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How Many Amps Can 20 Gauge Wire Handle?

So, how many amps can 20 gauge wire handle? Let’s find out.

A 20AWG wire is the thinnest and smallest wire with the lowest cross-section and diameters than other gauge wires and is heavily used for small-world applications. 

How Many Amps Can 20 Gauge Wire Handle?

A 20-gauge wire is rated for five amps, and running a more significant appliance on this wire will result in an overflow of current, leading to overheating that can melt the insulation. It only comes with a copper conductor and has no aluminum version available.

How Many Amps Can 20 Gauge Wire Handle

Professional electricians highly use the 20AWG wire for different applications across homes.

Two Temperature Ratings for 20 AWG

Two amp ratings for 20AWG are 60 degrees C and 75 degrees C, and amps from 5 amps to 11 amps.

Wire also comes with Teflon and nylon insulations to command higher temperatures than PVC.

Uses of 20AWG wire

The common uses of 20AWG wire are vehicle lighting, computer hardware, general wiring, electric meters, oven peripheral wiring, control panels, LED lighting, battery holder wire, solar panels, toys battery wire, portable clocks, smoke detectors, fire alarms, remote controls for drones, RC cars, carbon monoxide detectors, and many more.

 

Finding gauge and Amperage

You can find the gauge and Amperage, and you have to determine the cross-sectional area that will help you choose the wattage of your home’s available devices.

All you have to do is convert the wattage into Amperage, and you will be able to find the load the circuit will carry. Given below is the table for various gauges.

 

How does the NEC define Ampacity?

NEC stands for National Electrical Codes, a regulatory institute since 1897 that was introduced by National Fire Protection Association when homeowners started facing electric wiring problems in household wirings.

NEC defines and provides the latest information to DIY electricians regarding wiring so that homeowners can take advantage of the protocols and programs.

NEC provides the required information for Ampacity to homeowners for DIY electrical projects to avoid electrical fires so that no one can doae code violations that can cause problems for others.

Those who won’t follow residential wiring standards when doing electrical work or masonry and put the lives of others in danger by not following the safety regulations can get lawsuits.

 

Wire

A wire is designed to handle different amounts of load, and it can never carry an infinite amount of current. These limits are defined by National Electric Code limits to ensure safe power capacities, and that’s why when you try to pass more current than that designated rating for any wire, you will experience circuit breaker trip, fire, and other problems due to excessive load. So, to be on the safe side, you should familiarize yourself with home electrical capacity before making changes to the electrical system of your home or residential building.

Load

Load is simply the power a connected appliance demands and is measured in watts, and for this article, a 20-gauge wire will handle only 15 amps of load effortlessly.

Voltage and Amperage

Voltage is the potential flow of power and Amperage is the amount of electricity that passes through the wire. In other words, Amperage measures power flow, and the simple understanding of the Amperage is that 20 amps flow at 120 volts and 40 amps flow at 240 volts, and that’s the highest voltage any appliance can demand dryers, workshop tools, or heavy-duty equipment.

Limitations

NEC has defined limits for different wire gauges, and this article discusses 20-gauge wire. It is prohibited for 20A flow, which is unsuitable for 240-volt circuits and ideal for only 120V circuits.

To understand this better, remember this formula

Watts = volts x amps

Wire presents watt = 120 x 20

watts = 2,400

So 2400 watts onto your 20-gauge wiring for the 120-volt circuit is what you will expect from your 20-gauge wire.

Wire Gauge Information

When you want to extend or rewire a circuit in your home, you need to know a few things to choose the right circuit size, like planned load, number of outlets, and circuit length.

When you know about these things, you can choose the correct wire that can handle the required Amperage and choose the suitable wire that is sized for the amperage r, which will help the circuit run smoothly rather than getting overheated, causing fires.

By the way, there are different types and sizes of electrical wires, Eachire is differentiated by a gauge number that defines the usage of that cable because homeowners can use from most minor to most giant appliances, which require different amps, and that’s why a specific gauge type wire is essential to choose to handle the proper amps of current flow.

