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Where to Find Thick Copper Wire for Scrap (8 Common Places)

When it comes to recycling and scrap collection, copper is far more valuable than most metals. Copper’s infinite recyclable capabilities can be useful for computers, motors, industrial material, construction, and more. So, with this post, I’m going to teach you where to find thick copper wire for scrap.

Copper has a good reputation in the scrap metal industry. You can find copper scrap in TVs & monitors, computers, electronics, large & small appliances, and many other items. Moreover, this copper scrap is highly useful in plumbing, structural material, decorative design, electrical components, and more.

Grades of Copper

If you plan to collect or sell copper scrap, you’ll need a good understanding of the price. The price largely depends on the grade of the copper. Whether it is an insulated copper wire or a plain copper wire, you should know the price and the grade of scrap copper wire. So, here is the most common scrap copper wire types.

#2 Copper

This grade of copper has a minimum copper content of 94-96%. However, the #2 copper wire appearance is a little dirty. This type of copper wire doesn’t have any insulation, and the diameter should be thinner than 1/16 of an inch.

#1 Copper

With a much cleaner appearance, this #1 copper has excellent anti-corrosive features. The diameter should be thinner than 1/16 of an inch. This is the second most profitable copper for trading.

Bare Bright Copper

a man's hand touching tangled wires
Video | iScrap App

This is the most popular scrap copper type among the scrap dealers. So, without a doubt, bare bright copper is the most valuable copper type on the market.

#2 Insulated Wire

This type of insulated copper comes with unalloyed wire and is thinner than the gauge 16 wire. Insulation is made from heavy plastic. Without the insulation, these wires are similar to #2 copper.

#1 Insulated Wire

With a clean copper wire and plastic insulation, these #1 insulated wires are larger than the gauge 16 wires. Similar to bare bright copper.

8 Places to Find Scrap Copper Wires

Old TVs and Monitors

copper wires on tv monitors

This is one caveat we need to mention immediately, back in the day, old TVs had about $3-4 dollars worth of copper wire within them, now though there is only about $1 worth inside and they are difficult to take apart so nowhere near as lucrative as it used to be.

Even though recycling a monitor is a difficult task, most TVs and monitors have a lot of wires inside them. You can easily separate them with a pair of scissors. These wires are on the base of the monitor or the TV. Also, this is one of the easiest ways to find scrap wires.

Insides Electronics

inside view of an electronic

You can find wires inside and outside of the electronics. Most of the wires are properly insulated. Use a nose pillar or scissors to collect the copper wires. For instance, you can find these scrap copper wires in old DVD players, laptops, old VCRs, and many other electronic devices. These electronic copper wires are considered regular insulated copper wires.


inside of a computer hardware

Desktop computer towers are an excellent source to find scrap copper. After removing the case, you’ll see insulated wires running from the motherboard, hard drive, power supply, and other components. You can find ribbon wires and thin insulated wires inside a desktop tower. (1)

Large Appliances

inside of a large appliance

Large appliances such as dryers, freezers, refrigerators, washer machines, and other tools are perfect to collect scrap metals. However, larger items such as fridges and ovens have thicker insulated wires. These thick wires require more power and weigh more.

Small Appliances

Household items such as coffee makers, fans, AV units, and blenders are also good items to find scrap copper wire. You can easily separate the copper wires from these small appliances.

Small Electronics

different cellphone models
Video | PhoneArena

Devices such as cameras, cell phones, handheld games, and other small electronics have more insulated wires than one might think. So, whenever you find an unusable small appliance, remember to gather all the copper scrap.

Extension Cord

Extension cords are the seventh item on our list, and it is an excellent place to find copper scrap wires. This is one of the easiest methods to find scrap copper.

Computer Servers

You can find all the above seven items without much trouble. However, getting your hands on a computer server is a little difficult. But, if you can find one, you’ll get lots of different types of scrap metal, including copper scrap. (2)

Scrap Copper Value in 2022

2021 was an outstanding year for copper. So far, the trend has continued in 2022, and there is no sign of scrap copper price drops. Here are some reasons for this trend.

High Demand from China

China is one of the largest copper scrap importers in the world. This copper appetite led to importing 6.68 million tons of scrap copper in 2020.

Less Copper from the Mines

During the last decade, miners around the world were unable to find much copper in their mines. With reduced copper production, the price of copper goes up automatically. For instance, even copper stockpiles are low.

Wrapping Up

The value of copper wire scrap will go up in the upcoming years. So, if you are planning to start a copper scrap business, now might be the best time now that you have a good idea of how to find scrap copper wire.

(1) motherboard – https://www.newegg.com/insider/how-to-choose-a-motherboard/
(2) computer server – https://study.com/learn/lesson/what-is-a-computer-server.html

Video References

iScrap App

nuts minis channel


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About Sam Orlovsky

AvatarCertifications: B.E.E.
Education: University Of Denver - Electric Engineering
Lives In: Denver Colorado

Electrical engineering is my passion, and I’ve been in the industry for over 20 years. This gives me a unique ability to give you expert home improvement and DIY recommendations. I’m not only an electrician, but I also like machinery and anything to do with carpentry. One of my career paths started as a general handyman, so I also have a lot of experience with home improvement I love to share.

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