Designing a garage should be easy right? There are seemingly so few things to consider. One of the things I hated the most at my last house was the lack of available outlets in the garage. I spent a lot of time in there and 2 per wall just wasn’t enough.
Where To Put Outlets In A Garage?
Garage outlets should be placed in convenient locations with at least one every 6′ on each wall. Take into consideration any plans for a future workbench ahead of time. It is much easier to add outlets during construction than after the walls are all closed up.
It is easy to say one every 6′ on each wall in the garage. That means a 20 x 20 garage would be looking at a minimum of three outlets with that figure. But what kind of outlets and at what height? That requires a deeper look.
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Types Of Outlets That Should Be Considered For A Garage
People used to just store their cars in garages and that was about it. For some houses, it makes a great place to put the water heater or washer and dryer too. When you are in a position to add outlets to your garage, it pays to think ahead and try to anticipate any future needs.
Keep in mind that I’m so far from an electrician it’s not even funny. I love woodworking though. I’ve built a few things here and there but it’s something I truly enjoy so having the outlets in the garage to satisfy my hobby is important to me. I’ve done quite a bit of research on this and am happy to share what I’ve found so far.
Lets look at some things you may have now in your garage or want in the future.
General Garage Outlet planning
|Item||Receptacle Type||Outlet Type||Height|
|Water Heater (traditional)||240V||Single||3 Feet|
|Water Heater (tankless)||110V||–||3 Feet|
|Sprinkler Control||110V||Double||3 Feet|
Outlet Planning for Woodworking Equipment in the Garage
When planning outlets for your woodworking equipment, you have to take into account the amperage that each device pulls. Most of your general purpose circuits would probably be 20A in a garage but your electrician will help you devise a plan.
Here are some specs I was able to find online regarding voltage requirements for common woodworking equipment as well as the most probable receptacle type, outlet type and installation height for the outlets to run each.
|Item||Receptacle Type||Outlet Type||Height|
|Table Saw||110V||Double||Not Too Important|
|Drill Press||110V||Double||Above Workbench|
|Miter Saw||110V||Double||Above Workbench|
I’ve already started my woodworking collection so I know that most of the height requirements really depend on your setup. I am fortunate to have a workbench to hold my miter saw. The table saw really only gets pulled out for larger projects and is otherwise stored in a corner. It has a short cord so outlet height isn’t important, I just use an extension cord.
The big part of making sure your outlet placement in your garage satisfies your woodworking workshop needs is to plan out your ideal workshop and what it would need. It can be a year’s long project to flush it out but if you plan ahead, you’ll have electricity where you need it when you do.
Outlet Planning for Metal Working Equipment In the Garage
I’ll be the first to tell you I’m not a metal worker. I have friends that weld and tinker with metal work but it’s not my forte to be sure. If you are a metal worker and you plan on working on projects in your garage, you’ll want to make sure you have the electricity available for the equipment you need.
When you are planning out your dream metal working workshop, some of the items you’ll want to take into consideration are:
- Plasma Cutter
- Chop Saw
- Chop Saw
- Rotary Phase Converter
Each item is going to have its own power requirements and you’ll want to plan ahead to make sure outlets are available when and where necessary.
Outlet Planning for TV and Sound in the Garage
One of the great things about building a garage or retrofitting one is that you have the ability to make your dreams come true. Do you want a 50″ TV in the garage? Just wire power, cable and maybe internet for it and you’re good to go.
You may want to make sure that your media equipment is on isolated circuits so that they aren’t affected as you run your other garage equipment and power tools. Some media items you may want to consider for your garage are:
- Internet Router or Wifi Extender
- Amazon Echo Plus
The great thing about each of these items is that they are going to run on standard 110 outlets. It’s just a matter of where you want to put them and whether or not you want cable showing.
Planning Lighting in Your Garage
Lighting and overhead outlets are two different entities but they can be planned for at the same time. Think about the ceiling and what it needs to do for you.
Most standard garages have a garage door opener with a light. At least in my garage, there was a dedicated outlet in the ceiling just for that opener.
When you are working on your electrical wish list for your garage don’t forget to include the ceiling. Is there any equipment you have that would benefit from overhead electrical outlets? Where do you need lighting and how much of it do you need?
If you are planning a workbench, strategically placing can lights may be a good idea. If your laundry is in the garage, make sure the area is well lit as well. It is definitely well worth the effort to plan now for whatever you may want in the future.
Breakers and Garage Outlet Placement
When you discuss the electrical plan for your garage with your electrical contractor, one thing you shouldn’t forget to talk about is breakers.
The last thing you need is to be working with the table saw when the air compressor kicks on and blows a breaker leaving you in the dark.
You aren’t likely to be in two places at once so one idea is to wire your receptacles so they alternate between circuits. You could also wire upper and lower portions of each two gang outlet separately. That way if you have two things plugged in at the station you are working on, you aren’t as likely to blow a breaker.
For things that draw more amperage, like your air compressor, consider the benefits of having them on their own circuit. Obviously, anything pulling 220V is going to need its own breaker as well.
Future Proofing Your Garage
The final thing to consider is the type of outlets you want to add. The changes in technology over the years continue to astound me. Just last year I paid to have 15 Amp Decora Combination Duplex Outlet and USB Chargers added to my apartment. I can’t tell you how convenient it is to have USB’s available where I need them.
It’s not just USB outlets though, smart switches and smart light bulbs are great additions too. But it doesn’t stop there. Amazon’s Echo gives me access to Alexa to turn my lights off and on. My Cloud Cam allows me to log in to cameras from work. Sure, it’s all tech stuff to play with but, if you think you might want it, plan ahead.
Think about your vehicle as well. You may not have an electric vehicle now but, if you are at all considering buying one in the future, now is the time to plan for that as well. Some electric companies even give rebates for electric car owners to help offset costs of installing charging outlets.
What height should outlets be in a garage? This is entirely dependent on what you need to plugin. Most garages are going to have some standard, floor level outlets places at 12-16″ above floor level but you will definitely want to consider adding some workbench level outlets if you are going to have a workshop of any kind in your garage.
How do I install additional electric outlets in my garage? It is always best to consult a licensed electrical contractor in your area. They will be able to help you finalize outlet placement as well as pull any permits you may need. Their experience will help ensure your garage is wired safely and fits your needs.