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RG59 VS RG6 Coaxial Cable: In-Depth Comparison Guide In 2021

Coaxial Cable

Even if you don’t realize it, you have coaxial cables running through multiple devices and gadgets in your home. This is because these cables are widely used for high-speed internet and television. These cables come with a silver pin encased in a screw-on bracket at one of the ends.

With the help of the markings on the jackets, you can easily distinguish between the different types of coaxial cables. At the first glance, all of these cables look the same as they are designed identical to each other. Also, they have a very minor size and weight difference.

When it comes to choosing the right coaxial cable, many of you are confused between RG59 and RG6. These are the two most common types of coaxial cables used. Before you make your choice, you need to know the difference between RG59 VS RG6. Also, your choice of cable depends on what you are going to use it for. Knowing the difference can help you make the right choice. That said, now let’s walk you through the details.

What are RG Cables?

RG stands for Radio Guide. It was first used in military communications but today, it is widely used to provide television signals and broadband internet connection.

Over the years, we have developed different versions of RG cables. RG ratings are used for coaxial cables to distinguish between the different kinds of cables. This is an old military term that is randomly assigned. 

Out of all the available coaxial cables, RG6 cable and RG59 cable are the two most prominent ones. RG6 is commonly used for residential and commercial purposes. It is also the standard Community Antenna Television used to route home cable TV. 

General Structure of RG Cables

General Structure of RG Cables

Before we discuss the differences between RG6 and RG59 coax cables, let’s take a closer look at the structure of RG cables. The general structure of RG cables include:

  1. Inner Conductor: The inner conductor of a cable is usually made of copper or copper-plated steel wires. This helps the cables to conduct electrical signals.
  2. Insulator: An insulator is used to cover the inner conductor. This is a dielectric insulator that is there to prevent leakage and also boost the efficiency of the cable.
  3. Shield: The insulator is covered with a metal shield, which consists of metallic braids. Some cables may come with multiple layers. The main purpose of a metal shield is to prevent outside interference.
  4. Jacket: The whole cable is wrapped with a plastic jacket. It helps in protecting the wire from damage.

What is the Difference Between RG59 VS RG6 Coaxial Cable?

1. RG59 vs RG6: Specification

It is not easy to tell the difference by just looking at the two cables. But you can surely distinguish between the two by checking the words marked on the PVC jacket. However, if the markings go missing, you will have to look at the specifications to tell which one is what.

If you come across coaxial cables without markings or names, these cables are not qualified for professional use. It is better to avoid buying any such cables.

RG59:

Although RG59 looks similar to RG6, you can differentiate between the two by looking at the size of the diameter. The RG59 cable has a diameter size of 6.15mm which is lesser than RG6. In other words, RG59 is slightly thinner than RG6. Once you strip the cable, you will notice a clear difference.

RG6:

Coming to RG6, it is a thicker coaxial cable. It has a diameter of 6.90mm, which is thicker than RG59. The difference in diameter results from a thicker center conductor.

2. RG59 vs RG6: Construction

As far as the construction of these cables is concerned, they pretty much look the same. Unless you are an expert, you won’t be able to tell the difference.

Both types of cables are made up of a center conductor, a shield, a dielectric, and a PVC jacket. Usually, the material of the center conductor is made of CSS or copper-clad steel.

RG59:

The RG59 cable has a 20-AWG center conductor which is made of copper-clad steel. However, this type of cable is a bit thinner than RG6.

RG6:

On the other hand, the RG6 cable comes with an 18-AWG center conductor made of the same material as RG59. But with RG6 you can enjoy a greater bandwidth than its counterpart. Not just that, but it can also carry high-frequency signals with ease.

3. RG59 vs RG6: Signal Loss

The signal loss in cables is related to the shielding. A cable with good shielding gives you good signal quality. In other words, good shielding allows less signal interference.

Generally, coaxial cables have two types of shielding including foil and braided mesh shielding.

RG59:

Most RG59 cables have just one type of shielding. This type of cable is suitable for short-distance transmission and low-frequency.

