Different Types of Electrical Outlets

In case you’re planning on building a house or plugging in your computer or even recharging your cell phone, you wouldn’t be able to do anything without the help of an electrical outlet. The device is so useful in that we can rely on it all the time. Getting to know about them will undoubtedly be helpful. However, many people seem to have no clue as to what exactly they are. Fortunately, the good news is they are of different types and below are the various types Electrical Outlets.

Two wire electrical receptacle circuit

If you are installing or replacing a receptacle in a circuit’s middle, know that there’ll be two or more cables that will be coming to the volt receptacle box. Two primary options are available for wiring the volt receptacle to two cables. The first is directing the wire circuit through the receptacle whereby both circuit’s hot and neutral wire will be connected to halves of the container. This is to allow the circuit to flow through the volt receptacle at any time. The second method involves connecting the volt receptacle with pigtail. In this case, the circuit load would flow through it only when it has been used.

Older two wire electrical circuit

Replacing an old two wire electrical circuit would usually include the replacement of the old two wires and use of non-grounded type receptacles so as to upgrade the wiring. Replacing two wire receptacles with grounded type volt receptacle and failing to provide an equipment ground is a grave violation of NEC.Furthermore, it’s also prohibited to extend a two wire circuit without equipment ground. An old fashioned two prong receptacle joined to two wire cables does not have ground wires that can protect individuals and electrical devices in case there is a fault. However, it’s possible to retrofit the three prong receptacle into the same outlet box without the need for wiring.

Older & Antique Electrical Receptacles or “Outlets”

When replacing the old electrical receptacle with a new one, you’ll need first to turn off the circuit breaker that supplies the room with electricity. Then use a non-voltage contact tester to check whether the power is off. Remove the outlet mounting screw using a cordless drill. After that, you’ll need to pry the metal tab carefully away from the wallboard. Once through with that pull out the receptacle from the metal junction and unscrew the screw connectors. Once you’ve removed the device, you’ll then need to pull out the wires from the junction box. When you are through, you can now go ahead and insert the new volt receptacle. The good thing with these volt receptacles is that they are durable light switches that can do the job right. You can choose from an array of listed switches in rocker designs and new toggle.

120-Volt Receptacles

The 120- volt receptacle is a standard electrical outlet mostly used in North American homes. The receptacle has been in use in its present form since the early 1950s.This electrical outlet has three holes and two rectangular slots which are parallel ones connected to a live wire and the other one to a neutral wire. The ground wire has a round hole. Most of these electrical receptacles are duplex having two places for plugging in electrical devices. A duplex receptacle is of two familiar styles. On a standard volt receptacle, each outlet has a round opening in the wall plate. While on a decorator volt receptacle there is a rectangular shaped single plastic that holds both electrical outlets. The modern 120- volt receptacles are designed in a way they can accommodate polarized plugs on which the rectangular shaped prong for the neutral wire is larger thus it controls the way the electrical device may handle the current.

120/240-Volt Electrical Receptacles

The 120/240-Volt Electrical Receptacles provide both hundred and twenty and two hundred and twenty volts. These electrical outlets have four slots for the plug-in in that two are hot, one is neutral, and the other one is grounding. The 120-volt receptacle comes in different colors and can easily be identified. This volt receptacle has two outlets that are identical each with three slots for the plug-in. Each receptacle has an arched slot at the bottom that assists in grounding appliances. Above, there are two narrow slots a wider one is neutral while a close one is hot. The 120-volt receptacle has on its front a clearly shown amperage and voltage requirements. Thus you’ll need to check the same demands of the appliance you plan to plug into. A duplex receptacle allows for back wiring rather than side wiring. This is because it is a simpler process. However, a back wiring process is not a secure connection as the side wiring one.

240-volt receptacle

The 240-volt receptacle cannot be used with standard appliances. However, it is reserved for items like power tools that usually need a dedicated circuit. This is because of its energy requirement. Unlike a three-prong outlet that has a neutral and hot slot together with an arch-shaped grounding slot, a 240-volt outlet has two slots that are hot jointly with a grounding slot. The unique design of this electrical outlet allows you to match it to power tool plug-in.

GFCI Receptacles

A ground fault circuit interrupter also called a residual current device or ground fault interrupter is a device that can shut off an electrical circuit power once it detects the current is flowing along a path that is not intended such as through a person or water. This device is used to reduce electrical shock risk that may cause a person’s heart to stop. It also helps in preventing fires, e.g., when a live wire gets into contact with a metal.


There are various types of electrical outlets used in different countries and places. Voltages and frequencies between these differing types of volt outlets tend to differ significantly thus the kind of electrical outlet you use may vary according to the region.


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