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What Gauge Wire Do I Need For My Dryer? (Must Know)

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It’s easy to get confused with the concept of wire gauge and the right size for a particular appliance. 

However, a dryer is one heavy home appliance that needs cautious installation and some electricity to power. 

Hence getting the wire that fits your electric clothes dryer is ideal to avoid any damage or malfunction. So, what gauge wire does your dryer need?

Your dryer requires a gauge wire of 10 AWG (American Wire Gauge), the minimum recommended size suitable for dryers. In addition, 10 AWG is best for dryers with a minimum of 30 amps, while 40 amps will require 8 AWG. Also, your dryer’s current will determine the gauge wire. 

Is 10/3 Wire Heavy Enough for a Dryer?

What Gauge Wire Do I Need For My Dryer? (Must Know)

A 10/3 wire is heavy enough and ok for your electric clothes dryer. Moreover, most dryers run on circuits with 30 amps, which a 10/3 wire can handle.

Also, some electricians might recommend a 10/4, but I don’t think it’s necessary because a 10/3 with three live wires is enough.

Also, 10/3 wires will fit well with a four-prong dryer outlet, common in most homes. However, most older houses will have a three-prong dryer outlet, which is now outdated to electrical codes.

If you still have a 10/2, you can still use the three-prong outlet, but staying up to codes is always ideal.

The ’10’ represents gauge, which is the minimum size recommendation for dryers, and the  ‘3’ is the number of live wires in the cable.

However, a 10/3 wire is thick and heavy enough to conduct more electricity. Thus, suitable for any dryer because the thicker the wire, the more electricity it can handle.

However, before you determine the gauge of wire your appliance needs, it’s primary to know the amount of current.

In other words, the current of the circuit breaker and the current the appliance will draw. Generally, most homes have a circuit with a standard current of 20 amps, compatible with most home appliances. 

According to NEC ( National Electric Code), you should have a dedicated circuit with at least 30amps of current for your dryer.

Your regular home circuit is not fit, so you should get a double pole breaker. A double pole circuit breaker uses a 20 to 60 amps circuit, which can handle any wire.

If the dryer draws more power than the circuit or wire can take, it will trigger the circuit to trip off. Many circuit breakers are built to act this way to avoid damage to it and the wire.

Now let’s look at how a wire gauge affects the current flow and what current a particular wire gauge can carry.

Wire gaugeCurrentCable Diameter (inches)
0150A0.3249
2100A0.2576
480A0.2043
660A0.162
846A0.1285
1030A0.1019
1223A0.0808
1417A0.0641
1613A0.0508
1810A0.0403
207.5A0.032
225A0.0253

There are other wire sizes like 20 AWG or even higher, but the size doesn’t increase with the number.

Rather, the lower gauge number entails a larger / thicker size, and a bigger number entails a smaller size.

Above is just a summary of some standard wire gauges, their measurement, and the current they can handle. Knowing this will help you know the correct gauge of wire your dryer will need.

Can You Use 12-2 Wire for a Dryer?

Yes, you can use 12/2 wire for your dryer, but it won’t last longer than the recommended wire (10/3 or 10/4 prong dryer cable).

To use a 12/2 wire for a dryer these days is not ideal; it depends on which dryer you have. For 220/240volts dryers, if you use a 12/2, the wire will overheat and probably melt.

You only see electricians use 12 and 14-gauge wire to wire circuits in a house. This is because most appliances use  120 volts of electricity. 

But for, most medium-sized appliances like the dryer will require a 240 voltage, with a heavy wire of 10 gauge.

However, there are still dryers that are 110 volts or 120 volts, but they are kind of outdated models now. So it all depends on the type of dryer you have.

If you still use a dryer with voltage below 220v or 240v, then a 12/2 is ok for your dryer.

There are other reasons why you need a wire with bigger and thicker sizes. Heat resistivity is also essential because an appliance with a voltage of 240 will cause a 12 gauge wire to melt.

Hence, you should not use a 12 gauge to power your dryer to avoid any malfunction during operation.

Since a circuit’s currents will determine what wire to use, it’s good to know what amps your circuit uses.

However, circuits in most houses are either 15 or 20 amps, capable of handling 120 volts of appliances. 

What Gauge Wire for 220v Dryer?

A 10 American Wire gauge(AWG) wire is compatible with a 220 volts dryer. However, the wire size isn’t necessarily based on the appliance directly but on the circuit that will power it.

You should have the appliance’s current and ensure that your circuit breaker is up to it or more than.

Without the current of your appliance, getting the wire size might get quite complicated, especially if you are new to this.

However, most dryers have a current of 30 amps, so 10 AWG is the best size for your 220v dryer. Also, a higher current will need a bigger-sized wire like 8 AWG.

Nevertheless, 10/3 can power 220 volts of four-prong dryer outlets, which powers most dryers and other electrical appliances. I recommend you employ the help of a professional electrician to handle your wiring,

What Size Wire for a 240v Dryer?

An electric clothes dryer with 240 volts will probably require a wire size of 10 AWG. If with a higher current, an 8 AWG will be suitable; the diameter falls between can 0.040 – 0.102 inches.

However, you should never forget that keeping your circuit breaker’s current a little higher than the appliance current is best.

However, both 240 volts and 220 volts are common voltages most dryers use, while older dryers might be 110-120 volts

So a 10/3 cable is the best choice for the different volts; it won’t melt if it’s a 240.

Since a circuit breaker is essential here, most quality double pole breakers have a four-prong outlet. So you can get a 10/3 wire; the cable will be a four prong dryer cord.

Make sure to identify the right spot where the three live and ground wires should fit.

Some factors can also alter the size of a wire. For example, the three live wires of a 10/3 wire are always insulated, but the ground wire can vary.

The ground can either be insulated or uninsulated, which affects the wire’s diameter.

A 240 volts dryer is the type of dryer you will mostly come across nowadays. Some dryers with a 240v label might be 220v because they both do not have much difference.

Also, a 240v dryer will need a three- or four-prong outlet in most houses.

Conclusion

A 10/3 wire is the best choice for any electric clothes dryer and other kitchen or home appliances.

Also, it’s best to allow an experienced electrician to help you out if you lack experience or want perfect wiring.

A dedicated circuit breaker is essential for your dryer, so a double pole breaker of 30 amps is a good  choice.

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