How Many Outlets Can Be on a 15 Amp Circuit?


Written by

Thomas Carter



Marcos E. Williamson

how many outlets can be on a 15 amp circuit

If you have ever wondered how many outlets you can safely put on a 15-amp circuit, you are not alone. Electrical circuits are designed to handle specific loads, and knowing how many outlets can be on a 15 amp circuit is essential to stay within these limits.

In this blog post, we will explore the basics of 15 amp circuits and outlets, discuss the maximum number of outlets for a 15 amp circuit, and highlight factors to consider when adding outlets to a circuit. Read on!

What is a 15 Amp Circuit Breaker?


A 15-amp circuit breaker is a device that can carry 1,800 watts. As such, it’s meant for circuits that only carry a small electrical load from small devices, such as low-powered appliances, alarm clocks, lights, etc.

So, how do we know that a 15-amp circuit breaker can only carry 1,800 watts? To calculate a breaker’s circuit capacity, you’ll need to multiply its amperage with volts. Given that the USA standard supply voltage is 120V, we have: 15 A x 120 V = 1,800 W.

Max Outlets for a 15 Amp Circuit

1. What are the Code Requirements for 15 Amp Circuit Outlets?


The National Electrical Code (NEC) specifies that a circuit cannot supply more than 80% of its breaker’s limit to prevent constant tripping. So, assuming that each circuit has 1.5 amps per outlet, 8 outlets can go on a 15 amp circuit.

Non-compliance with the NEC, in this case, will result in a constantly tripping breaker. DIYers can rest assured that they likely won’t get into trouble with the laws, especially if nothing severe happens.

It’s an entirely different story for professionals and business owners. Should accidents occur from their non-compliance, there’s a chance they’ll face legal actions and fines.

2. How to Calculate the Max Number of Receptacles on a 15 Amp Circuit?

To calculate the maximum number of outlets on a 15 amp circuit, divide 12 by the maximum amperes drawn. In addition, the combined wattage of the outlets must not exceed 1,800W.

Maximum Amperes Drawn Maximum Number of Outlets When Connected To A 120V Supply
1 amps 12 outlets
1.5 amps 8 outlets
2 amps 6 outlets
3 amps 4 outlets
6 amps 2 outlets
12 amps 1 outlet

That being said, on one circuit with 15 amps, you can put up to 12 outlets per circuit with standard wall outlets/120v outlets.

3. Factors Affecting the Number of Outlets per Breaker

  • Appliance Power Requirements


The number of outlets on a 15 amp circuit depends on the power needs of the connected appliances. To avoid exceeding the 15 amp breaker max load, make sure the combined wattage of the connected devices is less than 1,800W. Therefore, calculate how many plugs can connect to your circuit carefully.

  • Wiring and Circuit Design


The wiring and circuit design of a home can affect the number of outlets that can be connected to a 15 amp circuit. Older homes may have outdated wiring that can only handle a limited number of outlets, whereas newer homes typically have wiring that can accommodate more.

  • Other Electrical Codes and Standards

In addition to NEC guidelines, there may be other local and state electrical codes and standards that need to be followed when determining the number of outlets on a 15 amp circuit.

Why Do We Need to Limit the Number of Receptacles Per Circuit?

It is important to limit the number of receptacles on a 15 amp circuit to prevent overloading, which, in turn, can cause serious electrical hazards, such as electrical fires.

When too much current flows through a circuit, it can heat the wiring and cause the insulation to melt or spark a fire. Other risks of overloaded circuits include damage to appliances or electronic devices, electrical shock, and electrocution.

Signs of Overloaded Circuits


One of the most obvious signs of an overloaded circuit is when you experience frequent circuit breaker tripping. You may also notice dimming or flickering lights when you plug in additional devices or appliances. Other signs include discolored or warm outlets, buzzing or sizzling sounds, and burning smells.

How to Prevent Overloading

  • Distribute the load evenly: Avoid connecting too many high-power devices to a single circuit.
    For example, if you have several power-hungry devices in a room, plug them into different outlets on separate circuits rather than using duplex outlets.
  • Spread out high-power activities: If you have tasks that require high power, such as vacuuming or using power tools, schedule them at different times to prevent overloading circuits in a single area.
  • Regularly inspect electrical wiring: Ensure that the electrical wiring in your home is in good condition. Damaged or faulty wiring can increase the risk of overloading.

Tips for Wiring a 15 Amp Circuit for Outlets

1. Safety Guidelines

When it comes to installing electrical outlets on a 15 amp circuit, safety should always be your top priority. This includes following the NEC’s guideline that a circuit cannot supply more than 80% of its breaker’s limit to avoid overloading.

2. Always Turn Off the Power


Before you begin any electrical work, it is important to turn off the power to the circuit you will be working on. This can be done by switching off the circuit breaker or removing the fuse for that specific circuit. Double-check to make sure the power is off before starting any work.

3. Proper Use of Tools


Using the right tools for the job is essential when it comes to electrical work. Make sure to use insulated tools and wear rubber-soled shoes to prevent any potential electric shock. Also, avoid using damaged tools or those that have frayed cords.

4. Pay attention to outlet spacing requirements


The NEC also requires you to pay attention to how far apart electrical outlets should be placed. This measurement will change depending on what area you’re installing the circuit:

  • General living areas: Less than 6′ from the appliance. Every 10-foot hallway must have at least one outlet.
  • Kitchens: Each outlet should be spaced less than 48 inches from one another and at most 20 inches from the countertop.

5. Proper Wiring Techniques


Be sure to follow the National Electrical Code (NEC) guidelines when installing outlets on a 15 amp circuit. Additionally, use the right gauge wire for the circuit, and avoid over-stripping the wires to prevent any exposed conductors.

You can check out the diagram below to see how a 15A circuit breaker should be wired to a 120V electrical supply.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


Can you put lights and outlets on the same circuit?

Yes, it is generally permissible to have receptacles and lights on the same circuit. Wiring outlets and lights on same circuit is common in many residential and commercial buildings.

However, it is important to ensure that the circuit is designed and wired properly to handle the combined load of the lights and outlets. You should also have an idea of how many lights go on the same circuit.

How often should you have your electrical panel inspected?

The frequency of electrical panel inspections depends on several factors, including the electrical system’s age, the wiring’s condition, and any specific recommendations from local electrical codes or regulations. In general, it is best to check in on your electrical panel every 2 to 3 years.

Is it safe to install multiple outlets on a 15-amp circuit?

In general, it is safe to install multiple outlets on a 15-amp circuit. However, it is important to consider the total power requirements of all the devices and appliances connected to the outlets on the circuit.

Can I use a 20 amp breaker on a 15 amp circuit?

No, it is not safe to use a 20A breaker on a 15A circuit. The amp rating of the breaker should match the amp rating of the circuit it is protecting. Using an incompatible outlet can lead to electrical hazards, such as tripped circuits or electrical fires.

Can you add to an existing outlet?

Yes, it is possible to add more outlets to an existing one by installing additional electrical wiring and outlet boxes.


In summary, understanding your electrical needs and following proper guidelines and safety practices can help you determine how many outlets can be on a 15 amp circuit.

If you are unsure about the electrical demands of your space, it is always best to consult a licensed electrician to ensure your system is safe and up to code. By taking the necessary precautions, you can increase the functionality of your electrical system without compromising safety!

5/5 - (2 votes)