I am installing outlets in my patio room. What is the standard height recommended above the ground for these to be installed?

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    While there is a "standard height" between 12" and 18" to center (or 16" to the top), I would measure your existing outlets and match them.
    – Matthew
    Sep 10, 2012 at 23:02
  • I'd also think about even higher. If I ever build a house, I think most will be a waist/desk height. Just seems odd to always be bending over to plug/unplug everything. ;)
    – DA01
    Sep 10, 2012 at 23:18
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    Lower makes sense for items on the floor, like floor lamps and old cabinet televisions. Today, we're charging phones and laptops on tables.
    – Jay Bazuzi
    Sep 11, 2012 at 2:49
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    The standards are designed for the "living room" situation. they have provisions for plugs above counters like in the kitchen as well. per standard every 6' along a wall there should be an outlet unless there is a door and or surface area of the wall is less then 3' I believe. I would have to dig up my rule book to be sure though. afci just got added to the list of requirements to due to pets chewing on power cords etc.
    – Kendrick
    Sep 11, 2012 at 3:15
  • I thought it was 18" standard height for outlets
    – user58929
    Aug 17, 2016 at 17:32

8 Answers 8


The direct answer to your question is "There is no standard". Outlets can be installed at whatever height is comfortable for the intended use. The only NEC requirement is that you must be within 6 feet of an outlet along any wall (12' between outlets, A unbroken wall space of 2 feet or more including space measured around a corner requires an outlet. ref. NEC 210.52.A.2. A common height for a wall outlet is between 12 to 16 inches to the bottom of the device. In rare instances, outlets are still installed in baseboards and in the floor with proper box/covers.

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    Floor outlets suck. The covers are often broken or lost, so they fill with dirt. A plugged-in cable will get pinched / badly worn by traffic. But if you need 'em, you need 'em. Ceiling outlets are sometimes an option, too.
    – Jay Bazuzi
    Sep 11, 2012 at 19:01
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    (My space is a 30'-diameter room, so I'm never close enough to an outlet!)
    – Jay Bazuzi
    Sep 11, 2012 at 19:01
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    floor outlets are ok when they have a metal cover and are recessed but usually end up being a pain as you said. celing outlets are awesome as are using builtin spaces like cabinates etc.
    – Kendrick
    Sep 16, 2012 at 1:01
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    @staticx, Well, I'd be curious to see that in writing. I have never in all my years heard of any location having that extreme of a code amendment (ie: doubling the amount of required receptacles). I'd bet money that everyone involved was simply mistaken in their interpretation of this section of the code. It wouldn't be the first time. Jan 16, 2015 at 19:28
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    Oh, I don't doubt that someone said it is required. Especially an architect. Jan 16, 2015 at 19:39

When I had my new room built onto my house, the electrician used a standard claw hammer for the height. The electrician stated that this is a general rule of thumb that many electricians use. In fact, a simple google search revealed that someone at the DoItYourself.com forums, recommended a standard 16 oz hammer standing on its end as a reference height. The eHow.com site recommends using an "electrician's hammer" as the point of reference. A forum post a the DIYChatroom recommends also to use a 16 oz hammer that gets you about 18 inches off the floor.

So, I would use the hammer as a guide.

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    I thought "electrician's hammer" was an alternate term for lineman's pliers.
    – The Photon
    Sep 18, 2012 at 23:53
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    @ThePhoton: Nope: tools-plus.com/klein-807-18.html Sep 19, 2012 at 12:14
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    "Hammer height" is an OLD electrician's trick for new work. In old work/renovation typically we just match any existing ones. I haven't seen anyone use hammer height in years. Jul 27, 2014 at 12:15
  • A 'standard' hammer does not exist. Many different manufacturers make hammers, each to their own design. The method does however, ensure uniformity throughout the job, so there is some merit in that. Otherwise, use a tape measure, it's what they are for...
    – handyman
    Mar 25, 2020 at 12:10

In the UK, Part P of the Building Regulations 2010 states that for new builds (emphasis mine):

Approved Document M recommends that in new dwellings only, switches and socket-outlets for lighting and other equipment should be between 450mm and 1200mm from finished floor level. Approved Document M does not recommend a height for new consumer units. However, one way of complying with Part M in new dwellings is to mount consumer units so that the switches are between 1350mm and 1450mm above floor level. At this height, the consumer unit is out of reach of young children yet accessible to other people when standing or sitting.

In practice, in areas where there is limited risk, it tends to be the case that unless otherwise specified, a home builder will install light switches at 1.2m above finished floor level, and sockets are at 450mm (approx 18inches) above finished floor level. Isolating switches such as those for a extractor fan for a shower are exempt from those heights (and instead would be installed close to the ceiling level).


A hammer length or the front part of a spade is good rough approximation. The exact answer according to the code of practice SANS 10142 states that it must be 500 mm above floor level.

  • In what world is this code??? Jul 27, 2014 at 12:16
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    A link to the code referenced would be useful. Jul 27, 2014 at 12:26
  • Google says it's the South African code. The most recent complete document I was able to find is from 2009; but Google shows several amendments published since. Jul 27, 2014 at 16:02

While I agree with @matthew because it answers your question of, “What is the standard heigh...?”, and I like matching the height of the existing outlets.

However, more and more of the homes we are doing we install outlets 18” AFF to match ADA requirements (not because we have to, but because the clients are older and acknowledge their “reach range” is decreasing).

We are also installing elevators (or shafts for future elevators) in multi story houses too. As the population ages, we’ll all be thinking about designing “things” and “uses” for this aging group.

  • is that 18" to the bottom, center, or top of the outlet? Mar 23, 2019 at 12:10
  • @DavidDoria I just checked with ANSI requirements and their new requirements are 15” to the bottom of outlets, drawers, etc. for unobstructed reach. That is to say, not reaching over or under anything. (See ANSI 308.)
    – Lee Sam
    Mar 23, 2019 at 21:17

There is no code on the height of electrical outlets. You have a standard height of 16" to the top of the outlet box, and a standard height of 48" to the top of the switch box. Then, there are custom heights in which different company use accordingly to the home owner or builder. Spec homes generally get standard height, and custom homes usually get standard height as well, unless other wise specified by the blue print, home owner or builder.


13" or hammer length above sub floor to bottom of box (Not a framing hammer) that's it. It is in the nec code book and there is a standard in there for all outlets. Kitchen, utility room, bath etc: .

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    Can you give a specific Code cite for this? Jul 8, 2017 at 18:54

wiring for myself all my kitchen outlet's are above counter height. I have outlets at 6 feet behind tvs, an outlet at bed height beside my bed for convenience (mine). 42" height by my desk. make your own conditions

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