How many Amps are available from a Wall Outlet? (Standard Outlet)

Many people do not take care of or value electrical energy unless it gets overloaded and fails. So this article has explained the standard amps and voltage in an outlet after getting a concern with the Electrician and I have done my research on it.

How many amps to use on a wall outlet? 

  • Most of the residential areas of the United States are wired with 120 volts and the amp circuit breaker used them is 15 amps and 20 amps.
  • The 15 amp outlets are basically designed in standard plugs that are mostly used by small appliances and lamps.
  • The 20 amps outlet circuit is used for high appliances. for example fridge, freezer, and dishwasher.
wall outlet
wall outlet


Most of the outlets in the United State are of 15 amp as 15 amp receptacles with a 20 amp circuit. they do have two slots and a grounding hole. 

  • A 50 amp circuit is used with 14 gauge wire and it is protected with a 15 amp circuit breaker
  • In the case of the 20 amp receptacles are used with a horizontal slot branching off. But the plugs which are designed as 20 amps are not going to fit into a 15 amp outlet. For example, the plug design for a microwave of a 20 amp plug can only be plugged into a 20 amp outlet. 
  • A 20 amps circuit is used with 12 gauge wire and it can be also used with 10 gauge wire and the circuit is protected by a 20 amp breaker. 

There are various types of electrical outlets and receptacles which are explained next. 

Types of electrical outlets:

The following are some various types of electrical outlets which are designed according to the appliances power tool and electronics:

  • 15 amp duplex receptacle. 
  • Combination outlet. 
  • Ground fault circuit interrupter outlet 
  • Arc fault receptor. 
  • Tamper-resistant receptacle.  
  • weather-resistant receptacle. 
  • Rotating outlet. 
  • Specialty outlet. 
  • Surge suppression outlets. 
  • Split circuit receptacle. 
  • Underground outlets. 
  • USB outlets. 
  • Smart outlets.

15 amp duplex receptacle:

  • A 15 amp duplex receptacle is a standard electrical outlet that is commonly found in American houses.
  • The circuit has two outlets having a long slot, a shorter slot, and also have a half-round grounding hole.
wall outlet
wall outlet

Combination outlet:

Using the combination outlets will give two features if you use it such as:

Ground fault circuit interrupter outlet:

  • The ground fault circuit interrupter outlet is able to protect the ground Falls which do occur when there is an abnormal path of an electrical current traveling through the ground.
  • The ground fault circuit interrupter outlet will monitor the current which is flowing by the hot and natural conductors to check if there is any current that is leaking from the circuit.
  • If any electrical current travels through a normal path then it will trip quickly and turn off the power and will protect us from the risk of fire hazards. 
  • You need to have a ground fault circuit interrupter installed in the bathroom, kitchen, basement, and outdoors. 
wall outlet
wall outlet

Arc fault receptacle:

  • An Arc fault receptacle is able to protect against the electrical fire it is being cost by any Arc fault. The arc fault happens with the interrupting power. 
  • It will also protect if there is any damage in the branch circuit wiring and extension to branches. 
  • The arc fault receptacle is required by the national electrical code.
wall outlet
wall outlet

Tamper-resistant receptacle:

  • This can be used where there is an outlet of 15 amp and 20 amp.
  • According to the national electrical code it is required to be used in new construction or innovation. 
  • It provides a built-in shutter mechanism that will protect the children from any electrical engineering by blocking the insertion of small objects and the shutter will only open when you properly insert the electrical plug. 
  • It does offer continuous protection and if it is installed it is permanent, not like plastic outlet caps which can be removed after installation.

Surge suppression outlets:

The Surge separation outlet is used to protect the appliances which are plugged into it from the power spikes. There is also no need for power strips to protect the appliance. 

wall outlet
wall outlet

Rotating outlets:

  • The rotating outlets can be used as one large plug for the cell phone charger, hair dryers, cordless appliances, night lights, and many more.
  • Using the rotating outlets will reduce the need for power strips.
wall outlet
wall outlet

Ungrounded outlets:

  • The underground outlets are mostly found in homes which are built before 1960. 
  • The underground outlets are similar to the standard duplex receptacle and do have two-prong electrical plugs but it does not consist of you shaped grounding hole.
  • It does contain one long slot and a short slot.


In the end, we can say that the wall outlets are mostly used with 15 amps. To know about the amp which is being run in the outlet you need to look at the circuit breaker box and you can check the breaker size. 

Rick Costa

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