Do You Know The Different Types of Electrical Outlets?



Type Function Interesting Fact Recommended Installation Location
Two-Pronged Receptacle Provided electricity to plugged in appliance. Installed Prior to 1962. None.
Grounded Receptacle Third prong (ground) reduces the risk of electric shock and protects equipment from electrical damage. Grounding-type receptacles were first required for all 15 and 20-ampere receptacle outlets in the 1971 edition of the National Electrical Code (NEC). Mandated by NEC in all areas unless otherwise specified.
Tamper Resistant Receptacle (TRR) A built-in shutter system prevents objects from being inserted, except when simultaneous, equal pressure to both slots is provided by a plug. Outlet covers do not provide adequate protection. 100% of children ages 2 to 4 were able to remove one brand of plastic outlet covers from the sockets in less than ten seconds. Required by the 2008 NEC. Upgrading rooms and areas where children could have access to the outlets is recommended.
Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter (AFCI) Receptacle Reduces the risk of fire, by interrupting power when an arc fault occurs anywhere in the circuit, including within items plugged into it. The CPSC estimates more than 50% of electrical fires that occur every year could be prevented by AFCIs. Provides protection from arc faults beyond branch circuit wiring extending to appliances and cords using the receptacle.
Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) Receptacle Prevents shock by quickly shutting off power to the circuit if the electricity flowing into the circuit differs from that returning, indicating a leakage current. GFCIs shut off electric power in the event of a ground fault within as little as 1/40 of a second. Installed in areas where water and electricity are in close proximity, such as bathrooms, garages, kitchens, laundry areas, and any receptacles located outdoors.
Surge Suppression Receptacle Protects sensitive electronic equipment from transient surges. National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) estimates that 60-80% of surges are created within the building, such as when large appliances, like air conditioners, turn on and off. Not required by the NEC, though often installed in rooms containing costly devices such as computers, TVs or refrigerators.
USB Receptacle Provides a permanent Universal Serial Bus (USB) connection source. Over 10 billion electrical devices in use today charge via a USB cable. Offers a permanent adaption for devices requiring a USB terminal for power or
charging as needed for convenience. Not required by the NEC.


  • Often used interchangeably, a “receptacle” is the “female” counterpart to a plug that provides access to electricity while an “outlet” can be any access point to wiring, such as light fixtures or receptacles.
  • Out with the old: All outlet installation should be performed by a qualified electrician.Some receptacles may combine more than one technology such as:
    • AFCI+TRR,
    • GFCI+TRR,
    • USB+GFCI.

Information Provided by ESFI

Newer Types of Electrical Outlets

In addition to the above commonly-used outlet types, there are an array of amazing new outlets. Inexpensive and quickly installed, they offer functionality many of today’s standard outlets do not.

  • USB Outlets
    Family fighting over outlets due to mobile-device charging overload? USB outlets offer a functional, simple solution.
  • Recessed Outlets
    Add extra space to your home, and banish large gaps between walls and furniture with recessed outlet options.
  • Tamper Resistant Receptacles
    A must-have for every home, these specialized outlets are now required by code in newly-built homes, and feature a barrier to prevent children from inserting small objects into them.
  • Combination LED Night Light Outlets
    Keep tiny and fragile night light components away from little fingers with this convenient, safe, nighttime lighting option.
  • Bluetooth Compatabile 
    New technology will allow you to also use Bluetooth Technology to adjust your lighting
This blog is made available by TLC Electrical for informational purposes to give general information. Note this blog should not be used as a substitute for a licensed electrical professional in your state. If you have questions please feel free to allow us to help. Your safety is always important. Also always check with city and state laws before performing any household project. 

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