Guide on Planning Electrical Outlets in Your Garage

Electrical outlet taken apart on a counter with screwdriver and wiring

Planning and designing your house is just as exciting as it is frustrating. Exciting - because you can customize every part of it to fit your needs and style. Frustrating - because you have to keep an eye on many details, which might seem trivial, but will eventually determine if you feel comfortable in your house. 

In the end, it's not only about the big things, like buying furniture for your bedroom or choosing the floor type for your living room. If you've just started renovating or building your house, you probably know that when it comes to designing, the devil is in the detail; and the detail goes as far as the placement of electrical outlets in the garage. 

A garage is a place that is typically given little attention while designing a house, which can lead to a lot of frustration later on when it comes to using it; just think about cables not reaching the outlets or stumbling over extensive cords all the time. To avoid all the possible inconvenience, you should decide what will be the primary function of your garage and distribute the electrical outlets accordingly. 

Before you get to work, there are a lot of things to consider. Follow our guide to make sure you don't miss any significant part of it.


Warning sign of electrical shock

Before you start playing with wires, consider if you can do the work alone. Working with electricity is no joke; any mistake on your part might lead to a loss of health or even life. Although even an amateur can do the overall planning, it's always better to contact the specialists that can help you do the electrical work safely. The best professional help will come from reliable companies, such as A1 Garage. While in doubt, you can also ask your friends for recommendations.


Man working in his garage woodworking shop with his daughter watching

You should start planning the placement of electrical outlets in the garage by deciding on what type of work you will be doing there. Do you want your garage to be a workshop where you can spend hours on your hobby? Maybe you want it to be a storage room that will function as an extension of your kitchen? Will you spend time in your garage by yourself or with a company? By assessing your needs and the approximate amount of devices wired to the outlets, it will be easier to calculate your garage's electrical usage.

Electrical Usage

Breaker box, close-up

Calculating the electrical usage is crucial in planning your garage's electricity, as the total load cannot be higher than your service rating. Always check it beforehand - in most cases, it will be anywhere between 100 to 200 Amps for the whole house. If your electrical service is too low for your needs, consult your electrician to make an upgrade.


Featuring a workshop and the tools that use electrical outlets

When you find out the electrical service you're working with, the next thing you should do is list out the devices you will use in your garage. The more tools you use, the more outlets you need. If you want the garage to function as a storage unit, commonly used machines will be a washer, dryer, extra refrigerator, freezer, etc. If you want your garage to serve as a workshop, think table saw, drill press, chop saw, and similar tools. 

After listing all the devices and power tools you will use, check their outlet and receptacle type. Although most of them will require either a double or single outlet type and a 20-amp receptacle, there will be exceptions. Always check the specific requirements for each tool beforehand to ensure your electrical wiring will work properly.

Location of the Outlets

AN electrical outlet, close-up

When you figure out the electrical needs for each device in your garage, it's time to plan a proper setup that will be both useful and functional. Generally, you have to base the electrical outlets' location on the type of devices you will be using. Each machine has specific requirements regarding the installation and the height of the outlet. For instance, if you want to have a garage door opener, you have to install one outlet in the center of the ceiling. 

In the case of big machines, the outlet typically should be located at a height of 3 feet. The number of outlets depends on the size of the room; the general recommendation is to install the outlets from 3 feet to 5 feet apart throughout the whole garage. However, bear in mind that those are general guidelines, and your personal needs might differ. 

If you plan on using power tools, this may require more outlets and a different setup: typically, they will have to be installed just above your work table. A great idea would be building an extended workbench with multiple outlets. Although the extension cords might come in handy, think about them as a last resort, and save them for the time when you add a new power tool to your collection.


Two outlets with wiring coming out of the outlet boxes ready for outlets to be wired in

In planning your garage's electrical wiring, you have to consider which machines will be used simultaneously. The machines that won't be used simultaneously can have their outlets wired to the same circuit; most of the time, this includes big machines that are used quite rarely, such as a jointer. On the other hand, devices that function simultaneously as all the other tools (for instance, a dust collector) will require their own circuit.

Planning an installation of the electrical outlets in the garage takes a lot of time and requires gathering a lot of information. The primary fascination and drive to make a home DIY renovation may be quickly replaced by a feeling of frustration and desperation to install everything as fast as possible. 

We strongly recommend you to take your time to think about your needs and consider all the available means to help you make all your ideas come true. Indeed, it's good to have a plan - but it's also good to have a specialist by your side that will guide you in the process.

While do-it-yourself projects can be fun and fulfilling, there is always a potential for personal injury or property damage. We strongly suggest that any project beyond your abilities be left to licensed professionals such as electricians, plumbers, and carpenters. Any action you take upon the information on this website is strictly at your own risk, and we assume no responsibility or liability for the contents of this article.

Article Author

Małgorzata Koch

A journalist passionate about home improvement. While at home - a devoted fan of decor, DIY, and arts&crafts. During travel - an adventurous backpacker, fascinated by intercultural communication and the world’s various cultures.


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