Currently I'm not able to pull the built-in microwave out to examine the outlet, so am leaning on the expertise here. It is a duplex outlet and the connected breaker is 20A, constructed around 2005. I'm looking at replacing the existing outlet with a recessed outlet to accommodate the larger depth of a new microwave. The new microwave is rated at 14.7A.

I have found a single receptacle 20A standard clock hanger recessed outlet. Is there any reason NOT to use this? Because it is a built in, there is no practical need for a duplex outlet.

The other option available is 15A recessed duplex outlet. Is it within code to put a duplex 15A outlet on a 20A breaker?

  • The instructions for your new microwave may well call for a dedicated circuit, in which case the 20A single is the right choice. If it doesn't, you can use either (though I'd still lean towards the 20A single, in case your next microwave after this one does need a dedicated circuit).
    – Nate S.
    Mar 23, 2021 at 16:07
  • Are there any other receptacles on the circuit? Does the receptacle have 1 or 2 sockets? Mar 23, 2021 at 21:17

1 Answer 1


A duplex 15 amp receptacle is legal on a 20 amp circuit. As long as there are 2 or more 15 amp receptacles on a 20 amp branch circuit it is code compliant with the NEC see table 210.21.B.3

  • Thanks, and sorry for my ignorance, are you saying that code requires at minimum a duplex 15A outlet connected on my 20A circuit? So if I installed a single receptacle instead, to meet code it would have to be rated 20A? Mar 23, 2021 at 15:35
  • Exactly. If the only outlet on the circuit is a simplex receptacle, it has to be 20A. A 15A duplex is fine. But given that what you actually need is a single outlet, choose the 20A simplex unless there's a strong incentive (absurd price differential, say) not to.
    – Ecnerwal
    Mar 23, 2021 at 15:37
  • 1
    Yes it could be 2 separate-15 amp receptacles, or 1 20 amp I believe the code wording is 2 or more 15 amp on the 20 amp bkr. Code ref 210.21.B.3 (not the table but the words)
    – Ed Beal
    Mar 23, 2021 at 15:38

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