4 Types of Electrical Receptacles Explained

There are many different types of electrical receptacles, and it's important to know the difference between all of them so you can wire up anything in your home safely. Many of these different types of receptacles are intended for a specific purpose and therefore have certain voltages. This makes it very important that you choose the right one.

1. Ground Fault Receptacle

Ground fault receptacles are required in kitchens and bathrooms, and are also necessary if you are installing sockets in the garden. The GFCI outlets are very easy to identify. These will have two narrow slots and a semi circle hole. There will also be a number of buttons on the receptacle for testing purposes.

The black button is used to test the receptacle and the red button can reset it. GFCI receptacles have built in circuit breakers and should be tested regularly.

2. Standard Receptacles

Standard receptacles are the normal outlets that you see around your house. These should be found in living rooms, dining rooms, and many other areas of your home. They are used to plug in a variety of different applications and equipment, from heaters to TV's.

These types of receptacles will supply 120 volts and will normally be a two or three pin plug. They look very similar to GFCI receptacles, but without the reset buttons.

3. Dryer Receptacle

Dryer receptacles are specifically designed for tumble dryers. They provide plenty of power for the dryer, including a 120V and 240V circuit. The dryer receptacle will either be a three or four pin receptacle.

All newer homes should be fitted with four pin dryer receptacles, as this is part of the new building code. The dryer receptacle has four pins that will provide a 120V line and a 240V line.

4. Range Receptacle

A range requires much more power than a conventional appliance, meaning that the range receptacles are much more powerful. The range receptacle should always be fitted with a circuit breaker and is only designed to be connected to an electric range cooker.


When choosing electrical receptacles, try to choose the best quality that you can afford. There are many different types of receptacle. Ideally choosing one with "industrial" or "contractor" printed on the casing should make it more likely that it is a high quality receptacle.


Not all receptacles can take the same types of wire. You should check to find out whether or not your outlet is capable of using aluminum wire, as well as copper wire. If your receptacle is marked with AL-CU then it can use both. However, if there is a cross through one then only the other type should be used.

There are lots of different types of receptacles because they all perform a different job. By choosing the best receptacle for the job you are ensuring that everything is as safe as it can possibly be.