What do you use your island outlets for?

burntfingersMay 28, 2013

Hello all,

We've had to regroup. The custom island I had planned has had to go by the wayside since we've pretty much run out of money. So.... Ikea to the rescue! A bunch of cabinets in a somewhat related configuration yields an island with one drawer cabinet on each side of the island (two on one side to accommodate a sink as well). And a bunch of panels to hide the "sides" of the cabinets and have them all match.

I have to incorporate a switch for the ceiling fan somewhere on the island because code requires it, so I know that will probably have to be on one of the side panels. But, I'd originally planned on outlets as well. With the new configuration, incorporating the boxes for the outlets is going to be difficult.

So my question: what do you plug into the outlets on your island? Where are they located? Most of my workhorse appliances - mixer, blender, crockpot, etc. -- will be located on the counter behind the island and will have their own outlets. The island is probably going to be used mostly for prep, and for baking. So the only thing I can think of that I might want to plug in on the island is an immersion blender.

What am I missing?


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The code where I live requires an outlet on any island and I suspect itâÂÂs pretty universal. We use ours for hand beater, toaster, blender and cell phone charging. Don't think you can avoid it no matter what you wish.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2013 at 9:41PM
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I used two different kinds out of outlets. I would have preferred not to have been required to place two, but code states one on each side of an island divided by a sink.

With the MW drawer end of my island, it was difficult to place an outlet because the MW used up so much space inside the cab. We had just enough room to squeeze one in the end panel in the back. It's not the most conveniently placed outlet, but I do use it. Like you, most of my small appliances are stored and used on the perimeter, although I use my citrus juicer from that island outlet.

Placement of an outlet on the other end of the island was even more problematic unless I wanted one smack in the middle of the end panel, which would have meant cutting back the depth of drawer above my trash pullout. That storage space was too valuable for me to lose. In the end, my sparky suggested placing an outlet behind the island under the seating overhang. I didn't think it would meet code, but the inspector didn't say a word. I used a sillite as I wanted the outlet to be less obtrusive; I didn't need a duplex there as I planned to probably never use the code-required-but-completely-unnecessary outlet to begin with; and I had a sillite left over anyway.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2013 at 10:00PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

We were required to have an outlet in the island as well. We put one inside the bookcase on the end of the island and I put a second one in next to the oven in the island. The one in the bookcase we use for charging phones and things. The one next to the oven is the work horse as I use most of my appliances (food processor, blender, mixer, mini chop) on the island.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2013 at 10:20PM
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Thanks everyone....

Moebus, I agree - there's no escape .

Breezy, I'm especially happy to hear you've used the Sillites - I found their website this afternoon, and they look very promising!

Annie, thanks for the list of what you use the outlets for. So far, it's looking like I'll be OK with just the minimum required.

Hoping for more opinions....

    Bookmark   May 28, 2013 at 10:40PM
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My perimeter counters are set up in straight lines on either side of the island. One is used for cleanup. The other is used for cooktop stuff. So my island is where I plug everything in. Fortunately I had the space for a long island. I store my blender, my Cuisinart, and my Mixer in the island. No appliances are left out on the counter.

We have 2 outlets. One is hidden under the counter overhang on one side of the prep sink, the other is a mocket (pull up) outlet, which is the one I most frequently use. I recently had to have my GC increase/change the fuse strength (I may not be using the correct electrical language here!) because I kept popping the GFC when I cooked. I often find myself using both outlets.

I like to use my wok on one of the outlets fairly frequently and my rice cooker on the other outlet. The Cuisinart gets a fair amount of use as does the blender. The mixer, meh, not so much. And one of my very favorite appliances is the Stir-Crazy Popcorn Maker. It ranks right up there with frequent use. And, if anyone wonders, Orville Reddenbocker popcorn won my unofficial endorsement as best popcorn. NO microwave popcorn here!

The mocket is located above a drawer. The GC cut away and reassembled a portion of that door to make space for the mocket assembly. If you want more specific details/photos, I can try and get them for you.

In this photo, the mocket is over by the watermelon side of the prep sink. The under the counter outlet is where the first counter stool is located. That outlet has space for it's appliance in some shallow door type shelving accessed from the opposite side, which is where I store my Tupperware.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2013 at 5:54AM
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I use my island outlets for my mixer, carving knife, skillet, bread machine, pizelle maker , etc. but it sounds like you have other places for those tasks. My island is my main work area as I am tall and have uppers over the other counters that get in my way. One thing I don't see mentioned above is that the island often becomes a buffet or serving line during casual gatherings. The outlets are useful for warming a crock or other items as we serve. I only have an outlet on one end of the island and wish I had another.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2013 at 6:51AM
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So far we have only used them for our laptops. I think our code required two outlets (we do use both) but they are close together.

