The Whats and Hows of Cable Saddles

Cable management and routing can become confusing unless you know exactly what you’re doing. There are dozens of types of different cables used in as many applications and settings, and scores of ways to connect said cables and wires with the appropriate fittings and accessories. Routing and protecting cables and wires is done with an electrical conduit. Most types used in Australia for residential purposes are made of unplasticised PVC, either in medium or heavy-duty variants, and appropriately coloured grey or orange. 

To help with better looks and route the conduit through bends and tight spots, conduit tees, adapters and bends are used. And keeping that conduit and the cables inside fixed neatly onto walls or other surfaces calls for the use of electrical cable saddles. These come in various designs and are used in different places along homes, buildings, structures, and anywhere where conduit is installed.  

What are Cable Saddles? 

electrical cable saddle

Cable saddles are the fittings required by the New Wiring Rules of 2018 that state: “Wiring systems shall be supported by suitable means…” and “…fixed in position by suitable clips, saddles or clamps or by means that will not damage the wiring system and that will not be affected by the wiring system material or any external influences.” Cable or conduit saddles are tasked to support the weight of the cabling in the conduit and secure it to the surface. They also prevent any instances of sagging, so allow for cleaner looks. In addition, the saddles mechanically support the length of the cabling should there be any electrical fault or damage. There are different types, designs, sizes, and shapes, used with different types of conduits.  

Types of Cable Saddles 

There’s some variety to cable saddles. They differ in the materials used and how they support the conduit. Two materials are used here, steel (and stainless steel), often with heavier routing, and PVC in lighter and isolated or indoor applications. They can be further divided into full electrical cable saddles and half cable saddles. The variety in materials and designs leads to 4 basic types: full metal saddles, half metal saddles, full PVC saddles, and half PVC saddles.  

A similar fitting, known as a ‘distanced’ or ‘hospital’ saddle (or saddle clamp) is used in specific environments where surfaces need regular cleaning, for instance, hospitals, without impacting the conduit or cabling. These will have additional base plates sourced from the same materials.  

Why Choose Metal Cable Saddles? 

Metal Cable Saddles

Metal cable saddles are preferred for their strength, durability and resistance to external factors like heat and liquids. There are three choices when it comes to conduit saddles. Zinc-coated steel is the more affordable option, especially in longer cable routing, but still provides adequate protection against corrosion, higher temperatures, and impact. Next up are hot-dip galvanised variants, with a thicker zinc coating, so will last longer in adverse conditions. For the ultimate protection against corrosion, impact or heat, look to stainless steel cable saddles. These will last the longest and are used in complex and larger instances of conduit routing. For outdoor purposes, with exposed conduit and that which is heavier, stainless-steel saddles are what to get.  

How Cable Saddles Sit with the Surface 

Generally, half saddles are used along walls and straighter surfaces, meaning they make the majority of sales. Full saddles, on the other hand, are often used in bends, corners and where there’s a need for extra support. To do this, both saddle types have a different number of holes that take fasteners of varying diameters. Half saddles use a single fastener (usually a pan head screw for a flush finish), whereas full saddles require two. These are what hold the saddles to the building materials or surface where the conduit routing is placed.  

Getting the Right Size 

Black Cable Saddles

Sizing the saddles is important for a few reasons. Cable saddles will take the most common conduit sizes (16, 20, 25, 32, 40, 50 and 63mm) without allowing too much in the way of unused space that can affect the stability or cause sagging. Both full and half variants are available in the corresponding sizes, with full cable saddles in stainless steel often preferred for wider and heavier metal conduits.  

Spacing Requirements 

The spacing of saddles along the surface will depend on the weight and size of the conduit and the direction it is laid. For the most common conduits, those that are 20 or 25mm in diameter, cable saddles should sit roughly 600mm apart when holding a vertically running conduit, or 400-500mm in a conduit that sits horizontally. The aim is to prevent sagging and allow for a cleaner, and more professional look.  


Prices depend on materials and sizes. PVC cable saddles and clips roughly fall in line with the cheapest metal variants, zinc-plated electrical cable saddles, of the same size. Hot-dip galvanised saddles take the middle ground, but as mentioned will generally last longer. There’s a considerable price hike when sourcing saddles in stainless steel and these come in at almost three times more than zinc-coated variants. Buying bulk always helps, as you’ll need more than a few cable saddles for any project.