I want to use appliances on my kitchen island but don't want it to be built in. If I hang a pendant light and install a lamp holder outlet adapter into a light bulb socket. Is this dangerous or a violation of code? I would wire the lighting like I would for electrical outlets in the kitchen and provide a GFCI upstream. I don't see anything in the code about hanging outlets in the kitchen.

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    Hello, and welcome to Home Improvement. So, you're thinking to have a hanging light, screw in an outlet adaptor, and then plug your kitchen tools into the adaptor? I'm reeeeally dubious about that... Commented Jan 3, 2019 at 14:40
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    I would think it would be preferable to install an outlet in the floor under the island. You could mount a power strip in the island and plug it into the floor. I guess it depends how often you would be moving the island and if you care what the floor looks like under it.
    – Jerrad
    Commented Jan 3, 2019 at 16:53
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    Can you provide a bit more detail of your plans? Is your intention to have an island in your kitchen that you can put in the middle, or move out of the way; or is the island intended to be used in different kitchens? What type of electrical appliances would you like to use in/on the island? And more information like that; it will help us properly assess your needs and identify a good solution.
    – marcelm
    Commented Jan 3, 2019 at 21:58

5 Answers 5


There are pendants and there are pendants. An item like this Power Pendant Outlet Drop is designed for the purpose you describe. An ordinary residential grade hanging light is NOT. There are a few possible issues:

  • An ordinary hanging light fixture is designed to carry the weight of the fixture. It is not designed to handle frequent manipulation and the stress of daily plugging/unplugging of appliances.

  • An ordinary light fixture (hanging or a table lamp or whatever) will often have smaller size wire than needed for a full 15A or 20A circuit because the requirements (and associated UL testing/rating) are based on the fixture having a maximum continuous usage far lower than 15A or 20A. For example, a 6-bulb chandelier might be rated for 6 x 60W = 360W == 3A continuous usage. Therefore, it can have 18 AWG wires from the bulbs on up to the ceiling box. You do NOT want to run your toaster oven on 18 AWG wires.

  • Grounding - I do not know if ANY edison-base to receptacle adapters are available with proper 3-wire grounded receptacles. I know the ones I Google'd now (UL listed, name brand) are NOT grounded, and I suspect that by design it is not possible to have such an adapter properly grounded.

  • GFCI - If the lighting circuit is on a GFCI breaker (or downstream "Load" of a GFCI receptacle) then you are protected (and this helps mitigate the grounding concern). But if that is not the case then you would need to retrofit a GFCI breaker. If you can't do that (e.g., old fuse box or double-stuff breakers) then you are going against modern code for kitchen receptacles.

In short: This is not a good idea unless you are prepared to install a "real" pendant power source.

As far as the alternative of a floor outlet - that can easily solve most of these issues. However, a floor outlet will be too far away for modern kitchen appliances that typically have (based on modern kitchen electrical code) ~ 2 - 3 ft. cords. A hanging pendant (of the right type) does not have that problem.

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    I fully agree that most lights would not have large enough wires, in industrial facilities we have pendants in many locations in work areas above tables where a floor outlet would not stand up with proper cord grips and strain reliefs it won't look as nice as I would want in my home but it would be the proper way to do it.
    – Ed Beal
    Commented Jan 3, 2019 at 17:38
  • It depends on the "look". If you want an "artistic" look, this is a "NO". But if you go for steel counters & appliances and "commercial" look (i.e., professional chef wannabe) then a proper pendant might fit in just fine. Commented Jan 3, 2019 at 17:47
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    In addition to all of these great points, the lighting circuit will also certainly be shared with a number of other devices and outlets. Even if OP removed the fixture completely and dropped a power pendant straight from the octo-box, it's entirely possible that this will be sharing a circuit with something that will pop a breaker if run in parallel with either a toaster or kettle, either of which can easily consume most of the available amperage of a single 15A circuit. Kitchen outlets are usually dedicated (either dual-circuit split 15A or single 20A) to handle these high load appliances.
    – J...
    Commented Jan 3, 2019 at 18:24
  • @J... I agree, though the same issue can apply in the case of a new floor outlet or a new outlet anywhere in the kitchen - if it is piggybacked off another circuit you can run into trouble. Commented Jan 3, 2019 at 18:30
  • @manassehkatz Yep. My vote would 100% be for a new dedicated circuit to a floor outlet. The size would depend on what they intend to use it for. If they want to run a kettle, toaster oven, and microwave all at the same time, for example, maybe multiple circuits.
    – J...
    Commented Jan 3, 2019 at 18:35

Yes, it's a terrible idea. People really don't get that their kitchen appliances are the heaviest draw plug-in loads in the home. Yes, really, that silly little $18 hot plate draws a full 1500 watts (12.5 amps). Don't "nahhh" me, it's true. Go look.

And when you're done, check out that $12 hair dryer and $15 heater-fan.

So putting any kitchen appliance on an improvised power source is sheer madness.

However, pendant lamps are a name that is derived from another thing: the pendant. That is a power drop from the ceiling. It uses

  • a heavy flexible cord that is pendant-rated, talk with your local electrical supply house about these.
  • quality, typically metal-net strain relief on both ends of the cord.
  • a durable junction box in both ceiling and pendant, typically aluminum or steel

I don't buy prefabricated pendants, I knock them together out of the above parts, as needed to suit.