A wire gauge is a physical wire size opposite to the diameter of the conductor diameter. To help you understand this better, we have discussed a table below for different wire gauges so that you can choose the correct wire gauge for the amount of current flow required.

The below table shows wire gauge ratings, and other data about wires for non-metallic ( NM ) sheathed cables.

Amperage Capacities for Standard Non-Metallic (NM) Cable

16-gauge wire

13 amps

14-gauge wire

15 amps

12-gauge wire

20 amps

10-gauge wire

30 amps

8-gauge wire

40 amps

6-gauge wire

55 amps

4-gauge wire

70 amps

3-gauge wire

85 amps

2-gauge wire

95 amps

You should know that wires come in different conduct, like aluminum and copper, and have various ampacity-carrying capacities. A downside of aluminum wires is that higher Amperage can expand the wire enough so it will lose to the extent that it will end up causing a fire but only in an overloading situation. Rest, the aluminum wire has no problems with average Amperage.

Stranded vs. Solid Wire

It’sessentialt that you use the stranded or solid wire style for the circuit.

A stranded wire is not the most helpful wire type because the solid wire has a solid copper conductor, and the installation is done with a metal conduit. Similarly, the solid wire is hard to pull and can easily be secured under a screw terminal, and that’s why it’s perfect for household wiring.

Importance of Wire Gauge

overflow of current, fire, overheating, circuit breaker and fuses, absolute protection, sense current overloads, trip or blow, danger point overload, guard against exceeding amperage rating, too many appliances, plugged,

A wire gauge is essential to avoid the overflow of current, fire, and overheating. The first line of defense can be a circuit breaker or fuse that trip or blow when a flood happens to protect the wiring and your house, but this is not the most suitable guard against exceeding the amperage rating.

So, you should know about the wire gauge to decide how many appliances you can plug into a particular outlet because when a device draws more power from a wire than the defined amperage rating, that’s when it causes a threat to the safety of the wiring system of your home.

For example, when we plug a heater into an extension cord, it draws more current than the maximum limit of the amps of the wire and results in melting insulation or igniting surrounding materials.

If you are a beginner and don’t know about wire gauges and appliance amps, then we have made a table below to help you understand which appliances can be used for particular wire gauges.

Wire Use

Rated Ampacity

Wire Gauge

Low-voltage lighting and lamp cords

Ten amps

18-gauge

Extension cords (light-duty)

13 amps

16-gauge

Light fixtures, lamps, lighting circuits

15 amps

14-gauge

Kitchen, bathroom, and outdoor receptacles (outlets); 120-volt air conditioners

20 amps

12-gauge

Electric clothes dryers, 240-volt window air conditioners, electric water heaters, and sometimes cooktops and wall ovens

30 amps

10-gauge

Cooktops and ranges

40-50 amps

6-gauge

Electric furnaces, large electric heaters

60 amps

4-gauge

A household can have different appliances like laptops, lights, TV stereos, curling irons, hair dryers, ranges, refrigerators, freezers, dishwashers, microwave ovens, washers, dryers, toasters, blenders, pizza ovens, coffee pots, crock pots, and a handful of other appliances are used in households commonly and therefore, it’s super crucial for you to know the higher amperage rating of a wire to avoid fire hazards.

Wires differ from thinnest to thickest, having different diameters, cross-sections, and amperage ratings.

The AWG is a logarithmic stepped standardized wire gauge system that simplifies the wire sizing to help you choose the correct wire for proper operations without compromising safety.

AWG Wire Diameter Picture

Let’s look at the wire gauge chart, denoting diameter ( mm ), cross-section ( mm2), and Amperage for all the types of wires available.

