Trivia Question: How many types of outlets are there? Most people would say two, maybe three. Nope, there are 75 electrical outlets in the average home, of various sizes, shapes, and functionalities.
Are the ones gracing your walls the right ones for the job? Let’s take a closer look at some of the most common types of outlets in your home, including what they have to offer, and discuss some new home outlet contenders designed to make your space more user-friendly and efficient.
What Are the Most Common American Electrical Outlet Types?
Old & Outdated: 2-Prong Outlets. These make using modern electrical items difficult, because most of them have three prongs (so an adapter is often needed!) These are rapidly becoming obsolete due to safety and code requirements.
Old Faithful: 3 Prong, 15 amp, 125 Volt Outlets. One of the most easily recognized and common outlets found in homes, this outlet features two long, upper slots, with a bottom, upside-down u-shaped slot for grounding, helping to prevent electrical shock should any wiring comes loose.
Multi-Tasker: Switch/Outlet Combos: This combination outlet provides two features in a single device. Great for kids rooms and night lights, it can also allow you the ability to transform a receptacle, adding an additional switch or outlet to an existing box – without the need for any added wiring.
Shockingly Safe: GFCI Outlets. GFCI or Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter outlets are required in areas with close proximity to water, such as bathrooms, the laundry, wet areas of the kitchen, crawlspaces, basements, and the outdoors. They prevent electrical current from leaking, monitoring flow, and cutting off power to equipment if current leaks or spikes to a hazardous level. They can be easily identified by the 2 small buttons in the center – a “TEST” button and a “RESET” button, each of which is in a different color.
Large & In-Charge: 20 Amp, 125 Volt Outlets. Used with high current devices as specified by electrical code, such as large kitchen appliances, these outlets are similar in appearance to standard, 15 amp outlets, but with a slightly different look: On these outlets, there is a horizontal slot connected to the top left vertical slot of the outlet.
USB Outlets: Family fighting over outlets due to mobile-device charging overload? USB outlets offer a functional, simple solution.
Recessed Outlets: Add extra space to your home, and banish large gaps between walls and furniture with recessed outlet options.
Tamper Resistant Receptacles: A must-have for every home, these specialized outlets are now required by code in newly-built homes, and feature a barrier to prevent children from inserting small objects into them.
Built-In LED Night Light Outlets: Keep tiny and fragile night light components away from little fingers with this convenient, safe, nighttime lighting option.
Some of the newer outlets described above offer functionality many of today’s standard outlets do not. Interested in learning more about specialty electrical outlets to better improve the function of your home? At Fab Electric, our specialists have lots of experience, and with our fast, friendly service, things will be back in order and working safely in no time! Call us at (301) 622-6979 to set up an appointment today!