The 20-amp circuit is the most typical circuit in the US. Due to the fact that a lot of our visitors have actually asked ‘how plenty of outlets have the right to you put on a 20-amp circuit’, we made decision to give you some insight on this topic. We will certainly not only look in ~ the number of plugs top top a 20-amp breaker but, an ext importantly, the full net amperage and also wattage you deserve to put on a 20-amp circuit as well.

You are watching: How many watts in a 20 amp circuit

Theoretically, over there is no upper limit on how countless receptacles you have the right to put top top a 20-amp circuit. For example, you can put on 1 space heater, 2 fans, 3 lights, and so on.

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Example of a Samsung 20-amp breaker.

Practically, however, the variety of outlets you have the right to run top top a 20-amp circuit is restricted by only one thing:

Amp draw.

A common misconception is that you can connect up come 20-amps worth of electric appliances on a 20-amp circuit. This sound pretty self-evident but, practically, if you put 20-amp current on such a circuit, you will an extremely likely fry the 20-amp circuit.

Realistically, regardless of the variety of outlets, you’re recommended to not put more than 16-amps precious of electrical appliances on a 20-amp circuit.

Let’s look where the ’16 amps’ come from. We’ll likewise look into how numerous watts have the right to a 20-amp breaker manage safely:


Table that Contents


How numerous Watts have the right to A 20-Amp Breaker Handle?What Is The Maximum watt You have the right to Put top top A 20-Amp Breaker?#2 Example: How plenty of Outlets ~ above A 20-Amp Circuit In A Garage?

Number Receptacles top top A 20-Amp Circuit Shouldn’t Surpass 16-Amps

National electric Code (NEC) doesn’t have a directive because that the maximum variety of outlets you have the right to put top top a 20-amp circuit. You can put on any number – native 1 to infinity – as long as you store the total amp draw listed below 16 amps.

Why 16 amps exactly?

The NEC directive top top the concern of ‘how countless outlets top top a 20-amp circuit’ states that you shouldn’t placed on receptacles with a net amp draw that surpasses 80% that the circuit breaker limit. In the situation of a 20-amp breaker that’s 16-amps.

Here’s exactly how you can easily calculate that. 80% that a 20-amp breaker is:

20 Amps * 0.8 = 16 Amps

Now, we have the right to see how countless outlets can fit top top a 20-amp circuit, if we recognize their current draw (amp draw).

Note: us usually know the wattage the the outlets. Example: 1,500 W space heater or a 100 W irradiate bulb. We’ll watch at just how we have the right to use the voltage our circuit is ~ above (120-volt or 220-volt) to calculate amps from watts; ie. 100 W light bulb on the 120-volt circuit has 0.83A amp draw.

Before we answer how many watts deserve to a 20-amp breaker handle, let’s check out a theoretical table that how numerous outlets top top a 20-amp circuit won’t pilgrimage the 20-amp breaker:

Outlet Amp Draw:Max. Variety of Outlets (On 20-Amp Circuit):
1 amp16 outlets
2 amps8 outlets
3 amps5 outlets
4 amps4 outlets
5 amps3 outlets
6 amps2 outlets
7 amps2 outlets
8 amps2 outlets
9 amps1 outlet
10 amps1 outlet
11 amps1 outlet
12 amps1 outlet
13 amps1 outlet
14 amps1 outlet
15 amps1 outlet
16 amps1 outlet
17 amps0 outlets
18 amps0 outlets
19 amps0 outlets
20 amps0 outlets

From the table above we watch that the network product that a number of outlets and amp attract of separation, personal, instance outlets have to not be an ext than 16 amps.

Now, practically, it’s much an ext useful to understand how countless watts deserve to you placed on a 20-amp breaker. Let’s look right into that together well:

How countless Watts deserve to A 20-Amp Breaker Handle?

Amp attract is identified by two determinants that are recognized to us:

Wattage. Example: 100 W irradiate bulb.Voltage. Us usually attend to 120-volt and 220-volt circuits. Batteries operate on 12-volt or 24-volt circuits.

Here’s exactly how we deserve to calculate the amp attract of an individual receptacle from recognized wattage and also voltage:

Amp attract (Amps) = Wattage (Watts) / Voltage (Volts)

Let’s deal with one example to illustrate how you deserve to use this formula to number out the amp draw of your outlets. You can also use our watts to amps calculator right here for this purpose.

Example: We have a 1,500 W an are heater running on a 120-volt circuit. How numerous amps does it draw?

Amp attract (120-V circuit) = 1,500W / 120V = 12.5A

Such a room heater paint, etc 12.5 amps. That means that we have the right to put 1 such space heater ~ above a 20-amp circuit. If us would put 2 together heaters on a 20-amp circuit, the full amp attract would be 25 amps; that’s more than the encourage 16 max. Amp attract of a 20-amp circuit.

Alternatively, if we have actually a 220-volt circuit, the amp attract will it is in reduced:

Amp draw (220-V circuit) = 1,500W / 220V = 6.82A

That means we can put 2 such space heaters top top a 220-V circuit without frying a 20-amp breaker. That’s due to the fact that 2 heaters would have a network amp draw of 2 x 6.82A = 13.64A. That’s much less than 16 amps. What’s more, we cannot put 3 such heaters top top a 20-amp circuit since the network amp draw would be 3 x 6.82A = 20.46A; that would certainly be much more than permitted 16 amps.

What Is The Maximum watt You can Put ~ above A 20-Amp Breaker?

To simplify, we deserve to calculate how countless watts deserve to a 20-amp breaker handle, given a 120-volt or a 220-volt circuit.

For both voltages, we know that the maximum amp draw is 16 amps. We usage the very same equation as before:

Amp draw (Amps) = Wattage (Watts) / Voltage (Volts)

Case that a 120-volt circuit:

Wattage (120-volt circuit) = 16A * 120V = 1,920W

We see that we deserve to put up to 1,920W ~ above a 120-volt 20-amp circuit.

Case the a 220-volt circuit:

Wattage (220-volt circuit) = 16A * 220V = 3,520W

We see that we deserve to put as much as 3,520W top top a 220-volt 20-amp circuit.

Let’s watch at two realistic examples:

#1 Example: How countless Outlets top top A 20-Amp Circuit In A Kitchen?

In the kitchen, us usually have actually a 120-volt circuit.

As we can see above, we can any variety of outlets top top a 20-amp circuit in a kitchen the have:

Net amp draw equal come or less than 16 amps.Net wattage equal to or less than 1,920W.#2 Example: How plenty of Outlets ~ above A 20-Amp Circuit In A Garage?

In the garage, we usually have a 220-volt circuit.

As we can see above, we deserve to any variety of outlets ~ above a 20-amp circuit in a garage the have:

Net amp draw equal come or less than 16 amps.Net wattage equal to or much less than 3,520W.

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Hopefully, this answers the questions about the variety of outlets you can realistically placed on a 20-amp breaker. If you have any kind of questions regarding this, you have the right to pose them in the comments and we’ll shot to help you out.