Different types of wires are used in welding. So, getting confused between 6/2, 6/3, 8/2, or 8/3 wires is quite normal. However, once you know about them, it’s pretty easy to choose your ideal one.
Now, which one to choose – 6/2, 6/3, 8/2 or 8/3 wire for welder?
You need to choose 6/2, 6/3, 8/2 or 8/3 wire depending on the power capacity. A welder with 40 Amp will work with an 8 AWG wire. However, a 50 amp or higher welder will need a 6 AWG wire. For conduct, 3 is recommended for earthing safety purposes. Generally, 6 AWG is a good conductor for any type of welding.
Still not convinced yet? Well, after going through this thorough discussion, you’ll be more than convinced.
Let’s get started!
6/2, 6/3, 8/2, Or 8/3 Wire For Welder Powering?
Input amperage rating or simple, current capacity is different in welders. Welders’ voltage with high power needs more current input than smaller, lower-powered ones. So, for the welding power supply, you have to select the welding cable size accordingly.
Sometimes, it is confusing how much ampere and size you need for an electric tool. Besides welders, it can happen for other tools too. Such as, people often get confused if they need a 15 or 13 Amp table saw. Amperage increases with the strength of the tool.
A medium-powered 120 volt with 30-40 Amp welder requires an 8 AWG wire. As an 8 AWG wire has an amperage rating or current capacity of 40 Amp.
A strong 220-volt welder with up to 40 Amp input requires a 6 AWG wire. A 6 AWG cable can take up to 60 Amp. For a small welder with less than 30 Amp input, 10 AWG cables will work fine.
But I will recommend, whatever the welder size is, go for a 6 AWG wire. As you can use it with every welder, no matter its power.
Let’s move on to the conductor.
Even though some welders say it doesn’t require grounding, you shouldn’t avoid it. Electric earthing or grounding will protect you from short circuits. Improper earthing causes many hazards, Thus proper earthing is important.
So, you should use 3 conductors. And my final recommendation would be to use 6/3 wire for welding.
|Welder Size||Current Input||Recommended Wire|
|Small (115V)||Below 30 Amp||8/3 wire|
|Medium (115-200V)||30 – 40 Amp||6/3 wire|
|Big (208 – 230V)||Above 40 Amp||6/3 wire|
Let’s discuss different wire sizes for powering welder.
6/2 Wire For Welder
The 6/2 wire gauge is good for every powered welder. You can use it safely for high-powered ones, and also, small for welders.
But there are two conductors. That means no earthing. Although most of the welder manufacturers claim to already have earthing. You shouldn’t take the chance.
6/3 Wire For Welder:
The 6/3 wire is the best wiring for powering any kind of welder. It will support welders of every power. Also, that extra conductor will save your welder and yourself from short circuits.
Well, now that you know about its usage, why don’t you see some wire recommendations? These will help you to be firm about your choice-
- Woods 25′ 6-3 NMW/G Wire seems like the ideal fit for any type of welding. Because it’s not too lengthy or short.
- Another great pick would be Cerrowire 50-Feet 6/3 NM-B Stranded. It’ll fit well with your standard home construction.
You may use a small welder now. But there’s a chance you will go for a bigger welder in the future. In that case, you can reuse this wire.
If you are confused about the amperage of your welder, getting this one will not disappoint.
8/2 Wire For Welder:
For a small, low-capacity welder you may take it. If your budget is low, you can work with that.
8/3 Wire For Welder:
8/3 wire is a better choice for a smaller welder than the 8/2 wire. As it has that extra conductor for earthing.
That’s why it’s easy to recommend this wire to most users. However, it’s imperative that you check all the good brands. Otherwise, your wire can cause serious damage. Here are some of the top products to look at-
- Southwire 63949221 25′ 8/3 wire is the budget pick if you’re looking for an affordable option. It features easy installation for the users’ convenience.
- Wirenco 8/3 Metal Clad (MC) Cable with Ground is another great choice. It even comes with aluminum coating for better conduction.
- The last one in our recommendation list is 8/3 SOOW SO Portable Power Cord. It can withstand -40° C to +90° C temps to avoid any drastic condition.
But if you change your welder to a high-powered one, don’t forget to change this wiring.
Does Distance Matter For Welder Wire Size?
Sometimes you may need a longer wire for powering your welder. And you may think of getting an extension cord. With the appropriate gauge and rating, you may use an extension cord in your welder.
But it can affect the voltage drop. In longer cables, the chance of voltage drop is higher. It also decreases the power your welder will receive.
Here’s an user taking the discussion of what size wire to use direct to Twitter-
Also, it may overheat as in long cables the resistance is higher. So, I will recommend not getting an extension cord for your welder.
Welding Risks And Hazards
Welding is a risky task to do if you do not maintain proper safety measures. Let’s see some of the common hazards during welding.
Fumes and Gas Exposure:
Welding fumes contain many dangerous metals and gas. When you continuously inhale them, you will face many health issues.
If you don’t follow a protective dress code, getting hurt during welding is very common.
Live exposed wires, short circuits can cause electric shock.
Welding is done at an extremely high temperature. Also, during welding, the sparks spread around uncontrollably. If the sparks fall on flammable material, it can cause fire and explosion.
To avoid these hazards you must follow the safety measures.
Always make sure that there are no inflammable things around you. Always keep a fire extinguisher and first aid kit near you.
Wearing protective clothing is the most important safety measure for welding.
First required item for protective welding clothing is a welding mask. This will protect your eyes and face skin from damage. Also, it will protect you from inhaling harmful gas and fumes.
Secondly, you should wear welding coveralls. You may think coveralls are heavy and uncomfortable. That’s why you’ll avoid wearing it. But nowadays, comfortable, lightweight coveralls can be easily found.
Here are some lightweight coveralls and jackets you can try out:
- Black Stallion REVCO Navy FR Welding Jacket is quite the affordable option. It is completely fire resistant and offers enhanced protection.
- Another great cover jacket is Lincoln Electric Premium Welding Jacket. This one is also flame resistant and has adjustable cuffs.
- If you want to go for full cover, check out Jewboer Leather Welding Apron. You’ll be fire-proof from head to toe!
These coveralls will protect you from burns from sparks.
Remember, do not use synthetic coveralls. It will melt in contact with sparks or heat. And can burn you too. Try leather, wool, or cotton coveralls.
Finally, wear protective boots or leather shoes for protecting your feet.
It’s easier to work on repairing jobs when you have a snap-on toolbox. You can find everything you need easily including First-aid kits and fire extinguishers. So, keeping a snap-on toolbox is a good practice.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How Do I Know The Amperage Of My Welding Machine?
It usually is written on a sticker stuck with the machine. If not, check the manual. Generally, you will find the output amperage clearly written. Sometimes input amperage is not written directly. You can calculate it by yourself. Just Divide the input watt / Volt. and you will know the amperage.
Can I Learn Welding At Home?
You can learn welding at home. You can watch tutorial videos, and read books and articles about learning to weld. Use a small or medium-strength welder. It’s better to have an experienced person near you while using the welder for the first time.
How Long Does It Take To Weld Something Together?
Welding time depends on both the metal type and size. Also, it depends on the experience. An experienced welder can weld up to 140” per hour. If the metal is heavy, it can take some more time.
Decided yet either, 6/2, 6/3, 8/2 or 8/3 wire for welder powering? I hope the suggestions I gave cleared your confusion.
It is better to use a high-capacity wire just in case. But the decision is yours. Also, never forget to follow the precautions before you start welding. Good luck!