# How Many Outlets On A 15 Amp, 20 Amp, 30 Amp Circuit? (NEC 210.21) (2023)

Let’s say you have a 15 amp, 20 amp, or a 30 amp circuit. How many outlets can you put on these circuits? Usually, when we encounter these questions, we consult a relevant NEC article.

The closest guideline to how many outlets can you put on 15A, 20A, or 30A circuits is found in the NEC 210.21 Chapter titled ‘Outlet devices’. This NEC chapter includes a table that specifies circuit ratings, acceptable ratings, and maximum load such a circuit can handle.

This is the ‘210.21(B)(2) Maximum Cord-and-Plug-Connected Load to Receptacle’ NEC table:

 Circuit Rating (Amps): Receptacle Rating (Amps): Maximum Load (Amps): 15 Amp Circuit 15 Amp Receptable 12 Amps 20 Amp Circuit 20 Amp Receptable 16 Amps 30 Amp Circuit 30 Amp Receptable 24 Amps

You may be wondering: “Well, where does it list the number of outlets I should put on the 15 amp, 20 amp, or 30 amp circuit?”

As you can see, the NEC guidelines do not specify the number of outlets you can put on an outlet directly. This is done indirectly by specifying the maximum load you can put on a 15A, 20A, or 30A circuit.

So, in order to figure out how many outlets can be put on a circuit, we have to:

• Stop thinking about the number of outlets or receptacles.
• Start thinking about how many amps do these outlets or receptacles draw.

Example: A 20 amp circuit has a specified maximum load of 16 amps. That means that you can put on outlets that will power devices with no more than 16 amps; we are talking about a combined amp draw of 16A (for a total wattage of 1,920W for 120-volt outlets). If a receptacle has a 16 amp draw, you can put on 1 receptacle. If it has 18 amps, you can’t put it on; 0 receptacles. If it has a 1 amp draw, you can put on 16 of them.

(Video) Shall I Use a 15A or a 20A Receptacle on a 20A Circuit? + 2020 NEC 210.21(B)(1) and 210.21(B)(3)

This is how you can use the instructions listed in the NEC 210.21 table to figure out how many outlets you can put on a circuit. In practice, this ‘you can only put 16 amps on 20 amp circuit’ is known as NEC 80% rule. Namely, this is a security measure; if you would put a 20 amp receptacle on a 20 amp circuit, you would risk the circuit catching on fire.

Understanding this NEC 80% rule, we can quite precisely tell how many outlets to put on 15 amp, 20 amp, and 30 amp circuits if we know the amp draw of the receptacles. Further on, you will find 3 outlet number tables detailing the following:

• How many lights and outlets on a 15 amp circuit? A good rule of thumb is to put a maximum of 8 outlets on a 15 amp circuit. The 15 amp outlet chart below tells you when you should put 1, 2, 4, 6, 8, or 12 outlets on a 15A circuit.
• How many outlets can you put on a 20 amp circuit? A good rule of thumb is to put a maximum of 10 outlets on a 20 amp circuit. The 20 amp outlet chart below tells you when you should put 1, 2, 4, 8, 11, 12, and 16 outlets on a 20A circuit.
• How many outlets can you put on a 30 amp circuit? A good rule of thumb is to put a maximum of 16 outlets on a 30 amp circuit. The 30 amp outlet chart below tells you when you should put 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, 12, 16, and 24 outlets on a 30A circuit.

First, however, let’s look at how to think about connecting this amp draw with the number of outlets:

### How Many Amps Per Outlet? This Determines The Number Of Outlets Per Circuit

To answer how many outlets per circuit, we first need to answer how many amps per outlet. We will also explain how many watts per outlet we can get or should aim for.

From the NEC 210.12(B)(2) table we can clearly see that the 15A breaker can handle 12 amps, the 20A breaker can handle 16 amps, and the 30A breaker can handle 24 amps. At 120 volt, this will produce the maximum wattage of 1,440W, 1,920W, and 2,880W, respectively.

Now, the real question is how many amps do different electric devices we will connect to the outlets draw.

Examples for 120V electric circuits:

• A 40W LED light will draw 0.33 amps.
• A big 120W house fan will draw 1 amp.
• A 240W 42-inch plasma TV will draw 2 amps.
• A 360W laptop with extra desktop will draw 3 amps.
• A 1,000W waffle iron will draw 8.33 amps.
• A 1,500W electric space heater will draw 12.5 amps.

This is all good and right, but when we are installing our circuits and outlets, we don’t exactly know what electric devices we will run through our outlets.

(Video) Won't These Melt?!? 15amp Receptacles on 20 amp Circuits!!!

With the average amp draw from each outlet unknown, we help ourselves by using this simple rule of thumb:

1.5 amps per outlet.

In short, we presume every outlet will draw about 1.5 amps (that’s 180 watts at 120V). With that in mind, we can easily calculate how many amps we should put on any circuit.

