Why Is Romex Wire So Expensive? Most people don’t realize it, but Romex is not a type of wire, but it is instead a brand new. That means when you buy Romex wire, you are not just buying the copper that its made out of. You are also buying the brand.

Romex is so expensive because it has a high copper content, several layers of insulation, and its a brand name product. Buying Romex is analogous to buy designer wire. When buying a product from a recognized brand, you are always going to be paying a premium based on the brand value. Also, several current geopolitical situations have caused the availability of almost all products to go down. This, in turn, has driven up the prices of nearly all products. The good news is that if you want Romex performance without Romex cost, all you have to do is buy another brand wire with similar insulation and current carrying capacity. 

In this article, we will explain why Romex is so expensive. We will also explain how Romex works and how you can get the same thing for a whole lot less money.

CableLengthGaugeNumber Of WirePrice
14/2 Romex at Home Depot50′142$56
14/2 Romex at Lowes50′142$57
12/2 Southwire MC Cable on Amazon50′122$55
12/2 Wirenco NM-B Cable on Amazon50′122$46
Romex prices are higher than they usually are at the moment. This is due to many temporary complications such as China’s economic situation in response to the coronavirus pandemic, supply disruptions, and other geopolitical factors

Romex Alternatives

There are plenty of Romex alternatives that will do either just as good as Romex or even better. Remember, when shopping for Romex, what you are really shopping for a 14 gauge 2 wire cable.

For example, check out this Wirenco 12/2 NM-B Non-Metallic Sheathed Cable. Its made from a pair of 14 gauge solid conductors just like Romex. It also has the same type of insulation made from the same materials. That means that this wire can do anything that Romex can do.

As long as the cable is made from solid wire, has a double walled insulation, and is 14 gauge or larger, it will work just as good as Romex.

Most people assume assume that you have to use Romex for any sort of internal house wiring. This is not the case. If you are wiring up a closet or other utility area, you could always use this Southwire MC Cable.

Southwire MC cable is made from solid 12 gauge wire. That means it can actually carry more current than White Romex. The smaller the gauge number, the thicker the wire. If the wire is thicker, then that means it has less electrical resistance. That means a larger wire can provide far more power than a smaller one, while also producing much less heat.

Not only does MC cable produce much less heat, but it even has a hard, metal ground jacket. This hard casing further shields the cable from the inside of the walls and other flammable surfaces.

Why Is Romex More Expensive Than MC Cable? 

Supply chain problems and other factors have caused Romex to be more expensive than MC cable. Romex and MC cable are basically the same thing. The only major difference is that MC cable has a hard metal jacket that makes it ideal for outdoor use. Romex cable, on the other hand, requires only a plastic jacket and is therefor much cheaper to produce.

So, why is Romex wire so expensive? Its just one particular brand of 14 gauge indoor AC wire. Many brands and products all over the world are seeing price increases due to many complicated geopolitical issues. 

That means that at this point in time, the more expensive to produce, heavier duty cable can actually end up having a lower purchase price than a lesser alternative. This situation will not last forever, but if you need the electrical performance of Romex wire and want to save a little money, then MC cable is the way to go.

Why Is There a Shortage of Romex Wire?

The recent shortage of Romex wire is the result of Covid-19 shutdowns, increasing demand, a shortage of truck drivers, strikes, U.S. ports of entry delays, and several other supply chain disruptions have all contributed to the problem.
Covid 19 shutdowns have placed a massive strain on the economy in general. The fact that demand for Romex is increasing will do nothing but drive up the price. A shortage of truck drivers means that the ones that we have now are suddenly more valuable and get paid more, which further drives up the cost of all goods.
Strikes play their role in disrupting sectors of the economy by totally shutting down production at the source. If production is down, then so is supply. If supply is low and demand is high, then prices skyrocket. Finally, problems at the US port of entry only compound those other things and add many more layers of delay to the mix, which has its own way of affecting prices.
So, if you were wondering why Romex is so expensive, we are hoping that it’s starting to make sense to you. In addition to these supply chain woes, it doesn’t help that there have not been any new copper deposits found in recent years.

