If SO cables were always used as permanent power sources, abrasion resistance wouldn’t matter. You’d install equipment once, attach the cable, and leave it there for years. Water resistance would be a main advantage, but abrasion concerns would be minimal. The truth is that SO cable is often used as a temporary power source. It’s dragged over concrete to power a portable fan at a workshop. Swirled through the mud at every stop on a rock band’s tour schedule. And after all that abuse, it’s gathered up roughly, stuffed in the back of a storage unit, and expected to perform perfectly the next time.
SO cable takes a beating, and that’s why abrasion resistance is such a benefit. Sure, it’s nice that the product is water resistant, but if its casing broke every time it hit a snag, it would be purely impractical. By virtue of a strong outer façade that protects the delicate inner wiring system, SO cable is heavy-duty and reliable. Thank goodness for that, because the last thing you want is for a hole to open up in the wire. When exposed to the elements, the cable would pose a fire hazard.