West Penn Wire Blog

Different Types of Outdoor Cables

Posted by Samantha Flannery on Jun 10, 2020 10:00:00 AM

When it comes to installing cables outside or underground for ensuring that there is continued performance, there are a few different types of outdoor cabling products to consider:

  • Outdoor Cable
  • Underground Burial Cable
  • Direct Burial Cable

However, not every cable that is technically outdoor-rate can be directly buried underground. So, let's take a closer look at these cables and the differences between them and how to use them in outdoor applications.

Outdoor Cable:

Outdoor cables feature an outdoor rating and can maintain performance despite harsh elements and conditions. For example, moisture, high/low temperatures, and tearing affecting signal integrity. But this cable is not designed to be buried underground. 

Underground Burial Cable: 

Underground cables can be installed - when it sits inside a conduit. This added protection allows the cable to sit underground and withstand exposure to the elements. These cables have water blocking fillers or polymer gel that stop water infiltration to underground burial cables. But, the cable jackets might be able to withstand water resistance for a long period. Water can eventually migrate into the core of the cable if the exposure to water lasts long enough. When looking at cables it is also important to know that PE cable jackets have better water resistance than PVC jackets. When data cables get wet, they will have higher attenuation which could impact the cable's performance over time. Also, a copper data cable that gets wet will not work.  

Direct Burial: 

Direct Burial cables have a UL rating once they pass a water absorption and crush-resistance test. To be classified as a "direct burial cable", testing and ratings are completed to verify the cables have the capacity to withstand the outside elements if it is being used outdoors or placed underground. These cables usually feature a rugged jacket that can survive pressures and can have long-term contact with moisture. In outdoor elements, it can maintain the performance and signal integrity of the cable. To see for yourself how the cable can withstand moisture click here to see a video demonstration. 

Note: If you don't want to use a conduit within your installation, using a cable with a direct-burial rating is highly recommended.

West Penn Wire offers a large variety of outdoor cabling options, one of our most sought after cables being out Aquaseal Wet Locations Cables that offer both direct burial and in-conduit options. 

Aquaseal Cable Products

Other Related Blog Posts: 

If you would like to speak to a sale's team member or product specialist, email sales@westpennwire.com.


Topics: Aquaseal, Wet Location, direct burial, Audio cables, AV, outdoor cable

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