Copper




















We buy all kinds of copper:

See our Scrap Metal Prices (click here) page for current prices on all types of copper.

 

-Bare Bright or Bright & Shiny copper is the highest paying grade of copper. The picture to the left is an example of what Bright & Shiny copper typically looks like.

 

  • As the name implies, Bright & Shiny copper must be clean, bright and essentially look new. Very minimal patina can be on the wire.
  • Must be a electrical current carrying copper wire, not tubing, plate etc.
  • Cannot be too small a gauge of wire. Bright & Shiny copper is always medium to heavy gauge, never light weight. Technically 12 gauge an up.
  • No plastic coatings, paint or other surface materials.

 

 

- Number One Grade copper is the second highest paying copper grade. The picture to the left is an example of what Number One Grade copper typically looks like.

 

  • Can be clean and shiny as well as patina’d to dark brown, black or bluish green colors.
  • Cannot be sheet or light weight gauged copper.
  • No silver soldering on pipe/tubing.
  • Minimal or no calcification inside tubing/pipe.
  • No plastic coatings, paint or other surface materials, other than naturally occurring patina.

 

- Number Two Grade copper is the third most valuable grade of copper that we buy. The picture to the left is an example of what Number Two Grade copper typically looks like.

  • Copper may be somewhat dirty, zinc or nickel coated, painted, soldered with lead/silver etc.
  • Sheet and light weight gauge wire are categorized as a Number Two Grade copper.
  • Calcification inside and other debris pipe/tubing allowed, but cannot be excessive.
  • Insulated copper wire that has been burned to remove the plastic insulation still contains plastic and ash residue and so it is graded as a Number Two copper.

 

 

-Number Three Grade copper is a low value/lower recovery copper because it is contaminated by other metals. See the picture to the left for an example of what this grade of copper looks like.

 

  • Copper that has brass or steel fittings still attached is considered contaminated and fits into this category.
  • The copper may be Number One or Number Two grade quality, but because of the non-copper metals still attached it is down-graded to Number Three Copper.

 

 

 

Insulated Copper Wire (ICW)

ICW 300-500 MCM is premium insulated copper wire that holds the highest price of any of the ICW’s. See the picture to the left for an example of MCM.

 

  • The Ratio of copper to Insulation must be 90% or higher to qualify as ICW 300-500 MCM.
  • Usually must be large diameter wire that is usually greater than a 1/2 inch diameter, small gauge will very rarely make the 90% copper to insulation ratio minimum.

 

 

 

ICW #1 is a high dollar insulated copper wire that is very commonly used by electricians. See the picture below for an example of what it can look like.

 

  • The Ratio of copper to Insulation must be 75% or higher to qualify as ICW#1.
  • Small and large gauge insulated wire will fall under this ICW classification, so keep the 75% copper ratio in mind.
  • If you bend a piece with your fingers it will typically hold the shape.
  • If you wish to strip off the insulation from ICW#1 wire the end result is usually Bare Birght grade copper. Do to the lost insulation weight, you will typically only see roughly a 10% profit increase when stripping ICW#1.

 

 

ICW#1 Romex is technically a grade #1 ICW, but because it has extra insulation it has a lower percentage of copper, and so it is given it’s own category. See the picture below for an example of what it looks like.

 

  • The Ratio of copper to Insulation must be 65% or higher to qualify as ICW#1 Romex.
  • Though usually flat, Romex can also be a round wire.
  • Romex will hold its shape when you bend it.
  • Romex yields a similar result as ICW#1 when stripped. You will typically see a 10% increase in your profits.

 

 

ICW#2 is very commonly used in household applications and is a mid-value insulated copper wire. See the photo to the left for an example of what to look for.

 

  • The Ratio of copper to Insulation must be 50% or higher to qualify as ICW#2
  • If you bend a piece of ICW#2 with your fingers it typically won’t hold it’s shape.
  • We do not recommend you strip the insulation from this grade of copper. It is tedious and often does not end up yielding additional profits due to the large amounts of lost insulation weight.

 

 

-ICW #3 is a low recovery insulated copper wire. See the photo to the left for an example of what to look for.

  • ICW #3 encompasses any wire with a copper to insulation ratio of less than 50%.
  • Wiring from electronics, appliances and auto’s typically fall into this low recovery ICW category.
  • We do not recommend trying to strip this grade of ICW.

 

 

 

-ICW Christmas Lights are a specific low recovery insulated copper wire category. See the photo to the left for an example of what to look for.

  • Due to excessive plastic weight and high insulation to copper ratio, christmas lights are of lesser value than ICW #3.
  • In some cases ICW Christmas lights can be upgraded to ICW #3 by simply cutting all the lights/plastic from the wire and leaving only the insulation.

 

 

 

For Copper Radiators, Electric Motors or other items with low amounts of recoverable copper see either our Cars/Trucks page or our Miscellaneous page.

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