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Thread: Why DOES NM-3 cost so much more than NM-2?

  1. #1
    DIY Senior Member Homeownerinburb's Avatar
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    Default Why DOES NM-3 cost so much more than NM-2?

    I have pondered this for years. 12-3 generally costs ~80% more than 12-2. Same ratio in 14ga.

    Why this should be, I don't know. It would seem to me that the one cable consists of about 1/3rd more material than the other. It will weigh about 1/3rd more. Is the cost of shipping the stuff even remotely a fraction of the cost of getting onto the shelves?

    Seems to me that vastly the most expensive component will be the copper, with the oil for the plastics coming in second, and by a fair bit. A 1/3rd increment in the cost of making the stuff should result in about a 1/3rd increment of the price to purchase?

    Yet another good argument for working with flex conduit and individual conductors.

  2. #2
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    They make and use a "jillion" feet of NM-2. NM-3 is not used anywhere near that volume so economiees of scale come into play. A Rolls Royce uses the same number of parts as a Chevrolet, but the prices are no where near the same. If they tried to produce a million Rolls a year on an assembly line its price would come down also.
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

  3. #3
    DIY Senior Member Homeownerinburb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hj View Post
    economies of scale come into play.
    I have considered that and find it not a convincing argument. Sure, 20X as much 2 conductor gets used as 3 conductor, but it is not as if the huge spools of black, white and bare conductors that get bundled into the cable are any different for the two products. The sleeves are chemically the same and are poured into not similar hoppers to be extruded and wrapped around the bundled conductors.

    I don't buy the idea that the distinction is as huge as a Chevy vs a Rolls. Not only are there many less Rolls' built, but they use vastly different quality components and materials.

    I'd say "because they can" but market forces always flatten that out. Nobody has a lock on the production of NM.

  4. #4
    General Engineering Contractor ballvalve's Avatar
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    Pull two runs of 14-2. The cost of 3 wire cable makes me look toward conduit often, especially with a few hundred rolls of copper from the good old days. Have to keep it under big lock and key.

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    DIY Senior Member Chad Schloss's Avatar
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    i wish someone sold 14-2-2 by the foot. i ran a bath fan/light/night light last week. had to pull 14/2 and 14/3 to it. panasonic bath fan j box is real tight. ran 14/2 to the fan/ 14/3 to the two lights. 14-2-2 is sold at big orange in 100 ft folls i think and it was like 150+ when i only needed max 15 ft.

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    Plumber jimbo's Avatar
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    I find 12/3 or 14/3 at just about 12 to 15% higher than the corresponding /2

    Economies of scale can't be ignored. Besides the actual manufacturing process, there is the cost of maintaining an inventory item. For a slower moving item, that can translate to a higher piece of the margin.

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    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    I think I would call it 14/4 and its demand is even less than for 14-3. If you needed 14-4 why did you basically install 14-5?
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

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    DIY Senior Member Chad Schloss's Avatar
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    because you need a hot for the fan, and it needs a neutral in the same line(bundle of wires, nm-b) (14/2) the light and night light have 2 separate hots and share a neutral. (14/3) grounds all get tied together. neutrals get tied together in the switch box. ask an electrican, its all legit
    Last edited by Chad Schloss; 04-11-2012 at 06:46 PM.

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    DIY Senior Member kreemoweet's Avatar
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    Since when has seller's cost been a determining factor in market price? Only in the phony examples they teach in beginning economics
    courses, but that has little to do with reality.

  10. #10
    DIY Senior Member Homeownerinburb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chad Schloss View Post
    i wish someone sold 14-2-2 by the foot. i ran a bath fan/light/night light last week. had to pull 14/2 and 14/3 to it. panasonic bath fan j box is real tight. ran 14/2 to the fan/ 14/3 to the two lights. 14-2-2 is sold at big orange in 100 ft folls i think and it was like 150+ when i only needed max 15 ft.
    A good moment to consider conduit......

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    DIY Senior Member Homeownerinburb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimbo View Post
    For a slower moving item, that can translate to a higher piece of the margin.
    You are talking about charging the product a rent for sitting on the shelf. The faster it moves, the less per item it pays. Legitimate but complex.

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    Plumber jimbo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Homeownerinburb View Post
    You are talking about charging the product a rent for sitting on the shelf. The faster it moves, the less per item it pays. Legitimate but complex.
    If you don't think there is a cost to have an item sitting on the shelf then apparently you are not familiar with business concepts such as turns, gimroi, ebita. That's ok,,, but please believe that items don't sit on a shelf, or in a truck , for free!

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    DIY Senior Member Homeownerinburb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimbo View Post
    If you don't think there is a cost to have an item sitting on the shelf then apparently you are not familiar with business concepts such as turns, gimroi, ebita. That's ok,,, but please believe that items don't sit on a shelf, or in a truck , for free!
    Oh, I did not say it was not valid. I said it was complex. Especially on the back of my damned truck.

  14. #14
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    If you did not have $100.00 tied up in that "wire in the back of your truck", you could put it in the bank and get interest on it.
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

  15. #15
    DIY Senior Member Homeownerinburb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hj View Post
    If you did not have $100.00 tied up in that "wire in the back of your truck", you could put it in the bank and get interest on it.
    Well, not much interest. Not enough to buy a burger by the end of the year.

    But I certainly take your point. That and about 50 assorted electrical boxes and various receptacles and switches, etc.

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