50 amp wire size – Gauge, Length & Voltage

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50 amp wire size

Which is the ideal wire size for 50 Amps? Is 6 AWG with 65A ampacity the correct wire size for 50 amp?

Knowing the correct wire size for your needs is vital as it helps prevent adverse effects. For instance, using a 30 amp or 20 amp wire for needs that require a 50 amp wire size could lead to a fire.

Heavy-duty electrical appliances such as dryers and kitchen ovens use 50A circuits. Therefore, you’ll need to use the correct wire gauge to ensure safety. You should adhere to the National Electrical Code (NEC) rules with an 80% maximum loading circuit rating for the ampacity of the wire.

Key Takeaways

  • Using the proper wire gauge is vital in preventing adverse effects such as fire and damaging your electrical appliances.
  • A 6-gauge copper wire is a standard for 50 amps.
  • You can use a 4-gauge aluminum wire for 50 amps.
  • If the wire length is 100 feet or above, you should consider a wire gauge, one level up, to prevent voltage drop—for instance, a 4-gauge copper wire for 50 amps at 100 feet.

The NEC has also developed a wire gauge chart to help avoid electric current issues such as overheating.

When deciding the ideal ampacity for your situation, you should consider various factors, including length and temperature. Before determining whether the 50 amps wire is ideal for you, ask yourself the following questions. 

  • How long will the conductor be, or how long will it be run?
  • In what condition will you be running it?
  • What voltage do you intend to use with the wire?
  • Will there be a voltage drop as you run the wire, and how do you intend to account for it?

So, what’s the correct length, voltage, and gauge for a 50 amp wire size?

Related: 200 amp wire size – Gauge, Length & Voltage

Will #8 Wire Carry 50 Amps?

Getting the proper wire gauge is vital if you want to rewire an existing circuit or install a new one in your home. It would help if you got a wire gauge appropriate for various current sizes to ensure safety. 

According to the American Wire Standard (AWS), you require at least a 6-gauge conductor for a 50-amp circuit. A smaller gauge will lead to the system’s inability to code, which can result in adverse effects. 

An electrical wire is made up of three parts, including

  • The metal
  • Insulation around the conductor wire
  • The plastic sheath

When determining the gauge of an electrical conductor wire, only the thickness of the metal is used.

Before determining the correct wire gauge, note that the American Wire Gauge system uses a copper conductor core to standardize conductor ratings. Therefore, the wire gauge you need for 50 amp circuit systems may change if you use an aluminum core conductor. 

So, is an eight-gauge wire ideal for 50 amps circuits?

The conductivity of a copper wire is affected by temperature. Therefore, the conductor can handle a higher current when the temperatures are high. 

An 8-gauge wire can work with 50 amps at temperatures of 90 Celsius (190 Fahrenheit). However, the PVC insulation used on domestic wiring cables has a melting point of 70 Celsius. Thus, such high temperatures could melt the insulation around the conductor, leading to serious safety issues. 

The AWG uses a 60 Celsius (140 Fahrenheit) temperature standard. An 8-gauge wire can handle up to 40 amps under the standard temperature. 

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What Size Wire Do I Need for 50 Amps at 100 Feet?

Is a 50 amp wire size ideal to power an electrical appliance 100 feet away?

If you want to use electricity on a sub-panel a long distance away, ensure you account for the voltage drop. For instance, the voltage may drop by 20% for every 100 feet. 

As such, you’ll need to increase the amps by 20% to get the same power or wattage at the electronic appliance 100 feet away. 

Increasing the amps to cater to the voltage drop means you’re dealing with more current. As such, you require a bigger-sized conductor wire to ensure safety. 

Using smaller-sized wire overloads it, which can lead to issues such as a fire. As such, you shouldn’t use a wire meant for 40 amps with 50 amps. 

On the other hand, using a larger wire than required may not have adverse effects, though it can be inconvenient. For instance, the wire may be heavier. 

Related: Wiring Speakers in Series vs. Parallel – What’s The Difference?

