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Banana plugs are the most trusted connection any person can find on the market today. Terms such as banana plugs, cables and jacks are known and pop up every now and then. Sometimes it is difficault to differentiate these words. Here, we clearfy the terms and present some valuable products.

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The banana connection is divided into two parts - plugs and jacks. The most common way to remember the difference between the said terms is that the banana plugs are the male and the banana jacks are the female.

The whole “banana” root in this set has an actually very funny explanation. Some would think that it cannot be based on the fruit, as it sounds too simple, but it actually does. Because of its shape - slender at the tip and widening around the middle, this makes the contact spring form a banana shape. Plugs differ in size, pin style, type, and colour.

When buying a banana plug and jack, one must be very careful when it comes to sizes, otherwise an adapter between them will be needed. Sizes of banana plugs vary as 2mm, 2.7mm and 4mm, and the sizes of the banana jacks are 2.5mm, 3mm. and 4.6mm. However, the 4mm version is nowadays so popular that whenever you ask for a plug and a jack, everyone will give you the 4mm one. The small ones are called “mini-bananas” and specifically the 2mm ones can be mostly found in European countries such as Germany, France and Austria.

There are three types of banana plugs - shrouded, shrouded with a clear retractable sleeve, and unshrouded. The shrouded, or also known as sheathed, is providing an insulation around the connectors and is made to be used for high voltage situations in order to avoid accidental contact. It can be used with the unshrouded jacks and shrouded ones. With the retraceable plugs they have a loaded spring which slides down when a pin is put in the jack. It can be used on both shrouded and unshrouded jacks and it is created to improve safety and to be used in higher voltage applications. The unshrouded plugs are meant to be used in lower voltage and they have a bare bin with no insulation.

Single or dual plugs? The difference between the two types is not something inquisitive, more as just the fact that it is simply safer to plug in two wired without a chance of a shortage across contacts because of a stray wire strands. Regarding colors, all of the plugs are colour coded in pairs for better coordination. Most of the times it’s just two types, negative (black) and positive (white), and the black plug goes in the black jack and respectively the white plug should be attached in the white jack, but other colors can be used as well.

When reviewing banana cables, one must be careful when searching for the right length and thickness. Cables can vary between 12 to 18 gauges when it comes to thickness. A thick wire is between 12 and 14 gauge and it is highly recommended for long wire runs and high voltage applications. A thinner cable is easier to work with when you need it for a shorter distance and it is also much affordable. Length-wise depends mostly on the system combination and how big distance between them will be. The easier way to find the right length is to just measure the distance with a string as an example and always add a couple of digits extra just in case.

See this video for more details:

Common applications for banana cables, plugs and jacks are in electronics, electronic circuit testing and of course audio applications. In fact, they are often used to connect audio speakers. Please find below popular cables, plugs and jacks.

Review of the best banana cables and banana plugs:


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Overall there are more affordable plugs, but there are also plugs for up to $200, depending on the expensive variety of plating. The solid copper plating is obviously much cheaper, however if a person is handling with very expensive equipment, or dangerous when it comes to high voltage situations, choosing a gold plating over solid copper, as a way to prevent oxidation alongside with the many other facts which have been previously said. When choosing between banana plugs and bare wires one must be able to prioritize. While the banana connection is much safer for the equipment and its surrounding, one of its problems is that they can become loose with repeated use. It still provides proper connection, of course, and there are also ways to lock it so it’s safe and tight.


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