The 20-amp circuit is the most usual circuit in the US. Due to the fact that a many our visitors have actually asked ‘how countless outlets deserve to you placed on a 20-amp circuit’, we determined to provide you some insight on this topic. We will not only look in ~ the number the plugs ~ above a 20-amp breaker but, more importantly, the full net amperage and also wattage you have the right to put ~ above a 20-amp circuit together well.

You are watching: How many watts on a 20 amp circuit breaker

Theoretically, there is no upper limit ~ above how numerous receptacles you have the right to put ~ above a 20-amp circuit. Because that example, you have the right to put top top 1 an are heater, 2 fans, 3 lights, and so on.

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Example that a Samsung 20-amp breaker.

Practically, however, the variety of outlets you deserve to run ~ above a 20-amp circuit is minimal by only one thing:

Amp draw.

A usual misconception is that you can attach up come 20-amps worth of electric appliances on a 20-amp circuit. This sounds pretty self-evident but, practically, if you put 20-amp present on together a circuit, you will very likely fry the 20-amp circuit.

Realistically, nevertheless of the number of outlets, you’re encourage to not put much more than 16-amps worth of electric appliances on a 20-amp circuit.

Let’s look wherein the ’16 amps’ come from. We’ll additionally look into how many watts can a 20-amp breaker handle safely:


Table that Contents


How countless Watts can A 20-Amp Breaker Handle?What Is The Maximum watt You deserve to Put on A 20-Amp Breaker?#2 Example: How many Outlets on A 20-Amp Circuit In A Garage?

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

National electrical Code (NEC) doesn’t have a directive because that the maximum number of outlets you have the right to put top top a 20-amp circuit. You deserve to put on any kind of number – from 1 to infinity – as lengthy as you keep the complete amp draw listed below 16 amps.

Why 16 amps exactly?

The NEC directive top top the inquiry of ‘how countless outlets on a 20-amp circuit’ states that girlfriend shouldn’t placed on receptacles with a network amp attract that surpasses 80% of the circuit breaker limit. In the instance of a 20-amp breaker that’s 16-amps.

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

20 Amps * 0.8 = 16 Amps

Now, we deserve to see how numerous outlets can fit ~ above a 20-amp circuit, if we know their present draw (amp draw).

Note: we usually know the wattage the the outlets. Example: 1,500 W space heater or a 100 W irradiate bulb. We’ll look at at just how we can use the voltage our circuit is on (120-volt or 220-volt) to calculation amps indigenous watts; ie. 100 W light bulb on the 120-volt circuit has actually 0.83A amp draw.

Before we answer how plenty of watts have the right to a 20-amp breaker handle, let’s view a theoretical table of how numerous outlets ~ above a 20-amp circuit won’t trip 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 see that the net product the a number of outlets and amp draw of separation, personal, instance outlets must not be more than 16 amps.

Now, practically, it’s much more useful to know how plenty of watts can you placed on a 20-amp breaker. Let’s look into that as well:

How many Watts have the right to A 20-Amp Breaker Handle?

Amp draw is established by two determinants that are well-known to us:

Wattage. Example: 100 W light bulb.Voltage. We usually resolve 120-volt and also 220-volt circuits. Batteries operate on 12-volt or 24-volt circuits.

Here’s just how we deserve to calculate the amp attract of an separation, personal, instance receptacle from known wattage and voltage:

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

Let’s settle one example to illustrate just how you can use this formula to figure out the amp attract of her outlets. Girlfriend can also use our watt to amps calculator here for this purpose.

Example: We have actually a 1,500 W space heater running on a 120-volt circuit. How plenty of amps does the draw?

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

Such a space heater paint, etc 12.5 amps. That method that we can put 1 such space heater top top a 20-amp circuit. If we would put 2 together heaters ~ above a 20-amp circuit, the full amp attract would it is in 25 amps; that’s much more than the encourage 16 max. Amp draw of a 20-amp circuit.

Alternatively, if we have actually a 220-volt circuit, the amp draw will be reduced:

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

That way we can put 2 such room heaters on a 220-V circuit without frying a 20-amp breaker. That’s due to the fact that 2 heaters would have actually a net amp attract of 2 x 6.82A = 13.64A. That’s much less than 16 amps. What’s more, us cannot put 3 such heaters ~ above a 20-amp circuit because the net amp attract would it is in 3 x 6.82A = 20.46A; that would certainly be more than allowed 16 amps.

What Is The Maximum watts You have the right to Put on A 20-Amp Breaker?

To simplify, we can calculate how plenty of watts deserve to a 20-amp breaker handle, provided a 120-volt or a 220-volt circuit.

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

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

Case of a 120-volt circuit:

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

We view that we can put as much as 1,920W top top a 120-volt 20-amp circuit.

Case of a 220-volt circuit:

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

We check out that we have the right to put up to 3,520W on a 220-volt 20-amp circuit.

Let’s watch at 2 realistic examples:

#1 Example: How many Outlets ~ above A 20-Amp Circuit In A Kitchen?

In the kitchen, we usually have 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 attract equal come or less than 16 amps.Net wattage same to or less than 1,920W.#2 Example: How numerous Outlets ~ above A 20-Amp Circuit In A Garage?

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

As we deserve to see above, we deserve to any number of outlets on a 20-amp circuit in a garage that have:

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

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Hopefully, this answer the questions around the number of outlets you have the right to realistically put on a 20-amp breaker. If friend have any kind of questions concerning this, you have the right to pose castle in the comments and we’ll shot to assist you out.