Example: How many amps should you put on a 15 amp circuit?

Here we use two directions, namely:

• NEC table that tells us that we can put at most 12 amps on a 15A circuit.
• Outlet amps rule of thumb that tells us we should calculate 1.5A per outlet.

The calculation of the number of amps on this 15A circuit looks like this:

Number Of Outlets (15A) = Maximum Allowable Amp Draw / 1.5A Per Outlet = 12A / 1.5A Per Outlet = 8 Outlets

We can see that it is recommended to put about 8 outlets on a 15A circuit. That, of course, doesn’t mean we can’t put 1, 2, 4, or even 12 outlets on a 15A circuit. The same is true for 20 amp and 30 amp circuits.

(Video) How Many Receptacles or Outlets on one 20 amp Circuit Breaker?

To help you out, you can use these outlet number tables for 15A, 20A, and 30A circuits that will tell you how many outlets you can put on a circuit, given different average electric device amp draws:

## How Many Outlets On A 15 Amp Circuit:

A 15 amp circuit has the maximum amp draw of 12A, for a total wattage of 1,440W at 120V. Here is how many outlets you can put on a 15A breaker, given the average amps draw. We have also calculated how many watts can an individual outlet handle if all of them are powering electric devices at the same time:

 Device Amp Draw (Average): Number of Amps: Wattage Per Device (120V): 1 Amp 12 Outlets 120 Watts 1.5 Amps 8 Outlets 180 Watts 2 Amps 6 Outlets 240 Watts 3 Amps 4 Outlets 360 Watts 6 Amps 2 Outlets 720 Watts 12 Amps 1 Outlet 1,440 Watts

Practically, we apply the 1.5 amps per outlet rule of thumb. This means that we standardly put 8 receptacles on a 15 amp circuit.

## How Many Outlets On A 20 Amp Circuit:

A 20 amp circuit has the maximum amp draw of 16A, for a total wattage of 1,920W at 120V. Here is how many outlets you can put on a 20A breaker, given the average amps draw. We have also calculated how many watts can an individual outlet handle if all of them are powering electric devices at the same time:

 Device Amp Draw (Average): Number of Amps: Wattage Per Device (120V): 1 Amp 16 Outlets 120 Watts 1.5 Amps 11 Outlets 180 Watts 1.6 Amps 10 Outlets 192 Watts 2 Amps 8 Outlets 240 Watts 4 Amps 4 Outlets 480 Watts 8 Amps 2 Outlets 960 Watts 16 Amps 1 Outlet 1,920 Watts

Practically, we apply the 1.5 amps per outlet rule of thumb. This means that we standardly put 11 receptacles on a 20 amp circuit.

## How Many Outlets On A 30 Amp Circuit:

A 30 amp circuit has the maximum amp draw of 24A, for a total wattage of 2,880W at 120V. Here is how many outlets you can put on a 30A breaker, given the average amps draw. We have also calculated how many watts can an individual outlet handle if all of them are powering electric devices at the same time:

(Video) Can 15 Amp Outlets Be Used On A 20 Amp Circuit Breaker

 Device Amp Draw (Average): Number of Amps: Wattage Per Device (120V): 1 Amp 24 Outlets 120 Watts 1.5 Amps 16 Outlets 180 Watts 2 Amps 12 Outlets 240 Watts 3 Amps 8 Outlets 360 Watts 4 Amps 6 Outlets 480 Watts 6 Amps 4 Outlets 720 Watts 8 Amps 3 Outlets 960 Watts 12 Amps 2 Outlets 1,440 Watts 24 Amps 1 Outlet 2,880 Watts

Practically, we apply the 1.5 amps per outlet rule of thumb. This means that we standardly put 16 receptacles on a 30 amp circuit.

With these tables, you can pretty accurately check how many outlets you can put on different home circuits. If you have any questions about this, use the comments below and we’ll try to help you out.

##### Related posts:
1. 50 Amp Wire Size Details: Gauge, Breaker, 220/240V Example
2. 100 Amp Wire Size: Which AWG Wire For 100 Amps? (NEC Code)
3. 30 Amp Wire Size: What AWG Wire You Need? (220/240V, NEC Code)
4. Thermostat Not Reaching Set Temperature: 7 Causes + Fixes
5. Wire Gauge Wattage Charts For AWG Wires (4/0 AWG To 14 AWG)

## FAQs

### How many 20 amp outlets can be on a 20 amp circuit? ›

One rule of thumb is to assign a maximum draw of 1.5 amps to each receptacle, which allows for 10 receptacles on a 20-amp circuit.

How many 15A outlets can be on a 20A circuit? ›

To directly answer your question, having two(or more) 15A outlets on a single 20A circuit with 12awg wire(the appropriate size for 20A circuit) is generally safe, and pretty common. A single outlet will not allow more than a 15A device to be plugged in, ensuring the outlet itself is not overloaded.

