Docking Drawer logo
Docking Drawer logo

All articles

Do I Need a 15 or 20 amp Docking Drawer Outlet?Updated 6 months ago

When it comes to choosing the right outlet for your drawer, we often get asked the question “Do I need a 15 or 20 amp outlet?”, especially when it comes to bathroom vanity projects where the outlet is used to power hair dryers and curling irons. While Docking Drawer offers 20 amp solutions, we recommend 15 amp outlets for almost all residential applications.

Explaining Amps & Watts for Outlets

Let's clarify the relationship between amps and watts. Amps (amperes) measure the electric current flow, while watts measure power consumption. The formula Amps = Watts / Volts allows us to calculate the amps required by a device based on its power consumption in watts and the voltage it operates on.

15 Amp Outlets

A standard 15 amp outlet can handle devices that consume up to 15 amps of current. This corresponds to power consumption of up to approximately 1800 watts (15 amps x 120 volts). For most everyday devices found in homes, such as hair dryers, curling irons, and small appliances, a 15 amp outlet is sufficient.

  • Example: A 1450 watt hair dryer uses 13.5 amps, and a 13-watt curling iron uses 0.5 amps. Both of these devices are well within the capacity of a 15 amp outlet.

20 Amp Outlets

A 20 amp outlet, on the other hand, is capable of handling devices that consume up to 20 amps of current, corresponding to power consumption of approximately 2400 watts (20 amps x 120 volts). However, it's important to note that devices requiring a 20 amp outlet, such as certain high-power appliances, are not as common in the marketplace.

  • Example: Hair dryers with a NEMA 5-20P plug, designed for a 20 amp outlet, are generally not readily available. Most hair dryers are designed to be used with a standard 15 amp outlet.

Factors in Deciding Between a 15 or 20 amp Outlet

Let's consider which outlet is suitable for a Docking Drawer installation based on some common factors:

Existing Outlet Circuits

If you have an existing 15 amp circuit available, a 15 amp outlet is the right choice. It will easily handle the power requirements of typical devices you would use with a Docking Drawer, such as charging smartphones, tablets, or laptops.

Outlet Compatibility and Safety

It's important to remember that a 20 amp plug cannot be directly inserted into a 15 amp outlet. However, a 15 amp plug can be safely inserted into a 20 amp outlet without any issues. So higher amps alone is not always the right—or better—choice.

Safety features on Docking Drawer outlets are the same. Both the 15 amp and 20 amp Blade Duo and Blade series in-drawer outlets include an interlocking thermostat to protect against overheating inside the drawer. 

Outlet Size and Interchangeability

The physical size of the 15 amp and 20 amp outlets is the same within the same Docking Drawer Blade outlet series. This means that if you want to upgrade an existing 15 amp outlet to a 20 amp outlet, you can easily do so without worrying about the size compatibility with your existing drawer outlet cutout.

Key Differences: 

  • The cord for the 20 amp outlet is 12 gauge and the 15 amp outlet is 14 gauge

  • Plugs: 15 amp use NEMA 5-15P vs and 20 amp use NEMA 5-20P

  • Cord Length: 15 amp - 4’ long, 20 amp - 3’ long

15 amp 4AC Docking Drawer Blade Duo In-Drawer Outlet

20 amp 4AC Docking Drawer Blade Duo In-Drawer Outlet

So, Which Outlet is Right for You?

While 20 amp Docking Drawer outlets are available, 15 amp outlets are almost always the most suitable choice for typical household Docking Drawer applications. Remember to consider compatibility, safety, and the electrical capacity of your existing circuits when making your decision. If you still have questions about the best outlet for your drawer and application, please don’t hesitate to contact our team for help.

Was this article helpful?