January 1


15 Or 20 Amp Outlets? Everything You Need To Know

By Robin Hatch

January 1, 2020

Kitchen outlets are often wired to provide 20 amp, 120-volt circuits to GFCI outlets, especially for countertop areas. Must kitchen outlets be 20 amp?

Kitchens must have at least two 20 amp outlets that power high-voltage kitchen appliances such as toasters, blenders, and microwave ovens.

The best way to identify a 20 amp outlet is to find the horizontal slot extending from the vertical slots. This means the outlet is ready for 20-amp powered appliances.

The necessary power supply to operate common kitchenware appliances is typically 20 amps. There are many reasons why 20 amps are the bare minimum to use kitchen equipment. We’re going to cover all the bases.

First, let’s learn what Amps are and why you should know the number necessary to operate kitchen equipment.

Here is a list of 20 amp power outlets you can purchase for your kitchen.

Why 20 Amps Are Standard For Kitchen Equipment

Kitchens, by code, are required to have at least two 20 amp, 120-volt circuits installed on every kitchen countertop.

The main reason for this is so the outlet can handle enough amps to power simple kitchen cookware such as microwave ovens, toasters, and blenders. 20 amp outlets will power all of the equipment above.

The two outlets give the homeowner enough space to plug different units in different areas without crowding one small part of the countertop.

When purchasing a home, ask the realtor or electrician which outlet provides which amps and locate the circuit breaker.

What Appliances Use 20 Amp Outlets?

Having at least 2 20 Amp outlets are required by most electrical codes (we always recommend checking with your local electrician about your state’s code, as it will vary from state to state).

The importance of having two 20 amp outlets in your kitchen is to power appliances requiring a higher power voltage to run. This is typically any device with a motor that provides a high power output.

Examples of these kitchen appliances are:

  • Mixers
  • Blenders
  • Microwave Ovens
  • Toasters

These kitchen appliances may require additional amperes to run, so it’s always good to consider having a few outlets in an area with space to fit these kitchen appliances to be used when necessary.

Can I Use A 15 Amp Outlet For Large Kitchen Appliances?

No. It’s recommended that you use 20 amp outlets to power your kitchen appliances properly.

The other most common type of electrical outlet is the 15-amp outlet. If the outlet is not 20 amp, there’s a good chance it’s providing a 15 amp circuit.

15-amp outlets will not give the electricity needed to power these sizeable electrical kitchen appliances.

15-amp electrical outlets fit basic lighting requirements such as ceiling fixtures, cabinet lighting, or standard kitchen counter lighting.

Be sure to check the manual of each light fixture to ensure that 15 amps are the minimum amount of output needed.

Here’s an excellent resource for electric kitchen codes to guide you when installing electrical outlets.

Why Are 20 Amp Outlets Required For a Kitchen?

20 amp outlets are required for kitchens because high-powered kitchen appliances are often plugged into these outlets. A short could happen if a 20 amp kitchen appliance is plugged into a 15-amp outlet.

Amp stands for Ampere. Essentially, an amp is a unit of measurement that measures electrical currents and output.

The higher the amps, the more power is put out through the outlet.

We want to find the right amount of electrical power for our kitchen appliances, so they don’t short out or aren’t overpowered by the number of amps being put out by the current.

Most kitchens require 20 amp outlets to have enough electric output to power the appliances. This is the difference between 20 amp vs 15 amp outlets.

Best 20 Amp Outlets

20 amp outlets can be purchased at your local hardware store and installed by an electrician.

We recommend these outlets if you’re looking for online solutions to be delivered directly to you.

They commonly come in packs of 10 or more, so you save money and have plenty to fill a kitchen.

BESTTEN 20 Amp GFCI Receptacle Outlet

20 amp wall outlets

The Bestten 20 amp GFCI receptacle outlet is an excellent standard that looks great with any white walls.

This outlet is 125 volts and has red and black buttons for resetting and testing, which is great for any shortage or power outage.

Another great feature is the LED indicator status light. The GFCI indicator light will indicate the power is working or in testing mode.

The outlet indicates a malfunction, is not wired correctly, or the power is off if it’s off.

This is an excellent system for knowing which outlet is dead and when an electrician should be called to fix the power outage. This also fits the standard 20-amp plug types. These fit with most circuit breakers.

Buy the Bestten GFCI outlet with a 10-pack to fit your entire kitchen outlets and house outlets for 20 amp power.

Leviton Self-Test Smartlock Pro

20 amp outlet

The Leviton smart lock pro is a 20 amp tamper-resistant receptacle with an LED indicator light.

The light uses only 1W of electricity, which means the bulb doesn’t need to be replaced.

The product description states,” For an added layer of protection, the GFCI regularly conducts an automatic internal test to confirm that it can respond to a ground fault.”

Built-in lockout action prevents a reset if the GFCI is damaged or cannot respond to a ground fault.

The slim and shallow design is excellent for standard outlets paired with any kitchen design.


In conclusion, check what outlets the electrician is installing and where.

It’s important to know which outlets are 15 amp and 20 amp to provide an antiquate amount of power to the kitchen appliance.

The reason it’s best to check with an electrician before installing any outlet is to make sure the wiring is in place to be able to handle the power for the 20 amp outlet.

Electricians will know exactly which outlet is providing the right kind of power.

A 20 Amp outlet is crucial to power most kitchen appliances with a motor to heat up or blend food.

These kitchen appliances typically require a high amount of voltage to work correctly.

Short appliances do not work because it doesn’t have the proper amount of power.

We’ve compiled a complete list of frequently asked kitchen questions for new and experienced homeowners.

Our team of experts answers these questions to help assist you through DIY projects and home repairs.

Robin Hatch

About the author

For over a decade, Robin has been a real estate agent, interior design specialist, and mother. Through her trials and tribulations, she wanted to create the perfect website to help you save money and make your home look beautiful.

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