Code requires you provide GFCI protection to the pendant since it serves kitchen countertops. Because the cord itself is vulnerable to damage, I suggest having the GFCI device upstream of the pendant, e.g. GFCI breaker.

You note from the above that one circuit can't even support two of these large kitchen-appliance loads. So there's a lot of sense to putting 2 circuits out at the island. If you do that, I advise either having 2 pendants, or seeking /5 cordage (2 hots 2 neutrals 1 ground). In cordage, the ground counts as a wire. The trouble with running /4 MWBC and using a 2-pole GFCI breaker is then you can't do AFCI, and a pendant cord is a really good use-case for AFCI.

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    "Any kitchen appliance" is misstated. Heating/cooling devices and other kitchen appliances are in completely different classes. A mixer, blender, food processor, or similar has no demanding electrical requirements. An oven or hot plate of course does. Commented Jan 3, 2019 at 20:57
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    @R.. The problem is, (and I have plenty of direct experience with this), consumers have no earthly clue how much current or power any given appliance actually draws. If I say "large draw appliances", they literally think "like the refrigerator, then", which you and I know is the opposite of true. I could find no way to convey in an accessible way "improvised electrical connections are OK for low draw appliances". Not that I'm sure I would even want to say that. Commented Jan 3, 2019 at 21:49
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    @R.. "A mixer, blender, food processor, or similar has no demanding electrical requirements." - I think you are severely underestimating those devices; NutriBullet blender: 900 watts (7.5A @ 120V); CuisinArt 14-cup food processor: 720 watts (6A @ 120V). While powerful, those devices are nothing crazy. Also, those power figures are likely rated power; startup/stall power is probably higher. It's definitely more than I'd be comfortable running through a lamp socket adapter.
    – marcelm
    Commented Jan 3, 2019 at 22:17
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    @marcelm: OK, when I think of food processor, it's a 1-4 cup device, not a 14 cup behemoth. Indeed some people have much bigger things in mind. Commented Jan 3, 2019 at 22:56
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    @Xen2050 Appliances are labeled with their power requirements. But I've been amazed at how many people have absolutely no clue about these things. Yes, when it comes to really figuring it out it is usually trivial. But non-technical people are often clueless. Manufacturers even muddy things more by doing things like using "60W equivalent" on an 8W LED light bulb. And I can think of plenty of other examples - the bottom line is most people just don't know. They plug it in and it works and they don't know how much power it uses. Commented Jan 4, 2019 at 4:44

The only problem I can see is that the wiring internal to a pendant lamp is probably not rated for the 20A that is typically needed for kitchen outlets.

Another option might be a flush mounted floor outlet:

floor outlet

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    The feature to look for is waterproofness - kitchen floors get wet. Both when closed as pictured, and when connected to a line.
    – Criggie
    Commented Jan 3, 2019 at 19:09
  • Find one in Decora, otherwise you need a GFCI breaker instead of just a receptacle - but only if the junction box is big enough to fit a GFCI anyway...
    – Mazura
    Commented Jan 4, 2019 at 0:26
  • I’d have thought outlets mounted in the side of the island or as a pop-up in its top surface would be preferable.
    – eggyal
    Commented Jan 4, 2019 at 5:50
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    @eggyal - Did you miss that the island is portable?
    – AndyT
    Commented Jan 4, 2019 at 11:59
  • @AndyT: Yep! Apologies.
    – eggyal
    Commented Jan 4, 2019 at 14:29

While it might be unsightly, I would see if you can install some surface-mount conduit. It's not pretty, but it would let you feed wires safely overhead to your island. You simply wire it into an existing outlet along the wall.

To get the power down from the ceiling, you install a commonly available extension cord reel.

Installed properly, you can always remove the conduit should you tire of this

  • A retractable outlet on some kind of takeup reel, at the ceiling might work. Something like a retractable garden hose reel. Would be ideal if the line-socket could move up and out of eye-line but remain in reach.
    – Criggie
    Commented Jan 3, 2019 at 19:11
  • They make retractable outlets but now we are talking really ugly or the ones I have seen are.
    – Ed Beal
    Commented Jan 3, 2019 at 20:41

I've also considered the issue with having power available at a portable kitchen island and you could do what I did in the garage and hang an electrical reel on the ceiling. Link

Yeah, by itself it's ugly in a kitchen but it should be possible to enclose it within a box of some sort so that only the plug is visible. Pulls down when you need it, retracts when not needed and doesn't require major renovations while you see if it is a workable solution.

And if you have an attic above the kitchen you could have an outlet box installed in the attic to plug the reel into so that the reel is not visible nor taking up headroom in the kitchen. Not an ideal setup but workable.

Please check the rating of the extension reel and make sure that it will handle the load of whatever the item is that your using (blender ?). Also, while outlet boxes in a kitchen are required to be on a GFCI, usually lighting circuits are not. So make sure that either the line is protected by a GFCI or connect a portable one in line with the reel.

** Edited **

I'm not an electrician but it looks like running a cord through the ceiling is not allowed.

From the 2017 NEC: 400.12 Uses Not Permitted.

Unless specifically permitted in 400.10, flexible cables, flexible cord sets, and power supply cords shall not be used for the following:

(1) As a substitute for the fixed wiring of a structure

(2) Where run through holes in walls, structural ceilings, suspended ceilings, dropped ceilings, or floors ...

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