60 Amp Wire Size: Charts, Gauge, Breakers (120,240 & 480 V)

Dealing with electrical wiring is dangerous. So, you must follow the proper precautions and use suitable materials. Similarly, you must use the correct wire size for different amp services and breakers. Today’s article is about 60 amps. 

The recommended wire size for a 60 amp circuit depends on factors such as voltage, distance, location, and material used. For 120V, the recommended wire size is 6 gauge copper or 4 gauge aluminum. For 240V, the recommended wire size is 4 gauge copper or 2 gauge aluminum. For 480V, the recommended wire size is 2 gauge copper or 1/0 gauge aluminum.

Since various factors get involved, the size may not be only 6 AWG or 4 AWG; it will change. This article provides detailed information about the correct wire sizes of 60 amps in different situations. 

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Understanding 60 amps: Its usage and importance of choosing the correct wire size

In the old days, 50 to 60 amps service was enough to power a house. 

But with time, the house’s electronic devices and amp services have increased. 

Nowadays, the standard amp service for houses is 150-200 amps. 60 amp breakers are now used for running 1-2 appliances like cloth dryers, ovens, etc.

But you can still use a 60 amp service if your house does not use that many electronic devices. 

Choosing the correct wire size is crucial to avoid overheating, voltage loss, and other risks. 

The wire size must handle the current flowing in 60 amps service or breaker. 

Thin wires can heat quickly and lead to fire hazards. 

But thicker wires can carry enough current without any overheating or overloading.

Choosing a wire that is thicker than the size recommended for 60 amps is safe. But the problem is the price. 

That is why you need to choose a wire can that is capable of 60 amps. 

While choosing the wires, remember that the lower the gauge number, the thicker the wire. 

For example, a 4 gauge wire is thicker than a 6 gauge wire.

What size of wire is best for 60 amps?

The wire you need for 60 amps is usually 6 AWG or 4 AWG. 

The thickness of the 4-6 AWG wires will be enough to carry the current flowing from 60 amps service or breaker. 

To determine the correct wire size for 60 amps, you need to understand the 80% rating rule. 

Whatever ampacity you use, you need to use only 80% of the capacity and let the remaining 20% empty.

During a short circuit, when the load increases, the remaining 20% will be able to carry it. 

As a result, there will be no overloading and short circuits. 

In 60 amps, you get to use only 48% of the load. 

If you plan to use up the entire 60 amps, you need a wire that can handle current flowing from 60 amps. 

Choose a wire that can handle around 75 amps. 

The correct wire size a 75 amp can handle is 4 AWG. A 6 AWG can handle up to 65 amps. 

So, even if you can use a 6 AWG wire, it is better to use a 4 AWG for safety purposes. 

Factors affecting the wire size for 60 amps?

Though the ideal size of wire for 60 amps is 6 to 4 AWG wire, several factors can change the size. 

The size only varies based on the wire material, distance, temperature tolerance, and voltage drop. 

Let’s have a detailed look at how these factors affect the wire size:

Wire material 

When you want wires for electrical purposes, out of so many, only three materials are commonly used:

  • Copper
  • Aluminum 
  • Copper-clad aluminum

Copper is favored because:

  • It has higher conductivity naturally than the other materials. 
  • The wire is heat-resistant and holds sufficient current to pass through without any interruption. 
  • The wires are malleable, which allows the current to flow smoothly even after you bend them. Therefore, there is no risk of breakage or current flow interference. 
  • The wires have a green tarnish that gets oxidized when the wire is exposed to outside elements. This layer protects the wire from corrosion. 
  • For these factors, copper is ideal for longer distances. 
  • Aluminum wires are preferred less because:
  • Aluminum is not heat-resistant or corrosive-resistant. 
  • The wire is less conductive than the copper wires. 
  • You cannot use them for longer distances. 

But there is one feature for which people prefer aluminum over copper: the cost. 

Coppers are extremely expensive than aluminum wires. 

In that case, you can try using copper-clad aluminum wires. 

They are cheaper than copper but more expensive than aluminum wires. 

Additionally, these wires have copper ends, which provides the wire with some actual copper benefits. 

If you are using aluminum or copper-clad aluminum wires, use 4 AWG wires. For copper wires, use 6 AWG wire sizes. 


The larger the distance, the thicker the wire. 

If you want to use the wire for a longer distance, you will need copper wire, as they have low resistance and good conductivity. 

In that case, you can use a 6 AWG copper wire. 

If the distance is too long for a 6 AWG wire, go for a 4 or 2 AWG copper wire. 