You will find information for AWG 4/0, 3/0, 2/0, 1/0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 22, 24, 26, 28, 30, 32, 34, 36, 38, 40 wires, AWG wire size chart, mm, mm2, amperage,

AWG Number

Diameter (inches)

Diameter (mm)

Cross-Section (mm2)

Ampacity (at 75°C)

0000 (4/0) AWG

0.4600 in

11.684 mm

107 mm2

230 Amp

000 (3/0) AWG

0.4096 in

10.405 mm

85.0 mm2

200 Amp

00 (2/0) AWG

0.3648 in

9.266 mm

67.4 mm2

175 Amp

0 (1/0) AWG

0.3249 in

8.251 mm

53.5 mm2

150 Amp

1 AWG

0.2893 in

7.348 mm

42.4 mm2

130 Amp

2 AWG

0.2576 in

6.544 mm

33.6 mm2

115 Amp

3 AWG

0.2294 in

5.827 mm

26.7 mm2

100 Amp

4 AWG

0.2043 in

5.189 mm

21.2 mm2

85 Amp

5 AWG

0.1819 in

4.621 mm

16.8 mm2

6 AWG

0.1620 in

4.115 mm

13.3 mm2

65 Amp

7 AWG

0.1443 in

3.665 mm

10.5 mm2

8 AWG

0.1285 in

3.264 mm

8.37 mm2

50 Amp

9 AWG

0.1144 in

2.906 mm

6.63 mm2

10 AWG

0.1019 in

2.588 mm

5.26 mm2

35 Amp

11 AWG

0.0907 in

2.305 mm

4.17 mm2

12 AWG

0.0808 in

2.053 mm

3.31 mm2

25 Amp

13 AWG

0.0720 in

1.828 mm

2.62 mm2

14 AWG

0.0641 in

1.628 mm

2.08 mm2

20 Amp

15 AWG

0.0571 in

1.450 mm

1.65 mm2

16 AWG

0.0508 in

1.291 mm

1.31 mm2

17 Amp

17 AWG

0.0453 in

1.150 mm

1.04 mm2

18 AWG

0.0403 in

1.024 mm

0.823 mm2

14 Amp

19 AWG

0.0359 in

0.912 mm

0.653 mm2

20 AWG

0.0320 in

0.812 mm

0.518 mm2

11 Amp

21 AWG

0.0285 in

0.723 mm

0.410 mm2

22 AWG

0.0253 in

0.644 mm

0.326 mm2

7 Amp

23 AWG

0.0226 in

0.573 mm

0.258 mm2

24 AWG

0.0201 in

0.511 mm

0.205 mm2

3.5 Amp

25 AWG

0.0179 in

0.455 mm

0.162 mm2

26 AWG

0.0159 in

0.405 mm

0.129 mm2

2.2 Amp

27 AWG

0.0142 in

0.361 mm

0.102 mm2

28 AWG

0.0126 in

0.321 mm

0.0810 mm2

1.4 Amp

29 AWG

0.0113 in

0.286 mm

0.0642 mm2

30 AWG

0.0100 in

0.255 mm

0.0509 mm2

0.86 Amp

31 AWG

0.00893 in

0.227 mm

0.0404 mm2

32 AWG

0.00795 in

0.202 mm

0.0320 mm2

0.53 Amp

33 AWG

0.00708 in

0.180 mm

0.0254 mm2

34 AWG

0.00630 in

0.160 mm

0.0201 mm2

0.3 Amp

35 AWG

0.00561 in

0.143 mm

0.0160 mm2

36 AWG

0.00500 in

0.127 mm

0.0127 mm2

37 AWG

0.00445 in

0.113 mm

0.0100 mm2

38 AWG

0.00397 in

0.101 mm

0.00797 mm2

39 AWG

0.00353 in

0.0897 mm

0.00632 mm2

40 AWG

0.00314 in

0.0799 mm

0.00501 mm2

4/0 Gauge Wire

The 4/0 gauge wire is the thickest and most potent wire, which is wide enough that it can only turn two times per inch, and this wire supports 230 amp current flow at 75 degrees Celcius and 260 amps at 90-degree Celcius temperature.