How many 15 amp receptacles can be on a 30 amp circuit? ›

How many outlets can you put on a 30 amp circuit? A good rule of thumb is to put a maximum of 16 outlets on a 30 amp circuit.

How many receptacles does a 20 amp NEC circuit have? ›

For commercial occupancies, the NEC requires each receptacle outlet to be calculated at 180VA [220.14(I)]. Therefore, the maximum number of receptacles permitted on a 20A circuit would be 13 (Fig. 1 at right).

What is the maximum number of outlets on a 15 amp circuit? ›

Technically, you can have as many outlets on a 15 amp circuit breaker as you want. However, a good rule of thumb is 1 outlet per 1.5 amps, up to 80% of the capacity of the circuit breaker. Therefore, we would suggest a maximum of 8 outlets for a 15 amp circuit.

Can I put 12 outlets on a 20 amp circuit? ›

Well, technically speaking, you can put as many as you want. You see, there is no direct code from the National Electrical Code (NEC) that limits the number of outlets you can put on a single 20 amp circuit.

How many 220v outlets can I put on a 20 amp breaker? ›

How many outlets can be put on a 20 amp circuit safely? A rule of thumb is to factor a maximum draw of 1.5 amps to each receptacle, which means you can put 10 outlets on a 20-amp circuit.

How many outlets can you have on a 12 2 wire 20 amp? ›

Standard practice is to put no more than 10 receptacles on a 20 amp circuit. This assumes that each receptacle will draw an average of 1.5 amps or 180 watts.

Can you daisy chain 20 amp outlets? ›

Yes, this is specifically allowed by code (NEC). A 20A general use circuit can supply 15A or 20A receptacles.

Should a 20 amp breaker have 20 amp outlets? ›

Some homeowners still think that you can put a 20 amp outlet on a 20 amp circuit. It seems quite reasonable, right? A 20 amp circuit is designed to handle 20 amps, that's true. But no electrician will put a 20 amp receptacle on a 20 amp circuit.

### Is there a maximum number of receptacles per circuit NEC? ›

The National Electrical Code (NEC) does not limit the number of outlets per circuit. The NEC only states that a circuit cannot supply more than 80% of the circuit breakers limits. This is so the circuit breaker does not constantly trip during regular use.

Can bathroom outlets and lights be on the same circuit? ›

Number of Circuits

All receptacles must be AFCI and GFCI-protected, either by circuit breakers or individual receptacles that offer AFCI and GFCI protection. Light fixtures and wall switches must be on a separate circuit.

Is it against code to daisy chain outlets? ›

However, interconnecting these devices is a violation of Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations and the National Electrical Code because doing so can cause them to become overloaded, which could lead to their failure and a possible fire.

Is it OK to daisy chain outlets? ›

Daisy chaining can cause a multitude of problems. When you plug multiple surge protectors, extensions cords, and power strips into one another, you are creating a fire hazard. The increased electrical demand on your home's system can harm the wiring and outlets in your home.

Should all outlets be 20 amp? ›

Most homes in the U.S. are wired with a combination of 15-amp and 20-amp, 120-volt circuits. Because 15-amp receptacles can be used with 20-amp circuits, most of the outlets you see in American homes are the standard 15-amp variety, with two slots and a U-shaped grounding hole.

Should outlets be on a 15 or 20 amp breaker? ›

Choose 15A outlets for low-amp appliances and 20A outlets for high-amp appliances. The type of outlet you install depends on the room and circuit breaker. If you're wiring a residential space to plug in lights and other everyday electronics that don't exceed 15 amps, install a 15A outlet.

What happens if you use 14 gauge wire on a 20 amp circuit? ›

What happens if you use a 14 gauge wire on a 20 amp circuit? 14 gauge wire is rated for 15 Amps. A 20Amp breaker/fuse would risk fire. The wire gets hot enough to melt the insulation and start fire.

## Videos

1. Receptacles Rated15A on a 20A Circuit, NEC 2014 - 210.21(B)(3), (3min:30)
(MikeHoltNEC)
2. How many lights can you put on one 15 amp or 20 amp breaker.
(Bevins Builds)
3. WORST MISTAKE Homeowners make upgrading a 15AMP to 20AMP Circuit Breaker
(Silver Cymbal)
4. Receptacles, Number on a Commercial Circuit, NEC 2014 - [220.14(I)], (3min:20sec)
(MikeHoltNEC)
5. What happens if you put a 20 amp outlet on a 15 amp circuit?
(Aubrey's Questions)
6. Can you put a 15 amp outlet on a 20 amp breaker ?
(Bevins Builds)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Duncan Muller

Last Updated: 20/09/2023

Views: 5583

Rating: 4.9 / 5 (59 voted)

Author information

Name: Duncan Muller

Birthday: 1997-01-13