing clean from dirty. Pure copper has no insulation, fittings, or other materials attached and usually offers the highest payout. Conversely, impure copper may contain anything from insulation materials and solder to tubing and fittings that reduce its value significantly.

Once you’ve organized your collection of copper scrap, it’s wise to categorize each grade accordingly. Copper prices often depend on its region and quality; for instance, insulated copper wire may be valued lower due to taking up valuable space than bare copper due to an exterior preventing recycling. Common types of insulated copper wire include spaghetti, Romex(r), and telecom wires.

Separating your copper by single and double-layer insulation will give you maximum return for your pile of wires. As many scrap yards offer discounted prices based on grade level, be sure that at least half of your bank contains only single-layer insulation to maximize payout.

As part of your process for sorting copper, it is also essential that any signs of heavy oxidation or oils be thoroughly eliminated – this will protect its quality and increase its scrap price.

Before bringing in the insulation for scrap, it’s advisable to strip it back – doing this will increase your profit and ease the scrap yard in identifying pure copper as scrap. Heating the wire in boiling water and using a tool will help strip the plastic coating away. For large amounts of insulated copper to sell off at once, you may invest in an electric insulation stripper to expedite this process and save some time.


When dealing with large volumes of copper wire, sorting them by grade is essential to optimal scrapyard prices. Breaking your collection down into categories like bare bright copper, #1, and #2 is one way of increasing how much money can be made from copper scrap. Copper is one of the world’s most highly valued metals; segregating yours properly will help ensure maximum returns from scrap dealers.

Bare bright copper wire is a high-grade variety with all insulation removed, making it highly desirable and fetching top prices at scrap yards.

Bright copper has a clear, silvery sheen and usually looks very clean and shiny, which makes it ideal for use in appliance cords, electrical wiring, and similar applications. Insulated wires stripped back to their raw state should be devoid of fittings or debris that might obstruct their shine.

#1-grade copper insulation wire or cable refers to any pure, unalloyed, and uncoated copper wire or cable free from paint, solder, or any other coatings with at least 94-68% copper content. Furthermore, any fittings or materials such as plastic, lead, or zinc that could contaminate it must also be free from contamination to qualify.

Grade #2 copper wire includes miscellaneous, unalloyed copper scrap that doesn’t meet the 96% minimum requirements, such as insulated wire with excessive solder or paint and other copper materials that do not comply. This could include tubing with non-copper connections, brasses/bronzes that haven’t been tinned/soldered connections, and various metals unsuitable for #1, such as bronzes/brasses that do not adhere to this requirement.

Romex copper insulated wire is an industry standard in homes and is found in older appliances and motors. The copper strands found within this wire are solid and thicker than pencil leads. Other lower-grade forms of insulated copper wire include car harness wire and data cable, frequently used to relay electrical power from vehicles or sizeable commercial equipment.


Copper wires come in all different forms and weights. When taking them to scrap yards for disposal or sale, you must understand precisely how much each weighs to make an accurate value assessment.

Before bringing in copper wire for recycling, it is also helpful to understand its different grades. This will allow you to avoid bringing in low-grade material, which could reduce how much money is paid out.

When sorting a large quantity of copper, dividing it according to grade and weight is advisable before taking it to a scrap yard for recycling. This will simplify identification and classification while saving time and money – if you need assistance sorting, contact a nearby scrap yard or recycler immediately for guidance.

One popular type of copper wire is #1 Insulated copper wire, the highest grade variety, which is generally free from corrosion and other impurities, possessing a light orange hue with 16 gauge minimum gauge thickness requirements. This wire can be found in many electrical equipment, including extension cords and electronics.

# 2 Insulated wire is another popular form of copper cable, similar to its first grade but with an increased plastic coating thickness. This grade can be found in telephone and communication lines, automobiles, and heavy equipment – it can even be used for home and business wiring!

#4 Insulated copper wire is the lowest grade available, consisting of equal parts copper and plastic insulation. This wire can often be found inside appliance cords found behind significant appliances.

Copper is an invaluable metal that deserves special care when being recycled; therefore, it should be treated as such and stored correctly to protect its value and ensure you get the maximum payout. By following proper techniques, you can preserve and store it safely for recycling purposes. By doing this, your copper won’t become damaged or dirty over time, and you will receive maximum compensation.

Contact Us

Copper is one of the most valuable metals on Earth, and recycling insulated copper wire can be very profitable. However, it’s important to remember that various grades of insulated wire vary significantly in value, and price can change frequently depending on availability.

Insulated copper wire and cable can be found in various objects, from large appliances to smaller electronic items. Monitors and televisions often feature copper wiring, which can be sold off to scrap yards for recycling, while refrigerators, washers/dryers/dishwashers, and dishwashers typically include it, as do smaller devices like coffee makers/toaster ovens.

Some types of insulated copper wire can be sold as is, while other varieties must first be stripped to be sold as scrap metal. To strip copper wire effectively, you will require wire strippers capable of cutting through its plastic insulation without damaging its copper core underneath – although stripping wire by hand may also work, it may take more time and may not yield as high a return at scrap yards.

Once you’ve amassed enough insulated copper wire to sell, you must find a nearby salvage yard or recycling center that accepts this material. Once ready to sell your inventory, bring it in and inquire how much they offer you in exchange. Remember that copper prices may change due to factors like international demand, supply disruptions, and fluctuations in currency exchange rates – so do keep an eye out!

Investing in a stripping tool may be worthwhile if you plan to sell large amounts of insulated copper wire. By stripping, this tool can help remove its plastic coating and increase its value considerably while saving time by allowing you to sell in smaller increments.

Bare bright copper (clean copper) is considered the highest-value insulated wire grade. This includes unalloyed copper wire thinner than 16 gauge with no heavy or double insulation; Romex(r) wire, on the other hand, has two layers of plastic insulation, which reduces its value relative to THHN or bare bright copper.

Read Also:Dual Screens on the Go with Screen Extenders