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Top 10 Easy Ways Of Identifying Fake Copper Wires In The Market

Top 10 Easy Ways Of Identifying Fake Copper Wires In The Market

Ways Of Identifying Fake Copper Wires

Despite various posts on technical articles, nothing much has been said concerning copper wires. For the record, copper wire is one of the most expensive wires in the market currently due to its numerous applications in electrification jobs.

Why Copper is Often Used in Making Electric Wires

The electrical engineering field highlighted that the best electrical metallic conductors are silver, copper, and aluminum wires respectively.

However, because of the scarce and expensive nature of silver, copper is less expensive therefore copper wires had become the best alternative for wiring because of their higher thermal-conductivity properties which are higher than that aluminum wires.

Ways Of Identifying Fake Copper Wires: Coiled original uninsulated cable made from copper wires. Image source:
Ways Of Identifying Fake Copper Wires: Coiled original uninsulated cable made from copper wires. Image source:


Due to the high demand and its high cost, copper wires now have counterfeits in the market. The fake copper wires can hardly be discovered by a novice.

Because some modern electric motors were made with fake copper wire resulting in their poor power output and cheap selling price.

The truth behind fake copper wires is that they are coated with copper such that they appear similar to the original copper wires in terms of their physical appearance.

This difference in the copper wires had been the major reason for the large coil electric motors with poor performing power output, due to the possibility that their coils may have been built with fake copper wires.

For records, the evidence of this was revealed when the dealer peels off the outer surface of the fake copper wire to reveal the inside metal that the wire was originally made with.

It was found that some of the metals used in making fake copper are aluminum, iron, and tungsten wires, etc. these wires are readily available and cheaper than original copper wires but they have fewer demands in the market.

Hence, dealers find ways to put them into use by prescribing electroplating ideas to the manufacturers.

On the other hand, manufacturers do make huge gains from such deals since they are not dealing with original copper which is costlier.

Meanwhile, those who usually feel the effect of the whole trick are the consumers, and that occurs when such wires were used to make electrical appliances that make use of electric motors which results in poor performance and also may not last in service.

Ways of knowing fake copper wires

Option 1

The common method of identifying fake copper wire is to scratch the wire deeply with a sharp knife.

If the inside appears to have any other color other than the one seen on the outer surface of the wire then it was electroplated and hence may be a fake wire.

This method has the exception of electric motor rewinding copper wires which are usually insulated with reddish-color material, however, the main inside still maintains the original color of copper.

Top 10 Easy Ways Of Identifying Fake Copper Wires In The Market

Option 2

Some dealers are fair enough, they can tell you promptly that the wire is not the original type, due to the huge price gap between the original copper wire and the fake one. That is another thing you must lookout.

Option 3

Some of the fake copper wires cannot exhibit most of the physical properties of the original copper wire which include ductility, malleability, and little or no environmental impacts on the surface appearance.

If any dealer claimed the wire is original copper, check the surface appearance. If it has changed from the usually reddish-brown color to any other color then look closely because it might be the fake one.

Option 4

Does the wire generate heat immediately when a current is made to pass through it? If yes, then it is a fake copper wire.

Original copper wire
Ways Of Identifying Fake Copper Wires: Original copper wire

Except for Aluminum wires and copper wires, iron wires and tungsten wires generate heat immediately in just a few seconds when used to conduct electricity under 12 volts power supply.

In that case, the wire may have been plated with copper and declared to be the original copper wire.

Option 5

Do not be in a rush to pay for the wire, hold a small portion of its end and try squeezing or twisting it in a zig-zag motion about 10 times.

If the joint did not break up, then it may be an original copper wire but if it does, then it is fake.

The reason for the above is that copper is among the most ductile and malleable metals which makes it easy for manufacturers to draw it into wires, so much property does exist in copper wires.

So if fake metal wire-like aluminum wires or iron wires were used to fake the copper wire, then the joints will break off during the twisting.

Option 6

Coils and transformers made with original Copper wires do not get rust or corrode over a long period, such will be a sign that any corroded coil or transformer to show that was not made with original copper wire.

Top 10 Easy Ways Of Identifying Fake Copper Wires In The Market

Option 7

Take a magnet close to any copper wire claimed to be original, if it is found to be magnetic then it is not copper wire because copper generally is non-magnetic.

Though other wires like Aluminum wires are not magnetic also, the colors of both are different. Iron wire can be coated with copper to sell as an original copper wire.

Even alloys of iron and copper can still sell as original copper wire. The presence of magnetic properties shows that it is not a pure copper wire and hence not an original one.

Option 8

copper is not an elastic material hence, its wire will not be adjustable. Original copper will remain in its position after bending it, otherwise, the wire was not made with complete copper. If the wire returns after a folding or squeezing test, it is a fake wire copper wire.

Option 9

Some fake copper wires are alloys of little copper and another metal, note that it is different from plated/coated copper wire.

Ways Of Identifying Fake Copper Wires: The actual color of non-insulated copper wire
Ways Of Identifying Fake Copper Wires: The actual color of non-insulated copper wire

When the alloyed copper wire is scratched the inside color may not change but the easiest way to know the wire is through the color, their reddish-brown color will always appear lighter than that of the original copper wire.

Option 10

Another crucial test can be the wire reactions with acid, between copper, iron, tungsten, and aluminum, copper reacts more slowly in dilute sulphuric acid than any of the above metals, so taking a cup full of diluted sulphuric acid, insert the tip of the wire inside the cup, if it starts reacting immediately then it is not original copper wire, otherwise it may be a copper material.


The above 10 points are an easy way of discovering the quality of copper wire or cable one which to buy in the market. It is a guard and backup knowledge for any cable wire dealer.

It is important to note that the majority of fire outbreak accidents in buildings do come from electrification and such is common when fake cables and wires were used, which causes overheating to the junction box and easily create good condition for the fire to start burning.

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