Copper is a versatile and highly conductive metal that is widely used in various industries. It is categorized into different grades based on its purity and condition. Understanding the different grades of copper can help in identifying its value and potential applications. This article will explore the three main grades of copper: Bare Bright Copper, #1 Copper, and #2 Copper.

Key Takeaways

  • Copper is categorized into different grades based on purity and condition.
  • Bare Bright Copper is the highest grade of copper with the highest purity.
  • #1 Copper includes clean and unalloyed copper but with slight impurities.
  • #2 Copper contains more impurities and is less valuable than #1 Copper.
  • Understanding copper grades is essential for recycling and industrial applications.

1. Bare Bright Copper

Bare Bright Copper is a high-grade copper wire that is clean and free of any impurities. It is characterized by its shiny appearance and is commonly used in electrical applications due to its excellent conductivity. Scrap metal merchants value Bare Bright Copper for its high market price and recyclability. When compared to other grades of copper, Bare Bright Copper commands a premium price because of its purity and quality. It is important to separate Bare Bright Copper from other types of copper scrap to maximize its value. Maintaining the purity of Bare Bright Copper is essential for ensuring its quality and marketability. Recycling Bare Bright Copper helps in conserving natural resources and reducing environmental impact.

2. #1 Copper


#1 Copper is known for its high quality and purity. This grade specifically refers to uncoated and unalloyed wire or cable, no thinner than 16 gauge, meeting the stringent standards of #1 copper quality. Notably, it should be free from any paint, solder, or other impurities.

Common Sources

The most common sources of #1 Copper include:

  • Plumbing pipes
  • Electrical wires
  • Copper tubing


Due to its high purity, #1 Copper is often used in applications requiring excellent conductivity and durability, such as in electrical and plumbing systems.

#1 Copper is highly sought after in the recycling industry due to its superior quality and wide range of applications.

3. #2 Copper


#2 Copper, also known as copper pipe, includes pipes, tubing, and other thick wires. This grade of copper has a lower percentage of copper compared to bare bright copper.

Common Uses

#2 Copper is often used in plumbing and heating systems. It is also found in various industrial applications where the purity of copper is not as critical.

Recycling Value

The recycling value of #2 Copper is lower than that of higher-grade copper. However, it is still valuable and widely recycled. Recycling #2 Copper helps reduce waste and conserve natural resources.

Despite its lower copper content, #2 Copper remains an important material in various industries due to its versatility and availability.

#2 Copper is a valuable material often found in various household and industrial items. If you have any #2 Copper or other scrap metals lying around, don’t let them go to waste. Avram Scrap Metal Collection offers free collection services in Glasgow and surrounding areas. We ensure that your scrap metal is recycled responsibly, contributing to a greener environment. Contact us today to schedule your free collection and make a positive impact on the environment.


In summary, understanding the three grades of copper is essential for various industries and applications. Each grade, whether it be bare bright copper, #1 copper, or #2 copper, has its unique characteristics and uses. By recognizing the differences and appropriate applications of each grade, businesses and individuals can make informed decisions that optimize performance and cost-efficiency. As copper continues to be a vital material in electrical, construction, and manufacturing sectors, knowledge of its grading system remains crucial for maximizing its benefits.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Bare Bright Copper?

Bare Bright Copper is the highest grade of copper and is characterized by its bright, shiny, and uncoated appearance. It is free from any impurities, such as paint, coatings, or other contaminants.

What are the common uses of Bare Bright Copper?

Bare Bright Copper is often used in electrical applications, including wiring and cables, due to its excellent conductivity. It is also used in plumbing and various industrial applications.

What distinguishes #1 Copper from Bare Bright Copper?

#1 Copper is similar to Bare Bright Copper but may have slight oxidation or tarnishing. It is still free from any coatings or impurities but may not be as shiny as Bare Bright Copper.

What is #2 Copper?

#2 Copper includes copper materials that have some impurities, such as solder, paint, or coatings. It is less pure than #1 Copper and Bare Bright Copper but is still widely recycled and used in various applications.

Can #2 Copper be used in electrical applications?

#2 Copper is generally not preferred for electrical applications due to the presence of impurities. It is more commonly used in plumbing, construction, and other industrial applications where conductivity is less critical.

How is copper graded?

Copper is graded based on its purity and the presence of any contaminants. Bare Bright Copper is the highest grade, followed by #1 Copper, which may have slight oxidation. #2 Copper contains more impurities and is the lowest grade among the three.