What Wire Do I Need for 240v 50 Amps?

Do you require varying wire sizes for different voltages regarding a 50 amp wire? 

You may not require a different wire size for 50 amp at 110V or 50 amp at 240V. In all situations, except when you have to account for voltage drop, a 6 AWG wire is ideal for 50 amps. 

If the voltage is different, you get different power or wattage but not different amps. 

Can a 10 Gauge Wire Handle 50 Amp?

If you’re thinking of running 50 amps current, you may wonder about the maximum amperage. For instance, an 8-gauge wire can handle 40 amps. 

If you want to run a 50 amps current, you need a 6-gauge thick wire. This prevents the wire from overheating or melting. 

A 10-gauge wire may not handle more than 30 amps, and it’s advisable not to go beyond the limit. 

Before installing a 10 gauge, it’s vital to consider the distance it should travel. This is because energy losses go up as you increase the wire length. 

The following chart shows the ideal amps for a 10-gauge wire at different lengths. 

Wire Length in Feet 60°C/140°F @75°C/167°F @90°C/194°F
Default 30 35 40
80% Rule 24 28 32
50  21.8 25.4 29.1
100  20 23.3 26.6
150  18.4 21.5 24.6
200  17.1 20 22.1

What Gauge Wire for 50 Amp at 220V?

The wire gauge you need for 50 amp at 220v depends on the type of wire. 

Copper wires are the most commonly used. For example, you require a 6-gauge copper wire for 50 amps at 220v. 

Aluminum wires are also gaining popularity. For example, a 4-gauge aluminum wire is recommended for use in a 50-amp circuit at various voltages. 

 The following table shows the various types of wire gauges that technicians use depending on the wire type. 

Amps Aluminum conductor Gauge Copper conductor Gauge
20 #12 12
30 #10 10
40 #6 8
50 #4 6
60 #3 4

What Size Wire for 50 Amps at 150 Feet?

As mentioned earlier, the best wire gauge for 50 amps is a 6-gauge wire. However, when you want to connect an electronic appliance a long distance from the main panel, you may experience a voltage drop (about 3-5%). 

As such, it would be advisable to go for a higher-grade wire. For example, a 4-gauge copper wire would be ideal for distances over 100 feet.  

Besides the risk of fire, using the wrong wire size could damage your electrical appliances and equipment. 

Related: Learn How To Hook Up A Generator To Your House

50 Amp Sub Panel Wire Size?

A sub-panel connects to your home’s electrical wiring through a double-pole breaker on the main panel. 

The wire gauge you use to connect the two depends on the distance between them and the size of the breaker. 

Generally, it would be best if you had a 10-gauge wire to connect a 30 amp sub panel, 8-gauge to connect a 40 amp one, and 6-gauge for a 50 amp panel. 

You may upgrade to a 4-gauge wire for 50 amp if the connection between the sub panel and main panel is over 100 feet. 

What Size Wire for 50 Amps at 200 Feet?

What size for 50 amps at 100 feet and above?

Although the 6-gauge is the standard for 50 amps, you can upgrade to 4-gauge if the distance is 100 feet and above.  For 200 feet, you may opt for a 2-gauge wire to further reduce the voltage drop. 

The table below shows the expected wire gauge for 50 amps, depending on the distance and type of wire.

Distance Wire Size (Copper) Wire Size (Aluminum)
50 ft 6 AWG 4 AWG
75 ft 6 AWG 4 AWG
100 ft 4 AWG 3 AWG
200 ft 2 AWG 1/0 AWG
250 ft 1 AWG 2/0 AWG
300 ft 1/0 AWG 3/0 AWG

Which Is the Right Wire Gauge for 50 Amps?

Getting the correct wire gauge is crucial for your connections. For instance, using a 10-gauge wire for 50 amps may cause the wire to overheat or melt, which can cause a fire. It may also damage your electrical appliances. 

To get the correct wire gauge, consider various factors, such as the electrical appliances you want to connect, the type of wire, and the distance.

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