50 Amp Wire Size Chart (120, 240, 480V) With Single,3 Phase

50 amp wire size

The ampacity is a measurement that shows you the maximum electrical current a conductor can continuously transmit. The ampacity takes conditions like the temperature and length into account. 50A is a lot. People use 50A circuits to run heavy-duty appliances like kitchen ovens and dryers. For that reason, you have to use the correct gauge for a 50A circuit. Otherwise, you could burn your house down.

What Is The Best Wire Size For 50 Amps?

The best wire size for 50 Amps is 6 AWG. However, the wire size may fluctuate depending upon building code, potential voltage drops, material, duty cycle, and ambient temperature.

50A Single Phase 120V Wire Size

VoltageDistanceWire Size (Copper)Wire Size (Aluminum)
120V50 ft6 AWG4 AWG
120V75 ft6 AWG4 AWG
120V100 ft4 AWG3 AWG
120V200 ft2 AWG1/0 AWG
120V250 ft1 AWG2/0 AWG
120V300 ft1/0 AWG3/0 AWG

50A Single Phase 240V Wire Size

VoltageDistanceWire Size (Copper)Wire Size (Aluminum)
240V50 ft6 AWG4 AWG
240V75 ft6 AWG4 AWG
240V100 ft6 AWG4 AWG
240V200 ft4 AWG3 AWG
240V250 ft4 AWG2 AWG
240V300 ft3 AWG1 AWG

50A Single Phase 480V Wire Size

VoltageDistanceWire Size (Copper)Wire Size (Aluminum)
480V50 ft6 AWG4 AWG
480V75 ft6 AWG4 AWG
480V100 ft6 AWG4 AWG
480V200 ft4 AWG3 AWG
480V250 ft4 AWG3 AWG
480V300 ft4 AWG2 AWG

50A Three Phase 120V Wire Size

VoltageDistanceWire Size (Copper)Wire Size (Aluminum)
120V50 ft6 AWG4 AWG
120V75 ft6 AWG4 AWG
120V100 ft4 AWG3 AWG
120V200 ft2 AWG1/0 AWG
120V250 ft1 AWG1/0 AWG
120V300 ft1/0 AWG2/0 AWG

50A 3 Phase 240V Wire Size

VoltageDistanceWire Size (Copper)Wire Size (Aluminum)
240V50 ft6 AWG4 AWG
240V75 ft6 AWG4 AWG
240V100 ft6 AWG4 AWG
240V200 ft4 AWG3 AWG
240V250 ft4 AWG3 AWG
240V300 ft4 AWG2 AWG

50A Three-Phase 480V Wire Size

VoltageDistanceWire Size (Copper)Wire Size (Aluminum)
480V50 ft6 AWG4 AWG
480V75 ft6 AWG4 AWG
480V100 ft6 AWG4 AWG
480V200 ft4 AWG3 AWG
480V250 ft4 AWG3 AWG
480V300 ft4 AWG2 AWG

Note: While calculating this wire size, I’ve taken 3% of voltage drop into consideration

The gauge reveals the size of a wire.

A higher gauge number translates into a thinner wire with a small diameter. A lower gauge number translates into a thicker wire with a larger diameter.

I don’t recommend using thin wire. The conductor will overheat and melt. Besides ruining your appliance, you could start a fire.

People don’t want to use thick wires because they are expensive. However, there are no consequences for using a thicker wire than the circuit requires. Admittedly, larger gauges produce stiff and heavy cables that are difficult to install.

But you don’t have to worry about those thick wires overheating. The inconvenience is worth it to keep your family safe from fire and electrocution hazards.

The best option is to get the correct gauge.

50-Amp Subpanel Wire Size

50A subpanel requires sizes ranging from 6 to 3AWG. But those estimate applies to wires of 55 feet or less. I expect you to buy thicker wires once the length exceeds 55 feet.

50-Amp Breaker Wire Size

You need a 6AWG conductor to accommodate a 50A circuit breaker.

A thinner wire is dangerous because the current will generate hazardous amounts of heat that the conductor cannot withstand. 6AWG copper wire is rated for 55 amps (you need 4AWG wire for an aluminum conductor).

Therefore, you can trust it to carry 50 amps without overheating.

50-Amp 2 Pole Wire Size

If your home uses 240V, you know that it requires two wires. You need a breaker for each wire. The 2-pole 50A breaker uses 6-gauge wire. The cable has red, black, white, and green wires. The red and black conductors are hot. The white wire is neutral.

As you can see, the size of the wire doesn’t change regardless of the nature of the application. If you can match the ampacity to the correct gauge, you cannot go wrong.

Ground Wire Size For 50-Amp Circuit

10AWG copper and 8AWG aluminum ground wires can accommodate 60 amps. This tells you that 10AWG copper and 8AWG aluminum conductors can work with a 50A circuit.

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How To Calculate The Correct 50 Amp Wire Size?

Calculating the correct wire size for 50 amps is surprisingly easy. It sounds difficult. In fact, if you visit learn metrics, it may validate your worst fears because it has a section that shows the complex calculations you have to perform to determine the cross-section of an AWG wire.

If you hate math, it will take you days to understand the meaning of all the symbols and formulas. That doesn’t include the days it would take you to learn to use them.

But if you browse that same learn metrics page, you will realize that it has a table that shows you the various gauges and their corresponding diameters in inches, millimeters, mm2, and the ampacity at 75 degrees C.

From that table, you can see that 6AWG conductors can accommodate 65 amps, which shows you that 6AWG is more than adequate for 50 amps.

Therefore, you don’t have to perform any calculations to determine the correct wire size for a 50A circuit. Just use a table. The internet has plenty of these tables.

