Where to install outlets?

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Forum topic by Andrew posted 12-26-2011 07:59 PM 2266 views 0 times favorited 24 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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316 posts in 2785 days

12-26-2011 07:59 PM

I am in the proces of wiring my 1-car garage for a shop. I installed a 60A subpanel last week, now I need to decide on where I want the outlets.

My original plan was to install two 2A circuits (or a multi-wire circuit to save $) and install 2 outlets every 6 feet along the walls. Each outlet in the pair would be on its own 20A circuit.

I was wondering if anyone installs outlets on the ceiling? Seems like for tools like a router and sander it might make it easier as the cord would just go straight up and out of the way. I assume I’d need some sort of strain relief for the cords?

Any thoughts on where the best locations for outlets are?

Obviously I am only focused on 120v outlets right now. Any 240v outlets will be tool-specific.

-- Andrew - Albany. NY

24 replies so far

View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 3592 days

#1 posted 12-26-2011 08:04 PM

I put in a couple of 4-plex ceiling outlets that I use for my hanging air filter AND lighting circuits.

For the walls, I mounted them at least 52” from the floor, to allow me to lay sheet goods (on their sides) without interfering with the plugs.

-- -- Neil

View Andrew's profile


316 posts in 2785 days

#2 posted 12-26-2011 08:05 PM

Good thought on that! Never would have done it.

-- Andrew - Albany. NY

View mtn_goat's profile


11 posts in 3314 days

#3 posted 12-26-2011 08:41 PM

Here’s what I did, Like you, I have a 60A panel servicing the garage. I have 3 total circuits running the 110V.

The first is dedicated to lighting (and air cleaner a’la Neil’s comment) I wanted this circuit separate so if a tool happens to blow a breaker I wouldn’t loose my lights! I dont like stumbling around sharp things in the dark!

Second circuit is run on the right side. Outlets are run near the floor, and at cabinet height every 6’ with the cabinet outlets being 4plex. Reason for this is is to have multiple outlets at bench level.

Third circuit is mirrored on the right side.

Lastly, I have one 220 line with two outlets fore and aft. The 220 is really just to run my TS, But, I have another outlet if I needed, and the size of my garage wouldnt really require anything else.

View StumpyNubs's profile


7725 posts in 3219 days

#4 posted 12-26-2011 08:57 PM

I installed all of my outlets on the ceiling. I have to use a ladder to reach them, but I think the power flows more freely through the cords with the assistance of gravity…

-- Subscribe to "Stumpy Nubs Woodworking Journal"- One of the crafts' most unique publications:

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3493 days

#5 posted 12-26-2011 09:31 PM

The tip I have to offer is to make sure that 2 tools that you may use at the same time (dust collector and a tool it is connected to), are on separate circuits.

I have one ceiling outlet and if I barely touch the cord that suspends from the outlet, the plug drops out of the outlet. I really need to rig something up to eliminate that annoyance.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 3592 days

#6 posted 12-26-2011 09:45 PM

Rich: I had the same problem on my ceiling outlet.

Rather than buy strain reliefs, I simply put a bolt in a nearby joist, and ran a length of insulated wire FROM the bolt TO the cord, about a foot FROM the plug. When you pull on the cord, it simply pulls on the bolt, but the plug doesn’t come out.

-- -- Neil

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7725 posts in 3219 days

#7 posted 12-26-2011 09:55 PM

Rich- I have a similar problem in my shower. There’s this bare wire hanging down from the old light fixture that is just out of the reach of my wet, sudsy fingers. I call it “shockwire”...

-- Subscribe to "Stumpy Nubs Woodworking Journal"- One of the crafts' most unique publications:

View JJohnston's profile


1622 posts in 3710 days

#8 posted 12-26-2011 10:02 PM

If you want a cord from above, use a cord reel. A good one is expensive, but convenient, and it eliminates all the aforementioned problems with ceiling outlets.

-- "A man may conduct himself well in both adversity and good fortune, but if you want to test his character, give him power." - Abraham Lincoln

View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 3592 days

#9 posted 12-26-2011 10:02 PM

Stump: that’s floss. Never overlook meticulous oral hygiene ;-)

-- -- Neil

View Dusty56's profile


11847 posts in 4106 days

#10 posted 12-26-2011 10:16 PM

Hi Rich , sounds like either your outlet or the plug ends are worn out. Easy fix for either one.
I have numerous ceiling outlets and really need to pull firmly on the plugs to get them out. They are also tight going into the outlet.(go figure)
I had my electrician install 20 amp outlets and wiring instead of the usual 15 amp stuff. 100 amp subpanel along with 220 outlets next to each 110 outlet , also 52 inches above the floor as mentioned above.
Sanding and routing with the cords from above is good for me , as well as plugging in shop lites ,etc. as needed.

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

2710 posts in 3340 days

#11 posted 12-26-2011 11:08 PM

I recommend that where ever you plan for a duplex outlet you install a fourplex instead. You will thank me later…. haha. I have installed a shelf 8” from my shop ceiling and have a power strip setting on it. My plugs connected to it, do not come loose that way.

-- No PHD just a DD214

View doncutlip's profile


2832 posts in 3974 days

#12 posted 12-26-2011 11:14 PM

It might pay to be flexible, you might want to change the layout of your workshop over the years. The cord reel idea is excellent.

-- Don, Royersford, PA

View able339's profile


47 posts in 2794 days

#13 posted 12-26-2011 11:24 PM

You CANNOT install too many outlets!!! I installed outlets every 4 to 6 feet in three walls of a 24×24 workshop and i find I need more!!! (of course a couple of them are hidden behind a lumber rack…) It’s the same with a house… there are never enough outlets!

If you love something, turn it loose – if it doesn’t come back, hunt it down and kill it.

-- TNJames

View Gregn's profile


1642 posts in 3402 days

#14 posted 12-26-2011 11:37 PM

I have ceiling outlets installed in the ceiling that are on their own circuit. I use them for dedicated ceiling hung items such as air filter, cord reel and task lighting. I don’t use them for general use tools as I have plenty of outlets within easy reach for that purpose. Here’s my blog on what I did in my shop for electrical that may give you some ideas for your shop as well as some dry reading. LOL

-- I don't make mistakes, I have great learning lessons, Greg

View Sawkerf's profile


1730 posts in 3487 days

#15 posted 12-26-2011 11:50 PM

I would definitely have power in the ceiling for lighting, fans, dust filters, etc.

When I laid out my shop, I worked my wiring around my storage shelving and included outlets for my DC, compressor, radio, and battery charger.

-- Adversity doesn't build reveals it.

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