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How to get the most money for your scrap copper

By Edited Jun 4, 2016 5 3

If you are looking to add a little cash to your budget by selling reclaimed copper, you will need to know these basic things to get the most money for the copper you sell. The scrap buyer will pay you the lowest grade for your entire load if it is not sorted and seperated.

Things You Will Need

Pliers, wire cutter, magnet, phillips and standard screw drivers, utility knife.

Step 1

The lowest grade of copper is breakage. This is mixed copper like copper pipe with brass fittings or coils with aluminum. Also in this group electic motor windings will fall. Motor windings are nice since they are heavy and compact.

Step 2

Coated (37898)
The next grade of scrap is coated wire. Everything from lamp and vacume cords to wiring from a house. This is very easy to collect and find. Broken electronics, appliences and such, just cut off the cord.

Step 3

Number two

Next up the scale of value is number two copper. This includes painted copper, soldered pipe, tinned wire, and fine gauge wire.

Step 4

Now we come to the better value grades. Number one scrap is clean plumbing pipe and wire 14 gauge and up. If you strip house wire this is the result. You lose a little weight by removing the plastic, but gain a lot in value 5 to 10 times. If you have a 8 foot piece of pipe with a brass fitting soldered on an end... Cut off the fitting and add it to the breakage pile, now the rest of the pipe went from 25 cents a pound to four dollars a pound.

Step 5

There is one grade higher yet. Shiny clean copper is graded "new copper" Good stripped wire will be this grade and net .05 more a pound on average.

Step 6

There ar some oddball catagories as well. Coaxial cable is in a class by itself as well as copper plated rods. This is where a magnet comes in to check for steel content in the wire or rod.

The way to make the best of your efforts is to sort out your copper. If you bring in a pile of scrap, the buyer will pay you the rate of the lowest grade for the whole lot. Take the time to sort your treasure before you go in to sell.

Tips & Warnings

Don't tresspass to get copper.

bring a picture I.D. to cash out.

Don't Burn wire to remove plastic coating.



Jan 14, 2011 5:21pm
Good article, keep up the good work and you'll do well here. Thumbs up from me.
Jan 17, 2011 9:41am
Great job. ^^
Jan 20, 2011 8:59pm
I had no idea. I wonder how much good copper I've thrown away over the years?... Thanks for the great article!
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