How Fast Does Electricity Travel?

Bert Kaufmann/CC-BY 2.0

Electricity travels at the speed of light, which is 186,000 miles per second. This is because electricity is electromagnetic radiation just like light. Electricity is the flow of electrons through a conducting wire such as copper and aluminum.

Electrons travel at varying speeds depending on the type and thickness of the conductor. The flow of electrons is slowed down, as the electrons have to pass through billions of atoms of the conductor. However, it is the wave of electric current that travels at the speed of light and not the electrons.

The resistivity of different conductors to the flow of electricity is different. This is why aluminum and copper are better conductors than iron and steel.