How many outlets on a 20 amp circuit in a kitchen

Recently updated on January 5th, 2023 at 02:04 am

Did you know that your kitchen makes use of more electricity when compared to other rooms in your home? The National Electrical Code (NEC) stipulates that the kitchen needs to be having many electrical wiring systems. If you use a lot of electrical appliances in your kitchen, it may require 7 or 8 of them.

In any other room, like a bedroom, for example, you may require just one lighting circuit for all the lighting. Kitchens need many small appliance circuits and one lighting circuit for general lighting. However, it is a standard, as well as required by the building code, that kitchen appliances have a dedicated circuit.

Kitchen outlets are mostly powered for providing more than one 20-amp 120-volt circuit for supplying power to GFCI outlets. It is mainly for counter-top spaces.

Are All Kitchen Outlets Supposed To Be 20-Amp?

Kitchens must have at least two outlets of 20-amps. The outlets in the kitchen are required to power very high voltage kitchen appliances. A 20-amp circuit is used to power appliances like microwave ovens, toasters, as well as blenders.

Common kitchen appliances require a 20-amp circuit to function. Two 20-amp circuits are required so as to spread the different appliances throughout the kitchen countertop outlets. This ensures no crowding of the appliances around a single outlet.

What Is A Circuit Breaker?

Circuit breakers - How many outlets on a 20AMP circuit in kitchen

A circuit breaker that is used in homes has great value. It is basically an electrical panel in your home, that acts as a safety device. The main job of it is to disconnect the power to the outlet when the current that is passing through the circuit is exceeded.

You may overload the breaker in case you use many appliances that will draw in more current. According to the NEC, the breaker shouldn’t be handling more than 80% of the current that it is rated to endure.

So, the total current that a 20-amp wiring system draws shouldn’t be more than 16-amps. This ensures that the breaker can manage any surge in power that occurs due to the starting up of an air conditioner or a power saw.

Avoiding Overload

When you have to decide the number of receptacles to add for a 20-amp wiring system, you need to know what you will be plugging into each one of them. For safety, you can allow for a total of 16-amps current to be drawn, which means 1920 watts of a power draw using a 120-volt voltage supply.

However, the breaker will not trip until it exceeds 2,400 watts of power.


In your home kitchen, mostly only one outlet would be used at a time. As a rule of thumb, you can allow a draw of 1.5 amps to every receptacle. This means you can be using 10 receptacles in a 20 amps circuit. When you are using receptacles in the kitchen, they must preferably be ground fault interrupting receptacles.

A ground fault circuit interrupter is an immediately acting circuit breaker.

What Amp Outlets Can I Purchase?

After the 20-Amp 120-Volt outlets, the next common available outlet is the 15-amp outlets. But, 15-Amp outlets do not always meet the power needs of big appliances. 15-Amp outlets are generally used for a lighting circuit like a ceiling fixture or for small appliances.

Circuit Wiring In A Newer Kitchen

The newer kitchens nowadays require using more than one electrical circuit and also adding GFCI or AFCI protection. GFCI has been a requirement in kitchens for a long time, but the AFCI requirement is recent. Every 15-Amp as well as 20-Amp circuit should have AFCI protection.

Various devices in the kitchen have different power requirements. Let us now look into the most commonly used electrical devices we use in the kitchen.

A Refrigerator Circuit

A refrigerator nowadays has a requirement of 20 amp, 120-volt circuits.

It is essential that during any kitchen remodeling, you use a dedicated circuit of 120/125 volt for the refrigerator.

Garbage Disposal Circuit

Garbage disposal units require a 15 Amp or a 20 Amp circuit.

An Electric Range Circuit

An electric range requires a 240 volt, 50-amp circuit.

Lighting Circuit

A kitchen will not be complete without being lit up well.

The power requirements are one 15 Amp 120-volt circuit that is required for ceiling fixtures, under-cabinet lights, canister lights, and strip lights. Usually, a circuit that supplies power only for lighting fixtures does not need GFCI protection.

Gas Range Appliance Circuit

You will need a 120 or 125-volt circuit to supply a gas range appliance. This power is sufficient for the vent hood and controls.

Any Small Appliance In The Kitchen

The counter-top outlets that are present for small appliances in the kitchen require wiring that supplies the power of 20 amps and 120 volts.

Summing Up

All building codes do not have the same requirements. The National Electrical Code is the standard for most of the local codes. However, your community may have a different standard or code. It is best to make sure your home’s wirings are on the same page as your community requirements.

The circuit that will supply specific devices in your kitchen requires a specific voltage and specific amps. The power required for every device is different. Many people may not calculate the number of outlets they need as per the volt circuits.

When you search for a house, you will have to look into the amps of the devices you desire to have in your kitchen. The power draw by each appliance has to be considered, before designing or remodeling your house.

If the amps a device uses is less or more, it can be an annoyance and will require you to change the circuits to supply a particular power. The feature of every brand of any appliance varies and should match your home electrical circuit requirements.

Hence, it is wise to go through your state codes and speak to the builders before making a home purchase regarding the electrical wirings systems.

Leave a Comment