The 4/0 gauge wire is used for heavy-duty applications like welding, drilling, and other tasks.

3/0 Gauge Wire Details

The 3/0 gauge wire is the second thickest gauge wire, is slightly less potent than the 4/0 gauge wire, and comes with a large-amp capacity of 200 amperes at 75 degrees Celcius the best part is that it is rated for up to 600 volts which is impressive. This high-end wire is built to work in temperatures between -58°F and +221°F.

2/0 Gauge Wire Details

The 2/0 gauge wire is the next thickest wire capable of handling 175 amps of current flow and is ideally used for heavy-duty applications and in cars, inverters, RVs, and large solar panels.

1/0 Gauge Wire Details

A 1/0 gauge wire is also called a 0 gauge wire, which is quite thick, can bend three times per inch, and can support 150 amps at 75 degrees Celcius, making it sound like a speaker wire, power wire, and welding wire.

1 Gauge Wire Details

The one gauge wire, also known as a non-negative wire gau, can handle 130 amps at 75-degree Celcius and is super helpful as a battery, automotive, and marine cable available on the market and comes at $3 per foot.

2 Gauge Wire Details

The two gauge wire is the most common 100 ampacity cable that can easily handle 115 amps.

3 Gauge Wire Details

The three-gauge copper wire can handle 100 amps at 75°C and support four turns in an inch.

4 Gauge Wire Details

The four gauge wire is the most commonly used wire that is slightly thinner compared with the above-discussed wires, and it can turn five times per inch and can support 85 amps current. The common uses of this wire are as battery cable, welding cable, OFC wire for audio, marine wire for boat electronics, and automobile wire.

5 Gauge Wire Details

A 5 gauge wire can handle 85 to 65 amps, but it’s rarely used.

6 Gauge Wire Details

A 6 gauge wire is a mid-amp AWG wire, also known as sub-100 amp current flow, and the best use of this cable is for battery, marine, automotive, underground, and ground cables.

7 Gauge Wire Details

The seven gauge wire has no ampacity rating defined, and it’s used in households, but this one is also rarely used, and there are only a handful of producers of this wire.

8 Gauge Wire Details

An eight-gauge wire can easily handle 50 amps at average temperature, and it’s used for home appliances, automotive wires, and battery cables.

9 Gauge Wire Details

A 9 gauge galvanized wire is not used as electrical wire, and this high tensile wire made for steel is used for different purposes like tractor supply and tension wire.

10 Gauge Wire Details

A 10 gauge wire is a versatile and stranded wire with a capacity of 35 amps.

11 Gauge Wire Details

The 11 gauge wire has no rated ampacity and is mainly used in households or as a mechanical hanging wire rather than as an electrical one.

12 Gauge Wire Details

The 12 gauge wire is the most commonly used in homes and residential buildings and is also known as the 2-millimeter wire that can support 25 amps of current flow and is highly used for indoor electronics like board circuits, automotive wire, and speaker wire.

13 Gauge Wire Details

The 13 gauge wire has no amp rating defined by the manufacturers.

14 Gauge Wire Details

The 14 gauge wire can handle 15 to 20 amps and is used for automotive wires, inside marine boards, and outlets to plug air conditioners.

15 Gauge Wire Details

The 15 gauge wire is mechanical, not electrical, and has no rated ampacity.

16 Gauge Wire Details

The 16 gauge wire is the perfect example of household wire that electricians commonly use for home circuit boards and 12V batteries, and it can handle 17 amps, 2040 watts at 120V, and 3740 watts at 220V.

17 Gauge Wire Details

The 17 gauge wire has 60,000 PSI tensile strength and is a galvanized steel wire with no rated ampacity.

18 Gauge Wire Details

The 18 gauge wire allows only 14 amps of current to flow and is used as electrical wire for thermostats, and at 120V, it can support 1680 watts, and at 220V, it can support 3080 watts.

