Where To Put Outlets In Kitchen Islands (+ How To Install) – DIY With Christine (2023)

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Last updated on March 26th, 2023 at 04:45 pm

Best Places To Install Kitchen Island Outlets

Wondering where you can (and should) install outlets on a kitchen island? Well, look no further because I have your answer!

To be code compliant in most jurisdictions, kitchen islands are required to have at least one GFCI outlet or a regular outlet connected to a GFCI outlet installed. The outlet can be installed on the back or side of the island, but it cannot be installed below a countertop overhang that extends over 6 inches from the base.

Now that we’ve got the basics out of the way, let’s break into the details further so you can install outlets on your kitchen island with ease.

Let’s dive in!

How To Install Outdoor GFCI Outlet?

How To Install Outdoor GFCI Outlet?

Quick Navigation: How To Install Outlets In Kitchen Islands

  1. Cut The Kitchen Island With An Oscillating Multi-Tool
  2. Install The Shallow Old-Construction Outlet Box
  3. Other FAQs About Outlets In Kitchen Islands
  4. Final Thoughts
  5. Related Kitchen Island Articles

Level Of DifficultyTime To Complete
Medium30-60 Minutes
Material ListTool List
Painter’s TapeOscillating Multi-Tool
Wire Nuts (12 or 14 guage)Electric Current Tester
Deep Old-Construction Outlet Box or Shallow Old-Construction Outlet Box* (2)Wire Stripper
GFCI Outlet or Regular Outlet* (2)Screwdriver
GFCI Outlet Plate Cover or Regular Outlet Plate Cover* (2)Tape Measure
Contractor Pencil

*According to most state codes, GFCI outlets are required for installations around kitchen countertops. However, if you run an outlet off another GFCI outlet in the kitchen, then a regular outlet can be used. Check your state’s local electric code to ensure this before proceeding. If you are using a regular outlet, then use a shallow old-construction outlet box (8 cubic inches). If you are using a GFCI outlet, then use a deep old-construction outlet box (20 cubic inches).

Step One: Measure & Mark The Side Of The Kitchen Island Closest To The Sink

The best location to install outlets on a kitchen island is typically on a side without an overhang, preferably nearest the sink and/or stove. This location will be most convenient to use small appliances such as a crockpot, toaster, blender, etc while cooking.

(Video) How to Install an Electrical Receptacle on a Kitchen Island | Ask This Old House

Keep in mind, according to most states’ Electrical Code*, receptacles (aka outlets) cannot be installed underneath a countertop overhang that extends 6 inches from the cabinet base. Since the backside of kitchen islands usually have an overhang, the best location for the outlet is on the side without the overhang.

(*Be sure to check your local Electrical Code before installing outlets in your kitchen island to ensure you are staying compliant. Each state has completely different rules, so your rules might not be strict on the placement of the outlets!)

Where To Put Outlets In Kitchen Islands (+ How To Install) – DIY With Christine (1)

To install a regular outlet on the side of a kitchen island cabinet, you need to use this shallow old-construction outlet box found at Amazon that is much more shallow than standard outlet boxes. The shallow box helps to ensure the outlet can’t be hit by drawers sliding in and out or other items being put into and pulled out of the cabinet.

(If you are using a GFCI outlet though, you are going to need this deep old-construction outlet box found at Amazon because GFCIs take up more room in the outlet boxes.)

I recommend installing a minimum of 2 outlets on your kitchen island so that you have plenty of room to plug in small appliances while cooking or hosting. There have been several times when we’ve hosted a party and were glad that we had plenty of outlets to plug crockpots and other food warmers into.

Where To Put Outlets In Kitchen Islands (+ How To Install) – DIY With Christine (2)

Now that you’ve narrowed down the location your outlets are going to be installed, it’s time to measure and mark where you need to cut the cabinet. I recommend keeping the outlets no more than 6-8 inches below the bottom of the countertop, so they are easily within reach when you need them.

If it’s possible based on where your countertop overhangs, it’s best to have at least one outlet on each side of the island. However, if you have an overhang on one side as we do, then installing both outlets next to each other works as well.

Before you mark where the outlet needs to go, first put painter’s tape over the spot on the cabinet where the outlet will go. While cutting the cabinet, the painter’s tape will help prevent the cabinet finish from chipping.

Then, hold up the backside (the smaller side) of the outlet box against the painter’s tape on the cabinet and trace the outside of it with a pencil. This pencil tracing is where you are going to cut the cabinet in the next step.

Where To Put Outlets In Kitchen Islands (+ How To Install) – DIY With Christine (3)

Note: For this tutorial, I assume an electric wire has already been run through the subfloor to the bottom of the kitchen island.

Electrical wiring must run under the subfloor, through the bottom of the cabinet, along the back wall of the cabinet, and to the side of the cabinet where the outlet is going.

