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Wire and cable blog NEMA 6-50 vs. NEMA 14-50 Plug: Which Is Right For Me?

NEMA 6-50 vs. NEMA 14-50 Plug: Which Is Right For Me?

NEMA 6-50 or the NEMA 14-50 plugs or receptacles are used in various high-power applications. The name "NEMA '' comes from National Electrical Manufacturers Association, which issues the standards for these plugs. NEMA plugs are found in all sorts of industrial equipment, home appliances, and car chargers.

NEMA 6-50 and NEMA 14-50 are best known as plugs for EV vehicles. What are the differences and similarities between the two? Spoiler: the key is the neutral wire. Want to know more? Let's dive in.

NEMA 6-50 vs. NEMA 14-50 Characteristics

NEMA 6-50 and NEMA 14-50 can be compared based on several technical characteristics:

  • NEMA 6-50 and NEMA 14-50 are ranked for 50 amps and 250 volts.
  • NEMA 6-50 has three prongs, including two hots and a ground, while NEMA 14-50 has four prongs, including two hots, a neutral, and a ground. NEMA 6-50 is a two-pole, three-wire plug, while NEMA 14-50 is a three-pole, four-wire plug.
  • NEMA 14-50 has a neutral wire, while NEMA 6-50 does not have a neutral wire.
  • Of the two, NEMA 14-50 is a more expensive option because of a neutral wire.
  • Having a neutral wire makes NEMA 14-50 a more versatile option because it can supply 120 and 240 volts.

What is NEMA 6-50 used for?

Common applications of NEMA 6-50 include:

  • Generators and compressors
  • Dryers and stoves
  • Welding equipment
  • Industrial equipment like heavy-duty machinery in workshops
  • Electrical vehicle chargers that support the type of EVSE necessary for electric vehicles, such as JuiceBox Pro

What is NEMA 14-50 used for?

  • Electrical vehicle charging for a wide range of cars, including all Tesla models (Model S, 3, X, Y, and Cybertruck), Chevrolet Bolt, Nissan Leaf, and other types of modern cars.
  • Recreational RV vehicle charging - NEMA 14-50 is often used for charging RV vehicles in RV parks. For more cables used in RV parks and campgrounds, read this blog.
  • Dryers, stoves, and electric ovens
  • Other high-power appliances, such as hot tubs

NEMA 6-50 vs. NEMA 14-50 in Electrical Vehicle Chargers

In electrical vehicle chargers, NEMA 6-50 and NEMA 14-50 can provide 12.5 kW of charging power. 

 Both NEMA 6-50 and NEMA 14-50 are used to charge EVs, but NEMA 6-50 is only used with a limited number of chargers that support it, while NEMA 14-50 is good for a broad range of electric vehicles and electric vehicle chargers. Ultimately, NEMA 14-50 is the most common choice for car charger plugs. In contrast, NEMA 6-50 is more common in industrial settings.

Cables compatible with NEMA 6-50 and NEMA 14-50 

Since NEMA 6-50 and NEMA 14-50 are rated for 50 Amps, the compatible cable should be sized 6 AWG. Many cables are compatible with these plugs; the exact cable depends on particular applications. Ultimately, any cable ranked for 50 Amps circuits can be used with NEMA 6-50 and NEMA 14-50 as long as they are suitable for the particular setting where these plugs are used.

Some cables that can be used with NEMA 6-50 and NEMA 14-50 include:

All of the cables mentioned above are available at NNC at excellent prices.

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NEMA 6-50 vs. NEMA 14-50 Plug: Which Is Right For Me?