How High Should Outlets Be Above Countertop? (Explained!)

Electrical appliances are now common utensils that are found in every modern kitchen.

To use these appliances in a convenient space, you would need electrical outlets in the kitchen and preferably on the countertop, where you can easily plug in your devices.

If you are concerned about your kitchen outlets, this article is for you. In this article, we will be looking at the outlets above the countertop and how high they should be structured.

Here’s how high should outlets above the countertop be:

Electrical outlets should be at least 20 inches above the countertop. It gives enough space for the cords of your appliances to be well plugged without needing to stretch. This height also keeps these outlets from the reach of children.

Although the NEC (National Electric Code) did not provide any specific height, you’re safe within 15-20 inches.

Is Any Electrical Code For Kitchen Counter Outlets?

Electrical codes are sets of instructions that have been laid down by the official governing body of your residential state. These codes are expected to be followed for every electrical installation you want to make in your home.

The NEC – National Electric Code is the model for residential homes to follow. It has a list of requirements for every electrical installation that you might want to do in your home.

You must consult this code to carry out a DIY (Do It Yourself) house renovation. Following this code helps you avoid being fined when local officers inspect your house. You can also hire professionals, they are usually aware of these codes.

For Kitchen counter outlets, there are a few codes that you are required to follow. These include:

  • Setting electrical outlets at least 48 inches apart from each other
  • The outlet should be about 20 inches above the countertop.
  • If your countertop is more than 12 inches wide, you will need to install an outlet on the walls of the counter.

You should also note that the requirements might differ slightly in each local district.

While the NEC provides a general model, some districts sometimes have specific codes. You can easily check with a professional to determine if there are additional requirements.

Do All Countertop Outlets Need To Be GFCI?

Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GCFI) Outlet is an electrical outlet built to keep its user safe. This outlet prevents electrical hazards and unintentional electrocution in areas where they are used.

Yes, all countertop outlets are specified to be GFCI. According to the NEC, it is a prescribed code to ensure the safety of home users at all times and to guard against home accidents.

Aside from the countertop, the GFCI is prescribed for areas within the home where you have constant contact with electrical outlets like the garage, the bathroom, and the laundry room.

While you need to use power outlets constantly, your safety is also a priority.

It keeps you safe from likely electrocution around electrical outlets.

Kids can also wander around kitchen outlets and play with them while you are not looking. GCFI protects you and your family from hazards.

Do Kitchen Island Outlets Need To Be GFCI?

The heart of the home is the kitchen, and the center of the kitchen is where the island dwells.

The kitchen island is separated from the cooker, sinks, taps, and countertops, sitting in the middle of the room to accommodate you and create a space out of the normal kitchen flow.

Your kitchen island is where you sit and even entertain visitors who might not be interested in your cooking affairs. It allows them to talk to you and even come along with phones or laptops that need to be plugged into a power source.

Your kitchen island might bear an outlet for convenience and as a requirement of the local electric codes. So do outlets in your kitchen island need GFCI or not?

All simple outlets in the kitchen are required to be a GFCI according to the codes of the NEC. As long as they are within the range of a water outlet, they must be protected by GFCI.

While you are working in the kitchen or eating at the kitchen island, the outlet may come in contact with water, and this can cause an electrical shock when you make use of it.

It is better to be safe with GFCI than sorry without it.

Can You Put An Outlet On A Countertop?

Electrical Outlets can’t be too many in a modern home. The world keeps advancing technologically, and the number of gadgets and home appliances increases with time.

You might need more outlets to support your kitchen appliances, and the countertop becomes an option for a space where you can install an electrical outlet.

Can you put an outlet on a countertop? Absolutely yes. You can install an outlet on your countertop, provided it is GFCI and waterproof.

Having a countertop outlet saves you from having hanging wires draping over the edges of your counter. A hanging wire is not safe if you have kids at home that might want to play around the kitchen. It can also be a disturbance to a visitor who is not familiar with your kitchen.

Installing a countertop outlet is not a hard process. You can easily invite an electrician to your kitchen to get it done in record time.

All they need to do is to:

  • Get your desired location and make an opening where you want the outlet to be placed.
  • Draw wire from the closest electrical circuit.
  • The outlet casing would have a wire; the electrician will then cut it and connect it with the wire from the next circuit.
  • After then, fix the outlet into the already created space.

Are you confused about what to do with your outlets when installing a backlash? No worries, it has been solved here.

It is advisable to leave the process to an electrician, so you do not make mistakes with wire connections.


When deciding what to do with your kitchen outlets, remember to follow the NEC codes. These codes ensure you can access a power source at a close range without needing to stretch the wires of your appliance beyond the limit.

The ideal height for your kitchen outlets is 15-20 inches. This is a very safe distance.

Your kitchen island and countertops are not left out; they can also house electrical outlets. You just need to ensure they are protected with Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GCFI). You can now plug in your devices and equipment at your convenience.