A bathroom outlet height that’s too low is inconvenient and might be dangerous. Imagine you’re set to blow-dry your hair. You then realize that the outlet is too low on the wall for you to reach. You may resort to extension cords or using an outlet that is already overburdened.
It’s also a waste of precious wall space. When designing a bathroom, the ideal position for a standard bathroom outlet should be at least six inches away from the counter and the bathtub.
There are a few factors to consider. Here is everything you need to know that affects the height of bathroom outlets.
Bathroom Outlet Height Requirements
The National Electrical Code (NEC) sets the regulations for electrical work. All 120-volt, 60-Hz outlets must sit at least 12 inches above the finished floor. Experts may be more cautious and recommend 18 inches above the floor. This prevents water damage from splashing near sinks and showers.
For ease of use, the NEC requires that outlets are no more than 6 feet apart. Electricians will often recommend spacing them closer together, especially in small bathrooms. Consider these outlet requirements for a safe and functional space.
Other recommendations from the NEC are:
- The outlet must be at least 1 foot away from the bathroom sink.
- If people with disabilities use the bathroom, allow for lower outlets. The outlets should be no more than 44-48 inches from the floor. A wide countertop will reduce that amount.
- You cannot place outlets over the sink, bathtub, or shower
- All new electrical outlets should also be tamper resistant, especially in commercial places
- All outlets must also have GFCI/AFCI protection
Following these guidelines will make choosing the right outlet height easy. It will also help ensure everyone can use the bathroom without problems.
A Guide for Choosing the Best Outlet Height for Your Bathroom
Now we know the height rules to ensure your bathroom is up to code. It’s time to fine-tune the decision. Let’s decide on a custom height and position for your outlets.
Here are some factors which can help guide this decision:
You don’t want to do deep-knee bends every time you need to plug something in. So make sure the outlet sits at a comfortable height for you. Likewise, placing an outlet too high above the sink may force you to reach to plug or unplug an appliance.
If you live alone, your decision will be an easy one. You should also consider other people who may need to use your bathroom.
If someone in your household uses a wheelchair, you’ll need to adjust the height. Ensure the outlet complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This act states that you should place outlets between 15 and 48 inches above the floor.
It’s important to place the outlets at a reasonable distance for everyone. This ensures that everyone can use the electrical outlet in your bathroom.
Outlets for Charging Devices
Not all devices need a constant electrical source. Some use batteries such as shavers and electric toothbrushes. These devices need charging before each use. Think about where they will stay and if you want them to stay hidden while charging.
You may wish to consider placing power outlets inside appliance storage areas. Or install the outlets inside cabinets, drawers, and shelves. Doing this will declutter your counter, leaving you with a neat bathroom. It also removes the temptation for children to play with items left out.
Height for Devices that Rely on Direct Connection
Outlets only work if you can reach them. Consider the length of the cord when determining bathroom outlet height requirements.
Where you place the outlet can affect how you use it. You’ll want to place the outlet near the mirror and at a comfortable distance that will allow you to dry your hair. Having to contort in front of the mirror while styling your hair will only make you frustrated. You may want to use your hairdryer less.
Another factor to consider is the number of people who use the bathroom. It’s important to have enough outlets. If more than one person uses the bathroom at one time, this avoids any battles over outlet usage.
If you’re like most people, your bathroom is a sanctuary for relaxation and unwinding. This may include using your phone or tablet while taking a bath or using a shower radio. Make ensure the outlet is accessible for anything needed to turn your bathroom into a spa.
If you have a smaller bathroom and like to use bathroom gadgets, avoid placing the outlet near the door. Too many plugs in a small area with long cords could be a tripping hazard.
Consider the Aesthetics
This one is less important than the safety factors on this list. Hiding electrical outlets in your bathroom may be important to you. It’s possible to be safe with outlets while ensuring they don’t overwhelm the design.
If you have a sleek and modern bathroom, choose outlets that remain flush with the wall and blend in. You could also consider surface-mounted outlets. They provide a touch of classic charm for a more traditional space.
You may also consider concealing the outlets. There are ways to hide bathroom outlets and keep your space looking chic. Many of these options don’t need an electrician:
- Cover the outlet with a decorative plate. You can do this with nothing more than a screwdriver and a kit that you can buy at a local hardware store or online. Make sure you get the right size plate for your outlet.
- A recessed outlet box to tuck cords away can be a solution. You may have to hire a professional. This requires a bit of work, but it will give your bathroom a clean look if you want to put the time into doing it.
- Try color-matching outlets to the walls where you want them to sit.
- Have you considered pop-out outlets? These are hard to notice when not in use but are available at a touch.
- Place outlets inside cabinets, shelves, or drawers. This also keeps gadgets away from splashes.
- If you don’t use an item often, try adding an outlet underneath cabinets for extra charging space.
Making outlets almost invisible is easy. Following these suggestions, you’ll work with rather than against your bathroom’s décor.
Talk to an Electrician
Electrical experience is valuable when dealing with where to place an outlet. I find it helps to consult a trained electrician if there are questions.
An electrician can tell you the ideal outlet height. They will use their experience and consider your bathroom’s specific needs. Such as placing the outlet high enough if you have a whirlpool tub to avoid any potential water damage.
They are also up-to-date with local laws and well-versed in electrical safety. Your insurance may also have demands. Such as consulting a professional before undertaking significant work in your home. By working with a professional, your outlets will be at the perfect height for your bathroom.
The correct bathroom outlet height may seem unimportant. Yet knowing the right height will ensure a safe, code-compliant, and useable bathroom.
Keep these factors in mind when making your final decision. Do you have questions about what would work best for you or a loved one? Always consult with a licensed and trained electrician. They will be able to help you based on the specific layout of your bathroom and the code requirements in your area.