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Electrical Wiring for a 220 Volt Compressor

How Electrical Circuit Wiring is Installed for a 220 Volt Air Compressor: I am trying to run 10-3 with ground out to my garage to run a 220 volt air compressor.

Installing a 220 Volt Compressor

Electrical Question: I am trying to run 10-3 with ground out to my garage to run a 220 volt air compressor.

  • I only need a 20 amp breaker to run the compressor.
  • Is 10-3 wire big enough to do this?
  • The wire will be in conduit and buried underground.

This electrical question came from: Paul, a Homeowner from Paducah, Kentucky.

Dave the Electrician’s Reply:
Thanks for your electrical question Paul.

Electrical Circuit Wiring is Installed for a 220 Volt Compressor.

How to Wire a 220 Volt Compressor

Application: Electric Circuit for a 220 Volt Air Compressor.
Skill Level: Intermediate to Advanced – Best installed by a Licensed Electrical Contractor or Certified Electrician.
Tools Required: Basic Electricians Pouch Hand Tools and a Voltage Tester.
Estimated Time: Depends on personal level experience, ability to work with tools and the available access to the air compressor circuit and electrical connection box.
Precaution: Identify the air compressor circuit, turn it OFF and  Tag it with a Note before working with the 220 volt air compressor wiring.

Installing Compressor Circuit Wiring

  • Paul, there should not be a problem installing 10 gauge wire for the compressor that you have described.
  • If the compressor requires a 20 amp 220 volt circuit you only need 10/2 with ground because a neutral is not required.
  • NOTE: Keep in mind that if you will be installing a PVC conduit that it should be sized so that the cable does not take up more than 60% fill of the PVC conduit.


  • Consult the owners manual for all electrical equipment for the specific electrical circuit requirements.

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2 Responses to “Electrical Wiring for a 220 Volt Compressor”
  1. james crowell says:

    I’m running a 220volt single phase 15 amp compressor from an out building that’s connected to the garage. How far can you run 10/2 wire with no voltage loss of power due to distance.


    • Dave Rongey says:

      Hi Jim,
      I have added a link to the article above for the Voltage Drop Calculator to help you with your question about wiring your air compressor. Keep in mind that when connecting an air compressor to a building that is fed from another building that all of the wiring should be considered, which may be a factor for the overall voltage drop.
      I hope this helps,

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