Where To Put Outlets In Kitchen Islands (+ How To Install) – DIY With Christine (4)

If you have not run an electrical wire to a spot underneath where your island will be, then check out this video that shows how a concrete subfloor is broken up to run the wiring. After that is done, then you can install your kitchen island following my tutorial here.

Where To Put Outlets In Kitchen Islands (+ How To Install) – DIY With Christine (5)

(Video) DIY Kitchen Island on a Budget | DIY Kitchen Island Makeover | Kitchen Makeover Part 1

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Step Two: Cut The Kitchen Island With An Oscillating Multi-Tool

Next, use this oscillating multi-tool found at Amazon to carefully cut along the pencil line. Go slowly and try to stay as close to the pencil line as possible to cut the cabinet to the correct size.

After the cabinet is cut away, test-fit the outlet box to make sure the backside slides into the hole. Once you are satisfied, you can remove the painter’s tape from the cabinet.

Repeat this process for as many outlets as you are installing.

Where To Put Outlets In Kitchen Islands (+ How To Install) – DIY With Christine (6)

Step Three: Install The Shallow Old-Construction Outlet Box

Now that you have a hole in the side of your cabinet, you can install the shallow outlet box. Slide the box into place and secure it to the cabinet with wood screws.

Safety Note: Be sure to turn off the power at the electrical panel before messing with the electrical wire. Use an electric current tester to make sure the wire is dead before attaching it to an outlet to make sure you do not electrocute yourself.

Then, grab the electrical wire from the bottom of the island and feed it into the backside of the receptacle box. (You probably had to drill a small hole through the bottom of the cabinet to feed the wire through during the kitchen island installation process.)

Where To Put Outlets In Kitchen Islands (+ How To Install) – DIY With Christine (7)

Step Four: Install A GFCI Outlet

All that’s left to do at this point is install the outlet and screw on an outlet plate cover and you’re done!

Typically, you need to install a GFCI outlet on a kitchen island. However, if your electrical wire is run from another GFCI outlet in the kitchen (as ours is), then you can install a regular outlet here. The GFCI outlets are usually too big to fit in the shallow outlet boxes, so you might need to use a deep (20 cubic inches) old construction outlet box.

If you aren’t sure how to hook up an outlet to an electrical wire, here’s a great video to help you out:

Where To Put Outlets In Kitchen Islands (+ How To Install) – DIY With Christine (8)

Where To Put Outlets In Kitchen Islands (+ How To Install) – DIY With Christine (9)

Other FAQs About Outlets In Kitchen Islands

Here are some other frequently asked questions about outlets on kitchen islands to help you easily install them on your own!

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Why Does A Kitchen Island Need An Outlet?

Kitchen islands need outlets so that small appliances being used on the island don’t have to have their cord draped across the kitchen to be plugged in. It is a safety measure that prevents people from running into cords and knocking small appliances over.

Do You Have To Use GFCI Outlets In Kitchen Islands?

To be code compliant in most jurisdictions, GFCI outlets must be used for all receptacles that supply kitchen countertop surfaces, including kitchen islands. Though, if a regular outlet is run off of a GFCI outlet, then it can be used on a kitchen island. Check your local code to ensure this rule is required for your home.

Can You Install An Outlet Under The Overhang On A Kitchen Island?

To be code compliant in most jurisdictions, kitchen islands cannot have receptacles installed below countertop overhangs that extend more than 6 inches beyond the cabinet base. Check your local code to ensure this rule is required for your home.

Final Thoughts On Outlets In Kitchen Islands

There you have it!

For the most part, installing outlets in kitchen islands is rather simple.

To have outlets on a kitchen island, all you need is the electrical wire running below the subfloor to the kitchen island. Then the wire just needs to run through the bottom of the cabinet, up the side wall of the cabinet, and connected to the outlet.

Hopefully, this tutorial helps you choose the best location for the outlets on your kitchen island.

Catch you in my next post!

The Best Kitchen Tools & Products I’ve Reviewed

Ravinte Cabinet Handle Installation Template (For Doors & Drawers)

This is my all-time favorite handle installation template because it has two templates (one for drawers and one for doors) with multiple pull sizes & knob placements! These templates make installing cabinet handles a breeze because you always know your handles will be installed in the same spot on all of your drawers and doors. The kit also comes with a drill bit so you can guarantee you’re using the correct size. I used this template on my entire kitchen and both bathrooms to cut the installation time in half. You can find this hardware template here on Amazon.

Where To Put Outlets In Kitchen Islands (+ How To Install) – DIY With Christine (10)
Where To Put Outlets In Kitchen Islands (+ How To Install) – DIY With Christine (11)

Franklin Brass 5-1/16 Inch (128mm) Center Bar Pull (Stainless Steel)

If you want to immediately modernize your kitchen island, then these cabinet pulls are a must. They are heavy-duty feeling, durable, easy to install, and are a large size for a great price. We put these pulls on all of our kitchen and island doors and drawers along with our bathroom doors and drawers. You can find these gorgeous cabinet pulls here on Amazon.