You can see the black outlets.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2013 at 7:13AM
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I was a bit livid when I learned my custom island would need two outlets to meet code. :( They are used to charge laptops, cell phones, Nooks and the electric knife on holidays. Could easily have lived without them.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2013 at 8:42AM
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I work at the island, so the usual. FWIW, though (to keep from having to stretch a cord from the end of the island across a sink to where I work), I installed an outlet inside the door below the sink, tucked up in the front corner.

Our county code incorporated the standard building code with no additions, and it had nothing to say about putting it behind a door or keeping it in the open.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2013 at 9:01AM
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Thanks again to all for the good ideas. Brianstreehouse - great reminder about the buffet aspect of islands! I'm trying to achieve a "split level" island and you've made me now consider putting an outlet in the vertical bit between the two levels!

Keep 'em coming! I love this forum.....

    Bookmark   May 29, 2013 at 3:43PM
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I'm having an outlet put into the recessed toe kick under one of the drawer stacks in my island. Plan to use it to plug in the cat's water dish--I wanted a floor level outlet so I could hide the plug/cord as best as possible.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2013 at 3:58PM
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We did one on the panel in front of the island prep sink. That one gets used mostly for the food processors (regular and mini) which we keep in the cabinet under the sink and occasionally for the immersion blender. Sometimes the waffle maker gets plugged in there - depending on what else is going on - sometimes it gets plugged into one of the other outlets.

Our island is 8' long and 3' deep plus a 15" seating overhang. We put one at each edge under the seating overhang. Those get used for laptops and other chargers if someone wants to sit there with a device that needs power. They also sometimes get used for the hand mixer, an electric skillet or the food processor (when someone else is using the main prep location by the outlet on the front of the sink.

We didn't want an outlet in the middle of the side of the island where it would be more conspicuous. The outlets under the overhang are mounted on pull out cabinets that open to the side of the island. We used shallow boxes to minimize the intrusion of the outlet into the cabinet.

Our electrician was concerned about whether the outlets under the overhang would count for the code required outlets. We reasoned that the problem with outlets under an overhang is that they require too long a cord if they are in the middle where the cord has to go to the edge of the overhang and back but since these are near the side of the overhang, they don't require any significant extra cord length. He checked with our local code department and they agreed that the outlets could count.

We used Lutron matte black outlets and natural cherry outlet covers to match our island.

You can see the shallow box and the conduit to it in the top left of this cabinet. The thickness of the panel also helps keep it from intruding into the cabinet.

Outlets on the back of the island:

    Bookmark   May 29, 2013 at 7:58PM
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we have angled plugmold under the overhang on each side. We use them all the time and happy with them. Not very noticeable.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2013 at 8:39PM
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Well, when I had them, I used them for the blender, mixer, food processor and all other small appliances except the crockpot, toaster oven, and coffeemaker. I also used one for my laptop when I used it at the kitchen table. Like someone else posted, I'm on the tall side, and don't like using the small appliances while having a cabinet in my face. They will be re-installed one day, as soon as DH can bring himself to put them in the raised panels that are now on the ends of the island. Meanwhile, I use the small appliances on the perimeter counters (grumble.....)

    Bookmark   May 29, 2013 at 8:41PM
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We have only one outlet at the end of the island. Our island is small, just 2 x 6. I also have a sort of peninsula with a raised bar area on the dining room side. There are 2 outlets in that vertical backsplash area between the two surfaces.

I thought I was going to be using that area below the raised bar for my baking area. And I do, sometimes, so those outlets come in handy for the food processor and the mixer. But I tend to do everything on the island, so that outlet is used for the mixer, food processor, blender, and can opener. And since we keep a laptop and the iPad on the bar, unless we're having company, I use the outlets in that vertical surface for those things.

End of island:

''peninsula'' area with raised bar (right hand side of photo):

    Bookmark   May 30, 2013 at 12:05AM
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Thanks everyone-- I've ordered four sillites. Hoping (planning) to put two in the middle third of the vertical riser (elevating the "serving" section from the working section), and two in the top of the serving section, closer to the ends of the countertop run.

Pictures at eleven . . . .!

    Bookmark   June 16, 2013 at 9:16PM
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