What gauge wire for 220v welder circuit?

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Black Jaque Janaviac

Feeling the Heat
Dec 17, 2009
I'd like to get a better welder, but I don't have 220v in my garage. I'm trying to see if it would be worth it to run wire into the garage or would it be better to get a used generator.

What gauge wire would I need to run one of those "tombstone" buzzboxes? It would be probably 50 feet of wire from the breaker box to the garage.


Minister of Fire
Jan 12, 2009
SW Virginia
Check the welder label to see required amperage at 220/240VAC.
Use the chart here or elsewhere to look up the minimum sized wire required based on amperage. http://www.powerstream.com/Wire_Size.htm
Voltage drop can be an issue too and you use the chart with the calculator below to calculate voltage drop. At 50ft. though I don't think it will be a factor.
That said, if the amperage capacity of the size (gauge) wire you determine in the chart is very close to what the welder draws you may want to go to the next size larger wire.


Moderate Moderator
Staff member
Aug 2, 2006
Northern IL
Yep - its the amps that count. Some little 220 migs only draw 7 or 8 amps on 220v. My Lincoln Tombstone (super old bastage) is wired to a 50 amp 220v outlet.


Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
Okay there's some funky monkey stuff and code when it comes to welder outlets. The outlet that the Lincoln AC225 stick welder, and just about all welders, use is a 50 amp outlet. 50 amps needs 6 gauge in romex and 8 gauge in THHN in conduit for regular circuits like ovens, boilers, and hot tubs. That's great and I use 6 gauge romex on a 50 amp breaker for my personal Lincoln tombstone.

The electrical code allows you to downsize the wire for welders because they are not continuous use. You have to label the outlet and remember. Note that the cord on the Lincoln welder is only like 12 gauge or maybe 10. Anyway, I think that this is silly and conservatively use the full size wire.

Ignore the voltage drop over distance crap. Not applicable in a residential setting.

Note also that a stick welder welds at about 26 volts. 225 amps at 26 volts is not very many watts. Like 6500. When fed with a 240 volt circuit it is only like 26 amps. Why do they use a 50 amp plug? It is standard for welders.


Minister of Fire
Oct 3, 2011
My Dialarc 250 needs a 90 amp breaker. The reason for large breakers is the amount of juice it needs to strike an arc. Also OCV (Open circuit volts) are around 80-90 volts. You need that voltage to start the arc. It is always safer to go bigger.

Carla Bridger

New Member
Nov 28, 2013
Lehigh Valley Pa
My question would be how far of run from the main panel to the garage ??

Attached or detached ??

What I would do is install a 100 amp sub panel and be done .

That way if you need to get a air compressor and Plasma unit you should be set.
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