Feeder MC armored electrical cable run next to traditional conduit



Why Choose Metal-Clad Armored Cable Over Electrical Conduit?

Written April 2019 | Katy Martin, Content Marketing Associate at Service Wire Company

Metal-clad (MC) armored cable constructions are a cost-effective alternative to traditional pipe and wire. These high-performing solutions offer significant cost savings by eliminating the need for electrical conduit and the labor required for installation. Contractors who use armored cable require limited pulling equipment, fewer reels, and less time setting up pulls.

Advantages of Armored Cable

  • Armored cables provide the protection and durability required without the need for electrical conduit, elbows, costly offsets, and conduit couplings.
  • Metal-clad armor resists corrosion, making it suitable for areas exposed to moisture.
  • Interlocked armor is flexible, unlike conduit or even continuously welded (CCW) armor, ensuring damage will not affect inner conductors. It is also more easily installed where complex, close-spaced bends would be difficult for conduit.
  • No specialty cutting or bending tools are needed for installation.

These advantages can mean significant savings in material and labor costs.

Labor Cost Savings Example (Versus Conduit and Wire)

Based on Union Electrician Hourly Rate and NECA Recommended Labor Hours for Singles/Conduit Versus MC Feeder Cable

Method Hours per 100'
Galvanized 3" Conduit and Wire 32.9
PVC 3" Conduit and Wire 22.9
Service Wire 4/0 AWG MC 5.8
(For Comparison Purposes Only – Actual Results May Vary)

Armored Cable Applications

Feeder MC is primarily used in commercial construction, while jacketed MC is widely used in industrial applications. It is permitted for indoor or outdoor service, feeder, or branch circuits and can be exposed or concealed.

Contractors can easily identify opportunities for armored cable because it can be used in any project using pipe and wire. 


Armored cables eliminate the need for electrical conduit, provide higher mechancial protection and durability, and require fewer labor hours during installation.

Contractors who use type MC report 50-75% combined labor and material savings versus pipe and wire.

Interlocked armor is a cost-effective alternative for projects that call for traditional pipe and wire.



Service Wire offers galvanized or aluminum interlocked armor. It is helically wound around the conductors and allows for ease of bending. Jackets are available in PVC, ServiceCPE®, and EnviroPlus® (LSZH).



  • Conduit - A tube or trough for protecting electrical wire and cables. It may be...READ MORE.


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