I am adding a string (5-6) of receptacles to an existing 20A circuit in my basement that currently has just one 15A duplex receptacle on it (with 12/2 Romex). I am planning to replace the existing receptacle with a GFCI and install other receptacles downstream (with 12/2 Romex) from the Load side of the GFCI.

  1. Should I use a 20A GFCI?

  2. Is there any reason not to use 20A receptacles (apart from the cost vs. 15A)? Any reason not to install a single 20A receptacle (for a future air compressor or something), and the rest 15A?

The other circuits running outlets in my house are 20A and use 15A receptacles.


1 Answer 1


If you don't plan on using any 20 ampere cord-and-plug devices, there is no reason to install 20 ampere rated receptacles. Circuits rated for 20 amperes are useful in the home, because they can support more devices. 20 ampere receptacles are often not advantageous, except possibly in a workshop or garage.

  • what about the GFCI rating, since the OP plans to protect an additional 4-5 outlets downstream, must the GFCI have a 20A rating?
    – mac
    Dec 16, 2013 at 17:56
  • @mac Probably not. All the 125V 15A GFCI receptacles I've ever seen are 20A feed-through. Meaning the receptacles on the device are rated for 15A, but the GFCI portion is rated for 20A. Check the documentation of the device you're installing.
    – Tester101
    Feb 14, 2014 at 18:52
  • @JohnGaughan GFCI devices trip due to ground-faults, not overcurrent.
    – Tester101
    Apr 16, 2014 at 9:55
  • @Tester101 true, I think I replaced the receptacles because I bought a box of faulty ones that randomly tripped for no valid reason. Problem went away with a better brand that also happened to be 20A.
    – user4302
    Apr 16, 2014 at 14:25

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