Trying to DIY my first outlet and the box I opened has 3 lines all connected with nuts (3 grounds, 3 blacks, 3 whites), but the tutorials I've seen involve adding outlets with only 2 lines.

How do I add in a new outlet (15A-125V Leviton Plus from home depot) since there are only two spots for wires on the outlet?

  • Add a fourth line and pigtail all three wires so only one black, one white, and one ground wire is attached to the outlet?
  • Connect the hot wire to one screw and pigtail the remaining two non-hot wires to the other screw? (repeat with white lines)

Also, I saw this article on Spruce via googling and it says "The ground wire does not need a pigtail, as it can be connected directly to the new receptacle.". What does that mean? Where would the other two ground wires go if I don't pigtail them to outlet?

Edit: The box is plastic and I was planning to use push-in wire connectors for connecting them together instead of the nuts.

  • 1
    That Spruce article has some strange assertions, particularly around crimping grounds. So ignore that and just go with the pigtails. Commented Jan 2, 2023 at 21:19
  • Be sure to coordinate breaker size and wire size with your pigtails... 20A breaker: 12awg wire. 15A breaker: 14awg or better. Commented Jan 2, 2023 at 21:22
  • 1
    Does the box already have an old outlet installed which you're replacing with the new one? If so, then wire the new one up exactly the same way as the old one. Don't go pulling things apart to try to match with an online article which doesn't fit your situation. Presumably the wiring to the old outlet worked - so don't go changing things just for the sake of it.
    – brhans
    Commented Jan 3, 2023 at 15:33
  • Sorry should have made it clearer. I want a new outlet in a room and thought it be easiest to open one of the wall plates that already has a box and replace it with an outlet.
    – sushi
    Commented Jan 5, 2023 at 0:36

2 Answers 2


The first option is going to be easier and more safe.

Unless you have a solid understanding of how this circuit is set up, we wouldn't know if it needs to comply with the MWBC rules, which includes NOT using the receptacle for neutral continuity. All of the neutral wires would have to be in a wire nut in that case.

The ground wires follow some of the same rules and should be pigtailed. I do not recommend the crimp technique.

  • when you say that the "ground wires follow some of the same rules", does that mean I should do something other then connect them all together and have one wire connected to the outlet? Also curious conceptionally what the difference between option 1 and 2 if you don't mind.
    – sushi
    Commented Jan 2, 2023 at 22:20
  • 1
    Conceptually, if you run the neutral wire through a receptacle on a multiwire circuit, and then later someone decides to remove or replace that receptacle, having the neutral disconnected would make it a "hot" wire at that box, plus you'd have two or more circuits not working. Commented Jan 3, 2023 at 1:00
  • Similar idea with ground wires. Continuity can't depend on the presence of any connected device. Commented Jan 3, 2023 at 1:02

Second option might be a touch better, since you do not need to worry if the wire nut is big enough for four wires.

If a metal box, then the new outlet will be grounded by the mounting screws.

If plastic then need a short ground wire to the other grounds.

Must keep connected grounds together, but can add to them.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.