Electrical – How many circuits should I include in a sub-panel for workshop

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I am looking to run a sub panel for a basement workshop approx 60 feet from the main panel, all inside. I have a table saw, jointer, band saw, planer, and dust vacuum, as well as routers and such. I was going to run a 60 amp breaker to a 100 amp sub with 6/3 cable. I wanted to run a higher breaker but then I am getting into much more money in the wiring.

My table saw draws 13 amps, and the planer draws 15. At some point down the road I plan on upgrading to larger tools, but for now they are more consumer grade.

In the panel I can run 3 20 amp breakers… lighting is actually run on another panel. Will 2 circuits be enough, or should I do 3? Any other ideas and recommendations are greatly appreciated!

Best Answer

This may not be worth the extra expense and work of installing a sub panel. Looking up some prices from the blue hardware store:

6/3 roll 50 ft       $102        12/2 roll 250 ft   $48
subpanel              $60        3 breakers         $20
3 subpanel breakers   $20        boxes and outlets  $25
main panel breaker    $20
12/2 roll 50 ft       $25
boxes and outlets     $25
-------------------------        ----------------------
total                $255        total              $93

I think 3 circuits is appropriate. One for the tool you're actively running, one for dust collection, and a spare if you need to be running two tools at once.

Edit: If you plan on upgrading to tools that will draw more than 20 amps, it may be worth the extra expense of putting in a subpanel. That way you can use shorter runs of 10/2 or 10/3 from the subpanel to the tools, instead of running all the way back to the main panel.