Outlets above countertops

calyle7September 4, 2013

What is the Best placement for outlets above the countertops?
Should they be placed as low as possible to be hidden as best as they can or higher?
Is it best to place sideways or up and down?
Just wanted a few opinions..

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I think it is just a matter of preference. Sideways and closer to the bottom does look nice as they are more hidden, but you have to move the appliance in front of it to plug/unplug. When we redid our kitchen (before I found this wonderful site unfortunately), I didnt give the outlets a second thought and left them as is. I think you just get used to however you have them...the plate covers blend in...I really don't notice them anymore.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2013 at 10:01AM
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I prefer them lower on the wall, but vertical vs. horizontal - I don't think I even thought about it. Lots of people get those undercabinet strips, but personally i don't understand why those are better, since then you always see the cords.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2013 at 12:04PM
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If you are going to be installing a decorative back splash, you might want to take your design into consideration when planning for the outlets. For instance, if you plan to have a row of 2 inch deco tiles spaced along the back splash at a certain height, you wouldn't want most of them cut off by the outlets. Just a thought.

I put my outlets on the low side of center because I like the cords to be covered up when an appliance is plugged in.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2013 at 1:34PM
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Based on information I found here on GW, I actually have mine low to the counter. They are horizontal as well (as is every outlet in my home). My thought was that the appliances would cover up the outlet. I have to admit though, I wouldn't have thought anything of it prior to seeing the discussions on this forum. The only thing I could see bugging me is having something plugged in and the cord hanging from under an upper cabinet. Otherwise I wouldn't think twice about it.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2013 at 1:58PM
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I did both. Some low for appliances kept on the counter, some high and hidden under the uppers for occasional use appliances. Then you don't see outlets or cords.

I agree with the planning of the backsplash (which is potentially a problem when you don't finalize the backsplash). I have gone as far as to do a complete tile layout and leaving the boxes so they could be adjusted slightly (which requires extra nailers in the framing stage)---so that every outlet fell exactly within the top/bottom/left sides of a 3x6 tile. (Outlets aren't 6" long, so there was the same sized bit of tile to the right of each outlet.) The electrician was not thrilled about doing it, the contractors weren't thrilled about doing it. The client was thrilled about doing it because that's the kind detail they liked.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2013 at 3:27PM
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Thanks everyone for your advise and what you did...it's a Big help to someone that doesn't know what she is doing..."me" I know the electrician will do it the way he thinks is best...but I want to be sure his opinion and mine are the same or at least close.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2013 at 4:45PM
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I have them in three locations: low and horizontal at countertop height (hidden behind appliances/cannisters that "live" on the counter); up and under the cabinets (in areas where they won't be used except occasionally but are required by code); under the outer edge of the island (Out of sight but useful for appliances used "on" the island -- not always allowed by code). I also have built-in USB outlets "under" my counter to charge my electronics.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2013 at 4:46PM
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One other thing to consider is the outlet covers. I wasn't thinking a whole lot about these and going to go low and horizontal. However, a couple of mine were going to be there but not always plugged into so not always hidden. Then I found great covers which absolutely had to go vertical.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2013 at 7:35PM
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Gooster - I plan to install USB outlets as well but I haven't decided what to use yet. I have outlets inside my upper cabinets (2 of them) and was thinking of just replacing the outlets with the outlets that have USB plugs in addition to the regular plugs. What did you go with? Pictures?? Thanks!

    Bookmark   September 4, 2013 at 8:02PM
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I went with the Leviton USB outlet that they sell at HD or Lowe's. Whatever you do, make sure you get an outlet capable of supplying 2.1Amps via USB (what is needed to quickly charge an iPad or iPhone 5)

Here's a pic of the installation. We went under the island lip (behind the apron), as there was really no suitable upper in the plan. Also, since these things come in white you don't really want to use them against a stained wood. As you may notice, we didn't get around to staining the plywood underside of our counter underlayment (and may never, since it is not visible). The idea was to install a small bracket to hold the USB cable(s) at all times.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   September 4, 2013 at 11:54PM
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We re-installed ours horizontally. Just turned them in place and adjusted them slightly vertically to fit within one row of the backsplash tile. DH installed the lower rows of tile, then finalized the placement as he was installing the row of tile just below the outlets. The outlet covers are just almond plastic, but are close enough to the tile color to not be too noticeable.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2013 at 12:42AM
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Now I'm bummed. This is another area of my remodel I did not address with the KD and electrician. This is a little off topic but because of GW and the ABB club, I wouldn't pick out a backsplash material until the countertops were installed. My KD (who I really like and has done a great job) was shocked. She had never had a client not choose & order their backsplash once the tops were chosen. She warned me it could delay our project. Some tile orders take 6 weeks or more and even if the was tile was immediately available, their installer would most likely be booked. I just picked a backsplash yesterday and i love it. But look at all the switches & outlets that are going to disrupt it.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2013 at 3:22PM
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The range side with two sets of light switches & outlets that will be in the middle of my backsplash. I thought I researched & obsessed about every detail. Our electrical walk through was fast and I was obsessing about where to hang the the pendants. I wish I had been paying attention to outlets & light switches.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2013 at 3:39PM
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One thing to check on is how far from the sink the light and garbage disposer switch (if you're using a wall switch,) are. I really liked our electrician and think he did a good job, but for some reason he set the light switch way over so that I have to reach behind the dish drainer. Wish I'd thought about it before-hand!

    Bookmark   September 7, 2013 at 4:32PM
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When I re did my counters and backsplash last winter, I replaced the receptacles and switches with Lutron Claro screw less trim. They look so great, I ended up changing out almost the whole house! They come in over 20 colors, and also Stainless, to match or compliment almost any backsplash material or design.

Here is a link that might be useful: Screw less switch plates

    Bookmark   September 7, 2013 at 6:12PM
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