So, Why Is Romex Wire So Expensive? 

In addition to the current economic and geological price driving factors, Romex is expensive because its a brand new. Romex basically has a monopoly on the market when it comes to the minds of the average consumer. Romex is expensive for the same reason that Kleenex are more expensive than generic tissue paper.

You will always pay more when you are buying a brand name product compared to a generic brand. So, if you are wondering why Romex is so expensive, then we recommend buying a Romex alternative instead.

Factors That Affect the Price of Copper

The price of copper is dramatically influenced by how the global economy is doing. This makes sense, as copper has such a wide range of applications in just about all sectors of the economy. Copper is used for power generation and transmission, new constructions, and factory equipment. Its also used in every single electronic device.

On the London Metal Exchange in Jan March 2020, three-month copper futures traded at $6,340 per ton. Just three months later in March, that price fell to $4,731 per ton. This caused a macroeconomic chain reaction that started to drive up prices.  While its true that copper futures have sprung back to $5,200, the situation is still not where it was before.

What Is The Difference Between White Romex And Yellow Romex?

White Romex is made with two 14 gauge wires and yellow Romex is made with two 12 gauge wires. When it comes to gauge sizes, the small the bigger. So, that means yellow Romex contains much more copper than white Romex. This means that yellow Romex can carry more current for longer distances compared to white Romex. 

So, if you are shopping for a Romex alternative, you need to make sure that it uses the same type of wires and insulation as the Romex you are trying to avoid paying for. That means that if you need a 14/2 White Romex equivalent, you need to find a cable that is made from two 14 gauge solid wires that have a double insulation.

If instead you are looking for a 12/3 Yellow Romex equivalent, then you would need to find a cable that is made from three 12 gauge solid wires that have a double insulation.

Why Is Electrical Wire So Expensive Right Now?

The global demand for copper has increased recently. In addition to that, the cost of labor and materials has risen in recent years. These factors, among others, have made electrical wiring prices rise. Other less geopolitical factors that effect the price of wire is that some manufacturers have simply been increasing their prices in order to make more profits.

Is There A Shortage On Electrical Wire?

No. While its true that copper prices are up at the moment, there is still plenty of copper to go around. There is no shortage of electrical wire itself, but there is a shortage of Romex brand electrical wire. The good news is that you do not have to use Romex for your AC electrical wiring. 

Why Is Bx Cheaper Than Romex?

BX cable is made from a higher gauge wire than Romex. Because of this, it is less expensive to produce, but it also cannot carry as much power. Also, BX wire does not have the protective outer sheath that Romex has, which is another factor that drives down its selling price.

Why Are Electrical Cable Expensive?

Wire is expensive because copper is expensive. As we move further and further into the future, the electrical properties of copper and more and more desirable. Right now, copper is $3.83 per pound. That price is only going to go up as more and more houses are built, more and more cities expand, and more and more electronic components are produced.

Conclusion

In the world of construction and home remodeling, high quality wiring is crucial. You may assume that you have to use Romex to get the job done, so that may leave you asking ‘Why Is Romex So Expensive?’ 

One of the reasons Romex is so expensive is because its made from copper and has several layers of insulation. Copper itself has gotten more expensive lately, and there are several geopolitical reasons why that is happening. Those same forces are driving up the cost of all products, not just copper and Romex wire. Romex itself is particularly expensive because its both a brand name, premium product and the company that makes Romex has been affected by the global supply chain issues a bit more than other companies. While Romex may be the common brand name for 14 gauge 2 conductor cable, there are plenty of viable Romex alternatives out there. These alternatives provide either the same electrical performance characteristics at a lower price, or higher electrical performance characteristics at about the same price. 

We hope this article helped you find out why Romex is so expensive. Thanks for reading!