How to Tell if an Outlet is 15 or 20 Amps

Are you remodeling your home or workspace? Do you need to know if your electrical outlets can handle the power demand of your appliances? It’s essential to know if your outlet is 15 or 20 amps to avoid overloading your electrical system, which can result in costly repairs and potentially dangerous situations. In this article, we’ll show you how to identify if your outlet is 15 or 20 amps.

Understanding Amps

Before we dive into how to identify the amperage of your outlet, let’s first understand what amps are. Amps, short for amperes, are the measure of electrical current that a device can handle. Electrical outlets are rated by their amperage, which indicates the maximum amount of current that they can handle safely.

Checking the Outlet Label

One of the easiest ways to identify the amperage of your outlet is to check the label on the outlet. The label is typically located on the faceplate or the outlet’s body and contains essential information about the outlet, such as voltage and amperage. Look for the amperage rating on the label. If the outlet is 15 amps, the label will say “15A” or “15 amps.” If the outlet is 20 amps, the label will say “20A” or “20 amps.”

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Counting the Slots

If you can’t find the label on the outlet, you can also count the number of slots on the outlet. A 15-amp outlet has two slots, while a 20-amp outlet has one vertical slot and one horizontal slot. The vertical slot is the shorter slot, and the horizontal slot is the longer one. If the outlet has two vertical slots, it is a 15-amp outlet.

Using a Multimeter

If you’re comfortable working with electricity and have a multimeter, you can also measure the amperage of the outlet. To do this, set the multimeter to measure amps, insert the probes into the outlet’s slots, and turn on the appliance that you want to test. The multimeter will display the amount of current that the appliance is drawing. If the current is below 15 amps, the outlet is 15 amps. If the current is between 15 and 20 amps, you’ll need to check the outlet label or count the slots to confirm the amperage. If the current is above 20 amps, the outlet is 20 amps.


Knowing the amperage of your electrical outlets is essential for preventing electrical overloads and keeping your home or workspace safe. Remember to check the outlet label, count the slots, or use a multimeter to identify the amperage of your outlet. If you’re unsure about the amperage or feel uncomfortable working with electricity, consult a licensed electrician. By taking the time to identify the amperage of your outlets, you’ll avoid costly and dangerous electrical issues down the road.

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Note: This article is written by an AI language model trained on human-written text and designed to provide general information. It should not be relied upon as advice or instructions. Always consult a licensed electrician for assistance with electrical issues.