The task can seem very daunting and complicated if you’re installing your own electric stove. Messing with electrical work is very detail-oriented, so it’s essential to do it right and not rush things, especially if you’re inexperienced. If you’re not experienced working with electricity and electrical panels, it’s best to contact a licensed electrician.
Most 240-volt electric stoves require a 50 amp double-pole circuit breaker with a #8 gauge copper wire or #6 gauge aluminum wire. Some industrial electric stoves need a 60 amp breaker, while older ones can get away with 30 amp breakers. Always wire 50 amp breakers with #8 gauge copper wire or #6 gauge aluminum wire (8/3 or 6/3 cable with a ground) with a 220-volt 4-prong plug.
Those numbers can be very confusing if you’re new to electrical work or only do electrical work once in a blue moon. Choosing a double breaker and wire size for your electric stove isn’t as complicated as it might seem, and most homeowners are fully capable of getting it done. Let’s take a closer look at each variable to help you make the best choice for your situation.
Circuit Breaker Requirements for Electric Stoves
Stoves draw quite a bit of power and are often one of the larger appliances in your home. Because of their large draw, putting an electric range on its dedicated circuit is essential.
While there is a wide selection of electric stoves on the market, most run on 240 volts. Because most stoves are 240 volts, using a double-pole circuit breaker on a dedicated circuit inside your electrical panel is best.
Electric stoves often require a 30 to 60 amp circuit breaker. Which size you need for your specific unit depends on how much power it draws. You can usually find this information for your particular stove model online or on the box.
The vast majority of modern electric stoves require a 50 amp breaker. Smaller or older stoves often draw less power and use 30 or 40 amp circuit breakers. Larger industrial electric stoves often need a larger circuit breaker at 60 amps.
Older stoves are often smaller and draw less power, while industrial units require significantly more. All of that to say, there is quite a wide range of electric stove sizes and power needs.
When choosing the correct circuit breaker size for your electric stove, it is essential to consider the 80% rule. The 80% rule in electrical work refers to the idea that you should only use at most 80% of your breaker’s capacity at full load. For example, ideally, a 50-amp double breaker should power only appliances that draw 40 amps (80% of 50 amps) or less simultaneously.
What If You Don’t Use the Correct Size Breaker for an Electric Stove?
Choosing the correct electrical circuit breaker size is a significant stress point for many inexperienced people doing electrical work in their homes. So what exactly happens if you use the wrong breaker size for an electric stove? Let’s find out.
Lower Amp Breakers
If you install a circuit breaker with a lower capacity than your appliance, the breaker will constantly trip when you use your electric stove. For example, if you use a 30 amp wire and breaker on an electric stove that requires a 50-amp 240-volt circuit, you will run into this problem.
While it usually isn’t a safety issue, your constantly tripping breaker can be highly annoying and stop you from using your stove entirely.
Higher Amp Breakers
Using a higher amp breaker can lead to severe problems. If your electric stove requires 50 amps and you wire everything accordingly only to install a 60 amp breaker, you are at risk of starting an electrical fire.
Most modern electric stoves have built-in overcurrent protection. If you install a 60 amp breaker and electrical wire everything according to the more powerful current, it won’t cause a problem if your stove is 50 amps. The overcurrent protection in your appliance will step down the current to the correct levels.
Wire Size Requirements for Electric Stoves
Choosing the proper size wire for installing your electric stove is straightforward once you’ve determined the ideal circuit breaker size. Below is a table describing which gauge wire to use depending on your breaker’s size:
|Copper Wire||Aluminum Wire||Breaker Size|
|#10 AWG||#8 AWG||30 Amp|
|#8 AWG||#6 AWG||40 Amp|
|#8 AWG||#6 AWG||50 Amp|
|#6 AWG||#4 AWG||60 Amp|
Because most electric stoves require a 50 amp circuit breaker, using #6-gauge wire is very common. For most stoves, you’ll want to go with a 6/3-gauge cable, which has four wires: a primary hot wire, a secondary hot wire, a neutral wire, and a ground wire.
If you have a smaller or older electric stove on a 30 or 40-amp breaker, using #10-gauge or #8-gauge copper wire is best. Larger stoves on 60 amps often require #4-gauge aluminum AWG, though some wire them using #6-gauge copper wire AWG.
Electric Stove Receptacle Requirements
Now that you’ve figured out what circuit breaker and electrical wire gauge you need to install your electric stove, the wall receptacle is the final piece.
Stoves are extremely powerful household appliances; subsequently, you cannot plug most units into a standard wall outlet. Electric stoves require a special 240-volt electrical outlet.
Most electric stoves utilize a standard 240-volt wall receptacle, but you must ensure that you get one with 4-prongs. Some older units still use 3-prong receptacles, but you should always use a 4-prong wall receptacle for any new installation.
Wire and Breaker Size for Wall Oven
Generally, a 30 amp double-pole circuit breaker for a single wall oven with wire gauge #8-gauge aluminum wire or #10-gauge copper wire is sufficient.
Wire and Breaker Size for Dual Wall Oven
Modern dual-wall ovens are larger and more advanced, necessitating more power. Generally, a dual-wall oven takes a 40 amp double-pole circuit breaker with a #8-gauge copper wire or a #6-gauge aluminum wire AWG. However, some dual-wall ovens will need a 50 or 60-amp breaker.
|Wall Oven Wattage||Wall Oven Amps||Wire Size|
|4000 watt||16.7 Amps||#12 AWG||#10 AWG||25 Amp|
|5000 watt||20.8 Amps||#10 AWG||#8 AWG||30 Amp|
|6000 watt||25 Amps||#8 AWG||#6 AWG||40 Amp|
|7000 watt||29.2 Amps||#8 AWG||#6 AWG||40 Amp|
|8000 watt||33.3 Amps||#8 AWG||#6 AWG||50 Amp|
|9000 watt||37.5 Amps||#8 AWG||#6 AWG||50 Amp|
Wire and Breaker Size for Electric Cooktop
Generally, a 30 amp double-pole circuit breaker with wire gauge #8-gauge aluminum wire or #10-gauge copper wire is sufficient for an electric cooktop. Some newer induction cooktops need a 40 amp double-pole circuit breaker.
Going into a project like wiring a kitchen stove can seem extremely confusing and daunting. But it’s pretty straightforward once you take the time to break down the various vital numbers to choose the proper hardware for the job.
After figuring out how much power your electric stove requires, choose the correct circuit breaker size for your unit. Remember to keep in mind the 80% rule. It’s better to select a larger breaker and wire it appropriately than choose one too small and have your circuit breaker constantly trip when you try to use your stove.
Wire your appliance using the correct gauge wire once you’ve chosen a suitable circuit breaker based on your stove’s power demand. These include:
- #10-gauge wire for 30 amps
- #8-gauge wire for 40 amps
- #6-gauge wire for 50 amps
- #4-gauge wire for 60 amps
Remember to use a 4-prong, 240-volt wall receptacle for your electric stove.