Difference between RG-6 and RG-59

By: | Updated: Feb-9, 2018

There are various types of coaxial cables used for different applications. The standard types are typically designated by the letters RG followed by a number. “RG” comes from Radio Guide, since coaxial cables are, historically, mainly used to transmit signals modulated to radio frequencies. The numbers were created sequentially and do not particularly have anything to do with the technical specifications of the cable it refers to. RG-6 and RG-59 are the more commonly seen and used cables at home. Read this article to find out the difference between the two.

Summary Table

RG-6RG-59
Core conductor diameter – 1.024 mm (18 AWG)Core conductor diameter – 0.64 mm (22 AWG)
Used for radio frequency applications (cable television, satellite TV, cable modems)Used for baseband (closed circuit television) and radio frequency applications (previously used for cable television)
Ideal for carrying radio frequency signals (RF) with minimum losses for transmission over long distancesLosses are high in high-frequency applications and not recommended to transmit over long distances
6.86 mm outside diameter6.1 mm outside diameter

Definitions

RG-6 cable
RG-6 cable

RG-6 is a type of coaxial cable with a core conductor diameter of 1.024 mm (18 AWG) used for transmission of high-frequency signals.

RG-59 cable
RG-59 cable

RG-59 is a type of coaxial cable that has a core conductor diameter of 0.64 mm (22 AWG) used for transmitting baseband analog signals.

RG-6 vs RG-59

The main difference between RG-6 and RG-59 cables are the size of the conductors used. The RG-6 has a core conductor of 18 AWG (1.024 mm diameter) while the RG-59 uses a core conductor thickness of 22 AWG (American Wire Gauge), which has a diameter of about 0.64 mm. The differences in the thickness of the insulators and the outer shield adds up to the overall cross-sectional thickness of the cables, so the RG-6 cable is generally thicker than the RG-59. The typical RG-6 is about 6.86mm thick while the RG-59 is about 6.1mm.

The RG-6 is used for radio frequency transmissions like cable and satellite television signals and cable broadband data. RG-59, on the other hand, is more commonly used for baseband analog signals. Baseband refers to analog signals that are not modulated. They are typically in the low-frequency range. An example of this application is for short-circuit television.

While the RG-59 is now more commonly used for low-frequency applications, it was also used to carry cable television before. However, the RG-59 can have significant signal loss at higher frequencies. It also does not adequately meet modern cable TV signal requirements.

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