5 Reasons Why You May Need a Pop-Up Outlet in a Kitchen Countertop
Countertop outlets are popping up in kitchens everywhere, but do you need one?
From convenience to appearance to code requirements and safety, here are 5 reasons why you may want, or be required to have pop up countertop power outlets.
*First, a quick note about kitchen countertop electrical code 406.5E and why you should be familiar. Code requirements are updated regularly to meet the increasing needs of today’s modern kitchens as well as keeping families safe in their homes. If you ever plan to remodel, renovate, or sell your home – you should be aware of what your local code requirements are (especially if you plan on passing inspection).
1. Kitchen islands and peninsulas have their own unique electrical code.
At least one receptacle outlet is required in each peninsular countertop. A peninsula is defined as a countertop that has a short dimension of 12 inches or greater, and a long dimension of 24 inches or greater. The long dimension is measured from the connected perpendicular wall.
The same rule that applies to walls, sometimes applies to islands. Code can require the same number of outlets every two feet in an island or peninsula, since it doesn’t have a wall.
There are currently four versions of National Electrical Code (NEC) that have been adopted by the individual states, those include 2020, 2017, 2014, and 2008. There are currently 43 states that fall under 2020 or 2017 code, these states will need a pop up outlet that will meet countertop installation code, and pass a water intrusion test. To meet the latest code the pop up will be required to pass a half gallon spill test, have tamper resistant outlets, and the entire unit will be UL or ETL certified as a complete assembly (not just the outlet can be UL listed).
2. Windows are in the way of wall outlets, as well as sink and range considerations.
Code requires walls to have outlet spacing every 2 feet in kitchens. If a window is where an outlet needs to be, then installing an outlet that pops out of your countertop might be your only option.
The countertop space behind a sink and a wall can't exceed 18" without an outlet on the wall behind it, the space between a range and a wall can't exceed 24" and has the same requirement. If there is no wall behind your sink or range to install an outlet, and you have exceeded these limits, then you may need an outlet in your countertop to pass code.
3. Keep dangerous and unsightly cords from hanging over the sides of islands.
With the popularity of large flat islands in recent years, it has become common to place outlets on the sides of islands. These hanging cords have become a safety hazard for children, from catching them with their arms while running, to the little ones pulling on the cords and small appliances toppling on them. A pop up outlet placed directly in the countertop keeps the cords out of the way so children can't trip or pull on them.
Read the terrifying article about the 1 year old that pulled the slow cooker off the counter and burned her face HERE.
Side outlets on islands don’t always allow you to get that small appliance you need on your counter exactly where you want it, especially in the middle of long islands. Islands have become the resting place for food and drinks when entertaining. Pop up outlets let you put the receptacle anywhere you wish on your island, creating a cleaner appearance instead of cords running across your countertops.
4. Charging convenience.
Pop up outlets aren't designed solely for powering food related appliances, but also for charging any of your mobile devices. Laptops, tablets, and smartphones find their way to kitchen islands all the time. With the ability to charge from the plug, USB-A and USB-C charging ports, and a wireless QI charging top, there are numerous options to charge multiple devices at once. From cooking, to kids doing homework, to charging your phone, everyone can have an outlet to plug into.
5. Outlet free backsplashes.
If you are remodeling your kitchen, or building a new home, chances are you spent countless hours picking out the perfect backsplash. It can be painful to then have to cut into your beautiful brand-new backsplash and clutter it with unappealing sockets. Pop up outlets are an alternative solution, and can be concealed in the counter where they are less noticeable. You can also put them in the bottom of your cabinets, they are hidden when not in use, but pop down when needed.
Consider pop up outlets for ALL of your electrical needs.
Pop up outlets can be installed in many other residential applications besides the kitchen. Anywhere you need electricity – a pop up may be the solution. Need extra outlets for the appliances in your pantry? Want to de-clutter your bathroom counters? Does your garage work space need outlets for power tools? Do you ever use small appliances on your dining room table? Do you use small appliances on your home bar? ALL of these scenarios are perfect for a pop up outlet. Pop up outlets are not only great for residential purposes, they can also be installed in commercial applications such as hotels, airports, and restaurants.
Check your local code before ordering or installing any pop up outlets.
Code for countertop outlet enforcement varies from state to state, and even down to the county they are being installed in. As always, we recommend consulting with your local inspector and electrician to see what is required of your specific kitchen before remodeling, or building your new home.
Purchase a pop up approved for countertops.
At KitchenPowerPopUps.com, we only sell pop up power outlets that are approved for use in countertops and wet locations in the USA and Canada. They are constructed to meet NEC Code 406.5E for countertop installations, and they have tamper resistant plugs. The entire unit is UL listed for USA installations, and cUL and CSA approved for Canadian installations. The tops are water rated to meet varying levels of water intrusion. They can be installed in wood, granite, marble, quartz, concrete, or any stone surface. We look forward to helping you choose the best pop up for your space.
- Ryan H