P.S. Use the hardware installation template I mentioned above to install these new pulls in record time!

Where To Put Outlets In Kitchen Islands (+ How To Install) – DIY With Christine (12)

Related Kitchen Island Articles

  • What Cabinets To Use To Build A Kitchen Island (Plus Layout Ideas!)

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  • Fixed Vs Movable Kitchen Island: Which Is Better?

Where To Put Outlets In Kitchen Islands (+ How To Install)

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Where do you put electrical outlets on a kitchen island? ›

Electrical Outlet Position in your Kitchen

Kitchen Island receptacles installed above the surface should be placed within 24 inches from the center line of the island, or if installed below, should be placed within 12 inches of center. And you should never install a power outlet face up on a countertop with a sink.

How do you hide outlets on a kitchen island? ›

Table of Contents
  1. Option 1 – Add space to the Island for the Cabinet Outlets.
  2. Option 2 – Pop-Up Outlets.
  3. Option 3 – Undercounter power strips or under the overhang.
Mar 17, 2023

Where do you put an outlet in the kitchen? ›

In kitchens, electrical outlets should be placed no farther than 48 inches apart, so that no point on the countertop is more than 24 inches away from a receptacle. Any countertop 12 inches wide or more should have an outlet on the wall behind the countertop.

What is the code for outlets on an island? ›

An island countertop measuring 12 ft x 4 ft would require four receptacle outlets. Remember, up to 45 square feet of countertop requires three receptacle outlets, but a countertop area greater than 45 square feet up to 63 square feet requires a fourth receptacle outlet.

How high should kitchen island outlets be from floor? ›

Kitchen receptacles install above the backsplash of counter tops. This makes the correct height about 43 inches from the bottom of the box to the floor.

How do you get outlets on an island? ›

You can use a pop-up outlet with USB charging to add functionality without taking away from the look of your island. With a faceplate that is set deeper into the island than a regular outlet, the recessed outlet will prevent the unsightly appearance of protruding connectors and plugs.

Do kitchen island receptacles need to be GFCI protected? ›

In kitchens, all outlets that serve countertop surfaces should be equipped with GFCI outlet protection. That would include any outlets on walls, behind wet areas (sinks, etc.) that have features such as countertop breakfast bars (open counter surfaces above sinks used to sit at on the opposite side).

How far does an electrical outlet need to be from a kitchen sink? ›

The National Electrical Code requires outlets be installed in a kitchen that has a sink 12 inches wide and 24 inches deep. That outlet must also be within 2 feet of the sink. Bathrooms must have at least one electrical outlet, it must be GFCI, and it must be within 3 feet of the sink.

Should kitchen outlets be horizontal or vertical? ›

The National Electrical Code (NEC) doesn't require a certain direction. The NEC allows outlets to be installed with the ground plug hole facing up, down or sideways. It's up to you, there is no standard electric outlet orientation. So that means there really is no such thing as upside down outlets.

Does a kitchen island need an electrical outlet? ›

The answer is yes, a kitchen island can have an outlet. In fact, it's a great idea to have at least one outlet on the island so you can use small appliances like a coffee maker or blender without having to run cords across the floor.

What is the 6 12 rule for outlets? ›

NEC 210-52 states the following (abbreviated for easier digestion): Receptacles are needed in every room of a home such that no point on a wall is over 6′ from an outlet. This means that you need an outlet within 6′ of a doorway or fireplace. A long wall, however, may have up to 12′ between outlets.

What is the best placement for electrical outlets? ›

In general living areas, there should be an outlet on the wall every 6 feet (horizontally). Living areas refer to all large areas in your home, including the bedrooms, study, dining room, and hallways. Hallways over 10 feet long require at least one outlet. Walls less than 2 feet long do not require an outlet.

How high should outlets be off the floor? ›

The standard height for wall outlet boxes is about 12 inches from the top of the floor covering to the bottom of the receptacle box (or 16 inches to the top of the box).

How many outlets should be in a kitchen island? ›

In the 2020 NEC, a dwelling unit kitchen island or peninsular countertop required at least one receptacle outlet for the first 9 ft2, or fraction thereof, of the countertop. An additional receptacle outlet was required for every additional 18 ft2, or fraction thereof, of the countertop.

What are the rules for kitchen outlets? ›

The NEC says every piece of counter 12 inches or wider must have an outlet over it. In addition, there must be at least one outlet every 4 feet.

How high should outlets be above countertop? ›

Height Above and Below Countertops

They can be no higher than 20 inches above the counter. These requirements ensure that there's an available plug for any appliance with a standard-length power cord. The code permits receptacles inside cabinets, but they can be no more than 12 inches below the countertop.

