I have an electrical line running through the joists of a basement storage room. It runs near an area where I’d like to put a couple of 2-gang outlets, but not immediately past. I was thinking about rerouting the line to go past where I want the outlets, and splicing them into the line.

Is it better to splice in a junction box and run a branch off the existing line to the two new outlets, or would splicing the outlets into the existing run be better? I’m starting to think the former would be better, since it lets me run whatever length of wires I need and I don’t have to worry about whatever’s downstream of the new outlets, but I figured I ask people more knowledgeable than I.

  • 3
    It makes absolutely no difference from a technical standpoint, and is then a matter of prerogative and jobsite convenience (and therefore off-topic). Good luck with the project.
    – isherwood
    Dec 16, 2019 at 20:49
  • 2
    I would disagree that it is off topic because the op did not know it makes no difference technically. So the question may be useful to others.
    – Ed Beal
    Dec 16, 2019 at 22:45
  • And there are other things about "what is the best way to wire" like "backstabs vs. screws" and "loop wires vs. pigtails" where there are substantive reasons why one "allowed" method may be better or worse from a practical standpoint. Which makes this a good question - even if if turns out to be "doesn't matter which way you do it". Dec 17, 2019 at 2:34

4 Answers 4


Either one is permitted

There is nothing special about running outlets in a string. The physical topology of wiring must be in a "tree" format, but branches are fine.

The best method is the one that provides the shortest route for most current.


I tend to make splices in places that makes the best use of the wire and the least number of “junction only” boxes.

That said, there is no real difference as long as the wires are well anchored, the boxes are accessible. and the splices or devices are properly terminated. In your situation, one thing I might do is, since I need a box there anyway, actually have an extra outlet in the ceiling (but I am 6’5”). Use the same or larger wire size and there is no difference.


Can you cut the wire in the middle so there is enough length to reach each outlet location desired and then run a new wire between the outlets to connect it all together? Thats how I would do it if this was possible since cutting wire and installing one junction box to splice off it is nearly always impossible without enough wire length to make proper connections inside of a jbox.


I would re-route as necessary.

For one thing, I like having receptacles exactly where I want them. It's neater and maybe even safer to have less cord hanging / lying around.

The other thing, you usually can't just cut the cable, put the ends in a box, and pigtail on a receptacle. That doesn't give you near enough wire in the box to work with.

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