Tag: types of outlets

What Type of Outlet Should I Buy?

types of outlets

Are you in the market for new types of outlets? If so, you should make yourself aware of all the options available to you. Not only are there different levels of quality, but there are also special features you can select for your outlets that suit your home and your family’s needs.

What Grade of Outlet Should I Buy?

‘Grade’ is essentially another word for ‘quality’ when it comes to outlets.  There are three grades you can choose from.

  • Homeowner Grade

Homeowner grade outlets are the cheapest option on the market. And although these outlets can handle most electrical demands, they only last five to ten years. Therefore, homeowner grade outlets are best placed in areas where there will not be a large electrical demand.

  • Commercial Grade

Commercial grade outlets differ from homeowner grade outlets in quality. They are an investment, costing as much as 50% more than homeowner grade outlets, but they last up to 100 years. These types of outlets are best placed where an appliance or computer will constantly be plugged in.

  • Hospital Grade

Hospital grade outlets are aptly named as they are only truly needed in hospitals. Hospital grade outlets are designed to power life-saving medical equipment indefinitely.

Types of Outlets

Beyond the different grades of outlets, there are plenty of special features you can choose from when selecting an outlet.

  • 15-Amp Duplex Receptacle

A 15-amp duplex receptacle is the most common outlet found in American homes. These outlets have a long slot and a shorter slot, and a half-round hole for grounding.

  • Combination Outlet

A combination outlet has two features in one outlet. The most common combination outlets have light switches and one receptacle.

  • GFCI Outlets

Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) outlets are typically placed in areas where moisture is present, like kitchens and bathrooms. GFCI outlets can trip independently if a short is detected. As a result, this capability can protect your family from electric shock.

  • AFCI Outlets

Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter (AFCI) outlets are advantageous because they can interrupt power when arcing happens. Arcing happens when an electric current travels on air – a serious fire hazard. AFCI outlets can prevent your outlet from becoming the ignition site of a fire.

  • Tamper-Resistant Receptacle

Tamper-resistant receptacles are now required by electric code for use in renovation and new construction. Tamper-resistant receptacles protect children from electric shock by blocking the insertion of small objects.

  • Weather-Resistant Receptacle

Weather-resistant receptacles are also required by the electric code to be placed in wet locations like patios, pool areas, and other outdoor locations. These outlets have plastic covers making them resistant to corrosion.

  • Rotating Outlet

Rotating outlets can be positioned to accommodate bulky plugs for appliances like cell phone chargers, hairdryers, and nightlights.

  • USB Outlets

USB outlets typically have two receptacles and two USB outlets. They are extremely convenient for charging cell phones, headphones, and more.

  • Smart Outlets

Smart outlets are a new innovation that enable you to integrate different devices into your smart home network.


Need more tips on what outlet you should buy? Call today!

If you need advice on your electricity, or tips on how to install or repair an outlet, call the professionals at Roman Electric!

Types of Outlets (For Beginners)


We all know the basics of an electrical outlet. After all, you use them in your home every day. But beyond the most common, there are different variations available, each with a unique function. If you plan on installing new outlets in your Milwaukee home, Roman Electric recommends doing research on the different options that are available. However, to begin your education, we have assembled a beginner’s guide with the basics. Whether you’re looking to install new outlets or would just like to learn more about them, we have listed the types of outlets available in your home.

Two-Prong Outlet –  As the name suggests, this outlet posses two prongs on each plug, lacking a ground wire. Without a ground wire, two-prong outlets are considered outdated and dangerous, but to upgrade them, your home’s electrical system must possess ground wires. Albeit a norm in older homes, don’t rely on them unless your home cannot install a three-prong design.

Three-Prong Outlet – The modern standard, three-prong outlets possess the original two-prongs, along with a third prong for grounding. Most other variants on this list follow the three-prong design, although there are a few exceptions.

20A Outlet – A stronger version of the three-prong outlet. Most outlets carry 15 amps, which is usually enough for most appliances, but 20A (or 20 amp) outlets have the available power for larger items such as power tools. 20A carry about 25% more electrical load than regular counterparts. Found in some garages along with commercial buildings, these outlets can be identified by a horizontal slit placed on one of the prongs.

120-240 Volt Outlets – The strongest outlets in your home. Voltage can range from 120 to 240, and they are used for major appliances such as washers, dryers, and ovens. These outlets come in both three-prong and four-prong types, with the fourth prong acting as a neutral pathway. However, three-prongs are no longer deemed up-to-code, and four prongs are required to comply with NEC guidelines. These outlets are easily identified by their large, black casing.

GFCI Outlet – Also known as Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter, GFCIs are three-prong outlets with an added safety mechanism to prevent shock. When a current is too strong or on an unintended path, a GFCI quickly shuts off power to lessen the severity of the shock. NEC requires GFCI protection in kitchens and bathrooms, and they are easily identified by their “reset” and “test” buttons between the two plugs.

AFCI Outlet – Also known as Arc Fault Circuit Interrupters, AFCIs provide similar safety measures to GFCIs, except they focus on preventing electrical fires. When a loose or damaged cord begins to spark and overheat, an AFCI quickly shuts off power. The NEC requires AFCI protection in bedrooms, kitchens, and laundry rooms.

USB Outlet – These three-prong outlets come fitted with additional USB ports located on the side of the plugs. Great for charging devices without the power adaptor.

Split Circuit Outlets – The plugs on these outlets are connected to two completely different circuits. The use of split circuit outlets is when you need to power larger devices on the same outlet without causing an overload.

Tamper-Resistant Outlet – These three-prong outlets possess shutters located inside the plugs that block children from inserting objects into one of the prongs. The only way these shutters will open is when all prongs are inserted at the same time. An essential safety precaution, the NEC requires these outlets in new or renovated homes. These outlets can be identified by the shutter located inside the plugs.

Rotating Outlet – Simply put, rotating outlets possess the traditional three-prongs, but can rotate 360 degrees. With this, you can plug in your appliances and devices at almost any angle.

Switched Outlet – Unlike other three-prong outlets, switched outlets only possess one plug instead of two. Where second plug would be, a light switch is now present. Consult with a professional to determine if your electrical system allows these outlets to be installed.

Smart Outlet – These three-prong outlets allow active control and scheduling via smart phone. With smart outlets, you can turn off appliances, optimize your security system, and cut down on energy usage.

By using our beginner’s guide, you can easily decide on the right outlet for your home! If you are ready to install your new electrical outlets, contact Roman Electric today! Being the leading electrical company in Milwaukee, our outlet services power your home up the way you want it! Give us a call at 414-369-3798 to schedule an appointment and get started!