How Many Outlets?

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Forum topic by TheWoodChipper posted 09-08-2011 03:58 PM 6038 views 1 time favorited 27 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View TheWoodChipper's profile


1 post in 2533 days

09-08-2011 03:58 PM

I’m getting ready to wire my workshop. I already have a sub panel installed with four spots for the 20amp breakers in the garage/shop. I want to make sure i have enough outlets and not end up wishing i had more outlets down the line.

27 replies so far

View bubbyboy's profile


137 posts in 2658 days

#1 posted 09-08-2011 04:05 PM

In my shop I installed outlets every four feet along the walls maybe a little overkill, but not much money. I would rather have to many than have to run extension cords. Just a thought

-- I just don't understand. I have cut it 3 times and it is still to short.

View woodjunkie's profile


35 posts in 2633 days

#2 posted 09-08-2011 04:08 PM

I recently built a new garage and have a 16×26 foot dedicated woodshop with a 9 foot ceiling in the rear. I put an outlet every 4 foot 4 feet off the floor and every 6 foot 8 foot off the floor. The high ones are for Clocks, Radio, Dust collector, Beer Signs etc. It may seem like a lot but you have to run the wires through the wall anyway and outlets and boxes are cheap. Best part is I dont have to run any extension cords in the shop>

-- He: Can I get the plans for that? Me: Plans???

View dbray45's profile


3320 posts in 2741 days

#3 posted 09-08-2011 04:19 PM

In my basement I put in 4 outlets on one breaker (15 amp) and 2 receptacles each with dedicated 20 amp breakers on 12 guage wire – one for the bandsaw and one for the table saw and DC. These dedicated breakers have blanks next to them in the event I need to upgrade to 220 volt in the future.

You need to watch the loads and the what you have where. Depending upon what your future requirements are, you may want to put a few 220 receptacles in for future planers, sanders, tablesaws, bandsaws, etc…

Planning now saves a whole bunch later.

-- David in Damascus, MD

View crank49's profile


4030 posts in 2936 days

#4 posted 09-08-2011 04:51 PM

32” TO 48” centers where over a counter top work area, table, bench, etc. More importantly, have at least 2 different circuits on each group. For example, I have a wall mounted bench/counter where I may use my lathe or miter saw, belt/disk sander, or portable power tools. Its 12 feet long. I have 4 outlets on that wall and those outlets are on 2 breakers. I try to never have more than 2 outlets, side by side, on the same breaker. And, as already mentioned, don’t forget to have dedicated outlets for major tools like table saw, band saw, dust collector, planer, jointer etc. Almost any tool that will have a vacuum or dust collector running with it will need two circuits.

View Cosmicsniper's profile


2202 posts in 3123 days

#5 posted 09-08-2011 04:56 PM

To me, it’s less about the overall number and more about their location. I’d just make sure they are regularly spaced throughout the shop, including power run to any centrally-located tool stations/benches. But if I were designing it, I’d try to put double-outlet boxes every 8 feet, or single-outlet boxes every 4 feet, along all my walls…as well as single 220v receptacles at each of those points…even if you don’t have all those 220v machines now, you likely might in the future. In the event you need more plugs, like at a workbench for your powered handtools, then you can use a power strip.

I would also try to consider ways to bring in power, either under the floor or overhead, to the center of my shop. The objective being, of course, to avoid always having to jump over extension cords and power cords.

I would also want to consider various amperage requirements for my machines. It isn’t smart to run my 110v dust collector on the same 15 amp circuit as my DeWalt planer…but I’m probably stating the obvious there.

Lastly, I would locate the receptacles high off the floor. You don’t want to bend over to plug in machines. Plugs are convenient when placed just above the level of the workbench or your stationary tool surfaces.

-- jay,

View jusfine's profile


2422 posts in 2891 days

#6 posted 09-08-2011 04:58 PM

Most of it has been covered, but install as many as you can afford, you will never have enough.

It may look like overkill, but it’s much better than running cords on the floor you could trip over.