RG6:

RG6 cables have both types of shielding. This prevents the interference from damaging signals. Compared to RG59 cables, RG6 carries signals at a lower loss.

RG6 cables are mainly used for high-frequency applications like television.

You should know about signal loss because the longer the cables are run, the more signal loss happens. This is why RG6 cables can carry signals over long distances and also maintain better signal quality than RG59.

4. RG59 vs RG6: Frequency Range

Frequency range is very important when it comes to coaxial cables. Better quality cables are capable of transmitting higher frequencies.

RG59:

RG59 is designed to work with frequencies of 50 Mhz or lower. Unlike RG6 cables, it doesn’t have a strong shielding and a thick copper conductor. This is why it is unable to carry high-quality signals.

RG6:

Coming to RG6, it is designed to handle frequencies of over 50 MHz. Also, it has better shielding and a thicker copper conductor than RG59 cables. It is because of this reason, these cables can carry better signals than RG59.

5. RG59 vs RG6: Applications

Both RG59 and RG6 cables are popular choices when it comes to internet connection and television signals.

RG59:

RG59 cables are susceptible to interference when longer cables are used. Due to this issue, they are often used for composite video signals and in closed circuit settings.

RG59 cables are widely used in CCTV cameras as they are affordable and easy to install. This makes them ideal for CCTV cameras because they make use of lower frequency signals. Besides that, RG59 cables are also used in and some television systems.

RG6:

RG6 cables can carry extremely high-frequency signals over long distances. It is because of this reason that these cables are used in broadband internet connection.

Another popular use of RG6 cables is in signal transmissions, which make use of very high-frequency signals. These signals are susceptible to signal degradation but with foil shielding, it can be prevented.

What are the Advantages of RG59 VS RG6 Coaxial Cable?

Now that you are aware of their differences, it’s time to highlight their advantages.

RG59:

Unlike RG6, RG59 cable is not that popular. However, it has certain advantages because of which it is still in existence. The best thing about RG59 cables is that they can transmit low-frequency signals without any issues.

You can use this type of cable to transmit signals on the MegaHertz frequency. It will give you good signal quality without any hassles.

Another great thing about RG59 cables is their low price tag. Plus, they are easy to install as they can be merged with a power cable to cut down on installation time.

RG6:

The main advantage of using RG6 cables is that they are more reliable when it comes to dealing with extremely high-frequency signals. They are designed to have less attenuation, which is common in high-frequency signals. This is why RG6 cables can provide you with high signal quality. Not just that, but they also face much fewer signal loss issues.

Another advantage of RG6 cables is that they can be made into long cables. Usually, longer cables lead to disrupted signal quality. But with RG6 cables you don’t have to deal with any of that. So if you want to use longer cables, RG6 cables are the best bet for you.

Frequently Asked Questions [FAQs]

Q1. What is an RG6 cable used for?

Ans: An RG6 cable is used to connect devices that carry video and audio signals from a transmitter to a display. This includes aerial antennas, cable television, and satellite dishes.

Q2. Should I use RG59 or RG6 cable?

Ans: RG6 cable has insulation and shielding tuned for high-frequency and high-bandwidth applications such as Cable TV, Internet, and Satellite TV signals. On the other hand, RG59 cable is thinner and is used in low bandwidth and lower frequency applications such as CCTV installations and analog video.

Q3. Can I use RG6 for an antenna?

Ans: RG-6 is rated for applications below 150 MHz. This means you can use it with antennas and transmitters on the 2-meter band. But above that frequency, the losses will be so high, that you will need a quality 50 Ohm cable.

Q4. Are all RG6 cables the same?

Ans: Both RG6 and RG6Q cables have the same conductor size, a foil layer, and an aluminum braid layer. However, the two cables differ in regards to the amount of shielding.

RG59 VS RG6 Coaxial Cable Conclusion:

When choosing between RG6 and RG59 cables, you must keep these pointers in mind. Now that you know the major differences between the two cables, it should be easier for you to make a choice. But we would recommend you to opt for RG6 cable as it is better than RG59 cable.

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