Why do wall sockets only have 1 or 2 plugs?



I’ve always wondered why there were only two. Can’t we add more?

In: Technology

You can install quadplex (4 plugs) receptacles. The issue is overloading. Standard duplex (2 plugs) are designed in the system to have the correct amount of draw without popping the breaker they are attached to. If you plug 4 devices into a quadplex outlet you have a chance of trying to pull too many amps through the breaker the outlet is attached to.

There is typically a code (for safety) regarding electrical wiring. There is always the option of running more wires to more outlets, but there is a limit to how many sockets can be wired for a single pair of wires (by code).

Also a outlet boxes are very standard items – they are low cost because they are made in large volumes and made to common specification. Anything custom will be very expensive. More outlets means more circuits, means more wires, larger distribution boxes and more circuit breakers.

Lots of things can be done (within the electrical code for homes) but it is a matter of paying a lot more. Most households don’t bother with the added expense.

The question is not why are there only two, the question is why not just one. Basically, a two outlet device is a basic building block. So you can have more than one outlet installed; there is no limit. So why two outlets for a standard box? The primary reason is that light switches are bigger than a single outlet, so the standard box must be the size big enough for a light switch, which will also accomodates two outlets.

There are 4 slot outlets but the reason they don’t is usually the outlet or a group of outlets in a room are all on 1 breaker. That’s also why you shouldn’t use multiple power strips on the same outlet or room

We can but if we make it easy for naive people to plug 4 washing machines in the same socket we are either inviting them to have the circuit breakers trip all the time or, worse, set the house on fire.

Completely normal in Norway to install quadplex (4 plugs) behind Tv/media. 6 plugs, where max 2 can be europlug, are required in areas where tv/media is planned to be installed.

Technology connections did a great video explaining why breakers protect the wires in the walls. If we had more outlets then we’d need more dedicated wires and thus more breakers. It is pretty full as it is.

Builders usually want to spend the minimum amount on materials and labor to make a saleable house.

If they could include even fewer outlets, they would. If they could have rooms without heaters, they would.

But the electrical codes and building codes stipulate a minimum, and that’s what gets built.

I use the 2->6 outlet expanders basically everywhere. There is no harm in that.

4 plug outlets are a thing I have plenty like that. Google “double gang” or “double duplex” outlet.