If you can plan out your workspace, put some lower (2’ off the floor) and some above counter height, and as suggested, even higher for clocks, cord reels, etc.

All the best!

-- Randy "You are judged as much by the questions you ask as the answers you give..."

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

5805 posts in 3159 days

#7 posted 09-08-2011 05:23 PM

My shop is a stand-alone, and is 2,000 sq.ft. I have 72 wall and ceiling and floor outlets. It has its own meter, and 200 amp service. Wall outlets are every 4 ft. apart, and 4 ft. off the floor. There are 4 outlets in the floor, and the ceiling outlets are all 110. Plenty of 110 and 220 for everything I need. Each one of my big machines like the tablesaws(I have 2 saws), jointer, planer, RAS,chopsaw, dust collector, air compressor…..all are on their own dedicated circuit or wall plugs…..For my shop it is not over-kill….Better to have more than less…...

-- " At my age, happy hour is a crap and a nap".....

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

4951 posts in 2458 days

#8 posted 09-08-2011 05:32 PM

When you start from scratch, the cost of extra outlets is not too bad. Having way too many is always better than not having enough. So go for overkill from the gitgo.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View dannyfixit's profile


17 posts in 2600 days

#9 posted 09-08-2011 05:57 PM

Definitely put many in now as its cheaper than doing it later. I really recommend placing a few outlets on the ceiling to cover the center area of the shop. Depending on height, you can leave them as just outlets or put a drop cord in them to bring them into a reachable, but outta the way distance. From there, you can add a short extension if the tool cord is not sufficient.

-- - Follow your passion...

View pvwoodcrafts's profile


243 posts in 3886 days

#10 posted 09-08-2011 06:26 PM

I have a 24×48 shop. 110 outlet every 8 ft and 220 outlet every 8 ft and 15 -120’s in the ceiling, one for each 4’ florescent light. never wished for an outlet

-- mike & judy western md. www.

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

5805 posts in 3159 days

#11 posted 09-08-2011 06:55 PM

Just kind of food for thought: You’ll probably never have more than one machine plus the dust collector running at the same time. I know I don’t, but as an afterthought, if you’ll make sure that all your blast gates are closed, except for the one machine you’re on, it will save a lot of strain on your d.c, also, and it will work more effeciently. I never run more than one at a time, and it’s a good safety factor as well.
Nothing like popping a breaker right in the middle of a cut, or the shop going dark all of a sudden….safety….

And as Barry pointed out, make sure your lights are on a dedicated circuit by themselves, also….mine are..

-- " At my age, happy hour is a crap and a nap".....

View higtron's profile


235 posts in 2642 days

#12 posted 09-08-2011 09:12 PM

I agree with everyone on as many outlets as you can afford on the walls, I also have two retractable cord reels on the ceiling of my shop, and I love them I hardly ever even roll out a regular extension cord. I bought my retractable cords from Rockler. so think about a couple well placed oulets on the ceiling on the retractable units I bought they come with 30’ cords, and the pigtail has three recepticles.

-- A friend will help you move, a good friend will help you move a body

View agallant's profile


551 posts in 2851 days

#13 posted 09-08-2011 09:38 PM

There are two thing I have learned from building my own shop.
1. I wish I made the shop bigger
2. I wish I put more outlets in.

I think every 4 feet is a good rule and don’t forget the ones on the sealing.


View rustfever's profile


751 posts in 3275 days

#14 posted 09-08-2011 09:46 PM

‘Amen’ to the automatic retracting cord reels on the ceiling. I have only two and wish I had at least two more. Another item not talked about is air. Yes, air out lets. A regular air compressor can be located anyplace and patched into a hard plumbed air system. Several ceiling [or wall] mounted air hose reels are very important. An air hose is terrible to trip over and very hard to roll up.

-- Rustfever, Central California

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 3273 days

#15 posted 09-08-2011 10:26 PM

Outlets are like clamps…You Can Never Have Too Many.

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