Whether you’re a professional electrician building a new house or a weekend DIYer fixing a broken appliance, you’ll need an outlet to power your welder.
The question that many people ask is which type of outlet do I need for my welder? Minimum you should use a 3-prong 50V outlet for a welder with at least a six gauge wire with a 70 amp breaker.
But, there’s a lot more you need to know!
As a welder myself, I know how important it is to maintain a suitable power source for safety.
And, precisely, that is why I’d share you with the correct information so that you can safely operate the welder.
If you’re interested, read until the end, because I’d share about:
- Basic types of welding.
- Can a welder be plugged into a regular outlet?
- Do welders need particular outlets?
- Circuit Breakers for Welders: What Size Do You Need?
- How to Install a Welder Outlet?
Table of Contents
Why should you even care about the type of welding in the first place? Because, if you don’t know different types of welding you won’t be able to match the appropriate outlet. So, let’s start with knowing the types!
There are several types of welding, and each type requires a machine and power.
The wiring for a specific outlet might already be done in a warehouse or industrial garage, so people use their welders there.
You can start working as soon as you plug it in. Some may work on projects in their garages, on their fields, outside, or at work requiring some unexpected power sources.
- Shielded Metal Arc Welding SMAW
This type forms an electric arc between the metal and the stick with the help of an electric current.
- Gas Metal Arc Welding GMAW/MIG
The power source for this type has to be constant voltage and direct current. Generally, welders use this type of power source.
- Flux Cored Arc Welding
This type was developed as an alternative to shield welding.
- Gas Tungsten Arc Gas Welding GTAW/TIG
It is most common to use this type of welding to join thick sections of stainless steel or non-ferrous metals.
Yes, a regular outlet will work for a welder. The only thing you have to worry about is the wrong wire. The wire you use for the power source has to be the same wire you use for the ground wire. (Discussed more wiring section)
But, now I would say why you shouldn’t plug a welder into a regular outlet. As welders require higher power, they should be restricted to plugging into a standard outlet.
Let me break it down.
Did you hear about Ohm’s law?
The law states that voltage equals the multiplication of current (I) and resistance R. The formula is V=IR.
So, if the voltage is high, the current flow must increase. And when the current flow needs to be higher, the resistance of the wire has to be higher.
Here comes another issue. If the current flow needs to be higher, the outlet amp should be higher. And that’s what I was trying to explain.
No, all welders can use the outlets they usually use, and the only difference is that you have to use the correct wires.
It is not always necessary to buy a special outlet for a welder to use. It is not required at all, and most outlets will work in most cases. But, you may need to cut the wires coming into your outlet to make it work. It is also possible to get a special outlet made just for welding.
It can be tricky to get an electrical outlet made just for welding, and you might get lucky and find one at a discount store or even in a local junkyard. But, a good welding shop will have these.
The three main wires are the ground wire, the hot wire, and the neutral wire. The neutral wire is also called the third wire. It is usually found in a three-wire outlet, but not always.
Below discussion about the different wires so that you can take a data-backed decision.
The ground wire is used to protect the welder and his work from electrical shock, and it is grounded right to the outlet.
The hot wire is the one with the red wire in it. It is used to transfer the electrical current to work. Neutral wire The neutral wire has the blue wire in it. It is used to transmit electrical current.
The neutral wire is the one wire that is not carrying an electrical current, and this makes it safe for your hands to touch. The ground wire is the one wire used to ground your body, which allows you to feel the shock of the current.
In order to power your welder, you need a circuit breaker that can handle the input current.
It is generally recommended to use a 50-amp circuit breaker for 220-volt welders drawing 40-50 input amps. Welders drawing 20-30 amps from a 110-volt source require circuit breakers rated at 30 amps.
In the event of a short or electrical overload by your welder, the circuit breaker will trip and shut off the current. It would help if you mounted circuit breakers near the shop area where you are welding.
It takes a certified electrician to correctly choose the suitable circuit breaker and wire it into the breaker box. Amateurs should not attempt this as any mistakes can easily lead to an electrical fire causing your building.
The first step is to turn off the power to your home. You can use a fuse or simply pull the circuit breaker. Next, locate the outlet that the welder will be plugged into. Then, you have to connect the wire from the welder to the outlet.
After this, you have to connect the ground wire to the ground screw. And finally, join the hot wire to the hot screw. You can switch the breaker back on.
The welder requires an adequate power supply, and you should neglect it despite the regular source that can power it.
But, that involves high-security risks. So, it is essential to know the types of outlet, which outlet, circuit breaker, and wire to use.
And, throughout the post, I tried to illustrate and discuss those. I think this would help clear out your confusion on this issue.
If you still got any questions, comment below.
Hey this is Robert from Weld Gallery.
We have experience in welding for the last 5 years and I own a lot of welding equipment from different companies. We know good quality welding tools are very difficult for newbies and that is why we have created this blog to help the welding newbies and welders.