I quit using push in about 10 years ago when I realized it was causing issues when I had a few heaters plugged in at job sites. My detective skills told me that 10 fried outlets over one winter and all 10 with the push-ins in use might be a clue to an issue.

So when can you use it? And even more important why do manufacturers still produce them with that option (and if you want to take it a step further why does big box still sell them?) ?

See question Why do electricians prefer not to use the push-in connections on receptacles? for more background.

  • As an opinion I'd say, always (code) acceptable; never advisable. Asking where they aren't code may be more appropriate. Also, I bet those outlets weren't pig-tailed. (If you find purchasable pig-tailed outlets and premade quad assemblies, let me know...)
    – Mazura
    Nov 28 '14 at 10:26

Code requires the wire to be 14 gauge copper when back-stabbed into a device.
People buy them because stores sell them and they're easy to install. Personally, I blame 14 AWG; I only run 12 with 20A breakers. What is a nuisance trip? ;)

What should I do with wires that are too large for back-stab terminals on a receptacles?

  • You seriously blame the wire??? What kind of flawed logic is this? So you only run #12? Even for lighting and simple circuits? Personally I find this counterproductive. There is absolutely no reason typical resi lighting circuits need to be 20A. The "bigger is always better" mentality is not always best. I am very curious as to what your thinking is in blaming #14 for failed backstabs. Dec 28 '14 at 21:00

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