How many outlets can you have on a 15 amp circuit? ›

Therefore, you can have 25 outlets on a 15-amp circuit as long as you aren't drawing more than 12 amps through that circuit at any given time. On a conventional 120-volt circuit, this translates to 1,440 watts, even though the breaker can handle up to 1,800 watts and won't trip until you exceed that amount.

How much does it cost to add an outlet to an island? ›

Whether you're hoping to upgrade to USB outlets or simply add a new location in your kitchen, we can help you plan for your project. Expect to pay around $125 to $175 to replace or install a standard outlet. The national average can run anywhere from $100 to $500 per outlet depending on the complexity of the job.

Are pop up outlets a good idea? ›

A pop up outlet placed directly in the countertop keeps the cords out of the way so children don't have the option to pull on the cords, as well as trip or get tangled in the cord. Removing the dangling cord also prevents adults and guests from the same accidents.

Does a refrigerator need a GFCI? ›

All commercial buildings/kitchens are required to have GFCI for refrigerators. See NEC 210.8(B)(2). In a Dwelling Unit (house or apartment) refrigerators located inside the kitchen do NOT have to have a GFCI.

Do kitchen outlets need to be on their own circuit? ›

At one time, most kitchen appliances were plugged into ordinary general outlet circuits, but as kitchen appliances have become larger and larger over the years, it's now standard—and required by building code—for each of these appliances to have a dedicated appliance circuit that serves nothing else.

Do outlets near a kitchen sink need to be on GFCI? ›

Not all your kitchen outlets need to be the GFCIs, but they are required to be if they're within six feet of a kitchen sink or if they serve a countertop. Near laundry room sinks. Any receptacles within 6 feet of a sink or washing machine should be GFCIs.

How close can an outlet be to a sink without a GFCI? ›

There are many places in 210.8 requiring GFCI protection, but the 6-foot rule only applies when sinks, tubs or showers are involved. Generally, all 15 or 20-amp, single phase, 125-volt receptacles “within 6 ft.” of a sink, tub or shower must be GFCI protected.

How high should a kitchen waste outlet be? ›

The correct rough-in height for sink drains to pass the inspection is between 18 and 20 inches. Standard sink drains usually start from 24 inches and stop at 28 inches, so the rough-in height should be slightly lower than this height range.

What is code for GFCI outlets in kitchen? ›

Don't forget kitchen or wet bar areas. Per 210.8(A)(6), GFCI protection is required for all 15A and 20A, 125V receptacles that serve kitchen countertop surfaces in a dwelling unit.

Should outlets be screwed top or bottom? ›

Both ways are correct. The electrical code doesn't specify which direction the ground plug hole needs to face. One way isn't safer than the other—as long as the outlet is wired correctly. It all comes down to aesthetics, so install them whatever way looks best to you.

Are upside down outlets up to code? ›

In reality, there is no code requirement that says an outlet receptacle should be installed one way or the other. 1 In fact, at one time some manufacturers actually recommended the orientation that many of us view as upside down—with the round grounding slot at the top.

Where should outlets be placed in backsplash? ›

If you have countertop space without an upper cabinet above it, consider placing outlets a little lower than normal, and even horizontally to suit the space, right at the start of the backsplash tile arrangement. This placement, combined with well-matched cover plates, will also help your outlets to disappear.

Are electrical outlets required on kitchen islands? ›

Just so you know, having a receptacle on a kitchen island is not optional; it's actually required by the National Electrical Code on any island with a countertop bigger than 12-by-24 inches.

What is the code for island receptacles 2023? ›

In the 2023 NEC, the Code section has been radically altered to say: Receptacle outlets, if installed to serve an island or peninsular countertop or work surface, shall be installed in accordance with 210.52(C)(3).

What are the rules for kitchen islands? ›

The general rule is that you will need at least 42 to 48 inches (106.68 cm to 121.92 cm) of open space around your island. Another life-saving guideline: if your kitchen is less than 13 feet wide, we don't recommend adding an island at all.

How high should an outlet be above a countertop? ›

On countertop outlets, it is standard to install outlet boxes so the tops are between 15 and 20 inches from the countertop surface. Make sure all outlet boxes are set at exactly the same height since these outlets will be highly visible.

How far apart do outlets need to be in the kitchen? ›

The NEC says every piece of counter 12 inches or wider must have an outlet over it. In addition, there must be at least one outlet every 4 feet.

How many outlets can you have on a 20 amp circuit in a kitchen? ›

In general, a 20A circuit should have no more than 10 outlets. The National Electrical Code (NEC) stipulates that the total load on a 20-amp circuit should not exceed 1250 watts. It includes all the outlets, lights, and appliances on the circuit.


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