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What are the Different Types of Electrical Outlets?

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The average home has roughly 75 electrical outlets. These outlets vary in shape, size, and functionality. Each of these different outlets is suited for a specific purpose, but do you know which ones are the right ones to use for different jobs? At Peters Electric, we have put together a guide to help you better understand the different types of outlets and what they are designed to do.

Common Electrical Outlet Types

These outlets are ones you likely have in your home and use daily.

  • 2-prong outlets- These are common in older homes and are an older, outdated type of outlet. They are 15amp, 120-volt, 2-wired outlets that are used only for ungrounded circuits. With safety and code requirements, these outlets are becoming obsolete.
  • 3-prong outlets- These 15amp 125-volt outlets are easy to recognize and are most commonly found in homes across the U.S. This type of outlet features two long upper slots and a bottom upside-down u-shaped slot for grounding. This helps to prevent electrical shock if any wiring comes loose.
  • GFCI outlets- Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) outlets are required in areas that are close to water. This includes the laundry room, kitchens, bathrooms, basements, etc. This outlet can prevent electrical current from leaking. They also monitor the flow of electricity and will cut off the power flow to equipment if leaks or spikes rise to a dangerous level. GFCI outlets feature different colored test buttons and reset buttons that make them easy to identify.
  • Switch and outlet combos- This outlet combines two features in a single device. These are an excellent option for night lights and children’s rooms. With this type of outlet, you can also transform a receptacle and add an additional switch or outlet to your existing box without having to wire anything new.
  • 20 amp, 125-volt outlets- This type of outlet is used for larger, high current devices such as large kitchen appliances. These outlets look similar to the standard 15amp outlets but differ slightly with a horizontal slit that is connected to the top-left vertical slot of the outlet.
  • 20 amp, 250-volt outlets- This type of outlet has a unique shape that stands out among other types of outlets and is commonly used for hobby shop equipment or air compressors.

The Latest Types of Outlets to Bring New Functionality to Your Home

In addition to the common types of outlets, there are a variety of newer outlets that are inexpensive, easy to install, and have features not offered by the standard outlets in your home. These outlets include:

Recessed outlets- This type of outlet allows you to add extra space to your home by eliminating the need for significant gaps between walls and furniture.

Tamper-resistant receptacles- These are a great addition to any home, especially one with children. This specialized outlet has a barrier that prevents children from inserting objects into them, which are now required by code for new homes being built.

USB outlets- These can help you charge multiple mobile devices by offering a USB port.

Built-in LED Night Light Outlets- This outlet eliminates the need for a nightlight keeping the tiny and fragile night light part away from children.

Quality Electrical Services for Your Home

If you’d like to learn more about any of these specialty outlets that can help improve the functionality of your home or need new fixtures or receptacles installed, search for “electrical contractors near me” and be sure to choose Peters Electric today for all of your electrical needs.




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