But it will vary based on how long you are going to use the wire, for example:

DistanceWire size (Aluminum/Copper)
50 feet4 to 6 AWG
100 feet2 to 4 AWG
150 feet2 to 4 AWG
200 feet1 to 2 AWG

The longer the distance, the thicker the gauge. 

Voltage drop

This factor is considered for longer distances, 100 feet or above. 

Generally, the voltage drop should not be more than 3 to 5%. 

If the voltage drop increases, the resistance will reduce, and the wire will melt and start a fire. 

Beginners make the mistake of using a 6 gauge wire when you should use a 4 gauge wire taking voltage drop into account. 

Since it is a matter of electricity, there should not be any mistake, especially when dealing with wire sizes and ampacities. 

The voltage lowers by 20% for every 100 feet wire. The correct percentage will vary based on the wire material and the amount of wire you use. 

So, if you use the wire for 150 feet, there will be a voltage drop or loss of around 30%. So, here you must increase the wire size by 30%. 

If you need to use a wire for your 60 amps breaker 100 or 150 feet away, apply this code and use a 2 or 3 AWG wire for 60 amps instead of 6 or 4-gauge. 

Type of circuit 

Before you select the wire size, you need to understand the use of the in your wire. 

Several circuits have several demands. 

Some circuits are for lighting, and some are for motor circuits. 

Additionally, the voltage of the circuit or the breaker box will also affect the wire size. 

Most households in the US use 120V. So, a 6 AWG wire size should be enough for a 60 amps breaker. 

But if you have a 220V or 240V appliance which you want to use individually in a 60 amp breaker, you might want to use a 4 or 3 AWG wire. Ask a professional for the best option. 


The correct temperature rating will affect the gauge size. 

In most cases, the charts with the amperage and their correct wire sizes consider the ambient temperature rating to be 140°F, which is standard. 

But if the temperature rating changes, the gauge size will change. 

The high-temperature ratings are for higher ampacity. 

If you use a 6 gauge wire for 60 amps, the temperature rating should be 167°F or 194°F. 

You will need a thicker wire for 60 amps, a 4 gauge at the standard temperature.

A 4 gauge wire can handle ampacity between 70 amps and 95 amps at a temperature rating of 140°F, 167°F, and 194°F. So, it will be able to handle 60 amps easily. 

What size of wire do you need for a 60-amp circuit breaker?

The wire size for 60 amps circuit breaker is not much different from the 60 amps service and main breaker. 

Both will need 6 AWG to 4 AWG wires. 

The wire would be enough to run the breaker and the appliances connected to it. 

The breaker is primarily found in older houses where people used to use fewer electrical appliances. 

You can use only 1-2 240V appliances, like an oven or a cloth dryer. 

 Since the voltage would be 240V, you will need a thicker wire. 

For running these appliances, you can use a 4 AWG copper wire.

What size of ground wire do you need for 60 amps?

You will need an 8 or 6 AWG copper wire for the ground wire. 

The ground wire normally does not carry any current unless there is a short circuit. 

During a short circuit, the excess current needs an alternate path to flow out. 

If there is no ground wire, it will pass through your body after you touch any metal casing of an appliance. 

Since the wire will not carry current all the time, an 8 or 6 AWG copper wire would be enough for 60 amps service. 

If you use aluminum wires, go for a 6 to 4 AWG wire. 

What size of wire do you need for a 60 amp sub panel?

The average wire size for a 60 amp sub panel is 6 gauge copper wire or 4 gauge aluminum wire for the hot and neutral connections. 

For distances of 100 feet or more, use a 3 gauge wire.

There is a constant debate between a 3 gauge and 4 gauge wire. 

Both are applicable to the sub-panel. 

Though 6 gauge wires are preferred in certain circumstances, for example, distances shorter than 50 feet, it is better to avoid them. 

For the ground wire, you can choose an 8-gauge wire. 

Here also, you must consider the other factors and follow the 80% rule before you choose the correct wire. 

What size wire for a 60 amp double-pole breaker?

The wire size for a 60 amp double-pole breaker is no different than a 60 amp breaker. 

Choose a 4 AWG or 6 AWG. 

For the best results, I recommend using a 4 AWG wire.

It is thicker and has better resistance than a 6 AWG wire. 

The only difference between the double-pole breaker wire and the breaker wire is that you might need to install two hot wires sharing one neutral because of the double-pole. 

What does the NEC say about it?

According to the NEC or National Electric Code, the minimum wire size for 60 amps is 8 AWG copper wire. 

