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Wire Connectors (Wire-nuts®)

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Wire connectors are used to connect two or more wires together. There are many types of wire connectors, the most common are twist-on. IDEAL Industries brand twist-on wire connectors are the most commonly used and will be featured in this article. Twist-on wire connectors are available in many different color-coded sizes to allow for different wire gauges and number of wires.

Twist-on Wire Connectors

IDEAL Industries first wire connector is called wire-nut®, and has become the trade name for any twist-on wire connector of all types and manufacturers. IDEAL Industries wire connector PDF catalog provides information on their wire connectors including connector sizes (color coded), and a chart that shows which connector to use for different numbers and sizes of wires. Check out IDEAL Industries  Twist-on Wire Connectors page for more information.

Wire Connector Sizes

Wire connector size depends upon the wire gauges and number of wires connected together. Wire connectors packages show the minimum and maximum wires and sizes allowed. Avoid using the minimum and maximum sizes and numbers. Check out IDEAL Industries UL Listed Wire Combinations PDF file.

Blue Wire-Nut Good choice for ballast wire connections.

Orange Wire-Nut Commonly used with light or fan fixtures for connection to switch wire(s).

Yellow Wing-Nut Commonly used to connect 2 #14 or 2 #12 wires.

Tan Twister Commonly used to connect 2 to 3 #14 or #12 wires.

Red Wing-Nut Commonly used to connect 3 to 4 #14 or #12 wires, or 3 #10.

   Wire-nuts         Wing-nut     Twister   Wing-nut

Common Wire Connectors

Common Wire Connectors

Twister® - IDEAL considers this the most common wire connector for residential projects. This is also very commonly used for commercial construction. They are available in three sizes. The shell expands when tightening to ensure a secure connection. If you need to remove this wire connector, it should be replaced with a new wire connector because of the expansion.

Wire-Nut® - the original wire connector, available in five sizes.

Wing-Nut® - these have contoured wings to provide a secure grip and extra torque. They are available in three sizes.

WireTwist® - an economical connector similar to the Wire-Nut.

Push-in Wire Connectors Yellow Wingnut Tan Twister

How to Install a Wire Connector

1. Turn power off.

2. Strip wires, usually about ½ inch for two wires. Strip about ¾ to 1 inch for more than two wires. Lead stranded wire(s) beyond the solid wire(s) by about 1/16 inch(1.6mm).

3. Align frayed strands and conductors.

4. Hold wire ends together evenly.

5. Insert wires into connector and screw on until the connector stops twisting.

6. Lightly pull on each wire to ensure the wires are secured inside of the connector.

The connector should stop twisting after step 5. If it does not stop twisting or if a wire comes loose when pulling in step 6, undo the connection and start over again. Another size connector may be needed to make a proper connection.

Push-in Wire Connectors

Twist-on wire connectors are preferred by electricians for general wiring and should be used inside electrical boxes. Push-in wire connectors are an alternative that provide an easy way to connect wires without twisting. They are sometimes used in fluorescent light fixtures to connect ballasts to lampholders (image at right). Check out IDEAL’s In-Sure™ Push-In Wire Connectors page for more information.

Wire Connector Sizes Table