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What Is A Conductor And Why Are They Important?

In our modern lives, we often take for granted the ease with which we power our home appliances and office equipment. From the simple act of switching on our computers to enjoying a hot cup of tea from an electric kettle, electricity plays an important role. But it is the humble conductors that make it all possible.

Conductors serve as bridges for electricity, connecting the source of power to our devices and keeping them operational. Without a conductor, UK homes and businesses would have no electricity.

Whether you’re curious about electricity or want to optimize your energy efficiency, Business Energy Comparison has valuable insights for you. Here, we cover what an electrical conductor is and why it’s important, as well as the best electrical conductors.

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What Does A Conductor Do?

A conductor, also known as an electrical conductor, is a substance or material that allows electricity to easily flow through it. It lets electrons or ions move from atom to atom when there’s voltage. Metals like copper are good conductors, while nonmetals are poor conductors, also known as insulators.

Electrical conductors conduct electricity because they have overlapping valence and conduction bands. This means there’s no energy gap between these bands, so electrons can freely move through the material with even a small voltage applied.

When voltage or thermal effects are present, something interesting happens in conductors. The outer electrons, which are loosely attached to atoms, get excited and move from the valence band to the conduction band.

In the conduction band, electrons flow freely and collide with atoms or other electrons. This movement allows the electrons to conduct electricity.

Why Do We Need Conductors?

Conductors are essential components in electrical circuits and devices, such as wires and cables. They transfer power and energy efficiently, enabling the smooth movement of electricity flow.

From powering up our devices and appliances to lighting and warming our homes and offices, conductors play a crucial role in our daily lives. Without electrical conductors, we wouldn’t be able to use electrical devices – or have electricity – at all.

But our need for conductors goes beyond just powering our devices. They’re also vital in telecommunications and the medical field, supporting the technologies that we rely on.

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For a material to be considered a “good” conductor, the movement of electrons must be completely uninterrupted, ensuring quick and efficient flow. Metals fulfil these criteria, which is why they’re commonly used as conductors.

Metals conduct electricity efficiently because they allow electrons to flow easily between the atoms within the material.

In contrast, materials like plastic and glass are known as “bad” conductors but good insulators since they disrupt the flow of electricity.

But not all metals have the same level of conductivity. Some metals are better conductors of electricity than others. Factors such as the atomic structure and the presence of free electrons in the material influence its conductivity. Metals with a higher number of these tend to be better for conducting electricity.

Which Metal Is The Best Conductor Of Electricity?

Here are the best electrical conductors:


Pure silver is known to be the best conductor of electricity. With 47 electrons, electricity can travel faster through silver. Yet, silver is not only highly conductive but also has efficient heat conductivity.

Silver is commonly used in light switches and LED components in TVs. However, this metal’s high price and susceptibility to tarnish easily make it impractical for widespread use in electrical appliances.


Copper is one of the most common conductors. With its single valence electron and good corrosion resistance, a copper conductor can be found in a variety of electrical systems, including motors, generators, transformers, and household appliances.


Aluminium has a lower conductivity than copper by volume, but it makes up for it by still being highly conductive and cost-efficient. This makes aluminium a preferred choice for certain electrical applications, such as in large-scale electrical projects.


Gold is another metal with high electrical conductivity and solid resistance to tarnishing. But its high cost makes it impractical for most applications, except for specific purposes that need its unique properties.

Other Conductive Materials

Besides metals, another surprising material serves as a good conductor – seawater. This is because it has a large number of ions, such as sodium and chloride ions, present in it.

Humans are also conductors of electricity, which explains why we feel electric shocks. Our bodies contain various ions such as sodium ion, chloride ion, and potassium ion. This gives us the ability to conduct electricity effectively.

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Get The Best Deals On Your Utilities With Business Energy Comparison

Now that you understand the importance of conductors in powering your home and business electricity, it’s time to maximise your energy consumption. The simplest way? Finding the best deals with our help.

Are you tired of overpaying for your home or business utilities? We understand the stress that comes with soaring energy prices and the current market crisis. But that doesn’t mean your choice to switch your business gas and electricity should take a back seat.

Thankfully, our price comparison site takes the stress and hassle out of comparing competitive rates for your business gas and electricity. Looking to compare SME energy prices? Large business energy prices? We cover it all at Business Energy Comparison!

Start your journey and compare business gas and electricity rates with Business Energy Comparison today. Use our price comparison tool and in less time than it takes to make a brew, we’ll compile your best prices from the UK’ s best suppliers.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which metal is the poorest conductor of electricity?

Stainless steel is considered to be relatively poor when compared to other good conductors like silver and copper. This is because it’s an alloy primarily composed of iron, chromium, nickel, and carbon. The chromium atoms disrupt and reduce this metal’s conductivity.

What is electrical conductivity?

Electrical conductivity refers to a material’s ability to conduct electricity. This depends on factors like the number of electrons in the outer shell and the number of atoms present. Conducting materials, such as copper and aluminium, have high electrical conductivity and allow electrical energy to flow easily.

What is the difference between a conductor and an insulator?

Conductors allow free electrons to flow, thereby transferring energy in the form of electricity. On the other hand, insulators restrict the flow of electrical current by impeding the free movement of electrons. For example, glass and plastic are good insulators.