Though an 8 gauge wire will be able to handle the current flowing from a 60 amps service or breaker, it can damage if there is a short circuit. 

That is why NEC now also recommends using 6 AWG copper and 4 AWG aluminum for 60 amps. Even amateurs use this gauge. 

However, professionals use a 4 AWG copper wire or 2 AWG aluminum for the best services. 

Chart explaining the wire sizes of 60 amps 

As a beginner, it is quite difficult to estimate the correct wire size for 60 amps. 

In the old days, 60 amps service was enough for the whole house’s electricity. 

But now, there are a lot of electronic devices that need more current to work. 

Additionally, there are different voltages, phases, and distances to consider while selecting the wire size. 

So, this table shares a roughly estimated wire size of 60 amps based on the voltage, phase, and distance. 

Single phase


Distance (in feet)Copper wireAluminum wire
50 ft4 AWG3 AWG
75 ft4 AWG3 AWG
100 ft4 AWG2 AWG
200 ft1 AWG2/0 AWG
250 ft1/0 AWG3/0 AWG
300 ft2/0 AWG4/0 AWG


Distance (in feet)Copper wireAluminum wire
50 ft4 AWG3 AWG
75 ft4 AWG3 AWG
100 ft4 AWG3 AWG
200 ft4 AWG2 AWG
250 ft3 AWG1 AWG
300 ft2 AWG1/0 AWG


Distance (in feet)Copper wireAluminum wire
50 ft4 AWG3 AWG
75 ft4 AWG3 AWG
100 ft4 AWG3 AWG
200 ft4 AWG3 AWG
250 ft4 AWG3 AWG
300 ft4 AWG3 AWG



Distance (in feet)Copper wireAluminum wire
50 ft4 AWG3 AWG
75 ft4 AWG3 AWG
100 ft4 AWG4 AWG
200 ft2 AWG1/0 AWG
250 ft1 AWG2/0 AWG
300 ft1/0 AWG3/0 AWG


Distance (in feet)Copper wireAluminum wire
50 ft4 AWG3 AWG
75 ft4 AWG3 AWG
100 ft4 AWG3 AWG
200 ft4 AWG3 AWG
250 ft4 AWG2 AWG
300 ft3 AWG1 AWG


Distance (in feet)Copper wireAluminum wire
50 ft4 AWG3 AWG
75 ft4 AWG3 AWG
100 ft4 AWG3 AWG
200 ft4 AWG3 AWG
250 ft4 AWG3 AWG
300 ft4 AWG3 AWG

Also Check:

Final thoughts 

Usually, the ideal wire size for 60 amps service is 6 AWG or 4 AWG wire. Amateurs use 6 AWG, but professionals choose 4 AWG. The NEC suggests using an 8 AWG wire, but that is not safe as it can handle only up to 60 amps. That is why it is better to go for a 6 AWG or 4 AWG wire. Check the NEC sections where it talks about the wire size. They keep changing the size from time to time. 

To determine the wire, you need to take several factors into consideration, for example, the 80% rule, the voltage drop, wire material, temperature, and distance. If you use copper wire, use a 6 AWG wire, and for aluminum, choose 4 AWG wires. 

The longer the distance, the higher the voltage drop, the lower the resistance. 

So, when the distance crosses 100 feet, choose a thicker wire, like 2 or 3 AWG wires. The wire size for the 60 amp services, breakers, subpanels, and double-pole breakers are more or less the same. It keeps changing a bit based on the factors. You can choose an 8 AWG or 6 AWG copper wire for ground wires. Ask a professional for the best advice. 

Can 8,6, and 10-gauge wire handle 60 amps?

Many people use 6 AWG wires, which is fine. But 4 AWG are the safest. As for the 8 and 10 AWG wire, they do not even enter the 60 amp category. Only the 8 AWG wire is used for the ground wire.

Can 60 amps handle an entire house?

Yes, a 60 amp service or breaker will be ideal for an entire house, provided you do not use too many high-powered electrical devices. If you have only lights and fans, 60 amps should be enough.

Reference: Wire size charts Wikipedia

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Arthur Smith

Howdy! I am Arthur Smith, an electrical engineer who is extremely passionate about electronics. I have lived in different parts of the US and currently reside in Wisconsin. I am one of those rare children who knew what he wanted to study and do in life right from the start. I was a curious child who wanted to know how switches work and how the AC works, and I would always observe my dad whenever he would handle the wires and fix things around the house. I currently work as an electrical engineer at a reputed company and write for this blog. And I read loads of books or play video games in my free time.

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