Which way up should your NEMA 14-50 plug be?

Which way is up on the NEMA 14-50 outlet?

The NEMA 14-50 is the most popular 240-volt, 50-amp outlet used for Level 2 EV charging at home. Most home charging station products come included with NEMA 14-50 input cable, allowing the user to install an outlet or hardwire the unit to the electrical circuit.

If you are going with the plug-in route and getting a NEMA 14-50 receptacle installed, you may be thinking about whether the orientation of the plug matters. Should it be round pin up? Or round pin down?

As always, you should consult with a qualified electrical specialist regarding electrical wiring, in case there are specific considerations for the site. However, here are some considerations we have observed during out time testing many home EV charging stations.

  • Will you be using a permanent home EV charging station? Or a portable unit?
  • Does the input cable of the EV charger come out of the top or the bottom of the unit?

On almost all NEMA 14-50 based chargers we have seen, the round pin is positioned on the opposite end of the input cord. On most home charging station products, the input cord is coming out of the bottom of the unit, while most portable EV chargers have their input cord located on the top of the product. Therefore:

  • If you are wall mounting a home EV charging station with the NEMA 14-50 receptacle, it probably makes sense to mount the plug with the round pin facing down. With the plug positioned relatively low, so that the charging station unit can be mounted around eye level. The input cable is usually between 12 and 18 inches long on most products we have seen.
  • If you are mainly going to use a portable charger, such as the Tesla Mobile Connector, it makes sense to install the NEMA 14-50 plug with the round pin at the top. The plug should also be relatively high off the ground because the portable charging is going to hang below.
It is better to install the plug with the round pin at the bottom for charging stations with input cords at the bottom.
It would be better to install a plug with the round pin at the top for EV chargers with the input cord at the top. Otherwise, you will need to bend the cord like in this image.
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