If you know the wire size, the tables will show you their corresponding ampacity. If you know the ampacity, they will show you the wire size using any unit of measurement you like.

This allows laypeople to identify the correct wire sizes on their own. They don’t have to hire mathematicians and electricians. Though, you should always apply caution by consulting a professional before you choose wires for a 50A circuit, especially if you don’t trust your knowledge and experience.

Does 50A Wire Size Change With Machines?

The wire size is not set in stone. The 50-amp welder uses 6AWG wire because 6AWG conductors can run welders whose amperage ranges from 40 to 50 amps. But they don’t expect consumers to use 6AWG for every single 50A welder.

If you check the instructions, you will see that some manufacturers expect you to use 6AWG wire or thicker while others do not mind if you use 10AWG wire. This is because people use welders intermittently, not continuously.

Some brands permit consumers to use 14-gauge cables for 130-amp tools, which sounds ridiculous. But the manufacturer knows best. They have a better understanding of their equipment than you, which means that they are better placed to identify the best gauge for their power tools.

This is true for ordinary appliances like generators and stoves. You should listen to the manufacturer’s instructions. If your brand of choice doesn’t provide instructions, use the standard sizes.

Hot Tub6AWG
RV Hookup4AWG
Air Conditioner12AWG
Electric Charger6-8AWG
Electric Range6AWG

It should be noted that the gauges shown in this table will change depending on the amperage. If all these devices and appliances are rated for 50-amps, they will use 6AWG wire.

The RV hookup is the exception. You need 4AWG wire for 50 amps.

The chargers copper.org mentioned work on a 40-amp circuit, so they use 8AWG copper wires. You can use 10-gauge wires for water heaters because many heaters are rated for 30 amps.

Simply put, the amperage is more important than the appliance. If the circuit is 50 amps, 6AWG wire can accommodate most of the devices you want to run on that 50A circuit.

What Type of Wire Should I Use With 50-Amps? (Aluminum or Copper)

You can use either option. Both aluminum and copper are capable of safely conducting electricity in a 50-amp circuit. Between the two, copper is better. It is the most conductive metal on the market, only second to silver.

Additionally, copper wires have superior tensile strength and thermal conductivity. Aluminum is inferior to copper in most areas. It is 39 percent less conductive.

You can use 6AWG copper wire to accommodate a 50A circuit. But if you prefer aluminum, use 4AWG conductors.

Aluminum conductors cannot carry as much current as of their copper counterparts. But that shouldn’t stop you from using aluminum. At the end of the day, the material is lighter and cheaper than copper.

If you want to wire a 50A circuit but cannot afford copper, you can make do with aluminum if the gauge is high enough.

Does The Distance Matter For 50-Amps?

The distance matters. The voltage drop is one of the biggest issues. Increasing the length raises the resistance, which, in turn, elevates the voltage you will lose as the current moves through the conductor.

If the voltage drop is high enough, it will prevent your appliances from working because they cannot get the electricity they require. Voltage drops can have an impact on motors because they can overheat.

You can solve this problem by increasing the gauge. 6AWG is sufficient for 50A circuits. But if you want the wire to cover 100 feet, you should raise the size to 4AWG.

This is because you have to increase the amperage (by 20 percent) to compensate for the voltage drop. The more current you must transmit, the bigger the wire required.

The voltage drops by 20 percent for every 100 feet. Therefore, you have to raise the amperage by 20 percent for every 100 feet. The gauge should rise accordingly.

Fortunately, you don’t have to perform new calculations whenever you increase the amperage. Just use a table. Compare the new amperage to the sizes your table of choice has provided.

What Does The NEC Say About It?

NEC expects consumers to use 6AWG for 50A circuits. However, NEC has an 80 percent rule that every homeowner must apply to their circuit. For instance, if you have a 50A circuit, 20 percent of 50A is 62.5A. Therefore, look for a size that suits 62.5A, not 50A. Fortunately, 6AWG is suitable for 65 amps. So, it can work with 50A circuits.

According to that 80 percent rule, you need a wire whose size can accommodate an additional 20 percent of the circuit’s ampacity.

What Gauge Wire Can Handle 50-Amps?

  • Can 2 10 Gauge Wire Handle 50-Amps?

You need a 6-gauge wire to run a 50A circuit. 2-gauge wire is thicker than 6AWG wire. Therefore, it can easily handle 50 amps. Thin cables are problematic because they can overheat. But there is no harm in using a thicker wire than necessary. It’s more expensive, but it won’t hurt you in the long run.

  • Can 4 Gauge Wire Handle 50-Amps?

6AWG can handle 50 amps. 4AWG wire is larger than 6AWG. Therefore, it is better equipped to handle 50-amps than 6-gauge wire.

  • Can 6 Gauge Wire Handle 50-Amps?

6AWG is the most appropriate size for 50-amps. Therefore, 6AWG can handle 50-amps.

  • Can 8 Gauge Wire Handle 50-Amps?

You wouldn’t expect 8-gauge wire to handle 50 amps, but it can. However, this is only true for temperatures of 90 degrees C. Even at this temperature, 50 amps can still melt the wire.

  • Can 10-Gauge Wire Handle 50-Amps?

A 10-gauge wire can carry 50 amps. But it cannot do so safely. The current will heat the cables to the point where they melt, causing a short circuit and starting fires.

  • Can 12 Gauge Wire Handle 50-Amps?

No, it cannot. The wire will overheat. You may get away with 12AWG if the wire is very short. But even then, you cannot use it for long. 12AWG conductors work with 20A circuits. 50A is too much. You will most likely start a fire. The practice is not safe. At the very least, it violates the NEC.

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