19 Gauge Wire Details

The 19 gauge wire is not an electrical wire and has no rated ampacity.

20 Gauge Wire Details

The 20 gauge wire is the most popular low voltage wire commonly used for low voltage battery electronic devices like jewelry making. It is suitable for only 132 watts of batteries.

22 Gauge Wire Details

The 22 gauge wire can handle only seven amps, supports only 1000W at 120V, and is used for LED lights.

24 Gauge Wire Details

The 24 gauge wire comes in different materials like copper, brass, stainless steel, silicone, and aluminum and has no rating ampacity.

26 Gauge Wire Details

The 26 gauge wire allows 2.2 amps of current and can handle less than 500 watts, and is the cheapest wire of all time.

28 Gauge Wire Details

The 28 gauge wire allows 1.4 amps and is used in toys, small electronics, LED lighting, mini motors, internal connectors, model cars, and model ships.

30 Gauge Wire Details

The 30 gauge wire is the thinnest wire used for small electrical power needs and supports only 10 watts.

32 Gauge Wire Details

The 32 gauge wire supports 0.53 amps.

34 Gauge Wire Details

The 34 gauge wire supports only 0.3 amps

36 Gauge Wire Details

The 36 gauge is the one with amps not defined

38 Gauge Wire Details

The 36 gauge is the one with  amps not defined

40 Gauge Wire Details

The 36 gauge is the one with  amps not defined

Amp Wire Sizes

As you know, Amperage is the number of amps a specific wire gauge handle. Sometimes we know the known number of amps to select the correct wire gauge, and sometimes, we don’t.

So, let’s see what gauge will be required for 10, 15, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80,90, 100, 200 amps.

10 Amps Wire Size

The appropriate wire size for ten amps is 20 AWG wire which supports 11 amps; go with 18AWG for the safety circuit.

15 Amps Wire Size

To pass 15 amps, you need 16 Gauge wire, rated for an ampacity of 17 amps; you can make a safe circuit with 14 AWG.

20 Amps Wire Size

To pass 20 amps, you need 14 AWG wire, which is 20 amps rated; if you want a safe circuit, go with 12 AWG.

25 Amps Wire Size

To pass 25 amps, you need 12AWG wire, but you can also use 10AWG for the safer circuit.

30 Amps Wire Size

To pass 30 amps, the most appropriate wire size is 10AWG, rated for 35 amps and if you want a safer circuit, go with 8 AWG.

40 Amps Wire Size

To pass 40 amps, you need 8 AWG wire, which is rated for 50 amps and if you want a safer circuit, go with 6 AWG.

50 Amps Wire Size

To pass 50 amps, you need 6 AWG wires rated for 55 amps and if you want a safer circuit, go with 5 AWG.

60 Amps Wire Size

To pass 60 amps, you need 6 AWG wires rated for 65 amps and if you want a safer circuit, go with 4 AWG.

70 Amps Wire Size

To pass 70 amps, you need 4 AWG wires rated for 85 amps and if you want a safer circuit, go with 3 AWG.

80 Amps Wire Size

To pass 80 amps, you need4 AWG wire, rated for 85 amps and if you want a safer circuit, go with 3 AWG.

90 Amps Wire Size

To pass 90 amps, you need 3 AWG wires, rated for 100 amps and if you want a safer circuit, go with 2 AWG wires.

100 Amps Wire Size

To pass 100 amps, you need 3 AWG wires, which is 100 amps, and if you want a safer circuit, go 2 AWG.

200 Amps Wire Size

To pass 200 amps, you need 3/0 AWG wire rated for 200 amps and if you want a safer circuit, go with 4/0 AWG.

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Robert Smith

Robert Smith is a technology lover and loves to write about laptops, monitors, printers, tablets, Apple products and anything that's related to computers and games. He is passionate enough that he maintains this blog regarding tech updates on a daily basis.