By Erik Watkins

15 Amp Circuit Breaker Vs 20 Amp Outlet: Top 5 Differences

Last updated: May 18, 2023
15 Amp Circuit Breaker Vs 20 Amp Outlet: Top 5 Differences

Most American households use 120V electric currents that permit both 20 amp and 15 amp circuit intensity. Owing to this complexity, it is key to clearly understand a 15 amp vs 20 amp circuit breaker, which helps you operate your electric system in your home safely and effectively. 

That also is the drive of our presence today, which will not just inform you of the top five differences between them but also unveil some of the most tricky of this topic for you.

15 Amp Vs 20 Amp Outlet: What Are They?

Where Are 15 Amp Outlets Required?

A 15 ampere (15 amp) outlet belongs to one of the best outstanding electric receptacles in the current market.

The root of this dissemination is that the outlet delivers its compatibility and user-friendliness in most household applications for small-scale in-home and personal uses. 

It powers up most electronic devices like lamps or TV, which don’t exceed 12-amp loads. Therefore, this kind of outlet is commonly set up in bedrooms and living rooms, with many gadgets calling for low power. 

Typically, the outlet appears on the market with two key kinds. The first type comes in a two-prong one, which includes a prime hole accompanying the primary hole shaped like a letter U. 

The other is a design with a triple-prong outlet, comprising two principal holes along with one prime shaped like a letter U.

Moreover, setting an electric circuit for this outlet just requires a 14 AWG gauge wire. 

Where Are 20 Amp Outlets Required?

The pattern of the option is almost similar to a 15-amperage outlet. Nevertheless, it isn’t hard for you to find there is a small slot between two parts of the outlet. The 20 amp receptacle bears a horizontal one with dual pins placed at the left-corner position of it, which is designed in the form of a T letter. 

The outlet is not as popular as the 15 amp ones due to its compatibility. The 20 amp type can just match with its appropriate receptacle and say no to any other ones. 

With the 20 amp version, we may choose devices with the same amp plug to link directly to a receptacle. The design is specifically engineered for devices with high-powered capacities, like washing machines, refrigerators, and so on. Thus, 20 amp outlets are commonly used in laundry areas and kitchens. 

In addition to the safety domain, the outlets usually appear on outdoor applications for powering sources.  

The Difference Between 15 And 20-Amp Outlets

Circuit Breaker

Circuit Breaker

In the installation of an outlet, we need to put more consideration. For a 20A circuit, you must equip a protective tool with a more powerful rating (20A), but a 15A will just need a 15A breaker to operate it. 

Furthermore, when a circuit is worked in a wet or humid area, don’t forget to use a GFCI breaker or GFCI outlet. For some other zones, there are many more ​​possibilities of certain ARC faults, and it would be wiser to use an AFCI breaker or outlet. 


The 15 amp one meets power consumption purposes with small scales. The other type satisfies power consumption requirements with large scales, even industry-level usage. 


20- and 15-amp outlets chiefly differ in the form of their prongs, as stated. A 20 amp outlet has a prong structure with a vertical T shape, while a 15 amp outlet has its prong with a U-letter shape. 


The 15 amp option can be compatible with a 15 amp as well as a 20 amp outlet. Meanwhile, the other can only go with outlets of 20 amp. 


The 15 amp version is more prevalent than its rival since it lends much compatibility.

Due to the picky usage, the 20 amp type is less common in the market.  


Should I Get 15 Amp Or 20 Amp Outlets?

The compact answer to this query is to depend on your power consumption uses. 

If you are finding a circuit breaker for your household uses in the living room or bedroom, a 15 amp outlet should become your priority in the comparison.

Suppose you long for a circuit breaker for your laundry zones or some small business; you can consider 20 amp outlets. 

Is It Ok To Change A 15 Amp Outlet With A 20 Amp?

Yes, you can do it. 

You can replace a 15 amp outlet with a 20 amp circuit, given that you have to use a 20 amp GFCI outlet. In addition, you should not forget to take a look at the wire dimension to ensure your wire is 12 AWG. 

Bottom Lines

We have just walked through the difference between 15A vs 20A outlets as well as unclog the top of hottest queries of these outlets. Once we have kept your patience till these final words, we understand that our content has some interpretation to your curiosity earlier. 

From now on, you need to base your power consumption purpose on choosing the right circuit breaker which contributes to your and your family’s safety.

See more: How many watts can 15 amps circuit handle?

Automotive Mechanic at PowerAll

With 7 years experience in management positions leading automotive mechanics at PowerAll, Erik Watkins wishes to share useful knowledge and information about automotive mechanical equipment.


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