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Wandering through the electrical aisle of my local big-box store, I see that it is now basically impossible to buy NM-B cable that doesn't adhere to this color coding:

  • 14 AWG = white jacket
  • 12 AWG = yellow jacket
  • 10 AWG = orange jacket

I understand the color coding, and it makes a lot of sense (I've got a mixture of 12 & 14AWG NM-B in my house and I really wish it was that easy to identify which was which when looking in a box). My question is two-fold:

  1. When did this become standard (in the US)?
  2. Is it an NEC requirement, or is it just a "standard" or "new tradition"?
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Type NM-B cable first began to be manufactured with color-coded jackets in 2001 to aid in identification of the conductor size. The color code that was introduced, which continues to be used today is as follows:

  • 14 AWG – White
  • 12 AWG – Yellow
  • 10 AWG – Orange
  • 8 AWG – Black
  • 6 AWG – Black​

This color coding system was developed to aid those who sell, install, and inspect Type NM-B cable so that the cable size can easily be identified, to reduce mistakes resulting from the use of an incorrect conductor size.

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  • Is it an NEC requirement or is it simply convention?
    – FreeMan
    Oct 5 '20 at 13:44
  • Also, are both #8 & #6 black or was that a typo?
    – FreeMan
    Oct 5 '20 at 13:45
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    6&8 are both black the only addition would be for UF it is gray. It is not a requirement but was done to make it easier to see what your inventory is.
    – Ed Beal
    Oct 5 '20 at 13:52
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    @FreeMan -- it is conventional, for the reason Ed says. (UF is always grey, best I can tell) Oct 5 '20 at 23:59

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