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NEMA 6-50 vs 14-50: Which One is the Best Fit for You?

Last updated Mar 21, 2023

Struggling to pick between NEMA 6-50 vs 14-50?

If you bought a Tesla or another EV and you want to do charging at home, it makes sense to do Level 2 charging, Which means that you need a 240-volt plug and outlet.

Almost every car comes with an EV charger that you can plug into your regular household current which is 120 or 110 volts. It’s called Level 1 charging, which gives you about 3 miles per hour of charging speed. To be honest, it’s pretty slow.

If your commute is 60 miles a day, it’s going to take around 20 hours for you to recharge your car. You know that you couldn’t really do that on a daily basis and just plug into a 110-volt outlet.

Well, you’re lucky. You can charge your car through Level 2 charging. To do that, you need to get a Level 2 plug and install a Level 2 outlet.

When you order a car charger, you have options: NEMA 6-50 or NEMA 14-50 receptacle or hard-wired? NEMA 14-50 and NEMA 6-50 are the two main outlet types on the market for now.

So, what’s the difference between NEMA 6-50 vs 14-50 exactly? In this NEMA 14-50 vs 6-50 comparison article, we’ll walk you through what distinguishes the two and help you decide to get the right one. By the end of this article, you will have a good idea of which one is the best fit for you.

NEMA 6-50 vs 14-50: Form Comparison

The big difference between NEMA 14-50 vs 6-50 is that the NEMA 14-50 has four prongs on it: two of those are hots; one of those is neutral; the top one is the ground. The NEMA 6-50 has only three prongs on it: two hots and the ground. So what does that mean?

The NEMA 14-50 has three conductors. You can get 240 volts out of it and it also has the ability to deliver 120 volts.

The NEMA 6-50 only has two conductors and it can only give you 240 volts.

NEMA 6-50 vs 14-50: Wires Comparison

Another difference is that the wire for the NEMA 6-50 is a two-conductor wire, which comes in from the top, whereas the 14-50 is the three-conductor one, which comes in from the bottom.

The neutral wire can cost about 50% more than the other two wires. That’s a big consideration especially if you have a long run, because truth told, if you only need 240 volts, you don’t need to care about the neutral prong at all.

In addition, the power cord for the 6-50 is more flexible and smaller.

When you choose the plug or outlet type, it’s not only about the price of the outlet, but it’s about the price of the wire.

NEMA 6-50 vs 14-50: Benefits

Both NEMA 14-50 vs 6-50 outlets are rated for up to 50 amps at 240 volts meaning they have an operational power of 12 kW. But according to the rule of 80% draw, the NEMA 6-50 vs 14-50 outlet delivers 40 amps (9.6 kW) for safety.

These two are commonly used for Level 2 EV charging.

If you ever want to put in an EV charger separate from the one that came with your car, owning a NEMA 14-50 plug is very common. The 14-50 outlet is usually installed for electric appliances, like dryers, ovens, stoves, etc.

Speaking of EV charging, I need to mention that car charging is one of the most dangerous things that you do at your home when it comes to electricity because it’s so much power and it’s for so long.

Thankfully, a lot of devices do have safety things built into them like the J1772 plug that plugs into your car. It has five holes on the back of it. Two of them are for the hot lines; one is the ground; the other two are safety mechanisms to make sure that your car is pulled up so you don’t drive off. It actually disables the car. So you can’t drive off while your car’s plugged in.

Ok. Let’s get back to the point. The NEMA 14-50 can step down for regular 120-volt applications. If you have an RV, you can use this type of plug. RV power requires the presence of a neutral wire. That’s why the NEMA 14-50 is very popular with RVs.

The NEMA 6-50 outlet has two vertical terminals and a round ground, making it get confused with the NEMA 5-15 household outlets and plugs. While they do look similar, the 6-50 is definitely a lot larger than the NEMA 5-15.

NEMA 6-50 outlets are commonly used for welders and level 2 EV charging. They cannot be used for RV power.

NEMA 6-50 vs 14-50: Final Recommendation

A lot of people are confused between NEMA 14-50 vs 6-50. The distinct difference is that the NEMA 14-50 has a neutral prong and needs one extra wire which is considered an added cost.

That’s the difference basically between the NEMA 14-50 vs 6-50. The charging speed is the same, the amperage is the same. It’s just a slightly different form factor and cheaper wire.

Usually, if you want to use the dryer outlet (NEMA14-50 is considered the standard dryer outlet), instead of installing a new one, then you can get an EV charger with the NEMA 14-50 plug.

If you have a big RV and you want to plug it in your driveway, you may find that the NEMA 14-50 type of plug is more useful to you.

But for the most part of your charging purposes, it doesn’t matter. So if there’s a long run from your circuit panel to your outlet, this is going to be an awful lot more economical to go with the 6-50.

NEMA 6-50 vs 14-50 FAQs

What’s the difference between a NEMA 6-50 vs 14-50 plug?

The difference between the NEMA 14-50 vs 6-50 is that the NEMA 6-50 only has the two hots and the ground with no neutral. Installing a NEMA 6-50 outlet is easier and cheaper. The NEMA 14-50 can be used for RV power, but the 6-50 cannot.

NEMA 6-50 vs 14-50: which plug is better?

If you decide to use the dryer outlet, you can go with the NEMA 14-50 plug.

If you have an RV, you can choose the 14-50 one.

However, if you need a long wire to install the outlet, it’s economical to pick the 6-50. And if you only need 240 volts, you don’t need to care about the neutral prong at all and just go with the NEMA 6-50.